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Authors Posts by Tanya Henry

Tanya Henry

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A roundup of food & drink parties and classes

Share good food, drinks and conversation at local, upcoming food & drink events.

By Tanya Henry

Don’t let the seemingly relentless rain keep you cooped up inside. Here are some enticing food-focused classes and dinners that will inspire you to get out of the house.

I always get excited when I learn about wineries that feature female winemakers. Ferrari-Carano happens to be one of them—and Mill Valley’s Piazza D’Angelo has invited Sarah Quider to be a special guest as part of their Winemaker Dinner Series. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, May 3 at 7pm to enjoy delicious, award-winning Ferrari-Carano wines paired with the restaurant’s four-course dinner of regional Italian favorites; $85 per person; 415/388-2000.

Copita Tequileria y Comida in Sausalito is turning five this month. To commemorate the milestone, they’ve planned multiple fiestas (all of them include tequila, of course!) Help them celebrate at one or all of these upcoming festivities, including an Agave Girls get-together on April 25, an Anniversary Party and Margarita Duel on April 30 and a Cinco de Mayo party; copitarestaurant.com.

Join Chez Panisse chef and cookbook author Cal Peternell at Left Bank Restaurant in Larkspur for a Cooks with Books lunch event on Sunday, April 30 at noon. The accomplished chef has followed up his acclaimed, Twelve Recipes with his newly released, A Recipe for Cooking that takes home cooks to the next level; $115 per person; bookpassage.com.  

On Thursday, May 4 at 6:30pm in Homeward Bound’s Key Room, North Bay native Gabi Moskowitz, a popular blogger at BrokeAss Gourmet, will share some of her secrets and a tasty menu for budget-conscious foodies. Her blog climbed to national acclaim with a series of recipes, all based on ingredients costing $20 or less. Moskowitz will talk about her culinary passions and the genesis of her show, Young & Hungry, now in its fifth season, and her latest book, Young & Hungry: Your Complete Guide to a Delicious Life, will be available for purchase; $60 for the dinner; cookingschoolsofamerica.com.

Box Trot Gifts combines local products with thoughtfulness

Kathryn Tjosvold, founder of Box Trot Gifts, carefully curates local products for her heartfelt boxes; succulents add an original twist, and a refreshing change from cut flowers. Photo courtesy of Kathryn Tjosvold.

By Tanya Henry

Everybody loves a best-kept secret. That feeling when you stumble upon something so special and so sweet that part of you wants to keep it all to yourself, yet you know the world would be a better place if you spread the word. So, you heard it here first—Box Trot Gifts.

Marin native Kathryn Tjosvold’s business crafting beautiful gift boxes filled with succulents and expertly selected specialty items is less than a year old, but budding.

“I’ve always loved making gifts for people—that steered away from typical, generic gift boxes,” Tjosvold says. “I think including succulents adds a unique touch.”

Tjosvold grew up in Corte Madera, attended Redwood High School and earned a teaching credential at Dominican University. When she graduated, she decided to put the classroom on hold, and instead got married, had a baby and began making the boxes.

Along with doing extensive research on mostly locally made, high-quality food and beauty products, Tjosvold took cues from her mom’s passion for succulents. Her boxes are crafted from distressed woods and galvanized tin, and organic, natural products await recipients.

Tjosvold hasn’t quit her day job working for her dad’s winemaking software company, but she does find time to make deliveries in Marin and fill orders from her San Anselmo home—complete with a potting shed

Kathryn Tjosvold’s potting shed. Photo courtesy of Kathryn Tjosvold.

straight out of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit, and plenty of open space for seasonal sales and special events.

A variety of available boxes include everything from chocolate, caramel corn and wine, to bubble bath and luffa sponges. Boxes can be ordered and picked up by appointment, or delivered.

Box Trot Gifts; 415/891-2113; boxtrotgifts.com; boxtrotgifts@gmail.com.

There’s a lot to love at Fairfax’s new Tamal

Anyone who counts agave-based spirits as their drink of choice will likely find a favorite at Tamal.

