Food & Drink: Cheese-lovers unite

Cowgirl Creamery unveils new Saturday menu

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Cowgirl Creamery offers a ‘Library of Cheese,’ where you’ll find names like ‘Barely Buzzed,’ ‘Midnight Moon’ and ‘Seascape.’ Photo by By Flora Tsapovsky

by Flora Tsapovsky

Cowgirl Creamery doesn’t really need an introduction. The Petaluma-based staple already has solid representation in San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace, and weekend getaway routes are unimaginable without a decadent stop at the Point Reyes Station shop and creamery in Tomales Bay Foods. As of June 27 and until November 7, cheese-buying tourists and supportive locals can spend more than a few minutes at the busy Marin location, thanks to a new, Saturdays-only breakfast menu. Cheese is a central breakfast ingredient, so this makes perfect sense.

On a typical cloudy Point Reyes Station morning, this felt like an exciting addition to the creamery’s Cowgirl Cantina, which now opens an hour earlier on Saturday, at 9am sharp. An hour into the service, the kitchen was already running out of items—it certainly hit the right spot with the sleepy weekenders. The reason for the limited-edition appeal is the active months of the weekend Point Reyes Station Farmers’ Market—the Creamery clearly wants to support the buzz and the movement around the organic happenings.

The menu is short and sweet—or rather savory—and all items are made with Cowgirl’s excellent cheeses. Skipping the heavier Eggs and Grits and the banal Granola Yogurt duo, we started with a cold snack: Smoked Salmon Bite with Cowgirl Fromage Blanc ($7.95). The two ‘bites’ turned out to be crispy, buttery toast points, covered with small mountains of tangy, soft creamy cheese and topped with bits of cured salmon. If the IKEA salmon bagel underwent a Northern California gourmet upgrade, this would be it—a classic, elegant morning treat.

We also managed to order the very last Baked Egg Sandwich with Sautéed Mushrooms, Gruyere and Herbs ($7.25, which was another upscale take on a well-known combo). The creamery’s Gruyere is smoky and nuanced, and the mingling with mushrooms and thyme only flattered its deep flavor, resulting in a comforting, almost sweet ciabatta heaven. As for the egg, it wasn’t as wet as I normally like it, but I’m sure runny-egg-haters will be very pleased.

The best of the lot was a sleeper item, humbly hiding under a golden crust of melted cheese. The menu read, ‘Cheese toasties: open-faced grilled cheese with Cabot Cheddar, Caramelized Onions and Maple Mustard ($7.95).’ One bite and we were hopelessly hooked—the gooey, rich onion and the sharp cheddar are a perfect match, and the spicy mustard gave the whole thing an unexpected, exotic twist. It was utterly delicious, and, thanks to the reasonable size, there was no food coma ahead.

The delicate, scented Lavender Crème Fraîche Scone ($3.95) was packed to go, and later eaten, with great pleasure, on the highway. Unlike occasional fellow scones, it didn’t crumble to make a mess and had a soft, cookie-like texture. It wasn’t too sweet either, and I can easily imagine it in a pairing with rich Brie or some kind of blue cheese.

In this cheesy joy, only one thing was missing—plates. The breakfast items, for some reason, were packed in recyclable carton to-go boxes, and although we ate on the patio, a slightly less picnic-like setting could be nice. Sure, the Creamery people are used to hordes of folks buying their goods to nibble on later, but the breakfast is worth lingering.

Learn more about Cowgirl Creamery at cowgirlcreamery.com.

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