Marin families now have yet another place to get their burger fix: Smashburger in Novato. The Novato location is the Denver-based chain's first Bay Area location, and it serves up a variety of innovative burgers, chicken sandwiches, and salads using fresh ingredients.
I had the opportunity to attend a media preview of the Novato Smashburger last week, where I tried a selection of their food. Smashburger offers an array of specialty burgers, including the Bay Burger (with arugula, mushrooms, Swiss cheese, and truffle mayo); BBQ, bacon and cheddar; and spicy Baja.
Each burger is also available as a grilled chicken sandwich—my favorite of Smashburger's offerings was the chicken avocado club, with avocado, applewood-smoked bacon, and ranch dressing. You can also create your own burger or sandwich from the variety of toppings, sauces, and add-ons ranging from grilled onions and "Smash sauce" to guacamole and a fried egg.
Whenever we're in (or near or driving through) Fairfax, we make it a point to stop at Fairfax Scoop, the awesome ice cream shop on Broadway right downtown. It's a tiny little place, but you can't miss it—it's the bright yellow storefront with a line of people snaking out the door.
Fairfax Scoop makes fantastic handmade organic ice cream using locally sourced ingredients. The day's flavors are written on a whiteboard, and can include innovative flavors like vanilla honey lavender, toasted hazelnut, Mexican chocolate, controlled burn (cinnamon with crystallized ginger and red chile!), as well as the usually ice cream parlor suspects like strawberry, chocolate, and mint chip. Vegan-friendly sorbet and soy options are always offered, too. Flavors rotate, so there's usually something new whenever you visit.
In recent years, the tiny West Marin town of Point Reyes Station has become something of a foodie hot spot, and one of the reasons for this is Cowgirl Creamery, creator of amazing artisanal cheeses crafted from locally produced milk. When you're visiting Point Reyes Station or passing through on the way to the beach at Point Reyes National Seashore, Cowgirl Creamery and Cowgirl Cantina are worth a stop to not only pick up some delicious locally produced foods, but to see how artisan and farmstead cheese is made as well.
Step through the doors of the weathered wood Tomales Bay Foods building on Point Reyes Station's 4th Street (around the corner from the town's main drag), and you'll be greeted by a cheese counter holding a bewildering variety of cheeses, many of which are the products of Cowgirl Creamery. Don't be afraid to ask for samples, which the cheesemongers will happily give.
Don't you sometimes wish you could have the perfect cookie, made just for and served fresh out of the oven? Well you can do just that at Modern Cookie Co., Marin's new cookie bakery that recently opened in downtown Larkspur.
Modern Cookie specializes in hot, made-to-order cookies fresh from the oven. It works like this: choose your favorite cookie dough, select mix-ins—like house-made mini marshmallows, nuts, dried fruit, mini peanut butter cups, and chocolate chips, and add a finish such as a drizzle of honey, frosting, or fudge. They'll put it all together for you and bake it up. If pre-made cookies are more your thing, you can choose from a variety of cookies and cookies bars in their display case. They also make ice cream sandwiches using organic Three Twins ice cream.
When we're travelling around the Bay Area, we always keep on the lookout for family-friendy (and budget-friendly) places to grab a bite to eat. We find ourselves in the west Sonoma County town of Sebastopol every fall and winter for apple picking, pumpkins, and Christmas trees, and one of our go-to places for a quick lunch or snack is Mom's Apple Pie, located on the north side of town at 4550 Gravenstein Highway North.
To be honest, the lunch part is just an excuse to go to Mom's and chow down on what she's famous for—homemade apple pies. As you might have figured out by its name, Mom's is all about the pie. Fresh baked, handmade apple pie takes center stage here. I think it's probably the best I've ever had, anywhere, and if you visit Mom's at the right time of year (August through November only) you can get apple pie that's made with Sebastopol's own Gravenstein apples. To make things even better, the Gravenstein apples come from the trees growing right behind the shop. The rest of the year the pies are made with Granny Smiths—but the Gravenstein pies are a special treat.
Too busy to cook? Juggling kids, career, and housework? Dinner's at the Table is here to help! Dinner's at the Table is a personal chef service offered by Denise Ravizza of San Anselmo, who creates amazing weeknight meals that your entire family can come home to. Dinner's at the Table offers meals prepared right in your kitchen. Denise will shop, cook, stock your refrigerator, and leave your kitchen shiny and spotless—all with with the aromas of Italian cuisine lingering. Marin Mommies readers: mention this article and receive a complimentary dessert with your first order.
Denise has been cooking professionally for over eight years. Her experience spans from working alongside talented chefs in Bay Area restaurants, inlcuding La Note, A Cote, and Rose Pistola, as well as being a recipe tester and food stylist for the cookbook Thinkfood: Recipes for Brain Fitness. The recipe she contributed, Stuffed Artichoke with Gremolata and Greek Yogurt Dipping Sauce, earned her great reviews.
Visit your local Baskin Robbins ice cream store tonight only from 5-10 pm for 31-cent scoop night and help honor America's firefighters. The Baskin Robbins Foundation is donating $100,000 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, so come on in and get your 31-cent scoop.
Participating Baskin Robbins locations in Marin include:
If you're as busy as we are, there are many nights during the week when you wished someone would just drop off a home-cooked meal, ready to eat. If you're a Marin resident, you're lucky enough to have Teena Granat of Pomegranate: Home Cooking for Modern Lives to do this for you! A Fairfax resident since the '70s, Chef Teena has long been a caterer in central Marin. She recently launched a family-oriented dinner delivery service, inspired by time spent with her daughter and grandson, and dedicated helping families come together at dinner time, even if they don't have time to put together a fresh home-cooked meal.
Pomegranate currently delivers on Monday and Thursday evenings to Fairfax, San Anselmo, San Rafael, and Ross, and Tuesdays to San Francisco.
There are plenty of pizza places in Marin, but one that comes up as many families' favorite is Mulberry Street Pizzeria in San Rafael. It's one of our favorite family friendly places for pizza, too. This award-winning restaurant has been flinging dough and dishing up gourmet pizzas for 25 years. Mulberry Street Pizzeria has won a whole slew of awards, ranging from the Pacific Sun's "Best of Marin" to the 2005 Food Network Challenge Pizza Battle, where their "For the Love of Mushrooms" pizza took home the top prize.
Mulberry's atmosphere, despite its strip mall location off Lucas Valley Road, is a bit nicer than your run-of-the-mill pizza joint. This is no trendy thin-crust minimalist pizza—Mulberry's pizzas are huge and loaded with toppings; we rarely finish one, which of course means there's some to take home for lunch the next day or a midnight snack. The only drawback of such a hefty pizza is that the crust sometimes gets a little soggy near the center, but we're happy to overlook that. You can always ask for less stuff on your pizza if you like.