Ever do tourist things in your own town?
I live in the beautiful southern part of Marin County, California; my own house only a couple of miles away from world famous Muir Woods and Stinson Beach (and that part of Highway 1 where all the car commercials are filmed) yet I’ve only been to each place once in the past decade. I know, I know, blasphemy, especially the fact that I NEVER go to the beach; I think it might have something to do with the fact that I lived in Dubai as a child and the warm majestic waters of the Persian Gulf and perfectly coiffed miles of sand straight up OWN Stinson Beach (or any beach in California) any day.
Go ahead, beg to differ, I won’t be offfended.
So, speaking of spectacular places near my house, there is this one organic restaurant, Cafe del Soul which I have driven by almost every day for the past who-knows-how-many-years but never actually bothered to stop by for a bite.
It has meat options (despite a mostly vegetarian menu), it’s all organic/local/healthy, it has incredible reviews and ratings on Yelp and Urbanspoon, and the people that work there are ever so genteel? So what exactly was stopping me?
No clue. It was just drive by wallpaper for the longest time to be honest…that was until last night however when I found myself at the nearby Walgreens stocking up on Trident Layers when I received a text from my mother advising me to bring myself take-out since her and the pops were planning on having a simple soup n bread supper.
Alors, I stopped at the vibrant Cafe del Soul, spent a century and a half trying to decide between all the delicious sounding rice/quinoa bowls, salads, and wraps, and finally decided on a wrap/salad combo to take along home:
And with this place, I actually believe it
Absolutely exquisite! The crunch of the almonds along with the texture of the edamame and crispness of the veggies melded perfectly with the hummus, cheese, and vinaigrette- I didn’t even miss the meat
Plus, I felt completely satisfied after this healthy, balanced meal, now I’m just regretting that it took me so long to discover this place! But really, if you’re ever off to visit Muir Woods, Mount Tamalpais, or the beach, I’d hit up Cafe del Soul, it’s right on the way at Tamalpais Junction (between getting off highway 101 and continuing onto Highway 1)
Speaking of exploring nearby areas, this morning I drove on up to Sonoma County to visit Kyle for a little midday tour of the historic agricultural trade town of Petaluma
Yessss, I have been to Petaluma before, with Hallie in fact a few weeks ago when we dined on fabulous local fare at Luma as shown in this post, but I’ve never really perused around all the hidden treasures the downtown area has to offer
As a Petaluma native, Kyle knew exactly where to take me for lunch:
We headed to the adorable and bustling Tea Room Cafe
They have both a breakfast a lunch menu with to-die-for options, which of course left my indecisive not-picky-enough self befuddled with what to choose
Kyle however assured me that in the years he’s spent dining at this fine community establishment, he has never been disappointed
I also decided to go the gourmet salad route and went for the large prawns served over a bed of fresh spinach, red onions, roasted red peppers, cucumber, kalamata olives, and the freshest most incredible massive mound of feta cheese I have ever had, also served with a balsamic vinaigrette.
This salad was amazing. No seriously, it was INCREDIBLE, all the ingredients were of the utmost quality, there was no skimpin’ on the good stuff (cheese and prawn), and the sliver of bread was toasty yet chewy and the perfect accompaniment to the remaining speckles of feta
The food here is most certainly made with love
Plus, having a light lunch meant we both had space for…
High quality fro yo for sure, MoYo (like Swirl and YoLo in Mill Valley) uses the local Straus Organic Creamery yogurt which makes their tart flavours absolutely exquisite. I swirled a mix of blueberry and plain tart, vanilla chocolate, and cookies n cream; delicious and a welcome compliment to the sunshine
Post frozen sustenance, Kyle took me on a little tour around downtown Petaluma, and all I can say is I wish I had more time here to try the COUNTLESS Zagat and Michelin-Guide ranked restaurants lining it’s boulevards:
Petaluma was historically a trade town and the evidence is all around with old grain mills, warehouses, and the like in the older downtown area
It still is an agricultural powerhouse, famous for it’s free-range Petaluma chickens, dairies, and of course the home of wholesome brands, Amy’s Kitchen (all those delicious frozen vegetarian meals you get at Whole Foods) and Barbara’s Bakery (inventor of my favourite cereal of all time, Cinnamon Puffins)!
In the recent years, many chic waterfront restaurants have taken up residence in these old Petaluma warehouses giving the town a trendy-mod vibe while still staying true to its historic roots
The surrounding streets are alive with its residents, young and old, the sidewalks lead you past countless antique shops, Old Western movie-like saloons and beauty parlours, boutiques selling either vintage clothing or Ralph Lauren furniture, and countless Italian restaurants and Bistros with the scents of Neapolitan pizza and Espresso wafting through the air
All in all, a great little community nestled at the southernmost tip of Sonoma County and less than an hour away from San Francisco
Thank you Kyle for the beautifully commentated tour (and your splendid company, as always)!
What sort of touristy stuff is there to do in your town?
Have you ever been to Muir Woods/Stinson Beach/Petaluma?
Feta or Goat Cheese?