Corte Madera Town Center Farmers Market

Every Wednesday from Noon – 5 p.m. the Corte Madera Town Center Mall hosts an open air Farmers Market with a great variety of vendors including some of my favorites. The turn out is always good and the vendors seem to do a brisk trade – at least when the sun is shining, which is usually is in Corte Madera.

In addition to selling pretty much every type of fruit and vegetable that is grown in California and in season, there are a number of prepared food vendors, including empanadas, falafels, breads, pastries, honey, tea, gluten-free foods, cheeses, and smoked meats. There are also fresh flowers.

I always love picking up a spinach bolani (Afghan flatbread stuffed with spinach) from the Bolani booth along with a few containers of the magical sauces that get slathered on top to make it a mouth-watering (but healthy) treat. The classic combination is spinach bolani, garlic-mint cheese (kind of like cream cheese), cilantro pesto sauce, and sweet jalapeno pepper jelly. Definitely qualifies as dinner in my book!

Where: Corte Madera Town Center Mall, Corte Madera, CA 94925 (map)

When: Wednesdays Noon – 5:00 p.m.

Corte Madera Town Center Farmers Market website

Corte Madera Shorebird Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary

There’s a wonderfully open bird and wildlife sanctuary running along the east shoreline of Corte Madera with walking and cycling paths along the perimeter and down the middle along the old railway corridor.  It’s a 31-acre, wide open marsh, starting at the northern edge of the Mariner cove housing subdivision and continuing north until the Greenbrae Boardwalk along Corte Madera Creek. It’s bounded by the Bay on the east and San Clemente Drive and Redwood Highway on the west.

Any time of year it’s an ideal spot for young kids on bikes and trikes, because it’s completely flat and the main pathway is paved. Right now it’s especially great because there are ducks with ducklings in tow – very cute!

If you arrive by car, the best way to access the sanctuary is to park by in the parking lot at The Village at Corte Madera, at the Macy’s end. Then, take the crosswalk at the light across Redwood Highway and walk just a bit south on San Clemente Drive to get to the sanctuary entrance. This will take you over the long, straight waterway that parallels Redwood Highway and you’ll then be on the paved path that was the former railway corridor. You can stay on this path all the way to the other end or, after about 200 meters, you’ll come to a sandy path on the right which you can take to go much further east into the sanctuary. It will eventually loop back north and west to the paved pathway, but in the meantime you’ll have had a wonderfully quiet and peaceful bird-watching experience.

Dogs are welcome, but please keep them on leash, especially in the Spring with the young birds that are vulnerable to predators because they can’t yet fly!

Where: San Clemente Drive and Redwood Highway, Corte Madera (map)

The Caprice

If you want an elegant waterfront setting with delicious food and unsurpassed views, The Caprice in Tiburon is your spot. The long-lived restaurant continues to serve up a classy white table-clothed atmosphere with unobstructed, over the water views of Angel Island, the Golden Gate, San Francisco and Belvedere, as it has for the past 55 years. The quality of the food is equally impressive, with lots of depth and variety on the menu and an extensive wine list.

I’m particularly fond of the extensive appetizer section of the menu, because they offer about a dozen, each of which is both mouth-watering and practically a small meal in and of itself.

The have an epic weekend brunch which should be approached only with a very large appetite to accommodate the generous and rather rich (in a good way!) servings.

Parking is non-existant along that stretch of Paradise Drive, but they offer valet parking.

Where: 2000 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA 94920 (map)

Hours:

  • Tuesdays-Saturdays 5:00 -11:00
  • Sundays 11:00 – 2:00, 5:00 – 10:00

Phone: 415.435.3400

The Caprice website

Diamonds in the Rough

There aren’t many people these days who aren’t trying to save money when possible. One good strategy a is to find high quality used clothes, instead of buying new. Diamonds in the Rough is a great little consignment clothes store in Mill Valley, filled with beautifully organized, accurately sized and color separated clothing, shoes and accessories.

The quality of clothing and shoes is terrific. You find a lot of designer brands, and the items are gently used, clean and pressed. They have a particularly good selection of jeans, “little black dresses” and sweaters. On a recent visit, I found several gorgeous pairs of shoes, unfortunately a half-size too small, but then that’s the downside of consignment shops. There was also a beautiful Cole-Haan leather handbag that was priced at probably a quarter of what it cost new.

The owner is super friendly – always greeting visitors with a really warm smile and giving you complete freedom to wander through, without bothering you. The store is a bit hard to spot, because it sits at the back of a small parking lot on Miller, next to the Family Thrift Store.

