Do you like sushi? Check these places out! By Greg & Lisa Doyle, J. Rockcliff Realtors









Our well informed panel of hungry foodies has explored Japanese restaurants all over Contra Costa County. Based on genuine consumer ratings, here are the top ten places to eat sushi.

1.  Okawa in Antioch is accessibly situated on Buchanan Road.  Stop in for lunch or dinner.  Teddy is a master chef, as are all of his talented apprentices.  Check out the spicy tuna roll.  Ask about their sushi specials.

2.  Matsu in Pleasant Hill is a popular Japanese restaurant with two other locations in Manteca and Dublin.  Matsu has a versatile menu that offers more than a hundred unique sushi rolls, along with a broad range of beers, wines and sakes to choose from.

3.  Toyo in Walnut Creek is conveniently located at the Safeway shopping center on Ygnacio Valley Road, about a mile southwest of the Lime Ridge Open Space.

4.  Sushi Raku on Market Street in Concord features a full line of fresh fish served by a friendly staff in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

5.  Sushi Bar Hana on Hartz Avenue in the heart of downtown Danville has fresh fish, fast service, and ample free parking.

6.  Miraku in San Ramon occupies a prime location on San Ramon Valley Boulevard.  Super high quality food and service in a hyper modern interior setting of scarlet and royal blue.

7.  Oyama Sushi in Lafayette is located on Mt. Diablo Boulevard, just steps away from the Lafayette Reservoir Recreation area.

8.  Sammy Sushi in Livermore is a popular lunch stop on Pacific Avenue.  Try the Mexican Roll.

9.  E Sushi at 7435 Amador Valley Boulevard in Dublin offers a full menu of succulent Japanese cuisine.

10.  Meiko in Pleasanton is a well established neighborhood eatery.  Dine in, take out, or order online.

Welcome to the City of San Ramon, CA by Greg & Lisa Doyle, J. Rockcliff Realtors

The city of San Ramon is a popular favorite Bay Area destination. Conveniently situated in the beautiful San Ramon Valley, San Ramon is an idyllic escape from the fuss of the big city, yet near enough to San Francisco to easily accommodate commuters.
Despite the peaceful, tranquil atmosphere, there’s plenty to do here. With a population fast approaching 75,000, San Ramon ranks fourth largest of all cities in Contra Costa County. San Ramon is a thriving urban village, replete with everything you could ever want to buy or eat. Enticing day trips include Crow Canyon Gardens and Forest Home Farms. Upcoming local events include workshops, theater productions, live music, comedy performances, and countless activities for seniors.

San Ramon is among California’s wealthiest cities, due largely to its luxury homes, balmy climate, serene ambiance, and much commercial activity. Aside from hosting the Headquarters of major companies like 24-Hour Fitness and Chevron, the city supports more than 8,000 local businesses. Among them are about 200 restaurants and nearly 500 shopping venues, as well as a full range of professional services and many great schools. In fact, San Ramon offers a variety of top-ranked public schools whose students earn a perfect 10 on the national API scale. Top-rated San Ramon schools include Bollinger Canyon Elementary, Coyote Creek Elementary, Gale Ranch Middle School, Pine Valley Middle School, California High School, and quite a few others.

Welcome to the City of Danville, CA by Greg & Lisa Doyle, J. Rockcliff Realtors









Nestled deep in the heart of San Ramon Valley, the pretty city of Danville offers comfort, convenience, and many charming homes, with architectural emphasis on Craftsman, Kerala, and Mediterranean styles.  At this time, Danville has more than 150 residential properties for sale, with home prices ranging from a modest 2/1 condo for under $400,000 to a sprawling, 6-bedroom, 8-bathroom mansion priced at 13.5 million.

Listed among California’s 25 wealthiest cities, Danville is home to nearly 7,000 local businesses.  These include more than 150 restaurants, nearly 500 shopping venues, many dozen art galleries, several theaters, a full range of professional services, and numerous top ranked schools.  In fact, many Danville schools rank a perfect 10 on the API scale.  These include Creekside Elementary, Greenbrook Elementary, Charlotte Wood Middle School, Los Cerros Middle School and Monte Vista High School, to name just a few.

