Sur La Table – Old Town

Located in the newer part of Old Town in Los Gatos along University Avenue, Sur La Table is a bright and welcoming shop known locally for its great supply of kitchen goods and cooking classes for people of all ages. If you’ve not been there in awhile, it’s worth a return trip!

Front of store - Sur La Table on University Avenue, Los Gatos - Old Town area

One easy offering that may beckon you in the door is free knife sharpening (for the first knife it’s free, after that $5 each, with some exceptions, such as no scissors, no broken or damaged knives, and a few others – if you have a lot of knives to sharpen, you may prefer to take them to Nob Hill, which will sharpen 3 for free at a time).

Today I was in the neighborhood after enjoying coffee with a friend at the Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company nearby. I popped in for a little bit and learned that Sur La Table in Los Gatos is undergoing a little bit of a redesign. The shelves which are away from the wall are shorter than they used to be. Visually, it is much nicer as patrons can more easily view the rest of the room. You can get a sense of the lower racks in the photo below.

 

Sur La Table - Old Town Los Gatos - interior photo

 

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Los Gatos real estate prices

Image of piggy bank, coins, and words "Home prices in Los Gatos - how far will your money go?"How far does your home buying budget go in Los Gatos? Los Gatos real estate prices aren’t low, but they aren’t the highest in Silicon Valley, either, despite having great schools, wonderful downtown,  and both architectural and natural beauty in abundance. In this article we’re looking at “in town” areas with zip codes 95030 and 95032 (the Los Gatos Mountains is 95033).

MLS Research by 8 price increments for LG

Earlier today I spent some time going through the MLS and looking at single family homes, townhouses, and condominiums which are active, pending, or sold in the last 2 months or so in town (95030 and 95032, MLS area 16). The narrative below reflects that research.  These 8 segments are not evenly split, but reflect more general levels such as entry level, mid level, and luxury homes.

1 – Los Gatos real estate prices: lowest tier, under $700,000

Homes for sale listed in the lowest price points are condos at the Los Gatos Commons, a senior community along Alberto Way near downtown. In the last 60 days there have been 2 such condominiums sold, all 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom.

2 – Los Gatos real estate prices between $700,000 and $1 million – general entry level

For non-seniors, the next price point represents entry level homes in town. Normally these would be 1 or 2 bedroom condominiums or townhouses, but in recent weeks there were a couple of very small single family homes (under 600 SF) that appear to be tear-downs and are sold for land value. Normally you’ll find 1 – 2 bedroom units in this bracket.

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Kamakura Japanese Restaurant

Kamakura Sushi & Sake House is better known to locals as Kamakura Japanese Restaurant in Los Gatos.  The menu offerings are wider than sushi and sake, though of course they are prominently offered. If you enjoy Japanese food of all kinds, this is a place you’ll be happy to try. I visit there at least a couple of times each year, and would not mind going a lot more often.

 

Kamakura Sushi and Sake House sign - taken at night

 

Located in the heart of downtown Los Gatos, Kamakura is wonderfully situated for those working or just enjoying downtown.  It is a busy eatery at both lunch and dinner, but I have never seen long waits for a table. The service is pleasant and quick, everything is clean, and the food delicious.

We always sit at one of the tables, but there’s also a bar area next to where the chefs are working. That seems to be more filled up in the evenings than in the daytime. Additionally, there’s some upstairs dining, too, which again seems to be used mostly for the dinner crowd. (The restaurant is accessible, with a ramp from the sidewalk into the main dining area.)

 

Kamakura - bar daytime, end of lunch hours

 

One of my favorite menu items at Kamakura is the miso soup. It is consistently outstanding.  I enjoy the bento boxes and the variety they present, with my favorite items there being the California roll (although it’s fake crab, it’s leagues better than what most Japanese restaurants use for imitation crab), tempura, and teriyaki chicken. My family members do order sushi & udon dishes and rave about them.

 

Kamakura Sushi and Saki in Los Gatos - evening

Something to know is that Kamakura does close in the mid-afternoon, so don’t swing by at 3 and hope to be seated! You can find their hours listed on the website link, below.

 

Kamakura Sushi & Saki House
135 N Santa Cruz Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95030

(408) 395-6650

https://kamakuralosgatos.com/

 

Related reading:

Restaurant Asa in Los Gatos

Willow Street Pizza in Downtown Los Gatos

Café Dio Espresso Bar & Café

Charter Oaks townhome community

The Charter Oaks townhome community was built in 3 phases between 1972 and 1975,  and consists of 101 units on a verdant, green campus. I’m told that the builder was the highly regarded Blackwell Homes.  Each townhome enjoys between 960 square feet and 1,760 sf, with the average being 1452. Most are 2 story but there are a few single story homes as well. Lot sizes are small (1,920-3,205 SF, average is 2477 SF) as there is a great deal of common, outdoors space to enjoy.

Charter Oaks townhome community

Charter Oaks Circle mapLos Gatans are drawn to Charter Oaks for many reasons. First, it offers well built homes that are thoughtfully designed in a beautiful setting. The community features include expansive greenbelt areas and a pool.

The location is a huge plus. It is located alongside the Los Gatos Creek Trail, making it an easy walking or bike commute to Netflix, a simple bike ride to Vasona or downtown Los Gatos, or a convenient route for a longer ride, jog, or stroll. To top it off, this area includes the highly regarded Los Gatos Schools and is close enough to the freeways to make commuting less stressful.

