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March 26, 2004

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Publication Date: Friday, March 26, 2004

Best Of Best Of (March 26, 2004)

By Dan Stapleton

We can't say for sure about the rest of the country, but in Mountain View, the democratic process still works. In the bold spirit of America, we polled the electorate, braving hanging chads and dimpled ballots to bring you the results of our annual Best Of Mountain View vote. The wheat was separated from the chaff, the men from the boys and the winners from the losers, leaving only the best of the best. The people have spoken, and here's what they had to say.

Epicurean Delights

Bagel: Posh Bagel

Being best bagel bakery benefits business big time. The Posh Bagel beat out the rest with their freshly-baked bagels which is served up plain, covered in cream cheese or schmear, piled with toppings or in sandwich form. Posh bagels are steamed, not boiled, which makes them softer and less chewy than most. Try the popular asiago cheese bagels. 444 Castro St., Mon.-Fri., 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat., 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun., 8 a.m.-3 p.m., 968-5308

BBQ: Austin's

When you think of uniquely American food, you think barbecue. And when Mountain View restaurant-goers think barbecue, they think Austin's. At Austin's, owner Richard Clark prides himself on authentic Texan-style food and routinely makes a pilgrimage back to Texas to ensure that he's making his baby-back ribs the same way they do in the Lone Star State. 1616 W. El Camino Real, Mon.-Thu., 11 am-10 p.m., Fri., 11:30 am-11 p.m., Sat., 12 p.m.-11 p.m., Sun., 12 p.m.-9:30 p.m., 969-9191

Bang For Buck: Taqueria Los Charros

When you've got nothing but a big appetite, discriminating tastes and the change you found under your couch cushions, Taqueria Los Charros is your best friend. With a range of burritos under five dollars, tacos under four dollars, and an assortment of quesadillas and other very reasonably priced Mexican fare to choose from, Los Charros will make sure you don't leave hungry or poor. 854 W. Dana St., Mon.-Sat., 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun., 8 a.m.-10 p.m., 969-1464

Breakfast/ Brunch: Hobee's

Thirty years ago this month, the very first Hobee's opened its doors for breakfast in Mountain View. Now a chain of nine restaurants featuring local-themed dishes like the Mountain View Special Omelet, the Santa Cruz Scramble, the Cupertino Club Sandwich and the Palo Alto Primavera, Hobee's has become Mountain View's hometown hero for breakfast and lunch. 2312 Central Expressway, Mon.-Fri., 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 7:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 968-6050

Burger: Clarke's

Extending its glorious reign as the undisputed king of premium burgers to 12 years running, Clarke's wins the hearts and minds of Mountain View burger fans with charcoal-broiled 1/3-pound beef patties, a half dozen kinds of cheese and 17 toppings ranging from mushrooms to guacamole to pineapple. The menu also features turkey burgers and meatless patties for red meat dodgers and vegetarians. 615 W. El Camino Real, Sat.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., 967-0851

Fast Food: In-N-Out

In the world of fast food, most restaurants sacrifice quality for speed. Not so at In-N-Out Burger, where the burgers are grilled when they're ordered, the lettuce, tomatoes and onions are fresh, and the fries are made from actual potatoes. The simple menu offers only a hamburger, a cheeseburger and a double cheeseburger, but In-N-Out connoisseurs know the "secret menu" that includes burgers with code names like Animal Style and Protein Style. 1159 North Rengstorff Ave. and 53 West El Camino Real, Sun.-Thurs., 10:30 a.m.-1 a.m., Fri.-Sat., 10:30 a.m.-1:30 a.m., (800) 786-1000

Burrito: Burrito Real

Proving itself master of both quality and quantity, Burrito Real can hang its new Best Burrito award right next to its 1997 record for World's Largest Burrito, which it shares with previous category winner La Costena. When ordering your own regular-sized burrito, you'll have more choices than you'll know what to do with. On top of the standard rice and beans, you can choose veggies like snow peas, celery, avocado, olives, green onions, corn, tomatoes and cilantro, and meats including varieties of beef, pork, chicken and shrimp, then watch them cook it up and serve it hot.