A local bus will whisk you conveniently around town.  The BART train will get you to San Francisco in minutes.  Danville also provides easy access to nearby cities like San Ramon.  Visitors typically stay at the guest-friendly, pet-friendly Best Western Danville Sycamore Inn, located right in the heart of town.

The city of Danville is home to more than a dozen unique shopping centers.  Try that new Indian restaurant over at Town & Country.  Or chow down on fine steaks and artisan cocktails at the Livery Mercantile.  Visit Iron Horse Plaza, Castle Square and the Rose Garden.  Stroll Danville’s quaint Historic Downtown district.  Explore museums.  Experience fine dining.  Pamper yourself at one of many upscale spas.  Local residents also enjoy ongoing community activities which include farmers markets, local art exhibits and outdoor theater productions in the park.

With a resident population just over 42,000, Danville’s downtown shops tend not to be overcrowded.  Fortunately for the shop owners, locals like to spend money.  In fact, Danville ranks first in the nation for money spent on clothes.  The average Danville resident spends more than $2,000 a year on apparel, according to a recent study run by Pinpoint Demographics.  Expect a limitless variety of the very best unique, boutique fashions.

Away from the urban jungle, Danville arrives wearing the beautiful, hilly farmland scenery for which Contra Costa County is known.  Liking hiking?  Follow the Las Trampas Ridge Trail through and beyond Danville’s city limits, and explore the many hundred winding miles of the East Bay Regional Trail System.  Let the view of Mount Diablo  take your breath away.

Whether you’re buying a home, renting a home, visiting, or just passing through, check out Danville.  It has the best of both worlds, being both an exciting place to explore and a peaceful retreat shrouded in tranquility.

People come to Danville from all over the Bay Area because of our great public schools.  Now that the wonderful new academic year is upon us, students can hardly wait for those precious few days off! Kids enjoy their down time. Parents (if they’re lucky) sleep in. The San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) oversees 21 elementary schools, eight middle schools, and four standard public high schools in Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo, San Ramon, and surrounding areas. All of these schools share the same yearly schedule.
On school holidays, residents of all ages participate in some of the district’s many family-friendly community activities. Think about how you’ll spend your school holidays this year. Plan your upcoming parties, picnics, play dates, shopping sprees and family vacations. To help you get started, here’s a complete list of school holidays for the 2013-2014 school year.
September 2nd (Labor Day)
November 11th (Veterans Day)
November 27-29 (Thanksgiving)
December 24th – 27th (Christmas)
December 30th – January 1st (New Year)
January 20th (Martin Luther King Day)
February 17th (Presidents Day)
April 14th – April 18th (Spring Break)
May 26th (Memorial Day)
June 12th (Last Day of School! – short day)
So, mark your calendars. Plan your activities. And no matter how you choose to spend your free time, don’t forget to have fun!

Upcoming Holiday Events In Danville, CA By Greg & Lisa Doyle, J. Rockcliff Realtors


People who buy homes for sale in Danville notice that Danville is a perfect place for peaceful Holiday pastimes.  The Christmas season is a great time to check out Danville homes for sale.  Here are just a few things happening around town this year.

Kick-start the Yuletide season at the Lighting of the Old Oak Tree on Friday, November 29th.  This annual ceremony features a big jolly Santa, free hot cocoa, and a joy-filled chorus of Christmas carolers.  The lighting takes place from 5 pm to 8:30 pm.

On Friday December 6th, enjoy a Senior Holiday Luncheon at the Veteran’s Memorial Building.  Feast with friends and have fun to the sound of a live orchestra.

On Thursday December 12th, see Trapped-in-a-Rumor, a popular improv comedy group performing at the Village Theater.

On Friday December 13th, don’t miss the 15th Annual Christmas Gala, a major local black-tie charity fundraiser happening between 6:30 pm and midnight at the Canyon View Dining Hall in nearby San Ramon.  Scheduled activities include dinner, dancing, live music and a silent auction.

