Where in Marin Are We This Week?

August 25th, 2014 By George Crowe

where-in-marin-082514

Here is this week’s photo from local photographer Jackie Warner. Can you guess where in Marin County this was taken? Kind of an appropriate spot for this week. Take a shot in the comments!

 

Where in Marin Are We This Week?

August 20th, 2014 By George Crowe

where-in-marin-082014

Here’s this week’s photo from photographer Jackie Warner. Can you guess where in Marin County this was taken? It’s not a super tough one. Take a shot in the comments below!

Belcampo Meat Co. at Marin Country Mart

August 18th, 2014 By jacquelynw

belcampo-entrance-280 belcampo-counter-seats-280

You don’t need a pair of skinny jeans or a handlebar mustache to know that food trucks are bringing to life the next generation of culinary genius.  They are no longer the dark and scary counterparts baring stale doughnuts and questionable tacos of my early years. They are the innovators. They are the mobile front lines that combine fearless entrepreneurial spirit with groundbreaking culinary invention.

It’s no surprise then, when you arrive at the Marin Country Mart on Sunday between 11 and 3 to find the place crawling with hipsters, families and people who forget they aren’t supposed to bring their dogs. The big draw? The event that is now widely known as Off the Grid. There you are likely to find a rainbow assortment of diesel fueled engines serving up anything from lobster rolls, deliciously creative tacos, Asian fusion sandwiches to (of course my favorite) BBQ.

I survey the terrain, trying to decide which line of deliciousness I want to commit myself to for the next 30 minutes. Indecision paralyses me for a moment, when the idea hits me: shop first – eat later.

Since I’m already at the Marin Country Mart, and knowing that I’m hosting a dinner party later in the evening, it only makes sense that I take advantage.  I first head to Rustic Bakery for some sweets, then pop a few doors over to the best butcher in Marin. I’m in search of the crowd pleaser. In Belcampo speak, they call it a Tomahawk Ribeye. I call it meat flavored love.

I walk into the Belcampo store front, and am greeting by, thankfully given the size of the knives they are holding, two friendly butchers, eager to help with everything from cuts of meat, to spices, condiments as well as wine. But, as I am looking around the store, I notice something I didn’t notice before – there is an entire restaurant back there. Chairs, tables, napkins. Like real napkins. The kind that you fold and not the kind that comes on a roll. It was literally the whole deal. I take a peek on the menu, and realize that the last thing I want to do is wait in line for a sandwich and then eat it on a picnic table outside alongside humanity. I want to sit down in this cozy spot and see how the expert linguists of meat serve it themselves.

belcampo-grilled-cheese-280 belcampo-kitchen-280

My family and I press pause on our meat order at the counter, and saunter over to the dining room with new found vigor. We sit down.  Immediately sit down. Their brunch menu has everything from salads and frittatas to hamburgers and French dips. And, thankfully, for my vegetarian 7 year old, French fries and grilled cheese.

Our orders came quickly, and as soon as the plates hit the tables I’m grabbing a taste of everything. We had a hot dog served in a brioche bun.  Chili that would engage the most elitist Texan.  And a grilled cheese sandwich that I had to arm wrestle my usually hunger striking 7 year old for even just a bite. I couldn’t believe this place hadn’t hit our radar before, despite the countless times we had come in.

The food was so amazing, I felt compelled to share. While I love the idea of not having to wait for a table when I arrive, this is one of Marin’s best kept secrets that just isn’t fair of me to keep.

So, next time you have a special occasion, like your boss is coming to dinner, or your cooking dinner for your wife’s birthday (or maybe your celebrating that its Monday, or Wednesday or Thursday) head over to Belcampo for the meat. But maybe sit a spell, have a sparkling water or a glass of wine, and check it out. I think it could be life changing.

Jacquelyn Warner is a Marin based photographer. She was born in LA, raised in Texas, and has been sipping, dipping, hiking, bbqing, shopping and drinking here in the Bay Area for the last 14 years.  She remains constant in her endless search for the perfect spot for just about anything in Marin.

