A NEW STORY ... Downtown Palo Alto welcomed Story, a new women's and children's boutique, to 444 University Ave. at the beginning of December. Owner Joy Yoo wants shoppers to know that Story isn't your typical overpriced boutique. "Because we are on University Avenue, a lot of people think we are very expensive, but when people come in and check our prices they are usually quite surprised at how reasonable they are," Yoo said. "Even in this economy, you should still be able to buy nice clothes." Story targets the stylish professional woman, with such offerings as dress pants, blazers, sweatpants and funky, colorful tops. Most of the clothing is under $100. The store also sells jewelry from local artists on consignment. Although the only children's items available now are bejeweled denim jackets made by a Hawaiian designer, Yoo said the store will get more kids' clothes in the spring and summer. Go to shareastory.net or call 650-321-4440.
PASTIS BISTRO ON ITS WAY ... The owners/general managers of Joanie's Cafe on California Avenue in Palo Alto are opening a new French restaurant in the Joanie's old location at 447 California Ave. (Joanie's moved down the street to 405 California a few months ago.) Bernard Cartal and Max Roucoule plan to open Pastis Bistro before the new year. The French bistro was scheduled to open at the end of November, but as of Dec. 13 the restaurant's doors are still closed due to technical problems. Roucoule hopes to open for the holidays. Pastis will serve "home-cooked French cuisine," concentrating on food from the southern region of the country. Roucoule says the menu will feature an excellent coq au vin, bouillabaisse and cassoulet. Go to pastispaloalto.com or call 650-324-1355.
INSTANBUL STREET FOOD ON THE AVENUE ... Cafe Taxim, a new Turkish restaurant on University Avenue in Palo Alto, is named after a trendy area in Istanbul and is serving street food in the style of Turkey's capital. The cafe aims to differentiate itself from other area Mediterranean restaurants by offering a casual and relaxed atmosphere where diners can enjoy a gyro without the usual rush of a fast-food restaurant, employee Volkan Guler said. The menu also includes falafel wraps and kebab plates. Chef Coskun Bektas has worked at 11 restaurants since moving to California from Turkey, including San Francisco's Tuba Restaurant. He particularly recommends the Iskender plate (a marinated lamb-and-beef gyro with bread cubes in tomato sauce and yogurt), one of Istanbul's most popular dishes, followed by a cup of Turkish coffee in a handmade cup. The restaurant is decorated with modern tables and chairs, and photographs of Istanbul. Go to cafetaxim.com or call 650-330-1440.