On Saturday December 14th, bring your little one(s), or maybe just yourself, to Santa’s Elf Workshop.  Enjoy hands-on holiday crafts, face painting, tasty treats, photos with Santa, and socializing with friends.  Pre-registration is required for this popular event.  Call 925-314-3400 for details.

And of course, don’t miss out on Danville’s ever-so-popular downtown Farmers Market at the Railroad Avenue Municipal Parking Lot in Danville’s Town Center neighborhood.  The market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm through the end of the year and beyond.  Enjoy fresh organic fruits, flowers, vegetables, and home made recipes direct from local farmers.

See you there!  Meanwhile, have a safe and happy Holiday Season.







Pleasanton, CA By The Doyle Team, Greg & Lisa Doyle








With a vibrant population of around 70,000, Pleasanton is one of America’s wealthiest mid sized cities.  Due to its convenient location, the overall cost of living here is near twice the national average, and single-family homes start at around half a million.

A thriving local economy makes Pleasanton a prime location for many different kinds of businesses.  The city supports thousands of independent companies, and is also home to the Headquarters of corporate giants like Safeway and Ross.

The kid-friendly town of Pleasanton has more than 30 educational options, including top ranked public schools like Fairlands Elementary School, Alisal Elementary School, Harvest Park Middle School, Pleasanton Middle School and Foothill High School.  Private options include Hillview Christian Academy, Hacienda School and Stafford, among others.  Pleasanton is also known for an abundance of accredited preschools, with no less than a dozen unique, early childhood education centers to choose from.

Local points of interest include Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park, the Pleasanton Golf Center, Pleasanton Sports Park, and the Alameda County Fairgrounds, which hosts the County Fair in June and July.  Getting around town is a breeze, as Pleasanton offers access to ample public transportation options, including the WHEELS bus transit system and a convenient local BART station.

It’s easy to see why Pleasanton is such a popular home town for Bay Area locals.  It offers all the perks any town can provide, along with the balmy climate and below-average crime rates typically found in upscale regions of Alameda County.

Orinda, CA By Greg & Lisa Doyle












Orinda is an opulent Bay Area enclave with a quiet population of about 18,000.  More than eighty-six percent of Orinda’s residents are above the age of 45.  The town’s super strong economy supports more than 2,400 local businesses.

The overall cost of living in Orinda is nearly two-and-a-half times the national average.  The average annual income of a person residing in Orinda is more than $76,000, according to recent reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The median cost of a home in Orinda is near $900,000, almost six times the national average, according to

Orinda has more than forty single-family homes currently on the market, as well as numerous upscale condos to choose from.  The lowest-priced single-family home in Orinda is a 4-bedroom, 1,600-square-foot house for $700,000.  At the high end, try a 9-bedroom, 9-bathroom, ten thousand square-foot mansion on sale for a gasp-inducing six and a half million.

As you might expect in so wealthy an area, Orinda is home to some of the nation’s top public schools.  Among these are Del Rey Elementary, Sleepy Hollow Elementary, Orinda Intermediate, and Miramonte High School.  All these schools score a perfect ten on the API scale, as compared to other California public schools.  Other local educational options include private schools like Orinda Academy and Holden High School.

Gorgeous Walnut Creek, CA By Greg & Lisa Doyle, J. Rockcliff Realtors











More than 64,000 people live in Walnut Creek, a relatively affordable upscale community located just sixteen miles east of Oakland.  Many public buses and a BART station ease the daily commute for residents who work in San Francisco.

Walnut Creek features dozens of highly ranked public schools.  Among the best of these are Walnut Heights and Walnut Acres Elementary Schools, Walnut Creek Intermediate School and Las Lomas High School, for instance. The city also supports a number of excellent private schools like Seven Hills, Palmer School, Dorris Eaton and Fusion Academy, to name a few.

