Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Long time Sausalito favorite


Fred's Coffee Shop has been serving breakfasts in Sausalito since 1966 and actually had a Fred in it for some time. The staff running it now are extremely efficient and serve hot and tasty tradition. Dad and I sat at the counter on a very busy weekday and watched how the staff all danced together to quickly serve a huge crowd with people waiting outside the door.

Spanish Saute

I thought the Spanish Saute sounded good with mushrooms, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes inside. I enjoyed the morning's antioxidant burst.

Scrambled Eggs with Hash Browns

Dad wanted two eggs scrambled with hash browns. He particularly liked the hash browns! If you want to enjoy a good breakfast in Sausalito off the beaten tourist track this is a great place with easy access on Bridgeway.

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 0
Noncritical: 1
Last inspected: 12/12/2008

Previous reviews:
April 20, 2007
July 19, 2005

Monday, December 29, 2008

Snapping the Whip

Whipper Snapper

Dad & I finally got to Whipper Snapper one very sunny lunch. Whipper Snapper specializes in tapas and sangria and also has a few entree style items and sandwiches. The interior is bright and painted in cheerful colors with whimsical artwork.

Cuban Cigars

On our holiday 'eat anything' hiatus, we decided to try the Cuban Cigars. Which are a slightly spicy Prather Ranch organic beef mixture stuffed into light wrappers and deep fried. These were good but quite oily.

Organic Fingerling Potatoes

Of course Organic Fingerling Potatoes with rosemary and chili pasilla aioli made a perfect accompaniment and were good all alone.


I am enthralled by their Caesar salad. It was fresh, crunchy and perfectly dressed. I would come back just for this.


The waitress finally convinced me to try their house made Sangria. It's holiday time after all, and they are a sangria bar. It was fruity and good. I can imagine bringing some friends here and catching up while slowly sipping a pitcher of this between us. Also I noticed that this drink had the effect of cutting the oiliness and enhanced the flavors of the food. I will definitely be back here.

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 0
Noncritical: 1
Last inspected: 11/20/2008

Took a quick look:
October 16, 2008

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Warm feeling in old-style Mill Valley Coffee Shop

Mill Valley Coffee Shop

Mill Valley Coffee Shop gives one a sense of what it was like to live in Mill Valley when it was less populated and the term SUV hadn't been coined. With a simple menu of breakfast comfort foods, and lunch favorites it is consistently friendly and good.

Biscuits and Gravy with Egg

I decided to be more venturesome than usual for a morning, and ordered the biscuits and gravy with egg. Although I was taken aback by the gravy being OVER the egg, it actually tasted quite good. Beware vegetarians, the menu does not warn that the gravy contains bits of sausage.

Country Breakfast

Dad was in the mood for pancakes, so he ordered a country breakfast of pancakes, two eggs and bacon. He said it was all too good and too much. If you want an old fashioned breakfast with old fashioned friendly service this place won't disappoint.

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 0
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 12/3/2008

Previously reviewed:
November 18, 2006

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Piccolo Teatro

Piccolo Teatro has made a lot of effort to transform the old Patterson's Bar in Sausalito into a glittery and warm Italian delight.

Cheese board

The lunch menu had charming small bites available, and we chose to start with the Cypress Grove, Truffle Tremor Goats Milk Cheese offering, which also included thin and crisp bread, roasted hazelnuts some jam and part of a honeycomb. Small and flavorful bites indeed!

Rice Soup

I felt like something light so I chose to just have some soup as a main course. The Venetian Arborio Rice Soup with Porcini Mushroom and Pancetta just fit the bill. It had a flourish of basil and feathery topping of Parmesan. I enjoyed it.


Dad wanted something a tad more hearty, so ordered the Meatballs Braised in Roasted Tomato, Basil over Ricotta Gnocchi. He said it was a very tasty balance and just 'hit the spot'. Overall Piccolo Teatro was a delightful experience from start to finish, and our waiter was quite friendly, knowledgeable and helpful as well. It's a great addition to Sausalito choices.