Fairfax Farmer’s Market

August 6th, 2014 By jacquelynw

 fairfax-farmers-market-flyerfairfax-farmers-market-cherries

No one would ever accuse me of being a “hippy.”  Not by a long shot.  Sure, I live in Marin and vote accordingly, but “hippy?”  No.  Not that I have anything against the hippy culture, of course.  I just like wearing commercial perfumes over patchouli and have never been a fan of tie dye.

Which is why I always found it so curious that everyone would always tell me about the Fairfax Wednesday afternoon Farmer’s Market.  The funny part is, they would tell me I would love it, and in the same breath describe it as a cute “hippy dippy” (which doesn’t sound like a positive phrase, if you ask me) collection of crafts, music, yummy food and organic produce.

At the description, my mind would flash to the overly crowded Noe Valley Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings.  I would picture the tiny parking lot where they would bring in a handful of tents, throw some chalk down for the handful of toddlers, bring a couple of folk singers and make the already congested area even more annoying.  Picturing a version of that in down town Fairfax didn’t really sound appealing.  So I spent my first entire year in Marin completely avoiding it.  Naturally.

The first sign that I might be making a hasty decision about the Wednesday night Fairfax Hippy Fest was when I was having dinner at a friends house.  They revealed the most delicious pre-roasted chicken from a bag, still steamy hot, and started carving.  First of all, not having to make dinner is such a plus.  And sure, you can get “warm” chickens every where.  But this wasn’t a normal “warm” chicken.  It was so hot and delicious, that the addictive smell wafted into every corner of the house, promising home roasted deliciousness.  It didn’t stop there.  There were potatoes, and grainy and crunchy rosemary salt that I could almost stick my tongue directly into.  I refrained.  Afterall, I was a guest at someone else’s house.

I could go on about the chicken, but the point was, it all came from the Fairfax Farmer’s Market.  Wow, I thought.  Maybe I should just check it out.

Coincidentally, the next week, I got an invite from some friends to join them there.  With the roasted chicken still fresh in my mind, I agreed.   I arrived on bike, although I could have easily have driven.  Sure, it was crowded, but there were still plenty of parking at that point.  (Side bar, I go several times a month in the summer and almost always drive – and have never not been able to find parking.)

When I arrived, yes, there were the folksy singers, and the throngs of toddlers dancing in circles, but it wasn’t a parking lot.  It was the lush green center of Fairfax, under the redwood trees.  It was warm, but shaded, and there were blankets thrown everywhere with neighbors laughing and sharing snacks.

I found my friends, spread out on several blankets, letting their kids play around them.  There were piping hot sweet and savory crepes on sale, delicious grilled sandwiches and beautiful baked goods.  And of course, there were the chickens.

I sat down and for the next two hours I felt like time stood still.  Everyone was laughing, sharing sandwiches, lush ripe strawberries, cherries and plums.  Kids were getting faces painted, and donning balloon dogs and swords.  After a long work day this beautiful scene before me was such a pleasant alternative to grocery shopping in florescent lights and cooking.

Am I a hippy convert now, you may ask?  No, I wouldn’t say so.  But, I certainly see the merits in going native.

Jacquelyn Warner is a Marin based photographer. She was born in LA, raised in Texas, and has been sipping, dipping, hiking, bbqing, shopping and drinking here in the Bay Area for the last 14 years.  She remains constant in her endless search for the perfect spot for just about anything in Marin.

Where in Marin Are We This Week?

August 4th, 2014 By George Crowe

where-in-marin-080414

Here’s this week’s photo from photographer Jackie Warner. Can you guess where in Marin County this was taken? Take a shot in the comments below!

Where in Marin Are We This Week?

July 29th, 2014 By George Crowe

where-in marin-1

Each week our friend and photographer Jackie will be posting a photo from somewhere in Marin County, and we’ll have an informal contest to see who can guess where it was taken. Feel free to take a stab at it in the comments below, and good luck!

Jacquelyn Warner is a Marin based photographer. She was born in LA, raised in Texas, and has been sipping, dipping, hiking, bbqing, shopping and drinking here in the Bay Area for the last 14 years. She remains constant in her endless search for the perfect spot for just about anything in Marin.

Should Chickens Be Allowed in Kent Woodlands?

