A Summer Saturday in Pt. Reyes

We recently took a Saturday drive up to Pt. Reyes to check out the lighthouse and hit the beach. A fun fact: the spot where the lighthouse is located is the windiest place on the Pacific Coast and the second foggiest place on the North American continent! So it’s a great place for an easy walk with a little one and the extreme weather offers a little extra adventure. The day we went the views were spectacular and the wind was bracing and pretty much strong enough to hold us upright.

We hadn’t visited Pt. Reyes since last summer, and we were reminded about how great the food is. I can’t think of a better destination to combine outdoorsy fun and exceptional food. On the main drag in Pt. Reyes Station, the relatively new Osteria Stellina is definitely worth the trip and still casual enough to be family friendly. Think comforting soups, salads and sandwiches as well as wood-fired pizzas, pastas. For al fresco dining, there’s fabulous locally-made cheese, prepared foods and picnic fixins at Tomales Bay Foods (the home of the one and only Cow Girl Creamery). We also give a thumbs up to the organic comfort food on the menu at the Pine Cone Diner. And when you’re in need of a treat, grab a cookie at Bovine Bakery.

Just across the bay in Inverness, you can enjoy incredibly rustic, fine dining at Manka’s Inverness Lodge and up the road in Marshall is the home of the Hog Island Oyster Company. We used to head up there spur of the moment with our tobasco sauce and a few grill-ables to shuck oysters and picnic, but now they require that you reserve in advance (and they charge a fee). Still it’s a fun setting for an afternoon with friends and well worth a visit. You can also just drop by and pick up some oyster or clams to go as well. Kids (and adults) will love crunching around on all the oyster shells and checking out the oysters being harvested on site.  Visit their website to see what varieties are available.

But my favorite spot of all is Toby’s Feed Barn in downtown Pt. Reyes Station. It’s the place the community gathers to catch up, buy their hay, gardening supplies, and even seasonal produce. Best of all they have a coffee bar where we enjoyed a gorgeous summer fruit galette.

With all the great food, beaches and hiking trails to explore, Pt. Reyes continues to be one of our all-time favorite family day trips. It’s beautiful all year, but some special times to visit are during whale watching season and early spring when the wild flowers are at their peak (Chimney Rock is our favorite place to see the wild flowers).

The scenic drive from San Francisco to Pt Reyes takes about an hour. We usually take Sir Francis Drake and wind through the beautiful woods of Samuel P. Taylor State Park (a nice place to camp). As an alternate route you can take Lucas Valley Road which is quite pretty too. The ride is curvy in places, so if you tend to get car sick like me, don’t forget to bring some candied ginger to munch on!

Dogs, Pies & Cookies

How much can you eat in one day?  Quite a bit apparently.  With Ria and my parents in tow, we drove to our favorite ‘hood these days – the Mission – for an eating expedition.  The conversation in the car with Ria was priceless and had us in splits.

Me to Ria: ” We are going to eat some hot dogs”  What are hot dogs made of?”

Ria: “Dogs.  Nanu (Grandpa), hot dogs aren’t really hot they are just called hot.”

Thanks for the information Ria.  I may have failed as a parent – so much for being a food “snob” with a foodie kid.  I may have to give up writing this food blog.

Fortunately for us, Rosamunde doesn’t use dog in their hot dogs and is a pretty fine establishment.  They also had the World Cup playing on big screen TVs (much to Ria’s delight). While we enjoyed our dogs, fries and potato salad, we talked about the World Cup and wondered if the guys around us were playing hooky from work.  Somehow, I think the point of the match (Japan v. Denmark) was lost on Ria because she was rooting for “Argentina & Duke”!!!!??????  At least, it was a pleasure watching her chow down on her chicken and cherry gourmet hot dog.

Mission Pie is around the corner and we are such a group of fatties we had to stop by for just one piece of luscious, moist walnut pie.  I have one rule – don’t share dessert with mom because she inhales it.  I broke the rule and lost the battle after one bite.  We have already made plans to go back for more soon – banana cream pie next time! 🙂  Mission Pie is a great place to take the little ones as they have yummy treats and a kids corner with alphabet magnets and kid-size tables and chairs.

Since we had promised Ria cookies, we could not pass on Anthony’s Cookies right down the block on Valencia.  Somehow more cookies than were needed were ordered, and consumed. Anthony’s might just be cookie heaven.  Plans once again were made to take some home next time to make ice-cream sandwiches with home-made condensed milk vanilla ice-cream.

Next stop: GYM.

A wonderful food adventure in the Mission and most of all a memorable day with family.  We’ll be back!  Hasta La Vista.