In the heart of Silicon Valley, a hub for technology and innovation, is a tribute to days gone by. Opened in 1925 and restored by the Packard Foundation in 1987, the Stanford Theatre on University Avenue in Palo Alto is an institution.
The theater, which seats close to 1200 with the balcony,
presents only classic Hollywood films made between 1920 and 1965. In fact, many of the films shown actually played at the theater during their original release! In an ode to tradition, each Christmas Eve the theater presents It’s a Wonderful Life. And even in our digital age, the theater exclusively shows 35 mm prints using carbon arc projectors.
Ticket prices are something of a throwback as well. Visitors pay only $7 for a double feature, and popcorn prices start at just $1.
The management also graciously allows guests to bring their own snacks, candy, and beverages, giving the perfect excuse to stop in nearby Rocket Fizz: Soda Pop & Candy Shop!
Filled with more types of candy and soda than a person can imagine, I decided on a few retro candies to indulge in during the Audrey Hepburn double feature playing on the night of my visit.
You can’t help but feel excited when you hear the mighty Wurlitzer theater organ played live before and after the 7:30pm show.
It appears from and returns to the orchestra pit just as the curtain opens and the feature begins.
Not far from the Stanford Theatre is another Palo Alto institution, the Creamery Fountain and Grill.
Opened in 1923, the ever-crowded and popular restaurant is known for its milkshakes. With more than two dozen flavors, I faced a difficult choice, until I saw that they offered a seasonal flavor. Ever one to opt for something I won’t be able to have later, I went seasonal and was rewarded with a peach cobbler milkshake, complete with bits of crust!
I loved my nostalgic experiences in Palo Alto, slurping up every last bit of my milkshake and laughing out loud during Roman Holiday. The sole disappointment was that I only made it through half of Sabrina before jet lag and a long day of meetings got the best of me. And while I knew that streaming the rest of the movie in my condo wouldn’t come close to recreating the theater experience, I was certain I could make a peach cobbler to rival the Creamery’s!
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
For the Peaches
- 6 large peaches, peeled and sliced
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
For the Biscuit Topping
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup boiling water
For the Cinnamon Sugar
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Prepare the Crust
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 13×9 baking dish.
- Using an electric mixer, blend flour, coconut, powdered sugar, and salt. Add butter; beat on low speed until moist clumps form.
- Press dough onto bottom of baking dish.
- Bake until golden brown (edges will be darker), about 25 minutes. Set aside to cool and prepare peaches.
Prepare the Peaches
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a large bowl, toss peaches with sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, vanilla, and nutmeg.
- Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 10 minutes.
Prepare the Biscuit Topping
- While peaches bake, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is blended and coarse in texture.
- Stir in water until just combined.
Putting It Together
- Pour peaches over crust. Drop spoonfuls of biscuit topping over peaches. Sprinkle entire cobbler with cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Bake until topping is golden brown (it will spread as it bakes), about 25 minutes.
DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM PHILADELPHIA TO PALO ALTO: 2,549 miles