April 24th, 2014 By George Crowe

To be honest, Kent Woodlands seems like the sort of place chickens would be welcome, considering the big lots and rural feel, but apparently the CC&Rs say otherwise. Hopefully the members of the KWPOA will vote to allow them to stay, assuming they aren’t creating a disturbance.

Aggressive Mortgage Approvals Can Help Buyers Compete Against All Cash Offers

March 25th, 2014 By George Crowe

approved

Traditionally when you buy a house using a loan you get pre-approved by your banker or mortgage broker up front, based on some preliminary information about your financial profile, like credit scores, income and assets, and existing debt. Then once you get in contract on a home the lender underwrites the loan during the loan contingency period, typically a 10-17 day window after the offer is accepted. During that time the underwriter verifies employment and income, receives and reviews the appraisal, and gets other information and paperwork he needs so the bank can issue a firm approval. Once that approval is given then you can remove the contingency and proceed with the sale. But that waiting period puts you at a disadvantage when up against a cash buyer in a multiple offer situation.

In extremely competitive markets like Marin County and San Francisco we’re seeing a new trend. In an effort to compete with cash buyers some home purchasers are getting full credit approval in advance, where their mortgage banker actually sends their file through underwriting up front, so the loan contingency can be shorter or even in some cases waived altogether. With cash buyers often coming out on top in multiple offer situations it’s natural for those using financing to look for ways to be more competitive, so this may become more and more common as the hot market continues.

This more aggressive approach to financing brings up a couple of important questions. Is this method riskier than the traditional way of doing it, where a buyer has a contingency period during which she has an out if the financing doesn’t come together? And at some point will this become the new model for buyers getting loans? To this point this has been somewhat under the radar but the word is getting out, as the New York Times recently discussed the trend in a piece titled A New Weapon for Bidding Wars.

Also, even if you have no loan contingency, offers with financing are traditionally written with an appraisal contingency. If the property appraises for less than the purchase price the buyer can cancel the contract. Buyers have the option of waiving that contingency, but the bank will only lend based on the appraised value. So buyers who are at the limit of the loan to value ratio (for example 80% in a typical situation) have to bring more down payment money to make the loan happen. But some buyers who have enough money down, or the flexibility to increase their down payment if needed, are going in with no loan or appraisal contingencies, and thus being basically the same as an all cash offer. That’s a huge advantage and we hear from one mortgage banker we work with a lot that the majority of the deals he’s doing lately in San Francisco are structured this way, and it’s becoming more common in Marin as well.

It’s an interesting twist and the way things are going in this super competitive market it could become the new normal for many buyers. Considering you could forfeit your deposit if you make an offer with no contingencies and for some reason are unable to get financing, it’s not an approach to be taken lightly, and you need to be fully aware of all the risks before considering it. But if you’re writing offers in this crazy market it’s important to know that it’s happening, whether or not it’s an approach that would make sense for you.

Lisitings We Like: 178 Morningside Dr, San Anselmo

March 14th, 2014 By George Crowe

Kathleen Hilken from Coldwell Banker just brought on this new listing in San Anselmo and it’s one out favorites of the week. It’s a house that will fit what a lot of San Anselmo buyers are looking for, with charm, a nice yard, a good layout, great schools nearby, and in a neighborhood that everyone loves. Good homes have been scarce in the Morningside area of late (and San Anselmo in general), so at $1,049,000 it should get a lot of interest.

We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 21404841 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.

How Much Income Do You Need to Buy a Home in the Bay Area?

February 18th, 2014 By George Crowe

It’s not really news that prices are high in the Bay Area, but check out this column in SFGate to compare what you need to make to buy a home here with the situation in other cities around the country. These income figures are based on the median price for a home in the metro areas as a whole and don’t take into account taxes, insurance, and other costs (or down payment), but are still useful in looking at relative affordability between cities. Maybe not a list you really want to be at the top of, but the demand for homes in Marin and other areas around SF is off the charts.

« Older Entries
  • APR
    Fair Housing

    Be Our Fan On

    Facebook

    Share:

    ShareThis

    © 2013 SF North    |    DRE#: 01399812

    Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Copyright © 2014 by Bay Area Real Estate Information Services, Inc.

    This IDX solution is (c) Diverse Solutions 2014.