580 N. Rengstorff Ave., Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., 988-6705

California Cuisine: Tied House

In the 18th and 19th centuries, beer brewers began opening pubs that sold only beers made by the parent brewery called tied houses, as opposed to free houses that sold beer from different breweries. Tied House follows this tradition and serves its own American-style brews like Alpine Gold, New World Wheat and Cascade Amber. Meals vary from burgers and seafood to tacos and jambalaya in a style that can only be defined as Californian. 954 Villa St., Mon.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun., 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., 965-2739

Chinese: Kirin

From the moment you walk in the door, you'll see that Kirin prides itself on fresh Chinese seafood. It's best not to name the live lobsters and shrimp in the tanks you pass by on your way to your table -- you might run into Whiskers and Shrimpy later and feel guilty about enjoying your meal so much. If seafood isn't your style, Kirin has plenty of dishes from the Chinese mainland so that you won't feel left out. 485 Castro St., daily, 11 a.m.-12 a.m., 965-1059

Coffee House: Starbucks

The appropriately named Moby Dick-sized chain didn't become so big by making lousy coffee. Starbucks has become synonymous with coffee by satisfying millions of customers with its tall, grande and venti-sized cups of mochas, espressos, and cappuccinos. Drop in for your caffeine fix, to meet up with friends, or bring your laptop to check your e-mail on Starbucks' wireless Internet access. 750 Castro St., Mon.-Fri., 5 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat., 6 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun., 6 a.m.-9 p.m., 564-9255

Fine Dining: Chez TJ

For the classiest dinner money can buy in Mountain View, head for the inconspicuous 100-year-old Victorian house on Villa Street. The $65-per-person price tag isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for. Chez TJ consistently wins votes for its five-course French cuisine meals, top-notch service and intimate setting. And this year Chez TJ welcomes aboard new Executive Chef Joshua Skenes, who holds a Grand Diplome from the French Culinary Institute. 938 Villa St., Tue.-Thurs., 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 1st Seating 5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m., 2nd Seating 8 p.m.-9 p.m., 964-7466

Ice Cream: Baskin Robbins

Everyone knows the name Baskin Robbins. With its trademark 31 flavors of ice cream and sherbet plus ice cream cakes, shakes, malts and cold coffee drinks, one of the biggest names in the dessert business proves it's still got it. Drop in to try March's flavor of the month, Malt Madness. 1249 W El Camino Real, daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., 940-9831

Indian: Sue's Indian Cuisine

Indian food lovers have spoken -- the hot spot for hot food in Mountain View is Sue's. The popular restaurant offers a lunchtime buffet guaranteed to stuff any hungry customer. For dinner, the lamb curry comes highly recommended, but don't ignore the chicken, seafood or vegetarian options on the menu. 216 Castro St., Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m., 969-1112

Italian: Frankie Johnny and Luigi Too

The three guys have done it again, cementing their position as Mountain View's best place for Italian food. It's not too expensive, but the quality doesn't suffer one bit. Everybody seems to love the chicken parmesan, and the pizza is a big hit for any occasion. Enjoy your food in the cozy atmosphere of the restaurant or take it home. 939 West El Camino Real, Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-12 a.m., Fri., 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sat., 12 p.m.-1 a.m., Sun., 12 p.m.-11 p.m., 967-5384

Mexican Food and Margarita: Fiesta Del Mar

Fiesta Del Mar is as famous for its authentic Mexican seafood as it is for its renowned margaritas, made with your choice of 200 kinds of tequila, including house favorite Herradura. From the dinner menu, try the shrimp rancheros, jumbo shrimp cooked in garlic, olive oil and wine, or the enjococado burrito, a 100-year-old recipe with chicken and special sauce. 1005 N. Shoreline Blvd, Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-9 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., 965-9354

New Restaurant: Cascal

Cascal has made a great first impression on Mountain View. The menu features a mix of upscale Spanish and Latin American styles, giving it an "old world meets new world" feel. Cascal specializes in serving tapas style meals, where many small dishes are shared and provide a wide variety of tastes. It also serves entree-sized portions of dishes like Brazilian Moqueca, Vera Cruz Seafood Cocktail and Paella Cascal. 400 Castro St., Sun.-Thurs., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m., 940-9500

