Friday, July 14, 2006

san jose with orlando

I hadn’t seen Thaddeus Orlando in a while, so I was delighted when he invited me to happy hour. Even though that meant a drive to downtown San Jose (something I do less often than once a year), I was excited to catch up with an old friend.

Rolling with Orlando is like rolling with a Hollywood celebrity. There are the constant interruptions for greetings and autograph requests. And then there are the privileges that flow from his fans: free drinks, free food.

We started out at PF Chang’s on Second for mojitos and then migrated next door to the Loft for appetizers and drinks. The Loft is a great bi-level restaurant with a large outdoor deck on the second floor. On a nice, warm evening everything tastes better outside.

After the Loft we walked down Second and over to Third to visit the Capital Club. The Capital Club is a gym in a wonderful old building constructed in the Federal style, and it is located across the street from St. James Park.

Following our tour of the club and its upstairs bar, we wandered back down to First Street for more food and beverages at the E&O Trading Company. Should you visit E&O I can recommend the excellent corn fritters and the tasty lettuce cups with shredded beef. You might also consider a libation made with infused vodka from Hangar One. If we didn't have to drive home we could have visited a dozen more establishements and had each bartender greet Orlando with a smile and a cocktail.

Downtown San Jose is an enigma. There are many good restaurants and bars in a concentrated area, and it is the 3rd largest city in California behind LA and San Diego. Yet, despite all of the new construction, it is a much less desirable destination than SF or possibly even Oakland. The city is rather quiet at night and, even though they have many civic events, there is little to compel a visit – that is, unless you have a guide like Orlando.

I’ll be back to explore San Jose more. I’ve heard that Seven is a quality spot for dinner, and I am fascinated by the urban renewal. If you are thinking of visiting, I would recommend bringing your own Orlando: he has the place wired. Email me for his contact information.

The Loft Bar and Bistro 90 S 2nd St San Jose, CA (408) 291-0677
Capital Club Athletics 196 N 3rd St San Jose, CA (408) 292-1141
E&O Trading Company 96 S 1st St, San Jose, CA (408) 938-4100
Seven 754 The Alameda # 10, San Jose, CA (408) 280-7178