Residents here earn an average annual income of about $50,000, according to reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Still, despite its unassumingly affordable style, Walnut Creek features quite a few multi million dollar homes.  Currently on the market is a 5-bedroom, 7-bathroom, Spanish-style home on two acres, priced at just under four million.  At the lower end of the real estate spectrum, Walnut Creek has many modest, single-family homes for under $600,000, with emphasis on Ranch, Split Level, and Craftsman styles.

Points of interest in Walnut Creek include an upscale commercial village featuring Nordstroms, Build-a-Bear Workshop, and many other enticing shopportunities.


City of Livermore, CA By The Doyle Team, Greg & Lisa Doyle










With an ever-increasing resident population of almost 81,000, the former farming community of Livermore is now home to more than nine thousand commercial businesses.  Among them are nearly 700 shops and almost 300 restaurants.

The city of Livermore currently offers many dozen homes for sale.  Budget-friendly real estate options include at least a few 2- and 3-bedroom homes still priced at under $400,000, although experts say these prices are rapidly rising.  Money to burn?  How about a huge 6-bedroom, 4-bathroom home on 20 acres with a vineyard, offered at just under four million?

Top ranked public schools in Livermore include Sunset Elementary School, William Mendenhall Middle School and Granada High School.  All three of these schools score nine out of ten in terms of state ranking against other California schools.  Livermorians opting for a private education might try Saint Michael’s Elementary School and/or Celebration Academy.

Points of interest in Livermore include the entire downtown area, which is surprisingly walkable and features many dozen shops and restaurants.  The plaza has a large outdoor fountain people can play in.  While you’re there, visit Lake Del Valle, a popular reservoir and recreation area located just south of town.



Autumn Edibles: Tips For Fall Gardening By Greg & Lisa Doyle, J. Rockcliff Realtors

People choose to garden for many reasons: Food is
fresher and tastes better. It is a healthy hobby that
exercises the body. It saves money. Numerous
reports show an increasing number of homeowners
are growing their own fruits, vegetables and
You may think gardening season is over. The good
news is with a few strategic tips, you can keep your
green thumb going and enjoy a plethora of autumn edibles
for months to come.
Step 1: Select second plantings
Second plantings are the plants you use for the latter
part of the gardening season. Late summer is typically
the best time to plant these varieties, but you can
access information online to find regionalized planting
schedules and recommended plant varieties.
The length of the fall season and when the first frost will
likely hit are important considerations when selecting
second plantings. Keep in mind that fast-maturing
vegetables are ideal for fall gardening and they should be
planted early enough to reach maturity before the
first frost arrives.
Popular second plantings that yield a delicious late
fall/early winter harvest include broccoli, lettuce,
turnips, collards, carrots, peas, radish, spinach, leeks
and beets.
Step 2: Prepare your garden space
If you plan to use your current garden space for second
plantings, remove the early-season plants that are done
producing. Add those plants to your current compost bin.
Next, prepare your garden space. Elevated garden beds
are growing in popularity because they look great
anywhere in your yard or on your patio, and are easy to
move if necessary. Raised garden beds are ideal for fall
because gardeners can regulate the temperature of raised
beds with ease. On hot days, move or add a shade netting
to protect plants from the heat; when frost is a
threat, cover the entire bed for protection.
While you are getting your hands dirty, fall is
the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs.
A little outdoor work now and you will be rewarded
with beautiful flowers when spring arrives next year.
Step 3: Enjoy the harvest
Tend your garden daily for the best results – it may just
need a quick check for pests and proper soil moisture.
Typical benefits of late-season gardening include fewer
bothersome bugs and the soil has better water retention.
As plants grow, pick the fruits and vegetables and enjoy
Mother Nature’s bounty. If your plants become crowded,
pluck a few out to help remaining plants grow roots and
increase the harvest yield. You may be surprised just how
many cool months your plants provide you with fresh,
delicious produce.
Fall is a great opportunity to keep gardening
momentum alive. So get started and decide what
second plantings are best for your space. In as
little as 30 days you could be eating the freshest,
most flavorful vegetables you have ever had, all
while under the gorgeous autumn sun. 