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 0
Noncritical: 1
Last inspected: 10/3/2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

Eat no more

Bye Eat

Although not new news, it was new to me to find out that Eat in San Anselmo has closed. The good news is that a new restaurant with a Latin/Mexican theme, Marinitas, will be opening in February 2009 in the same space.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Rosemary Christmas Tree

Merry Christmas!

This photo is from another Christmas... I've been enjoying rather than photographing much so far. The terrible storm has been keeping me awake tonight. I had a lovely Christmas Eve lunch with Jo-Ann at Cinecitta and cooked a nice Christmas Eve dinner for my Dad & Daniel. Of course I enjoyed it too. Turkey Breast Roast stuffed with garlic, dressing with water chestnuts, gingered Nantes carrots, a little caprese salad, some aged 3 years Gouda with rosemary Tuscan crackers and roasted vegetables in the pan with the turkey (sweet potato, pearl onions and Russian fingerling potatoes). Oh, and a fresh cucumber salad. We topped it off with a fresh mix of raspberries and blueberries with whipped cream for dessert. Today Dad & I are zipping off to Jo-Ann's then Linda's for more holiday cheer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Closed before it ever opened

tsukiji curl

Yes, I'm disappointed. I drove by the location that was to be Tsukiji Sushi on Bridgeway in Sausalito, and there was a new, big blue "for lease" sign in the window. And I was so looking forward to sushi within an easy walking distance of my office.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Strawberry Joe's still lives

Joe's Cafe

Dad and I had the chance to have breakfast at Joe's Cafe in San Rafael a few days ago. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that this is where Strawberry Joe's relocated and reincarnated after the fire that closed the original location. I understand that the owner is actually named George, and that it's not related to the other Joe's in the county. I was happy to see that it has been successful in its new location.

Pancakes with Eggs

We had the best waitress. She was prompt with everything and so cheery you couldn't help but start your day in a good mood. Dad ordered the breakfast where pancakes were the centerpiece with eggs and sausage on the side. He said it all tasted perfect.

Vegetable Omelet

I had an omelet described by its ingredients, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and jack. The omelet was superb with freshly sauteed vegetables inside. The potatoes left something to be desired, managing to be cold and burnt at the same time. I guess I should have chosen the french fries option, but it just sounded a little odd for breakfast.

Yuppie Omelet Bill

I couldn't help from being completely amused when I noticed that on the check my omelet was described as a "Yuppie" omelet. That is a much more colorful description than merely listing the ingredients. Other than my potatoes, everything was great at Joe's Cafe and I'd definitely come back again.

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 0
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 10/9/2008

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ingredients for a perfect party

Anna's 50th Birthday Cake

First of all you need a gaggle of friends and family, and be sure there are some children involved! Then a great space, like the Cabo Wabo Room at Saylor's, with its great staff and consistently good food.

Christmas Elves

Add a couple elves, especially The Bubble Lady's alter ego Christmas elves with balloons. Stir it up vigorously, and put the finishing touch of a Japonese tiered cake by Debbie Does Dessert at the end. The flowers were sculpted in chocolate, and the inside had chocolate and raspberry flavors!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Taking seconds on cabbage

Om South Indian Cuisine

I had intended to try a new restaurant down the street, but found it was closed for lunch that day. The experience had its upside, as I had the perfect excuse for a return visit to Om South India Cuisine. There buffet for $8.99 is clean, well-stocked and delicious and I've always found something new and interesting among the items for the day.

Buffet Plate

I quickly assembled my meal on a plate.

Masala Dosa

And following quickly was the dosa. There is a choice of dosa or chapaathi with your meal. This was hot, crisp and perfect. It was stuffed with potatoes and cashews.

Cabbage Carrot Poriyal

Have you ever had a cabbage dish that was so good that you had to have seconds? Well, this was a first for me. Om's Cabbage Carrot Poriyal was tender and sweet and just melted in your mouth.

