Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We Run Faster in San Mateo! - Local Runners Dominate Bay to Breakers

Thirteen of the top 25 finishers are from San Mateo.

San Mateo was extremely well represented in this year’s Bay to Breakers, with an incredible 13 of the top 25 runners hailing from here.

According to current race results, every single runner between the 10th-place finisher (Giliat Ghebray) and the 22nd (Jimmy Grabow), with one exception, was from San Mateo.

The results also indicate that all 13 members of this running bloc finished within a hair’s breadth of each other, clocking in somewhere between 37 minutes flat and 37 minutes, one second. (Two of the runners, Stephan Shay and Drew Shackleton, came in at a tie, with both earning a 16th-place ranking.)

None of these runners outran 2011 Bay to Breakers champion Ridouane Harroufi of Morocco, who finished in 34 minutes, 26 seconds—but they were close, and their times rivaled and in many cases beat those from the “elite” division.

Here are all of the San Mateo runners placing within the top 25, according to BazuSports:

Giliat Ghebray37:0010
Neville Davey37:0011
Tommy Greenless37:0012
Marco Anzures37:0014
Mark Matusar37:0015
Stephan Shay37:0016
Drew Shackleton37:0016
Mike Sayenko37:0117
Chris Chavez37:0118
Armen Vartanian37:0119
Yosef Ghebray37:0120
Charlie Serrano37:0121
Jimmy Grabow37:0122

FREE Chicago Style Hot Dogs to the First 10 Readers -- In Downtown San Mateo!

This coming Friday I am thrilled to be cutting the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening of Fletch's at 385 2nd Avenue in Downtown San Mateo.  

Fletch's serves up incredibly tasty Chicago Style Hot Dogs, along with burger, fries, shakes and lemonade.  I had the pleasure of trying out Fletch's great fare during San Mateo Dishcrawl earlier this month. 

The Grand Opening and ribbon cutting will take place at 5:30 PM at Fletch's, located at 385 2nd Avenue in downtown, right across the street from the movie theater.  Bring your friends and family!

As an added incentive, the first 10 people to show up and mention this blog post get a Chicago Style Hot Dog on me!  (Paid for with my own funds, and not taxpayer money). 

See you Friday!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Cheesecake Factory coming to Hillsdale

May 16, 2011, 03:30 AM
By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff
Erik Oeverndiek/Daily Journal

Crews are busy constructing a new restaurant, The Cheesecake Factory, at the Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo. The restaurant, inset, is set to open by the end of the year.
Those who take great pleasure in food will be delighted to hear the lavishness and decadence of The Cheesecake Factory is coming to the Hillsdale Shopping Center in San Mateo.

The old Mervyns, closed two years ago, will be transformed into a luxurious space for eating and socializing as construction crews are busy now in the beginning stages of the project.

The restaurant hopes to open its doors before the year is up, maybe as early as October, said Alethea Rowe, company spokeswoman.

“We did a lot of research in the area before deciding on Hillsdale,” Rowe said. “We looked at the strength of the shopping center and its current tenants before making our decision.”

There are currently seven Cheesecake Factories in the Bay Area with the closest to San Mateo being in San Francisco and Palo Alto. There are now 150 of the restaurants across the country with plans to open more, Rowe said.

The San Mateo site will be the company’s third new restaurant to open in the United States this year, she said. One just opened in Houston and another is set to open soon in New Jersey.

At least 250 people will be hired to work at the San Mateo restaurant, mostly in the kitchen.

“The Bay Area has been good to us and we are thrilled to be opening in San Mateo,” she said.

Each individual restaurant averages about $10 million annually in sales, she said.

“We supply an attractive, large tax base that will be a boost to the city’s general fund,” she said.

Mayor Jack Matthews is looking forward to the restaurant opening.

“I’ve been there before. I remember the portions were incredibly generous,” Matthews said.

