Archive for the ‘Marin Restaurants’ Category
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.
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.
For one of the the best brunch restaurants in all of Marin head out to the Two Bird Cafe in San Geronimo. What a great way to wake up on the weekend. The food is amazing and the service is top notch. We got up and went to breakfast there last Saturday with the kids and were blown away buy the yummy french toast and the best pancakes we have ever had. The ambiance is rustic and relaxing. We headed out to Point Reyes after that and spent half the day in West Marin. A great way to relax and start the weekend.
El Huarache Loco Restaurant in Larkspur is one of my favorite places for lunch or brunch in Marin. They opened earlier in the year at the Marin Country Mart and have been a hit ever since. They make their tortillas right on site and everything is really yummy and healthy. Try their salads and incredible tacos, and they have the best salsa bar around…the spicy selections make me happy. The Country Mart is the coolest place to hang out on Saturdays. They have a farmers market and tons of cool shops. We like grabbing a big table outside and just letting the kids explore around the fish and turtle pond, or hang out on the giant tree play structures. I hear in the summer they even have movie nights there. See you next Saturday!
A new Pizza restaurant just opened in Red Hill shopping center across from the Yolanda/Calumet neighborhoods called Pizzalina. Super yummy wood-oven pizza and salads. It has a really nice ambiance, excellent service, and they have a great selection of local brews. The server said they are working on better kid selections, which we think would be nice. We love supporting small mom & pop establishments and the San Anselmo town council is working on limiting chain stores in town, which we support. Pizzalina is in a great location near Memorial Park and is a perfect place to grab a quick bite on the way home from the park. Support local!
I almost hesitate to write about this place because I would hate to see it get overrun with crowds. Where else can you sit by the pool in Marin and have dinner and cocktails while watching your kids swim? Have dinner at Ricky’s Restaurant at Inn Marin and you don’t have to stay at the motel to use the pool. It’s great on a hot day and is perfect for birthday parties. The early evening we were there they had live music by the pool and people were dancing. Such a cool vibe and just what Marin needs, and the food was really good too. Â There’s a large grassy area for kids to run around too, right next to the pool. Hawaii in Marin? Don’t tell too many people about it:)
I stopped by former Grateful Dead member Phil Lesh’s new Terrapin Crossroads restaurant and music venue with the family recently, and what a great place. We sat outside and had dinner on the water with the kids, sipping beer and margaritas while they played bocce. Locals pulled up in their boats while we ate, and after dinner we headed into the bar for some live music. Â The food was tasty, with a nice selection of small plates and entrees to choose from. Looks like they have private lounge rooms to rent as well. The ambiance is super cool and this is one of our new favorite spots! We’re looking forward to checking out a good bluegrass show coming up on August 3rd and 4th.
100 Yacht Club Dr.
San Rafael, CA 94901
You may not have heard about Outstanding in the Field, but itâ€™s an exciting culinary adventure that I am just itching to experience. The creators have a mission to reconnect people with the food they eat. They call them restaurants without walls and set up long farm tables in unique places, like in the middle of a vineyard, on a ranch, in a cave, or right by the ocean. We just discovered this but itâ€™s been going on for 20 years. The aim is to bring people as close as possible to the ingredients on their plateâ€“literally so close that they may be grown just a few feet away.
Take a look at the schedule and see if thereâ€™s an event for you. Â Tickets run in the $200 price range and they have been selling out fast. Â If you missed the one you want (we missed the Michael Minna event at Devils Gulch â€“ bummer!) then sign up on the email list so you are sure not to miss out next year.
Outstanding in the Field does many events here in California, but they also travel. How about dining in a vineyard in the Rioja region of Spain? Or sampling some Mahi Mahi, taro, and starfruit at an organic farm on the island of Hawaii? Honey, I think itâ€™s time to plan a vacation!
Sweetlife Bakery & CafÃ© just opened a couple weeks ago in San Anselmo and it’s a fun place to have a casual lunch or dinner. Their pastries are super yummy and the kids will love the pizza. We went for lunch the other day and it was very busy, the food was very good, and the service was excellent. I love the light and bright design of the restaurant, and they have large windows that allow you to peak in and see the fresh breads and pastries being made. Looking through the glass is like getting a behind the scenes peek at Willy Wonka’s factory, without the Oompa Loompas…our kids loved it. They also have a parking lot and there is also a lot of street parking out front, a rarity in downtown San Anselmo. We look forward to many more yummy meals there.
Sweetlife Bakery & CafÃ©.Â 101Â San AnselmoÂ AvenueÂ San Anselmo, CA 94960-2800.Â Phone: 415-456-4580 www.sweetlifebakerycafe.com
Stopped by Ponsford’s Place on Shaver Street in San Rafael for their Wednesday pizza night this week, where they had live music and super tasty and healthy pizza. They also make yummy breads and treats. The menu changes daily and they have cooking classes as well. More info at www.ponsfordsplace.com.
Here’s a chance to have some tasty food while supporting a great cause. Have a meal at one of the participating restaurants on Tuesday April 12th and a percentage of your check will go to support the fantastic work of Marin County School Volunteers, a group that matches volunteer tutors with Marin school kids. The list includes popular eateries such as Jason’s in Greenbrae and Pacific Catch in Corte Madera. For a full list visit the MCSV website. And if you’re looking for a regular way to give back to the community consider volunteering as a tutor!
Reservations are suggested and be sure to mention Marin County School Volunteers to make sure your meal will be counted as part of the event.