Medhu Vadai

The Medhu Vadai were also amazing little savory donuts made of black gram, onion, ginger, green chili, cumin, cilantro and curry leaves. These were a nice accompaniment to the saucy things. Om also has fresh fruit, salad and dessert on another table, but I'd had my fill with the seconds on cabbage. This is one of my favorite lunch spots in Marin.

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 0
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 3/4/2008

Previously reviewed:
January 17, 2008
July 4, 2007
May 28, 2007

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Good news


Look what I spied! A new vegetarian restaurant coming to San Rafael's West End (of 4th Street). Radiance looks like a unique and exciting addition to the Marin dining scene. Looking at its website, it appears to have some interesting aspects to its business model as well, for example, providing goods in exchange for dining credit. And local, organic, seasonal ingredients are at the top of the list. I can't wait to try this in February 2009.

Anna's Birthday Cake

Last night my birthday was celebrated with Linda, Yalda and Olivia having a pizza party and a beautiful cake that Linda and Olivia baked together. Olivia has now graduated to shepherd in the annual Christmas pageant and serenaded us with Christmas tunes after dinner.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let the celebrating begin!

Da Nang

Well it's here. One of those birthdays with a -0- behind it. And I don't feel a bit different. Well, maybe a little shocked. Daniel kicked off a week of celebration between my birthday and Christmas for treating me to dinner and later a drink yesterday evening for my birthday. We went to Da Nang in Albany. It's unique (to my knowledge) in that it serves both a Thai and Vietnamese menu.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

We started with a Vietnamese spring roll appetizer. It was thumbs up for me, and thumbs down for Daniel who didn't like the lettuce inside. No worries, I ate his share!

Spicy Green beans with shrimp and scallops

Daniel ordered from the Thai side, choosing spicy green beans with shrimp and scallops. I tried a bite, and we both gave it thumbs up. The green beans were cooked perfectly tender crisp.

Vegetarian Bird's Nest

I went for the Vietnamese vegetarian birds nest with fried tofu, gluten and fresh vegetables over crispy noodles. I adored this, and would drive over the Richmond Bridge just to have this again! The only missteps here were a little less than attentive service and having to ask to change out the plates. Mine had a big chip out of it, and Daniel's looked like it had cigarette ashes on it. The food was fabulous though.

After Da Nang, still being young enough (who knows tomorrow!) to have some energy left, Daniel took me to the Albatross. This was quite a cozy pub, and we enjoyed .50 all you can eat popcorn and some pear cider (hard). I overheard a man at the other end of the table say to his friends, "I'm poorer than I've ever been, yet I'm the happiest at the same time!" I feel the same, relative poverty can be a tool to balance one's life again, as long as it doesn't go over the line into abject poverty, a sure recipe for misery.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Under the wire

Sweet Ginger

Dad and I weren't up for the heavy traffic headed north last night, so stayed close to home in Sausalito yesterday evening for dinner. We went to an old favorite, Sweet Ginger on Caledonia Street. They preserve an old Japanese tradition of serving warm moist washcloths upon your arrival. The staff has always been courteous and everything came out in the right order and promptly. It was moderately busy for a weekday evening, yet everyone seemed to be served quite well. There was a sign on the door that they are taking a year end break so will be closed from today, December 18, and reopening January 2nd.

Almond Tempura

We started with an almond tempura shrimp appetizer which was very generous with the amount of almonds and a nice crunchy taste treat. This was followed by miso soup, and I upgraded to an asari miso. The clams always add a little more depth to the soup.

Chicken Teriyaki

Dad wanted to go with the familiar, and ordered the chicken teriyaki. Dad was especially attracted to the perfectly cooked and bright green broccoli and almost finished it off before starting on the chicken and rice. He remarked on how tender the chicken was and that it was 'easy to eat', in Dad's parlance that is something akin to' easy on the eye'. The portion was generous. Personally I prefer teriyaki where the meat or fish has been marinated in the sauce, this one appeared to be a topping, however it was certainly a hit with Dad.

Sushi Combo

I ventured out this trip to try their sushi combo. I usually don't have much beyond their delicious California rolls, so it was a good thing to check in on the sushi side of things. The fish was fresh and melted coolly on the tongue. The rice was correctly vinegared and in the right proportion to the fish. It was a very nice sampling with eight different nigiri plus a California roll with genuine crab inside. I've found another favorite dish to have here!

