Hikes, boozy art classes and other outings. (Because you don’t really have quarantine as an excuse anymore.)

(Image via Getty)

Well, we all remember Mother’s Day 2020, spent deep in the throes of lockdown. Restaurants were closed. Even taking that annual Mother’s Day walk through the neighborhood — you know the one — felt like plunging into the unknown.

Now, 365 days later, vaccinations are plentiful, restaurants are open and we know how to safely interact with our neighbors again.

Still, it’s a little overwhelming. At a time when all of us are contemplating the prospect of returning to offices and reuniting with…

Owners Michael and Lara Ekwall have been in the restaurant business nearly 25 years. They were determined that the pandemic would not put an end to that.

Bar manager Loni Mandigo makes cocktails as co-owner Michael Ekwall chats with a customer during the lunch rush at La Bodeguita del Medio on March 3, 2017. (Photo by Michelle Le)

The Six Fifty’s Restaurant Week Interviews are a series of talks with restaurant owners and chefs participating in the first-ever Peninsula Restaurant Week. For more info, visit peninsularestaurantweek.com.

This week’s Q&A features Michael Ekwall of Palo Alto’s La Bodeguita del Medio.

The restaurant says it intends to stay the course of its lease at its El Camino Real location, sold this week to a Bay Area developer.

Customers seated at the bar inside The Fish Market in Palo Alto, circa 2019. (Photo by Sinead Chang)

The Fish Market has no plans to depart from its Palo Alto location on El Camino Real, the company confirmed in the wake of the property’s recent sale to the Bay Area developer Acclaim Companies.

“I do not anticipate there being any change in our operations for the foreseeable future,” President Dwight Colton said. “Our lease goes on for several more years. …

Street tacos + cocktails from La Viga Seafood & Cocina Mexicana. (Photo by Rob Watkins)

Martinez —who also runs San Agus & LV Mar—says bringing his staff back is “one of the best feelings” he’s ever had.

The Six Fifty’s Restaurant Week Interviews are a series of talks with restaurant owners and chefs participating in the first-ever Peninsula Restaurant Week. For more info, visit peninsularestaurantweek.com.

This week’s Q&A features Manuel Martinez of La Viga Culinary Inc.(which includes La Viga Seafood & Cocina Mexicana and LV Mar Tapas in Redwood City, as well as San Agus Cocina Urbana in Palo Alto).

“All Black Everything or The Artifice of Value” by Jane Kim, one of eight pieces of art that make up her new exhibition: Poached, Pruned, Peeled. (Image courtesy of Ink Dwell Studios)

The latest work from Kim’s Half Moon Bay studio is an artful commentary on our human connection with food.

Artist Jane Kim has always sought to showcase nature in her work. It’s only natural, then, Kim said, that the focus of her latest show — her first solo exhibition in five years — would be food.

Rows of lettuce being grown by Lenny Richards of Lenny’s Lettuce in Pacifica. (Photo by Adam Pardee)

It started with a backyard garden. Now, with just a green thumb and a quarter acre of land, Lenny’s Lettuce is growing in more ways than one.

The vacant lot measured less than a tenth of an acre, and weedy looking wildflowers had staked their claim over every square inch of it. …

Bushido’s chicken hearts, bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms and chicken cartilage skewers (left) from Bushido in Mountain View, alongside okonomiyaki (top) and a brushstroke roll. (Photo by Magali Gauthier)

Longtime restaurant owner reflects on the food industry, his new chef and the light at the end of the (pandemic) tunnel

That restaurants have been hit particularly hard by pandemic-prompted economic fallout is no longer exactly breaking news. Nearly one in six restaurants nationwide — about 100,000 restaurants — have closed either permanently or long-term since March of 2020, according to the National Restaurant Association. The Peninsula itself has had to say goodbye to some greats, including Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, The Van’s, Clarke’s Charcoal Broiler and Ann’s Coffee Shop.

After a devastating fire, the property is closed indefinitely. Owner Chris Cheeseman has launched a GoFundMe to support its re-opening.

The 116-year-old San Benito House was damaged in a fire on April 9th. (Image via San Benito House Facebook page)

The moment Chris Cheeseman stepped foot inside the San Benito House, he was sold.

It was the early spring of 2018; downtown Half Moon Bay was quiet and cool. Cheeseman, a restauranteur based out of Mill Valley, ordered a sandwich on thick, homemade bread from the deli on the property and sat outside in the sun watching the birds chirp. San Benito House wasn’t exactly for sale, Cheeseman said, but he managed to work out a deal with current ownership.

13 Mountain View eateries will donate between 5% and 100% of proceeds to Stop AAPI Hate.

Locals rally against hate towards Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during a demonstration at the intersection of El Camino Real and Castro Street in Mountain View on March 21, 2021. (Photo by Federica Armstrong)

In March, as violent hate crimes committed against Asian Americans made headlines with a horrifying kind of frequency, Steven Yen began hearing from friends who wanted to know what they could do to help. Yen, the owner of Bushido Izakaya Restaurant in downtown Mountain View, was wondering the same thing.

“A lot of people, myself included, wanted to get involved, but I had no idea what to do,” Yen said. “The only thing I know how to do is food.”

This illustration depicts NASA’s Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater a little after 3:40 p.m. EST (12:40 p.m. PST) on Feb. 18, 2021. (Image via NASA)

Hiller Aviation Museum’s Jon Welte talks space travel, Martian life and Silicon Valley in space.

This time next week, Perseverance could be sitting peacefully upon Martian ground.

If its landing proves a successful one, NASA’s Perseverance rover — Percy, as the robot has been fondly called — will be the ninth American rover ever to land on Mars. By Jon Welte’s account, there have been 18 distinct attempts to land rovers on the surface of Mars; so far only eight have succeeded.

Sarah Klearman

East coast transplant working her way through all things Peninsula.

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