Noodle Place: New Tung Kee

It's amazing how far treating customers right will get you. Good food, good variety, good service, good prices and complimentary jasmine tea has endeared the New Tung Kee Noodle House to a whole lot of voters. Choose from a plethora of noodle dishes and soups with shrimp, chicken, pork, beef or vegetarian options and wash it all down with a pearl milk tea. 520 Showers Dr., daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., 947-8888

Pizza: Amici's East Coast Pizzeria

While painful to admit, sometimes it's impossible to deny that the East Coast does a few things better than the West Coast. With Amici's at the top of the list, it has become clear that local pizza just can't compete. Amici's covers their pizzas in your choice of 30 toppings which range from old favorites like pepperoni and sausage to fried eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts, and then cooks it in traditional brick ovens that toast the thin crust to perfection. 790 Castro St., Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri., 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., 961-6666

Fresh Produce: Farmer's Market

Supermarkets often get their produce shipped from great distances, which means that the fruit and vegetables are picked before they're ripe and then ripen during the trip. Also, the fish is long dead, and the pastries aren't always as fresh as they could be. The Mountain View Farmer's Market, on the other hand, features up to 70 vendors selling items like fresh produce, fish, and baked goods that taste as though they've just been plucked from the vine, water or oven, respectively. Make room on your Sunday schedule to see what they have to offer. Parking plaza between Hope and View Streets, Sun., 9 a.m.-1 p.m., (800) 806-FARM

Kids Restaurant: Fresh Choice

It's hard to find any food that kids like, much less healthy food. At Fresh Choice kids can choose from something other than the usual hamburgers and fries. With more varieties of soup, salad, pasta, pizza, bread and desserts than most kids have ever seen in their lives, they're bound to find something to their liking. And when kids hit their growth spurts, they'll really appreciate the all-you-can-eat buffet. 2540 El Camino Real, Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., 949-4901

Vegetarian: Garden Fresh

Life is tough for vegetarians and vegans who like to eat out. It's not easy to find a restaurant that offers more than a few meatless options. That probably has something to do with why Garden Fresh is so popular among Mountain View herbivores, who enjoy the wide variety of fresh vegetables, salads and meat alternatives on the menu. 1245 W. El Camino Real, Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., 961-7795

Sandwich: Le Boulanger

A consistent winner in the sandwich category, Le Boulanger (which means "the baker" in French) makes as tasty a sandwich as you'll find anywhere. Le Boulanger proves that it's the bread as much as its contents that make a sandwich something to write home about, whether it's a BLT or a le grand roast beef. 650 Castro St., Mon.-Sat., 6 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun., 7 a.m.-6 p.m., 961-1787

Seafood: Cantankerous Fish

Don't let the name fool you; you'll find the fish at this restaurant to be very agreeable. The atmosphere is perfect for a nice dinner or a business lunch. Try the popular grilled sea bass, which comes topped with seafood salsa and is served with garlic mashed potatoes, or the Cantankerous cioppino stew full of clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, salmon and white fish. 420 Castro St., Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sun., 5 p.m.-9 p.m., 966-8124

Small Grocery: Trader Joe's

Trader Joe's stands up to giant grocery chains by offering things you can't buy in bulk. Items like quality organic produce, a flavorful and diverse variety of meats and cheeses, meat alternatives and beverages. Trader Joe's brand products are all aimed at niche markets like vegan, kosher or organic and have all passed inspection by Trader Joe's taste-testing panel, so you know it will meet your expectations. 590 Showers Drive, daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., 917-1013

Sushi: Sono Sushi

The Sono Sushi bar is a perfect place to get acquainted with the traditional Japanese treat. People who don't know what they like can have a seat at the bar and just wait for their ship to come in. Small boats float around the restaurant carrying plates of sushi, and when something that looks tasty floats by, customers help themselves. The most popular cargo are tempura rolls and California rolls. 357 Castro St., Tue.-Fri., 11 a.m.- 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., 961-9086

