Wednesday, February 24, 2010

One rainy night


Cold and dark was the night I skipped through the puddles on the parking lot to get to the warm interior of Panchitos in San Rafael. I remember this place as the first restaurant that I tried taking photos of the actual meal that I ate for posting.

Chips & Salsa

Of course the crisp chips with very red salsa comes out.

Vegetarian Burrito

I tried the Vegetarian Burrito this trip. It was pleasing to the eye. I loved the whole pinto beans, and the rice was flavorful too.

Vegetarian Burrito - inside cut

The inside of the burrito was stuffed with fresh sauteed vegetables. It was slightly heavy on zucchini for my taste, but overall it was really good. I ordered it with guac and sour cream which melded the Mexican flavors. This is a nice neighborhood place with good service and solidly good food.

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 1
Noncritical: 0
Last inspected: December 11, 2009

Previously reviewed:

July 7, 2006

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cheerful chomping

Blue Skies Cafe

I wandered into the Blue Skies Cafe in San Rafael early one morning to sample their breakfast fare. The Blue Skies Cafe is tucked away in the Marin County Health and Wellness Connection Center complex near "The Loop". The Blue Skies Cafe is a Buckelew Program, which only makes it even more of a positive place to visit. Buckelew a non-profit organization which assists older youth and adults with mental illness, into homes, jobs and recovery services.

Blue Skies Cafe counter

The staff were so cheery and worked with me to find a breakfast of my choosing from their array. The food and drink are all mostly on the politically correct list, and good for the planet!

Blackberry Scone, Hard Boiled Eggs

I found a beautifully sunny table and enjoyed my meal. The blackberry scone was WOW, and the hard boiled eggs and mocha were great too. You won't find cooked items like omelets or pancakes here, it is mostly boxed for take out and to eat-with-coffee kind of fare. If you are in the neighborhood, stop by for good items within their repertoire, and enjoy the sun!

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 1
Noncritical: 0
Last Inspected: March 9, 2009

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Seafood in North Beach

Sotto Mare

I met my friend Lori for an Italian seafood dinner one evening in December at Sotto Mare in San Francisco's North Beach. It was one of those cold, inky-black nights. The interior was warm, cozy, and well-loved.

Clam Chowder

We started with the clam chowder, which being hot and creamy was especially satisfying coming in from the cold.

Clam Linguine

I continued the clam theme with Linguine with Clams. It was perfect. The linguine was perfectly al dente, and the clam sauce was classically good.

Prawn Saute

Lori chose Prawn Saute which she enjoyed, including the fresh steamed vegetables which were a colorful and delicious accompaniment. I would certainly revisit this restaurant again for it's solidly good food and friendly ambiance.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Inventive and delightful

Weezy's Burgers

Weezy's Grass Fed Shed has been on my mind for some time since its opening (and before). Located near Scotty's Market in San Rafael's Terra Linda district, it was just enough out of the way that my visit was delayed. I was happy to find a slice of time to get there and try this wonderful well thought out concept - grass fed beef and veggie burgers served in and with compostable containers, napkins, etc.

Moo-Less and Contiki Burgers

I was greeted warmly, and ordered a couple burgers. The sizes are small so you can try a variety of toppings. These are just the perfect size for kids. I got a budget-wise combo that included either regular or sweet potato fries, or a mix. I chose the mix, and got a free sample of their dip for the sweet potato fries too. The dip was really great - creamy (cream cheese based?) with a hint of seasonings. No less so the burgers. The vegetarian moo-less burgers were very good. These don't have the texture of a hamburger, and the good taste made that aspect very forgettable. There is a small bar of condiments to top your burger, and I loved that the tomatoes were the Roma type, just the right size to top these 1/8 lb. beauties. I also convinced (it was not very hard) the staff to use a garden patty in a Contiki style burger that has Kikkoman Teriyaki sauce and a piece of pineapple adorning it. I enjoyed them both, and am looking forward to going back.

I was also lucky enough to be there at the same time as Weezy's brother. He enlightened me about Weezy and her hope as a mother to create a great community place where kids and the rest can enjoy healthy food quickly in a earth friendly way. She also lives nearby.

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 2
Noncritical: 1
Last inspected: December 22, 2009

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Something new in Corte Madera!

Sea Thai Bistro

SEA Thai Bistro has opened in Corte Madera where the old "Simmer" was located. I've heard the sister restaurant in Petaluma is awesome, so I hope to visit soon and confirm the same of this new and exciting venue.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Large portions, good food


Dad and I stopped in at BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse the other day in San Rafael's Northgate Mall. We had been searching for men's slippers, a daunting task indeed after the holiday season is over. Having exhausted ourselves finding a pair, we saw the big BJ's sign as a beacon of welcome. We were greeted and seated promptly.


We had some Calamari to start off with while we perused the rest of the menu. It was tender and crisp and had a delicious pair of sauces, spicy marinara and lemon garlic aioli.

Garden Vegetable Potato

I could not resist the Garden Vegetable Potato, a HUGE potato stuffed with fresh vegetables and an alfredo sauce. There was also both jack and cheddar cheese melted on top. It was nearly as big as a pee wee football! It tasted good, however, there needed to be a bit more stuffing to really have enough sauce for that sized potato. And most would not be able to finish it anyway.

Old Fashioned Pot Roast

Dad had the Old Fashioned Pot Roast, slow-roasted Angus beef pot roast that is served with white cheddar mashed potatoes, mushroom brown gravy and over roasted vegetables. He loved every drop of it! The only thing that didn't work about this place for my father (and perhaps others) is that the noise level is HIGH. It's hard to carry on a conversation with someone who has good hearing, and is rather miserable for those wearing hearing aids.

All in all, it's a recommendable place if you want good food in generous portions in an upbeat, noisy atmosphere.

And Happy Valentine's Day! I'm in Seattle right now and am looking forward to sharing some finds on this trip too!

Restaurant Inspection Results

Critical: 0
Noncritial: 0

Last inspected: November 13, 2009

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Sunday, February 07, 2010

Very sweet

First Blush

I enjoy trying new drinks so couldn't resist this new product "First Blush" which was offered as a BOGO (buy one get one) at Safeway. There are several varieties of wine grapes represented in the product line up, and this one is from Cabernet grapes. How thick and luxe! It reminded me of homemade grape juice from my Aunt Dorothy & Uncle Jim's ranch. There are also 1.4 servings in this plastic bottle (it easily turns over so be careful with this bright red juice!), and 154 calories per serving... oooh, I consumed over 200 calories by drinking this? Grapes are definitely sweet! There is no added sugar, and with this calorie load, antioxidants or not, this has to be an occasional treat I'm afraid.

Speaking of Aunt Dorothy, there have been a few things keeping me away from blogging, as much as I enjoy it. I got one of those calls you never want to get, and found that after a full and happy life, Aunt Dorothy passed at age 94. So I've been trying to put things in order and make travel arrangements to attend her funeral in Yakima, WA this Friday. Unfortunately, the care of my father has become much more involved recently as well. I am too tired to write coherently these days after getting him tucked in, so Anna's Cool Finds has not been having those daily posts that I so enjoy writing. I'm not giving up on this, however, I'm not sure how frequently I'll be able to post for a while.