I pretty much grew up in the same San Jose neighborhood. I barely remember my parents' earlier place in Evergreen (which my Dad decided to move away from "once the neighbors painted a giant sun over the garage" in the mid-'70s), so as you can imagine I had mixed feelings about staying put. Stability on one hand, boredom on the other. Even at a young age I knew other SJ areas were way more interesting. Downtown. Willow Glen. Alviso. Alum Rock.
One of my favorites along Alum Rock Avenue was the giant orange that housed Mark's Hot Dogs. No kidding...this is a walk-in orangey orange built in 1947, and the City of San Jose declared it a historic landmark in 1992. Can't say my family actually ate there much, but I definitely liked to look.
Now that this type of wackitecture has popped back in my head, over the last week I've taken a drive by most of the giant donuts in the Los Angeles area. I'm amazed by how these monsters have held up over the years, and most seem to be slinging donuts like the recession never happened. I'll have to make another round of visits, and next time I'll put on my taste test face.