By Tanya Henry

Fairfax is arguably the liveliest town in Marin—especially after dark. Virtually every night of the week, there is live music, movies that let out after 10pm and nightcaps for the thirsty. And now, tequila and mezcal have been added to the mix by way of Tamal, a Mexican-themed restaurant that recently opened in the space long occupied by The Sleeping Lady.

Most notably, the space has been transformed. No longer dark and crowded, the room boasts sleek wood tables and booths, juxtaposed with off-white walls and flooring, giving the restaurant a clean, contemporary feel. Along with seating for nearly 50 inside, Tamal boasts an outdoor patio that is slated to open in the next couple of weeks.

Tamal will make tequila lovers happy. More than 10 different margarita cocktails include everything from shrubs, to cola syrup to toasted coconut, and a house margarita, prepared with blanco tequila, lime and orange-infused agave, is a winner.

Bay Area chef Steve Jaramillo—who spent time in some well-known East Bay kitchens, including Lalime’s in Berkeley and Fonda in Albany—was tapped to head up the kitchen at Tamal.

Antojitos—or small plates—priced between $9 and $18, range from salad options, to crudo and ceviche to hot items like carnitas, chile rellenos and Devil’s Gulch quail served with a green Oaxacan mole and rice. The carne asada tacos include marinated skirt steak with charred serrano chile salsa served with housemade tortillas.

By the look of the early crowds, Fairfax’s hot new place appears to be a welcome addition. Surprisingly, families with kids of all ages also seem to be flocking to the bar-focused eatery, and have no doubt discovered the lemon limeade and hibiscus soda options.

Tamal, 23 Broadway Blvd., Fairfax; 415/524-8478.

’Tis the season for foodies to experiment

The Marin food scene is flourishing.
In Marin, the flowers are blooming and the food scene is flourishing.

By Tanya Henry

Spring is an especially good time for cooks and chefs. Fewer ingredients are at their seasonal peak during fall and winter, so chefs are often challenged to keep their menus creative and varied—even here in California with our longer growing seasons. With spring onions, asparagus and peas showing up at farmers’ markets, it’s time to add new recipes and techniques to your spring repertoire.

Join the folks at Driver’s Market in Sausalito for a free community presentation on Thursday, March 30 at 7pm titled, “Spring Health: Foods and Herbs to Recharge Your Health.” Licensed acupuncturist Daniela Freda will discuss the foods and herbs that can be integrated into your diet this season, as well as some of the many health benefits—a stronger immune system, balanced hormones and healthier digestion; driversmarket.com.

Looking for meaningful volunteer work? The Fairfax Food Pantry is looking for people to help out on Saturday mornings to staff the pantry at the Fairfax Community Church, located at 2398 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. Launched in May of 2011, this important program now serves around 150 families per week; fairfaxvolunteers.org/the-food-pantry.

Classes at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company’s The Fork always sell out—so it’s rare to find one that still has openings. On Friday, April 21 from 1-4:30pm, taste some of the best locally made cheese in a guided/focused tasting, and enjoy hands-on cupcake instruction with Kara Lind of Kara’s Cupcakes; pointreyescheese.com.

Slide Ranch is having its annual Spring Fling on Saturday, April 29 from 10am to 4pm. The daylong celebration features farm animals, guided hikes, live music, gardening and cooking activities, special guest presenters and more; slideranch.org/calendar/.

Wise Sons combines Jewish recipes with the best Californian ingredients

Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen is set to open next month in Larkspur, and will offer favorites like housemade bagels topped with smoked salmon, double whipped cream, capers and onions. Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux.

By Tanya Henry

When Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen opened on 24th Street in San Francisco’s Mission District in 2012, bagels were not on the menu. Five years later, with three locations and a fourth poised to open in the Marin Country Mart next month, Wise Sons’ bagels and schmears just might be the raison d’être.

For the last nine months, Wise Sons has been at the Marin Civic Center Farmers’ Market on Sundays—presumably testing the waters.

