Dana Frankel pours a pint at Smiley's Schooner Saloon in the famously eccentric village of Bolinas. (Lisa Krieger/Bay Area News Group)
Dana Frankel pours a pint at Smiley’s Schooner Saloon in the famously eccentric village of Bolinas. (Lisa Krieger/Bay Area News Group) 

Details: 41 Wharf Road, Bolinas; 

Only a winding, hour-long drive north of San Francisco, West Marin is a place apart from the rest of the busy Bay Area – dreamy, wild and blessed with a rich agrarian tradition. Long ago, fearing the perils of suburban sprawl, the region conceived the nation’s first agricultural land trust to protect its family farms and historic ranches.  Now, urbanites are welcomed as allies to help support its farmers, ranchers, cheesemakers, oystermen and fishers. A foodie destination forever free of condos and golf courses, West Marin feels as though it has always been this way and always will.

1 Awaken to an almond muffin at Bovine Bakery. Get here early for the best choice, as items at this beloved cafe sell out fast — the line starts at the Dutch door and can extend down the sidewalk.  A blackboard on the sidewalk lists their creative selections, which change daily, ranging from vegan scones to raspberry almond marzipan tarts. A tasty alternative is just around the corner at famed Brickmaiden Breads. Neither spot has inside seating; instead, sit on the curb and enjoy the daily parade of Point Reyes’ bicyclists, pickup trucks and colorful characters.

Details: 11315 Shoreline Highway, Point Reyes Station; www.bovinebakeryptreyes.com/

2  Fancy some velvety Formagella, a first-place winner at this year’s annual American Cheese Society competition. Feeling more adventurous? Try “Lucas Valley,” a rind cheese with a delicious funk. Both are found in an old barn-turned-tasting room at Nicasio Valley Cheese Company. Generations of the company’s Lafranchi family have ranched in this lovely valley since the early 1900s, inspired by their Swiss Italian heritage. Recipes are made with 100% organic milk and have earned dozens of awards. While visiting, you can watch cheese being made – or sit at a table and gaze out at happy Holsteins and fir forests.

Details: 5300 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio; https://nicasiocheese.com/

3 Savor the Oysters Rockefeller at the folksy Marshall Store, perched between Highway 1 and Tomales Bay. Like its name, this dish is rich, loaded with butter, garlic, spinach, Toma cheese and crusty breadcrumbs. The ramshackle roadside spot serves Pacific Preston Point oysters exclusively from their family’s Tomales Bay Oyster Company, the oldest continuously operating oyster farm in California, on an outside deck and waterfront tables. Their clam chowder is a local favorite. Dress warmly and watch the bobbing boats, while fog creeps down dark and distant hills. Want to learn more? Take …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


A West Marin bucket list for food lovers and outdoors enthusiasts

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