Santana Row: Upscale, Urban San Jose Neighborhood

A newer “mixed use” neighborhood in San Jose, Santana Row is popular with people of all ages and interests. It is not just a “shopping center”, but is really a community, one which offers a wide variety of dining, shopping and entertainment, suitable for all kinds of budgets too. Best of all, it’s right in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Dining at Santana Row varies from very formal and expensive to casual and snack-like, and the type of food available ranges widely too. A fairly new addition is Pinkberry, which seems to be growing quickly in popularity. There are about thirty cafes, bistros and restaurants and to date I’ve probably visited about one-third of them – all experiences positive.

Entertainment at SR goes beyond window shopping and includes live music and, of course, films at the movie theater. Many chose to simply peoplewatch, take in a good book or catch a game of chess with a friend while enjoying a beverage. A Farmer’s Market features produce, flowers and other goods each week (and there’s a Safeway just a block or two away also) and is a good excuse to browse the offerings. Or maybe splurge a little and enjoy some pampering at a spa or salon: Santana Row’s got that, too.


Shopping for Kitchen Appliances in Santa Clara County

Periodically, components of a home have to be replaced, whether a furnace, water heater, washer/dryer set or anything else.  They simply don’t last forever, and too often they don’t last nearly as long as we expect.

Ten years ago, about a year after purchasing our home in the Belwood area of Los Gatos, we remodeled our kitchen.  It was quite an upheaval and very expensive, so we were hoping it would “last” awhile.  (Kitchens get a remodel on average every 16 years in the U.S., by the way.)  But by years nine and ten, some of our kitchen appliances started to act up, and this week our dishwasher gave up the ghost entirely.  I really had hoped it would have gone closer to 15 years, but the apparently the fancy newer appliances have a lot of parts, all of which can fail.  I was told that ten years is about average now.

Jim and I are very analytical about major purchases, so I spent a lot of time on Consumer Reports (where I’m a member) first, reading reviews, watching videos and eliminating a few brands right off the bat.  Unfortunately the CS site does not include Energy Star ratings info, so I also visited the PG & E site and was cross referencing.  Naturally, I’d like to get a rebate!  There’s also a sort of cash for clunker appliances deal, too – you can get $100 back for your old dishwasher if you purchase one of the newer models on a list that the stores have.  Buying a dishwasher is a little like booking airline tickets now: you have to factor in any rebates, trade ins, delivery charges, haul away fees, etc. as well as the actual price so you can compare the true net cost of one appliance versus another.

We visited seven stores on Saturday, hoping for good Labor Day sales and wanting to end hand-washing our dishes as soon as possible.  We stopped by businesses in Campbell, Santa Clara and San Jose (skipping another good store in Mountain View as it was just too far for us):  Fry’s, Home Depot, University Electric , Western Appliance, Sears, Costco and Best Buy.  I didn’t want to make this purchase online as there are too many things that might not be fully disclosed with a web purchase but can be understood in person.