“We saw an opportunity in Marin to expand to a new market and community,” says Wise Sons co-owner Evan Bloom. “We knew it was time to take our bagels and lox up north, and when we saw the space in Larkspur, it was a sign to make it happen.”

Bloom and co-owner Leo Beckerman have secured the small space that used to be home to the fanciful Parisian-style confectioner Miette. For now, all of the preparation will take place at their commissary kitchen in San Francisco, and food will be schlepped across the bridge. We can look forward to pastrami and corned beef sandwiches made with antibiotic-free meats, as well as several new salads. Wise Sons’ secret brining recipe includes a proprietary blend of spices, and the pastrami is smoked for nearly seven hours over hickory wood. Sweet, moist babkas are filled with locally made, bittersweet chocolate, and melt in the mouth.

If all goes according to plan with the current buildout, Wise Sons hopes to open their North Bay doors after Passover at the end of April. Welcome to Marin!

Wise Sons, 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Building #3, Marin Country Mart, Larkspur; 415/787-DELI; wisesonsdeli.com.

The best local food & drink events this season

The California Artisan Cheese Festival, complete with cooking demonstrations, contests, tours and seminars, takes place in Petaluma from March 24-26. Photo by Derrick Story.

By Tanya Henry

After living in Marin for 15-plus years, I have never been more eager for spring to arrive! With glimpses of the new season popping up all around us—in gardens, on hillsides and at farmers’ markets, it’s high time that we shake off winter and welcome it in. Here are a few food-focused events that celebrate spring.

If you haven’t yet been on a Food & Farm Tour in West Marin with Elizabeth Ann Hill, now is the perfect time. The tours began on March 3 and continue every Monday throughout the month; an Oyster Lover’s Tour is offered from 1:30-5pm in Tomales Bay on Monday, March 13. The excursion includes a visit to Nick’s Cove, Hog Island Oyster Company, Tomales Bay Oyster Company and the Marshall Store. There will be plenty of luscious bivalves on the menu, of course. The cost is $195 per person. Learn more at foodandfarmtours.com/project/oyster-lovers-tour.

If you’re looking for an excuse to go to Sausalito’s Cavallo Point, mark your calendar for the lodge’s third annual Lexus Culinary Classic. This foodie-fest is a must-attend event for anyone who enjoys food and wine. The full affair stretches over three days, March 24-26, and includes multi-course menus, wine tastings and cooking classes. Last year’s highlight was a dish prepared by the uber-talented visiting chef Cassidee Dabney from Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, who will be teaching a cooking class this year. If you can only make one portion of the event, I highly recommend the Grand Tasting on Sunday from noon-3pm. For ticket information, visit lexusculinaryclassic.com.

Cheese-lovers take note! The annual California Artisan Cheese Festival, now in its 11th year, will take place at Petaluma’s Sheraton Hotel from March 24-26. Cooking demonstrations, contests, tours and seminars all make up this illuminating three-day extravaganza. The grand finale Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace on Sunday from noon-4pm is under a big-top tent (in the hotel’s parking lot), and plenty of cheese samples, beer, wine and cider will be on hand. To buy tickets and learn more, visit artisancheesefestival.com.

The journey of Salt Point’s Moscow Mule

Heather Wyatt, creator of Salt Point’s Moscow Mule, says she decided to develop a product that she had never seen on the market before. Photo courtesy of Heather Wyatt.

By Tanya Henry

‘Retro-nautical’ is the term that Heather Wyatt uses to describe the look and feel of her canned cocktail that hit Northern California store shelves in June 2016. In less than a year, the locally made beverage is in 26 stores throughout the Bay Area.

“It took two years from concept to launch to get my Salt Point Moscow Mule to market,” says Wyatt, a Mill Valley resident and advertising-executive-turned-entrepreneur. “I love the cocktail culture and consider myself a foodie.”

For the uninitiated, a Moscow Mule is a cocktail made with vodka, ginger beer and lime juice. It’s typically served in a copper mug with a wedge of lime. Wyatt’s version contains the required ingredients (all American-made), and is sold in single, 12-ounce, ready-to-drink cans, as well as in four-packs.

