Sunday, July 19, 2009
Across from the bus center in San Rafael, housed in the old train depot, is Whistlestop and its Jackson Cafe. My father often goes to enjoy classes and companionship at the Whistlestop center in one of those Whistlestop buses you see flying about the county.
The Jackson Cafe recently expanded its hours, and the general public is welcome to enjoy the food there as well. The prices are very reasonable even for those who pay full price.
The daily special is written on the whiteboard in front of the inside entrance to the cafe. My father recalled that my mother made delicious cabbage rolls, so his mind was made up immediately.
When you go through the door there are some smiling volunteers to take your order and give you a number. As I was waiting in the short line, I noticed there were fresh jaunty flowers on each dining table.
Then you pick up a tray and pick up things to add to your meal, such as as salad at the salad bar,
or fruit and dessert. More photos of the bar can be found in my Flickr set for the Jackson Cafe.
When you have everything, there are more smiling volunteers who staff the cashier's table, and send you on your way. Your main dish is delivered to you at the table. I started with a deliciously fresh salad bar created salad.
Soon my veggie burger arrived with a bonus, potato chips. The bun on that burger was so fresh it made me wonder if they had a special arrangement with a bakery to bring ones over just-baked. It was all very tasty, and came plain so that you could add the condiments that you wish.
My Dad was mighty pleased with his cabbage rolls. He said they were spiced just right.
Although it didn't surprise him, it did me to see that the entree of the day also came with bread and a cookie. No wonder on days he eats here he's not so hungry at dinner time! The volunteers kept a watchful eye over the crowd to see if anyone needed some help, and also dropped by the several tables just to spread general cheer.
It was my first visit for lunch, and I was really comforted to see all the caring volunteers my father spends time with a few days a week when I'm at the office. There are classes five days a week, and there are volunteer opportunities, not only in the cafe, but also leading classes. There is volunteer information at the site. If you have retired parents or neighbors, this is one resource that would be great to bring to their attention.