Where: 448 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941 (map)

Hours: Mon – Sat: 11:00 – 6:00 / Closed Sunday

Phone: 415.388.7773

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by Anne Kennedy

DJ Chinese Cuisine

You can easily miss this great Chinese restaurant that lives on the bottom level of a blue bungalow on the main drag in Larkspur. DJ Chinese Cuisine is a long-time local favorite and is usually packed at dinnertime throughout the week and weekend. If you don’t have reservations, plan on a wait on Friday and Saturday. They also offer take-out, and plan about 30 minutes food prep time for pick-up.

Our family’s favorite dishes are the dry sauteed green beans, orange chicken (which I don’t see on the menu, but they always make it up for us), and manchurian beef. The broccoli with oyster sauce is also great. And, you can always get steamed brown or white rice.

The food is always really fresh, steaming hot, and the staff is always very friendly. It’s a casual atmosphere, but nice and with an outdoor patio for warm weather dining.

Note: if you’re in Larkspur at lunchtime, they serve a really inexpensive lunch special – just $7.25 for a choice of 14 main dishes, plus rice, soup, salad, fruit & fried won tons.

Where: 435 Magnolia Avenue, Larkspur, CA 94939 (map)

Phone: 415.924.0717

Hours:

  • Lunch: Tue – Fri: 11:30 – 2:30
  • Dinner: Tue – Sun: 4:30 – 9:30
  • Closed Mondays

DJ Chinese Cuisine website

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Sleepy Hollow, San Anselmo

If you’re looking for a great place to take your young kids to do some level bike riding in a charming neighborhood with very low traffic, you can’t do better than Sleepy Hollow in San Anselmo. Well, technically, Sleepy Hollow is not actually within the city limits of San Anselmo. It sits in Marin County, and feels a little like stepping back into “Leave It to Beaver” time warp. The streets are meandering, the lots wide and spacious, and the houses spread out and graced by beautiful shade trees and expansive lawns. Set well down Butterfield Drive, Sleepy Hollow started life as part of the original land grant in 1838 from General Vallejo to Domingo Sais. Then it became a dairy farm owned by Harvey Butterfield. Eventually it was purchased by the Hotalings, a wealthy San Francisco family who built a country mansion and named it Sleepy Hollow but deserted it after a few years to return to San Francisco. In the 20th century the land served several varied purposes including a golf course, WWII secret munitions storage facility and again a country mansion. After being deserted again in the late ’40′s, it burned and the land was bought by a land development company for residential development.
The Dominican Order bought the mansion grounds in 1966 and started San Domenico School for Girls, which is now a K-8 coed day school and a 9-12 girls day and boarding school.
Many of the homes in Sleepy Hollow have been significantly altered since their original construction in the ’50′s an ’60′s, some down to the studs and completely re-built. An excellent example of that is 114 Van Winkle Drive, which started life as a modest ranch styled home (brick and stucco exterior according to an original neighbor) with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It was completely remodeled and expanded so that it is now a handsome home combining elements of the original configuration with more current and higher-end finishes, carpentry and building components.
Home prices in Sleepy Hollow now regularly exceed $2,000,000, as the demand for large level lots, an intimate and exclusive neighborhood feeling, and the sought-after San Domenico private and San Anselmo public schools continues to grow.
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OPEN Sunday October 13 1-4pm
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Bubba’s Fine Diner

The tagline for Bubba’s Fine Diner is “Where Grease Meets Organic”, which gives you an idea of what to expect at this classic American diner. Bubba’s is complete with red leatherette counter stools, a black and white checkered floor, and vintage red and white “Have a Coke” napkin dispensers on the formica counter.

I have always loved cafes with counters. I eat lunch out by myself at least once or twice a week, driving from appointment to appointment, and I find it very comforting to walk in and plop down on a counter stool, facing the cooking action, rather than sitting by myself at a table. I love to watch the cooks prepare the food – see the freshly sliced potatoes placed in the fryers and the oil roiling with ferocity as they cook, and the amazing dexterity with which they assemble the plates for presentation.

They’ve got a lot of choices on their breakfast menu, including egg dishes plus pancakes, waffles and french toast. I’m partial to the burgers at other times of the day, but their salads are really popular. And, of course, don’t forget the 12 flavors of milkshakes and the homemade pie (mixed berry is my favorite).

Where: 566 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo, CA 94960 (map)

Hours: Daily from 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Closed Mondays.

Phone: 415.459.6862

Bubba’s Fine Dining website

 

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