A Day in Marin & Wine Country: Where to Eat and Drink
There are many reasons why the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the world’s premier travel destinations, and at the top of the list for many is the ability to get out of the bustling cities and into gorgeous rural landscapes in literally a matter of minutes. Expedia has teamed up with Edible Feast and Edible Marin & Wine Country magazine to bring you a food and drink lover’s perfect day trip into the wilds north of San Francisco.
Edible Feast has teamed up with Expedia to offer a West Coast food and drink tour with stops in Seattle, Portland, Marin & Wine Country, San Francisco, Monterey Bay, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Reno Tahoe. Here are a few of Edible Marin & Wine County's must-visit picks if you have a day to spend.
Head north out of the city and mid-span over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge you will find yourself in Marin County, which boasts a spectacular coastline, rolling hills and flat interior valleys—and over 167,000 acres of farms and ranches. That’s half of the total land in the county. Gateway to the world-class wine producing regions of Sonoma and Napa Valleys, Marin County has earned its own international reputation as a pioneer in the organic and artisan food movement. And the chefs and other food and drink craftspeople here take full advantage of the bounty of the county.
Take the first exit off Hwy 101 once you cross the bridge to wind down into picturesque Sausalito, but bypass all the touristy spots and head straight to Cibo Caffé & Bakery (1201 Bridgeway) for expertly house roasted espresso and pastries crafted using seasonal ingredients sourced from local farmers’ markets.
If huevos rancheros and breakfast burritos are more your style, stay on 101 just a couple more exits to reach Mill Valley’s Shoreline Coffee Shop (221 Shoreline Hwy), a Mexican-American coffee shop that updates old favorites using fresh organic ingredients like pasture-raised eggs from a farm just down the street.
For a hefty dose of Marin’s legendary surfer vibe along with excellent coffee and tea, swing into Equator Coffees & Teas’ (244 Shoreline Hwy) outpost at Proof Lab Surf Shop in Mill Valley’s Tam Junction. Visit Proof Lab’s retail store for California cool gear for your next destination – storied Stinson Beach.
Whatever your breakfast pleasure, next you’ll head west on CA-1 to make your way through the mighty redwoods to the coast and Stinson Beach where you can catch a wave in the majestic Pacific Ocean or look for sand dollars while enjoying a brisk stroll – both with the goal of working up an appetite for lunch. When your stomach starts calling, walk just off the beach and enjoy delicious California classics on the patio of Stinson’s Parkside Café and Bakery (43 Arenal Ave) or continue up the coast to the charming town of Point Reyes Station. If you can’t stay for lunch, at least stop by Parkside’s “The Room” marketplace to pick up a housemade scone or loaf of Gruyere levain and other locally-crafted treats for any road trip “emergencies.”
Point Reyes Station
Point Reyes Station offers multiple choices for hyper-locally sourced dining, from transcendent grilled cheese sandwiches and other gourmet picnic fare at Tomales Bay Foods, owned by the world-famous cheesemaking cowgirls of Cowgirl Creamery (80 4th St.) and grass-fed beef, lamb and goat burgers accompanied by cult-favorite Sean Thackrey’s wines at the Marin Sun Farms (10905 Shoreline Hwy) butcher shop, to the lovely Osteria Stellina (11285 CA-1) where chef Christian Caiazzo elevates his neighbors’ produce, meats, seafood and cheeses to soaring heights. Be sure to save room for dessert and make your way to Double 8 Dairy’s soft-serve kiosk at Toby’s Feed Barn (11250 CA-1) for locally-made buffalo milk gelato in flavors like fior di latte, raspberry and candy cap mushroom. Frozen confections made with cows’ milk will never taste the same.
Cup or cone in hand, continue north on CA-1 to reach Heidrun Meadery (11925 CA-1), where you can taste the meadery’s seasonal selection of delicious sparkling honey wines and learn how this ancient elixir with a modern twist is made. If you’ve done your pre-travel homework and booked a tour or cooking class at Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company (14700 Shoreline Hwy), you’ll reach your next destination in less than 10 minutes: the creamery’s beautiful The Fork culinary center. After a tour of the farm and creamery operation, you’ll be treated to a tasting of cheesemaker Kuba Hemmerling’s award-winning cheeses crafted using only the milk from the dairy’s own closed herd.
Not to be outdone by the bounty of the land, the waters off Marin County are also brimming with delicious fruits of the sea. A highlight of any trip to the area is a visit to Hog Island Oyster Company’s (20215 CA-1) shellfish farm and oyster bar on the shores of Tomales Bay. You can’t get any more farm-to-table than slurping down the briny bivalves in sight of the farm’s oyster beds.
From Hog Island, make your way just five minutes farther north to Nick’s Cove (23240 CA-1). Start your evening at Nick’s beautiful mahogany bar where you can rub elbows with West Marin locals, inn guests and other day-trippers before moving to the rustically elegant dining room where Nick’s executive chef Austin Perkins offers diners expertly and reverently prepared dishes that highlight the bounty of Marin’s farms and ranches, including Nick’s own The Croft farm. For an extra special treat, stay the night in one of Nick’s 12 extraordinary cottages. Waking up to breakfast served in your cottage poised on stilts above the gentle waves of Tomales Bay is an unforgettable experience.
As the day winds down and the fog rolls in, if you find that your appetite for all the delicious treats that Marin County has to offer has merely been whetted, we highly recommend planning your return visit as soon as possible. There’s plenty more where this came from. Guided culinary tours are also offered through West Marin Food & Farm Tours.