Food & Drink: Luck of the Irish

St. Patrick’s Day and the Fairfax Brewfest will have you doing the jig

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There will be no shortage of craft brews at this year's Fairfax Brewfest on March 14.

by Tanya Henry

We all know that there are many Marins. Every town has its own distinct character and flavor, and nowhere is it more apparent than in our coffee shops. One I have recently rediscovered is Emporio Rulli in Larkspur. Its romantic Old World, Euro-style interior, with dark wood, pretty marble tabletops and glass cases filled with fanciful pastries is more inviting than most. It’s a place I feel encouraged to slow down and take my time to leisurely enjoy an espresso. And now, for one weekend (March 19-21) Rulli is featuring a special Italian treat—Zeppole, in honor of La Festa di San Giuseppe (The Feast of St. Joseph). This luscious deep-fried doughnut-like pastry filled with custard and whipped cream and topped with an amarena cherry is over-the-top decadent. Hint—it goes really well with espresso drinks. Experience it for yourself for one weekend only at Emporio Rulli, 464 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur.

BEER FIX For some Fairfax flavor—think beer! The 20th annual Fairfax Brewfest is coming! This day-long party offers up plenty of great beer-tasting (more than 20 different craft brews will be on tap, and some of the brewmasters themselves will be pouring!), music and food. Look for North Bay favorites, including Marin Brewing Company, Iron Springs and Lagunitas. Headlands Brewing Company will be making its debut this year, and other favorites—from Pizza Orgasmica’s IPA to the East Bay’s Drake’s Brewing Company—will also be on hand. Not surprisingly, this beer-fueled event gets a bit rowdy by the evening, so if you’re looking for a chill time to taste local brews—I recommend getting there early. Tickets are $40 in advance, at participating pubs and at the door. The ticket price includes unlimited tastings, a commemorative sampler glass and live music. Food will be available to purchase, but is not included in the ticket price. The festivities are from 1-5pm (doors open at 12:30pm) on Saturday, March 14 in the Fairfax Pavilion, 142 Bolinas Road. To purchase tickets and learn more, visit www.fairfaxbrewfest.com.

A FRESH START Learn from the best! In 2011, Bon Appètit magazine named Della Fattoria as one of “America’s 10 Best Bread Bakeries.” Kathleen Weber, founder and baker at Della Fattoria Bakery in Petaluma, and now a James Beard Award nominee, along with her son Aaron, will demo a mouthwatering menu from 6:30pm-9pm on Thursday, March 26, as part of the Fresh Starts Chef Events series. The three-course meal will of course include Della Fattoria breads. Tickets are $55 each and include dinner. Wine will be available for purchase. The event takes place in the showcase kitchen at the Next Key Center, 1385 N. Hamilton Parkway, Novato. All proceeds benefit shelter and job-training programs at Homeward Bound of Marin. For more information or registration, visit www.hbofm.org, or call 415-382-3363 x 243.

PARTY LIKE THE IRISH Since the next publication of this column won’t be out until AFTER St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I would include a quick roundup of places to get your Irish on next week:

Finnegan’s Marin in Novato will be offering a special menu, including favorites like Corcoran’s Corned Beef, a Dublin Pot Roast and Guinness Chocolate Mousse. Their kid’s menu even includes a corned beef plate. This is my top choice for a true taste and feel of the Emerald Isle. Check them out at 877 Grant Avenue in downtown Novato.

The Mayflower Pub — This is more bar than restaurant, and more English than Irish, but they do have a Guinness, steak & mushroom pie, a great selection of beers on tap and very importantly, Irish whiskey. Visit them at 1533 4th St., San Rafael.

The Sleeping Lady — This family-friendly venue will offer a special night of Irish music on Tuesday, March 17 at 7pm. Corned beef & cabbage and a pint of Guinness will be on the menu. Don’t miss out on the fun at 23 Broadway Blvd., Fairfax.

• Not surprisingly, Irish music, dance and food will all be offered at Murphy’s Irish Pub. For a day-long party, dress in your favorite green duds and head to Sonoma for a proper celebration of all things Irish. Learn more at www.sonomapub.com.

Share your hunger pains with Tanya at thenry@pacificsun.com.

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