Fireball Ice Cream

Dad wanted some dessert, although boxing half his chicken for later. He was intrigued by the fireball, tempuraed vanilla ice cream. It was beautifully presented and Dad said he likes this new way of serving ice cream.

Mochi Ice Cream

I sampled their mochi ice cream, having green tea and coffee flavors. Dad and I had a great time and throughly enjoyed the evening's experience. Considering how long they have been open just a couple blocks down from the more celebrated Sushi Ran, they have to have a solid base of fans in the area.

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 1
Noncritical: 2
Last inspected: 7/24/2008

Previously reviewed:
June 9, 2007
September 1, 2006
July 21, 2005

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I missed it

World Coffee Cafe

Sometimes you have to be quick. World Coffee Cafe came and went before I got there. Dad and I tried going there for breakfast yesterday, and had to regroup and find another place when we saw it was not only closed, but a 'Space Available' sign was on the door. Looked like the place had been cleaned of its food contents as well. I heard this was a great place, and I'm sad that it has closed so soon.

Charming Italian

Portelli Rossi

I had the opportunity to stop by Portelli Rossi in Novato for lunch the other day. It is quite expanded having an outside patio with heaters, plus the charming inside. The staff were all quite pleasant and welcoming.

Caesar Salad

I started with a fabulous Caesar Salad. It had a nice citrus note and the dressing was rather light, just as I prefer. The romaine lettuce was harvested perfectly, not bitter as some are and it was cut nicely to its best advantage.

Linguine with Clams

I ordered a half order of the Linguine with Clams. I normally prefer a garlic and white wine sauce, but I have to say Portelli Rossi's rendition with fresh tomatoes and basil really was wonderful. My lunch experience here was nothing but positive and I hope to visit again!

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 0
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 9/3/2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gaylord's Departs

Gaylord India Restaurant

I got a tip from a reader yesterday, and dropped by to see if it were true. It is, sadly. Gaylord India Restaurant in Sausalito is now shuttered. Brian Wallace fans are also now wondering where to hear him play the sitar in Marin.

Previously reviewed:
September 13, 2008
November 5, 2007
November 30, 2006

Not quite yet

Balboa Cafe

A much anticipated Balboa Cafe opened in Mill Valley some months ago. Dad and I had the opportunity for brunch there last weekend. The only signage is in the small alley, as is the entrance, so unless you know where it is, you may miss it.

Calamari Fritti

The brunch menu was rather brief, and not vegetarian friendly. There were a lot of breakfast dishes (with meat), a hamburger, and chicken sandwich offered on the entree side of the menu. The other side of the menu wasn't much better. For vegetarians, a choice of Caesar salad or going to the side dishes, roasted red potatoes for lunch anyone? Dad and I tried the calamari fritti which was hot and crunchy, and we enjoyed it as a starter.

French Toast

I ordered French Toast. Hmmm... I have to say I was disappointed. It seemed more like 'Cajun Blackened' French toast. It was made with Brioche and it was DRY as well as black. The fruit was good though, fresh and sweet. The waiter did ask during the meal if everything was alright, however, since I couldn't see a fix for this as there really wasn't anything else on the menu that appealed to me, I kept silent.

Omelet of the Day

Dad had the Omelet of the Day, which came with a salad and was filled with sausage, cheddar cheese, green peppers and onion. It left a large orange greasy puddle under it, which indicated to me it was probably not very healthy fat wise. Dad said it was 'ok', damning by faint praise. I never did feel comfortable inside, it felt rather disjointed and soulless. The interior appeared like a cheapish convention hotel type decor with fake wood. I kept touching the wood trying to figure out if it were real - I couldn't tell, but the ambiance felt plasticy. I'm not encouraged, but will try a regular lunch or dinner sometime to see if this experience was just a fluke.

Restaurant Inspection Results
Critical: 0
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: 10/29/2008