Japanese: Yakko

For a diverse selection of Japanese food and decor, head to Yakko. "We have the freshest fish in Mountain View. People come here and tell us how good the fish is," said Yakko chef Charlie Kim. Popular items include Shabu Shabu, a dish of thinly-sliced beef, vegetables, and tofu that's cooked right at the table, and party dishes with enough sushi and sashimi to feed three in style. 975 W. Dana St., Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Mon.-Thurs., 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m., Fri.-Sun., 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m., 960-0626

Thai: Amarin

Amarin offers you a choice of sitting at a table or sitting on the floor at a low table for a traditional Thai meal. "When people think of Thai food, they think of curry," said owner Supawan Pimsakul. "Some people are afraid to eat Thai food because they think it's too spicy, but it isn't always spicy." Amarin does both options right. Popular choices include the chicken yellow curry, prawn curry and satay chicken. 174 Castro St., Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Sat.-Sun., 12 p.m.-10 p.m., 988-9323

The Right Stuff

Auto Shop: Larry's Autoworks

Even though they'll happily fix whatever ails your car, the nationally certified master technicians at Larry's Autoworks specialize in keeping your car from ever breaking down in the first place with preventative maintenance. "We really focus on doing things the right way. That's our motto: When you want it right," said Larry Moore, who co-owns the business with his wife and daughter. Larry's knows the ins and outs of all cars American, Japanese and German. 2526 Leghorn Street, Mon.-Fri., 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., 968-5202

Bookstore: Books Inc.

Books Inc is everything a small independent bookstore should be. There's a good selection of books at reasonable prices and a friendly knowledgeable staff. The upstairs coffee shop and café is the perfect place to sit and read your new books. At 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of every month, Books Inc. hosts a discussion on various literary topics, often with guest speakers. 301 Castro St., Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri. 8 a.m.-12 a.m., Sat., 9 a.m.-12 a.m., Sun., 9 a.m.-11 p.m., 428-1234

Childcare: YMCA

The YMCA has made best friends in Mountain View's working parents, who expressed their gratitude with their votes. Members and guests pay only $2 per hour to leave their children in capable hands. There is one area for children aged seven weeks to seven years, and a separate youth center for children aged eight to 12, all of which are looked after by a well-trained staff that maintain a ratio of at least one adult to every five children at all times. The YMCA also offers off-site after-school childcare at eight local schools. 2400 Grant Road, 969-9622

Dry Cleaners: Blossom Valley

Some of us just can't seem to get through a meal without spilling something greasy or brightly colored on the single best item of clothing we happen to be wearing at the time. Fortunately there's Blossom Valley Dry Cleaners, a stroke of luck for the unlucky. Same day service will have your favorite unwashables back to you clean as they day you bought them. 1782 Miramonte Ave., Mon.- Fri., 7 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat., 9 a.m-5 p.m., 968-1321

Financial Institution: Bank of America

Conveniently located in the heart of downtown Mountain View for quick access, Bank of America is there to suit your every need with friendly faces that work hard to put your mind at ease when it comes to your money. And while you're there, be sure to congratulate them on their centennial year. The company got its start in San Francisco in 1904. 444 Castro St., Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat., 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 960-4701

Florist: Robert Moore

When birthdays, anniversaries and holidays come around, you need a reliable florist to save the day, which is why people select Robert Moore. "We've been here almost 50 years, and we have the freshest stuff," said store manager Byron Ng. Robert Moore specializes in custom orders and can send flowers to someone special practically anywhere worldwide. 279 Castro St., Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.- 6 p.m., Sat., 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 967-2307

Greeting Cards/Party Supplies: Diddams

If you're planning a party, don't mess around. Diddams has everything you need from start to finish. Stock up on invitations, decorations, party favors and toys, candles, balloons, cards, you name it. You could spend hours just browsing the aisles checking out the mother of all party stores, but luckily you don't have to because the friendly staff is there to help you find what you need. 1952 W. El Camino Real, Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat., 9 a.m.-7 p.m., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 965-0138