The Cheesecake Factory serves more than just cheesecake, however, it has over 200 items on the menu, a full bar and stays open late.

“We are famous for our generous portions,” Rowe said. “They are perfect for sharing.”

Matthews, an architect, is especially pleased that the facade of the restaurant will open up to the street.

“This is good for the shopping center. I’m pleased Hillsdale is getting away from being an enclosed center and be more friendly to the street,” Matthews said.

The Cheesecake Factory signed a long-term lease with Hillsdale, Rowe said, and will start interviewing job applicants about a month before it opens.

All the staff will be new hires with the exception of the manager, Rowe said.

“Everything is made from scratch in the kitchen,” Rowe said. “That’s why we hire so many people. There is a lot of kitchen prep to be done every day.”

The restaurant will close at 11 p.m. weekdays and stay open until midnight or later on weekends. Sunday brunch is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Rowe said.

Councilman John Lee calls The Cheesecake Factory a great addition to the city.

“They have a great reputation and job creation is good stuff. I will be there when it opens,” Lee said.

The Cheesecake Factory serves pizza, pasta, seafood, steaks, salads, sandwiches and more.

The menu also features specialty dishes such as Chicken Madeira, Miso Salmon, Cajun Jambalaya Pasta and The Factory Burger.

Dessert, however, is what first brought The Cheesecake Factory fame.

The restaurant servers over 50 cheesecakes and desserts such as White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake and Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake.

“It is a high-end restaurant that doesn’t act high-end,” said Councilman David Lim, who frequented The Cheesecake Factory while growing up in Los Angeles.

“I’ve got memories of taking prom dates there,” he said.

The restaurant caters to all kinds of needs, he said.

“You can have birthdays there, its a good place for teens or you can just have lunch there,” Lim said.

The old Mervyns is being divided into a few new stores, including Forever 21, which occupies a spot at the shopping center already but will be expanding into a much larger space.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dishcrawl San Mateo - A Culinary Adventure in Our Own Backyard

Last night my wife Terri and I hired a babysitter and went out for a night in Downtown San Mateo for one of the hottest new trends to hit the Bay Area -- DISHCRAWL!

Our cool Dishcrawl badge of honor!

The idea behind Dishcrawl is to "blend good food with good company" according to owner and founder Tracy Lee. The concept is simple:  For $25 per person (drinks not included), you get to walk around a City and sample the best food from 3-4 different restaurants.  On the way, you meet, mingle (and drink!) with 50-60 new friends! 

Adding to the fun of the event, the names of the restaurants are kept a surprise -- only the meeting location for the first location is revealed via email 24 hours before the event. 

Terri and I joined a group of 50 other Dishcrawlers in front of our first stop:  RAVE BURGER at 144 East 3rd Avenue in Downtown San Mateo.  We signed in with the friendly Dishcrawl staff, got a cool Dishcrawl button to wear for the evening, and then . . . eating ensued!

Terri in front of Rave Burger with our new Dishcrawler friends!

At Rave Burger, we started off with sweet potato fries and homemade curly fries, then had a mini-cheeseburger made with all natural Niman Ranch beef.  Despite warnings from seasoned Dishcrawlers to "pace yourselves", I threw caution to the wind by eating two helpings of sweet potato fries.

Our 2nd stop was to newly-opened FLETCH'S at 385 2nd Avenue, across from the movie theater.  Fletch's serves authentic Chicago Style hot dogs -- hot dog with sweet green relish, onions, mustard, tomato, dill pickle, and pepper on a poppy seed bun.  Fletch's is so authentic, the buns are delivered daily from Chicago!

Meeting the owner of newly-opened Fletch's Hot Dogs

I was so busy admiring the Chicago-themed decoration of Fletch's I barely had time to eat my hot dog before it was time to move onto our 3rd stop which was . . .

