Marshall Store

Taking a detour back to SF from Northern Napa Valley via the Sonoma Coast, you ride down US 1 and end up in a little town called Marshall right along Tomales Bay. You'll pass a handful of oyster bars, and a favorite of ours is the Marshall Store. Sit at picnic tables six feet from the bay and enjoy BBQ and oysters.Marsh 001

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Marsh 008BBQ oysters with garlic butter & house sauce

Marsh 007Fish Tacos with chili lime slaw & avocado tomatillo sauce

Marsh 011Chorizo oysters with chorizo butter

Marsh 010Grilled Tri-tip with salsa verde, grilled onions & aoili


In the heart of Napa Valley–where there is no shortage of great restaurants–stands a little take-out depot pushing out some amazing fried chicken. This isn't just any take-out spot; it's Addendum from Thomas Keller who has been regarded as one of the best chefs in the world. Grab a boxed lunch with a piece of fried chicken or slab of ribs, and take in some beautiful weather. adden 001


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Headed to Napa this past weekend to escape from the city. We stopped at a nice, casual restaurant in downtown Napa called Pearl for dinner on Friday. They had a diverse menu: everything from oysters and fish tacos to a New York strip steak sandwich.

On Saturday, we went to Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen for a quick bite. Great home style feeling. We ordered the crispy calamari with delta asparagus, lemons, jalapeño and a side of  lemon aioli. Delicious.

One of our favorite spots was the family-owned winery Hunnicutt. We were given a quick tour of their very large cave system by an incredibly nice hostess named Jen. Tasted some great wines and heard a little about their winemaking process. We left with a bottle and will probably return again soon.

We also checked out Beringer wines on the way back home. It was not as laid back as our first tasting, but beautiful nonetheless. Going from the quiet, personal experience at Hunnicutt to the more commercial feel at Beringer was a little deflating, but that's just me.

Ended the weekend at Grace's Table for Sunday brunch. Local, fresh and not pretentious in any way. Homemade jam, eggs, bacon, a southwestern potato cake. Delish. Highly recommend it.

The 'Big Mac' Recreated

I recreated a burger that has been, wether you like it or not, one of the most popular burgers around the world: the Big Mac. But instead of using mediocre ingredients, I put a high-quality spin on this classic recipe. -  3/4 chuck & 1/4 sirloin -  Organic romain lettuce -  Wisconsin aged cheddar (3-4 months) -  Homemade thousand island dressing (special sauce)

After grinding the meat myself with a food processor, I created the patties, salted and peppered them generously, and then cooked them on a hot skillet. I made the thousand island dressing from a Saveur magazine recipe which is an interpretation of the Waldorf-Astoria's recipe. The ingredients are as follows.

-  1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Helman's Olive Oil which is much lower in fat) -  3-4 Heinz chili sauce -  2 tbsp. minced sweet onion -  2 tbsp. minced sweet pickles -  1 tsp. pickling juice from sweet pickles -  1 tbsp. minced, drained, jarred pimientos -  Salt and fresh cracked pepper (to taste)

Put all ingredients in a bowl and then salt and pepper to taste.

I buttered and toasted an onion bun (the freshest bun I could find at the local grocery store) and  topped it with the homemade "special sauce," the burger and melted cheese, and the chopped organic romaine lettuce. When it's all said and done, the flavor of the Big Mac was definitely present, but the increased level of taste quality was undeniable. And hey, there were probably less calories too.