Hardware: Orchard Supply Hardware

Whether you're trying to hang a picture or add a new wing to the house, OSH has what you need. If it's plumbing, electrical, construction or landscaping, friendly and knowledgeable associates are on hand in every department every day to answer questions, recommend products, and help you haul the heavy stuff out to your car. 2555 Charleston Rd., Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat., 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun., 8 a.m.-7 p.m., 691-2000

Health/Specialty: Bumblebee Health Foods

You can never be too careful with your health these days, when it seems as if even the most basic of food items at mainstream stores have a list of chemical preservatives as long as your arm on the label. At Bumblebee, you'll only get natural foods along with homeopathic remedies, skin care products and herbs. 601 Escuela Ave., Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat.,10 a.m.-6 p.m., 968-3131

Home Furnishings: Cost Plus World Market

Looking to furnish a new apartment or replace a withered old table? Our readers like to check Cost Plus first to find unique looking, good quality furniture items at prices ranging from affordable to irresistible. Wandering the floor could turn up a bookcase, a wicker chair or a wine rack. And now that you've got a wine rack, be sure to check out Cost Plus' international selection of wines. 1910 El Camino Real, Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m.-7 p.m., 961-6066

Hotel: Hilton Garden Inn

Have relatives in town but no room to put them up at home? They'll love the Hilton Garden Inn's spacious and comfortable guest rooms with queen-sized beds, outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, and full restaurant and bar. Couples looking for a place to tie the knot will appreciate the full catering service and 2400-square-foot meeting space. Rooms are available for $139 to $189 per weeknight and $89 on weekends. 840 E. El Camino Real, 964-1700

New Business: Pace Yourself Fitness Studio

People are getting more and more fitness conscious, so more and more fitness studios are popping up to meet the demand. When one of them stands out above the rest, they must be doing something right. Pace Yourself is a women's fitness center that specializes in half-hour sessions of muscle-toning aerobic exercise at an affordable price. The workouts are designed to target every major muscle group and burn 600 calories per session. 1049-C El Monte Ave., Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat., 8 a.m.-12 p.m., 938-7223

Photo: Wolf Camera

Whether you snap cutting-edge digital photographs or prefer the good old-fashioned 35 mm film cameras, Wolf Camera is the place to go for the highest quality camera store prints and digital transfers. A staff of camera experts promises to treat your order as their top priority whether it's a single photograph or a big set of prints. 1898 El Camino Real, Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 968-5666

Private School: St. Joseph Catholic School

One of the most important parts of a child's development is his education, which is why Catholic parents in Mountain View trust St. Joseph Catholic School. St. Joseph serves over 300 students from 200 families, teaching kindergarten through eighth grade, and is committed to academic excellence, multicultural values and spiritual growth. 1120 Miramonte Avenue, 967-1839

Real Estate Office: Prudential Realtor: Yvonne Johnson-Heyl

In the highly competitive Bay Area real estate market, our readers like what Prudential has to offer them when they buy and sell property. Specifically, they like residential realtor Yvonne Johnson-Heyl, who prides herself on being available to her clients at all times. "I don't turn off my phone at a certain time. If they're stressed about something, my line is open to them," she said. Johnson-Heyl brings excellent listening and negotiation skills to the table to find her clients the best property or buyer on the market. 1040 Grant Road, 940-6828, ext. 205

Shoe Repair: Model Shoe Repair

The latest trend in women's shoes is a long narrow toe. The problem is, the front of the shoe often hits the ground and wears down quickly. What's a girl to do? Don't throw those shoes away -- take them to Model Shoe Repair for a new lease on life. Owner Sae Lim says he provides good customer service, quality craftsmanship and honest work. He also does men's leather shoes and carries orthopedic inserts. 826 Dana St., Mon.-Fri., 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 961- 8389

Sporting Goods: Play It Again

Play It Again Sports is a treasure trove of sports equipment, featuring both new and used items. Not only can you find top quality merchandise at discount prices, but you can free up some garage space by selling off that old putter you used only once before you gave up golf for the good of your blood pressure. It's the best place around to shop for bats, balls, shin guards, goggles or whatever tools you need to get in the game. 133 El Camino Real, Mon.-Fri, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 988-6800