Wyatt clearly did her homework before going to market. Her research revealed that both men and women like the vodka (non-malt-based) drink, it’s all-season-friendly and the recyclable cans make them easy to transport to picnics, beach outings, etc.

When asked which foods are best complemented by this fizzy libation, Wyatt suggests fish & chips, tacos, guacamole and barbecue of any kind.

Inspired by a region south of Mendocino, the name pays homage to the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco. Wyatt worked with an illustrator and good friend to create the image that she feels embodies the region and brand in equal parts.

Though Salt Point is based in Mill Valley, the beverage is made in Napa; for now, Wyatt’s small team handles the distribution. But that might be about to change—Whole Foods Markets in Northern California just picked up the product. So it’s likely that we’ll be seeing much more of the uniquely packaged cocktail.

Learn more at saltpoint.co.

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Baked Blooms offers sweet blossoms

Baked Blooms come in seven-, 14- or 19-cupcake bouquets, and flavors range from classic vanilla to coconut. Photo courtesy of Baked Blooms.

By Tanya Henry

When I first saw a bouquet of cupcakes—aka Baked Blooms—I did a double take. Bright red roses, purple hydrangeas and soft pink-hued camellias all convincingly crafted out of buttercream and wrapped in tissue paper appeared to be a colorful spring arrangement of cut flowers.

“I learned how to make these bouquet cakes from a lady in England,” explains San Anselmo resident and mother of three, Sarah Thongnopneua. “I hadn’t seen anything like it here—I kind of have a niche.”

The 36-year-old baker, who grew up in England and who filled her first order for the floral-themed cupcakes last May, hadn’t dreamed of becoming a pastry chef. Her culinary training extended no further than working as a line cook and making pastries in a pub. Instead, she received a degree in computer science from the University of Manchester in Northern England, and came to the U.S., where she worked as a project manager for eBay.

“When I went out on maternity leave and was later laid off, I wanted to do work that allowed me some flexibility,” Thongnopneua says. So the busy mother went about filing all of the paperwork necessary to secure a food handler’s certificate and a cottage food license that enabled her to bake out of her home kitchen in San Anselmo. She now offers three different Baked Blooms options—seven-, 14- or 19-cupcake bouquets. She prefers odd numbers, as they create a more realistic-looking bunch. She also avoids “too many crazy flavors and fillings,” and sticks to classic vanilla, chocolate, lemon, almond and coconut.

Thongnopneua relies on word-of-mouth and Facebook to advertise her unique cupcakes. “I have orders every day,” she says. Through her elementary-school-aged-children, she also has a large network of parents who become customers and help spread the word.

Unsurprisingly, Baked Blooms is a popular choice for weddings. Prices for the celebratory bouquets begin at $45, and the budding business delivers throughout Marin and into San Francisco.

Baked Blooms; San Anselmo; 415/378-5020; bakedblooms.com.

Ideas for Valentine’s Day

When it comes to where to take your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, we’ve got you covered.

By Tanya Henry

With all of this rain, many of us are feeling a tad stir-crazy. It’s high time we brush off the winter blues and get out and indulge in some celebratory bubbly, a special brunch or a candlelit dinner on Valentine’s Day.  

For die-hard foodies, celebrated chef Ron Siegel, most recently of the Western Room in Nicasio, will be teaming up with Dr. Champagne (Jerry Horn) for a six-course dinner complete with champagne pairings. The intimate event will take place at Tiburon Wine on Ark Row in Tiburon at 7pm on Tuesday, February 14; $250; bit.ly/2jFmXGs.

We all know that the French do romance better than most. Transport yourself to Paris via the Left Bank Brasserie in Larkspur for their special $65 three-course prix-fixe dinner menu on Feb. 14. Left Bank, 507 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur; 415/927.3331.