KINGFISH at 201 South B Street.  An upscale American restaurant specializing in seafood and steaks, we were whisked to a private room upstairs where many of us bought the famous Hurricane drinks (fruit juice and rum) Kingfish is known for.  While we sipped our drinks, we were treated to warm homemade truffled potato chips sprinkled with creamy blue cheese and chives, followed by baked garlic parmesan bread.  To top it off, Kingfish served us delicious filet mignon crispy potstickers topped with red pepper vinaigrette and pesto aioli.

At this point, I was seriously stuffed, and so it was fortunate that our 4th and (supposedly) final stop was a little further back up 3rd Avenue.  We all needed the walk to make some room for our last stop!  By that time all 50 of us had mingled and talked for over an hour, so we were a merry band of Dishcrawlers as we headed to

ASTARIA at 50 East 3rd Avenue, located on the ground floor of the historic Ben Franklin Hotel.  Specializing in California fare, the owner of Astaria, Alicia Petrakis greeted us and escorted us inside.

At Astaria, we ordered a tasty pineapple mojito while dining on delicious Asian style pulled pork tostadas and sauteed portobello manchego and gorgonzola quesadillas.  It was truly a great way to end a wonderful evening of Dishcrawling.

Or so we thought.  We were then told that as a surprise, a final stop was being added to our night.  We therefore tramped back into the night, and ended up at . . .

BEARD PAPA'S at 365 2nd Avenue.  Known for their fresh and natural cream puffs, we all loaded up on chocolate and vanilla cream puffs.

And with that, our Dishcrawl adventure was over.  We traded phone numbers and emails with some of our new-found friends, and made plans to meet up at the next edition of Dishcrawl in San Mateo.

That's the beauty of Dishcrawl.  Each Dishcrawl is a unique experience with all new restaurants, and all new adventures, so our next outing will feature all new places to eat. 

As a San Mateo City Councilmember, I was excited to see such an exciting, vibrant, and tasty experience come to Downtown San Mateo, and I look forward to welcoming back Dishcrawl later this summer.  I hope everyone in our neighborhood will come out for to make new friends, try new foods, and have a wonderful time!!

Bay Area Youth Summit - Addressing Bullying in Our Schools

On Saturday, April 28, 2011 I was honored to be a speaker at the first ever Bay Area Youth Summit (BAYS), hosted by the Aragon High School Gay/Straight Alliance at Aragon High School.   The all-day conference, organized and hosted by high school youth leaders from throughout the Bay Area, addressed the topic of bullying in schools and the larger community, including ways to confront and deter bullying. 

Nationwide, bullying continues to be an  issue that is recognized as disruptive and dangerous in our schools.  Students today are subject to increase bullying not just withing the four walls of the school, but online via the internet and social networking sites, and also through text messages.  In a recent case in Massachusetts, six teens have been charged in criminal court with driving a classmate to commit suicide as a result of their bullying. 

In San Mateo, I applaud the work of students in our high schools to raise awareness of this important issue.  I was impressed with the organizers of the Bay Area Youth Summit to convene a conference to tackle the issue of bullying, and discuss amongst their peers ways to combat the problem. 

I was proud to speak at the BAYS conference to let them know that the City of San Mateo stands with them and all students in recognizing the serious issue of bullying, and to pledge our support to recognize the importance of diversity and tolerance in our community. 

Below is a photo of organizer Jason Galisatus accepting a certificate of recognition from the City of San Mateo presented to the Aragon Gay/Straight Alliance for their work in organizing this wonderful conference

Bay Area Youth Summit organizer Jason Galisatus receiving certificate of recognition from City of San Mateo on behalf of the Aragon High School Gay/Straight Alliance for organizing this important conference. 

For more resources on addressing bullying, check out, an official government website dedicated to addressing this issue.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dishcrawl - Downtown San Mateo

Eating and walking downtown San Mateo with Dishcrawl! Five great restaurants. Photos and summary later tonight if I'm not too stuffed.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Thank you to U.S. Special Forces for bringing Osama Bin Laden to justice.