Unusual Gifts: East West Books

What do you get for the person who has everything? The answer: something they never even thought of. East West Bookstore specializes in just those kinds of things, with unusual crystals, jewelry, apparel and books that your hard-to-shop-for friends and relatives will never see coming. "Our focus is on the spiritual, self-help and the metaphysical," said co-manager James Conti. "We sell books and beautiful things that speak to your joy." 324 Castro St., Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-1 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun., 12:30 p.m.-8 p.m., 988-9800

Veterinarian: Alta View Animal Hospital

For many people, a pet is a member of the family, and you don't want to trust your family members' health to just anyone. Since 1951, Alta View Animal Hospital has been keeping Rover up and running with everything from routine vaccinations, spays and neuters to treating illnesses and performing surgeries. Dr. Paul Ghumman said he mainly sees small animals like dogs, cats, birds, rodents and reptiles. "If it can fit through our door, we'll treat it," he added. 690 Showers Drive, Mon.-Thurs., 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat., 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., 948-1021

Workout/Gym: 24 hour fitness

You don't have to work out 24 hours a day seven days a week, but you could if you wanted to. The flexibility to meet literally any schedule is just one of the many luxuries offered by 24 Hour Fitness. Others include high-quality weight and exercise machines, a pool and sauna, and classes in aerobics, kickboxing and more. Feel the burn whenever you want. 550 Showers Dr., daily, 24 hours a day

Yoga: Yoga Is Youthfulness

Yoga Is Youthfulness isn't just a business -- it's about helping people. When Joseph Hentz started doing yoga to help his back pain eight years ago, he was so happy with the results that he started the studio to teach others how to relieve their stress and pain. The studio focuses exclusively on yoga classes, which are offered for all ages and skill levels. 590 Castro St., visit for class schedule, 964-5277


Free Entertainment: Cuesta Park Summer Concerts

The only thing better than great music on a summer day is free great music on a summer day. The free concerts in Cuesta Park return this July with Swing Solution, The Cheeseballs and The Watsonville Band. Come one, come all, save your hard earned cash and spend summer nights in the park. On Cuesta Road between Miramonte Avenue and Grant Road

Park, Picnic Spot, Place to Take Visitors: Shoreline Park

It makes sense for Shoreline to win so many categories because there's so much to do there. Golfers can enjoy the golf course and driving range, boaters can cruise the reservoir in sailboats and paddleboats, dog owners can frolic with their best friends in the dog park, runners and bikers can tackle the Stevens Creek Trail, and of course music lovers can catch all the biggest acts at the Shoreline Amphitheatre. This is one place that really offers something for everybody. North end of Shoreline Boulevard, 903-6392 (park), 967-3000 (amphitheater)

Place to People Watch: Castro St.

There aren't many places you can see such a diverse gathering of people from different cultures, races and walks of life as the main drag of downtown Mountain View. It's no surprise that with so many of the Best Of Mountain View winners located there that the street itself should be a winner. Have a seat and eat lunch at one of the sidewalk cafes and watch some interesting people walk by -- just remember that they're probably watching you, too.

Singles Spot: Molly Magee's

Not having any luck meeting singles in the Bay Area? Try the luck of the Irish at Molly Magee's Irish pub. Come in for a pint of Guinness or a shot of Bailey's, a game of pool or a good song to dance to, and come out with a new friend. 241 Castro St., daily, 5 p.m.-2 a.m., 961-0108

First Date: Century Theaters

Maybe the reason dinner and a movie is such a time-honored first date is because it works so well. With the latest romantic comedies, action flicks and art-house films, Century Cinema 16 will help you make a good impression with your date. And for those wary of rising ticket prices, student and senior discounts and matinee prices are available. 1500 N. Shoreline Blvd., daily, 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., 960-0970

Wild Card

Mad Music Studio

Want to learn to play the ukulele? The Mad Music Studio can help you with that, along with your aspirations to play the piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, violin, banjo or accordion. Proving it's never too early or too late to start learning a new instrument, Mad Music Studio accepts students from ages one and a half and up. Students ages four to ten can take a week-long summer music camp in July. See for details and registration. 970 W. Dana St., Mon.-Sat. 2 p.m.-7 p.m., 988-0544

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