If Italy is the region of your gastronomic fantasies, be seduced by downtown Mill Valley’s Piazza D’Angelo’s house-made lobster ravioli and chocolate cake drizzled with pistachio Nutella. The menu is a la carte and includes pasta and risotto options, salads, entrees and desserts. Plenty of Italian wines will be available, including sparkling wines and champagne. Piazza D’Angelo, 22 Miller Ave., Mill Valley; 415/388-2000.

Executive Chef Lorenzo Villacampa makes his debut at Fenix in San Rafael for a special Valentine’s Day prix-fixe dinner of crab bisque, butternut squash gnocchi, ribeye steak and Brazilian custard. This “Lovers’ Trip to Paradise” evening (7pm/$85) will also feature live Brazilian jazz by Alexa Morales and BOCA MUNDIAL. Fenix, 919 Fourth St., San Rafael; 415/813-5600.

Through Valentine’s Day, a variety of packaged natural, spicy and sweet walnuts from California’s Central Valley will be available at Stone House Ranch’s Nut & Candy Shop pop-up at the Bon Air Center in Greenbrae. Monday-Saturday, 10am-6pm, and Sundays, 11am-6pm. Bon Air Center, Greenbrae; 415/461-0200.

Hop on the ferry to experience the Ferry Building Marketplace’s annual Food From the Heart event that will kick off on Friday, Feb. 10, 5pm-7:30pm. Chocolate tastings and seasonal hors d’oeuvres will be offered, local Napa Valley vintners will pour wine and shoppers will be treated to tango dancing and classical music. Ferrybuildingmarketplace.com.

More than 80,000 products from 1,400 companies were on display at the Winter Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center for three straight days (January 22-24).

By Tanya Henry

With two big food events—the Specialty Food Association’s annual Winter Fancy Food Show, and the Good Food Awards (now in its seventh year)—taking place in San Francisco last week, there has been a lot of buzz around all things food. These two organizations offer us a window into what is happening right now in the world of specialty food.

More than 80,000 products from 1,400 companies were on display at the Winter Fancy Food Show at the Moscone Center for three straight days (January 22-24). Here is a sampling of some of the innovative ones that stood out.

ReGrained Sustainable Supergrain Bars: Two college students started homebrewing and realized that throwing out all of the spent grain was a waste. They came up with a recipe for small-batch granola bars that are high in protein and fiber, and low in sugar. Regrained.com.

Bee Free Honee: Owner Katie Sanchez grew up on an apple orchard with a father who was a beekeeper. While trying to make apple jelly, she came up—by accident—with the recipe for a vegan honey made from apples. Years later when learning about the decline of the bee population, she revisited the recipe as a business idea. Beefreehonee.com.

Copper Cow Coffee—Vietnamese Coffee Single Pour-Over Kit: This innovation allows you to make Vietnamese coffee on the go without all of the equipment. The all-in-one kit contains ground Vietnamese coffee served in a single-use, pour-over bag, along with a sleeve of condensed California milk. Coppercowcoffee.com.

Baruvi Fresh—Hummustir: Think deconstructed hummus kit packaged in a paper cup that also serves as a mixing bowl. Inside are packets of organic chickpea puree, organic tahini, spices, an instruction card and a sealed wooden spoon. Hummustir.com.

Tea Drops—Tea Drops: Tea Drops are organic teas that dissolve in your cup, made from finely ground organic tea, raw sugar and spices. Myteadrop.com.

On January 20, the Good Food Awards recognized winners in 14 different categories including beer, charcuterie, cider, cheese, chocolate, coffee, confections, honey, pantry, pickles, preserves, spirits, oil and preserved fish.

Chosen from more than 2,000 entrants, 193 companies were recognized for creating delicious products that support their sustainable food communities. California was well represented and both Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company (PRFC) and Nicasio Valley Cheese Company had winning entries (Original Blue for PRFC and Foggy Morning from Nicasio). Mill Valley’s Headlands Brewing Company, and Wild West Ferments in Point Reyes Station were finalists in this coveted group of ethical food makers.

For a complete list of winners, visit goodfoodawards.org.

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We know what you’re thinking: “Romance? Ewww!” But come on—anyone can find love in Marin … even if it’s just with that cocktail you’re...