Every area has some location challenges. Because it’s close to two freeways, there’s a bit of noise from the highways but it’s not too bad. The other thing to know is that there’s just one road in and out, and trying to turn left from Charter Oaks Drive onto Lark Avenue can sometimes be frustrating as the cars just keep coming and there’s no traffic signal to help there.

Charter Oaks real estate pricing

Homes in Charter Oaks are selling for about $1,000,000 to $1,300,00 as of early 2020. (See my listing at 126 Charter Oaks Circle here.) As with every complex, some areas will sell for more than others. In this case, because the townhomes are fairly close to highway 17, some areas have road noise and will be a little less desirable.  Some will have better or lesser views, access to parking, natural light, and so on. The condition and size of the unit have an enormous impact on housing values too, of course.

 

Which streets are a part of Charter Oaks?

Includes streets are these: Walnut Hill Court, Charter Oaks Circle, Willow Hill Court, Cherry Hill Court, Almond Hill Court, Spruce Hill Court

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Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos

Pink heart with graphic image of two cats and flowers symbolizing Valentine's Day in Los Gatos
Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos!

It’s February and, for couples, that means it’s time to plan your Valentine’s Day! And what better place to celebrate your love than in the Valley of Heart’s Delight (Silicon Valley’s old nickname), or more specifically, in the Gem of the Foothills – our very own LG! Here we’ll give you some ideas on how to celebrate a romantic Valentine’s Day in Los Gatos.

Valentine’s Day on a tight budget: picnic with your sweetie

Los Gatos is filled with beautiful parks, and lately the weather has been in the low 70s. If you want or need to be frugal, get a simple assortment of cheeses, crackers, grapes and wine and enjoy a picnic at Vasona Park or your favorite of any one of the lovely parks in town. It’s affordable, easy, and you can enjoy some romantic views.

How about an unhurried walking tour of Los Gatos?

Stroll through scenic downtown Los Gatos. The “village” area is full of neat shops with an enchanting feel. Head over to Old Town too, and while there, walk across the pedestrian bridge between Old Town and Forbes Mill. There is something about being still on this little bridge with the world passing by underneath that’s very special. Have a look at the old mill. This was the first commercial venture in Los Gatos – and it’s tucked away, off the beaten path. . . . But easy to find if you know what to look for.

You might also consider doing the “LOST Gatos” historic walking tour – just put it on speaker. Check out the free app the various tours you can hear at the link above.

Valentine’s Day Lunch in town

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Designer’s Tailoring

Designer's Tailoring - Los Gatos CA - storefrontNeed clothing made, altered or hemmed?  Los Gatos has a fabulous, long time resource right here in town, Designer’s Tailoring. Tucked away in a little building across the street from Safeway, it could be easy to miss.  Thuan Ho Dang, the seamstress (or tailor), does superb work.  She and her husband, Tho, have been in business here since 1985.

I was introduced to Designer’s Tailoring by a friend of mine in the early 90s, and have been a happy, loyal customer ever since. I spoke with Thuan about their business and she told me:

“We don’t advertise, everything is word of mouth.” Enthusiastic customers refer Designer’s Tailoring consistently, and I believe it, because I’ve referred people to them too. They are pleasant, do good work and prices are more than fair.

Friendly, low key and welcoming, the owners are careful business people. A few years back they moved from one suite to another adjacent one in the same building – the current spot is more interior and a little less visible, for better pricing in the same building.  Their planning helps to keep prices down, something all customers appreciate.

Tho and Thuan at Designer's Tailoring in Los Gatos (photo taken a few years ago)Designer’s Tailoring provides custom made drapes, clothing, alterations and more at very reasonable prices and with friendly, knowledgeable service. On a scale of 1 to 10, it gets a solid “10” in my book.

Designer’s Tailoring hours, address, & phone

Open M – S, 9:30 am – 6:00 pm (closed Sundays)
469 N. Santa Cruz Avenue
Los Gatos  CA 95030
Tel 408 354-8903

The Monte Sereno real estate market

Elm Park in Monte Sereno, sold by Mary Pope-Handy
Ranch style home on Elm Park in Monte Sereno, sold by Mary Pope-Handy

The City of Monte Sereno is quite small, with just about 4,000 residents, so the number of houses sold in any given month will always be extremely small.

For that reason, the data may appear to jump around wildly compared to Los Gatos or Saratoga, which each have about 30,000 people living there. Please take these statistics with a tablespoon of salt, and be sure to view the Los Gatos housing market data to get a more accurate picture of what’s happening with Monte Sereno homes (just add a little to the price tag as homes there tend to sell for a bit more than LG properties).

Also, there are only single family, detached houses in Monte Sereno: no apartments, multi unit housing (2 – 4 plex), no duet homes (attached single family homes). That will be changing soon, however, as the old La Hacienda property (formerly an estate, then a hotel and restaurant) at Hwy 9 and Austin Way will likely become incorporated into Monte Sereno and condos or townhomes built there.

First up for the market analysis is the Altos Research weekly profile for Monte Sereno (uses list prices, not sales):

 

 

This chart shows a slight seller’s advantage in the market, which is consistent with the rest of the area.

Below is the Monte Sereno Real Estate Report (click to view the complete Real Estate Report).

Read moreThe Monte Sereno real estate market