Daytripping California’s North Coast: Point Reyes

As I spent the early morning hours debating whether or not to visit Berkeley, Sonoma or San Francisco, I was carefully considering each option, when it occurred to me that a road trip to Point Reyes was long overdue. Enough said.

Now here’s my scandal.

The highlight of my day was a cheeseburger, but not just any cheeseburger: This is the cheeseburger ($12) at Marin Sun Farms, and the melted New York cheddar and the mound of house-cured bacon are both standard issue. Fantastic grass-fed goodness.

• • •

Fried in lard, dressed with big chunks of sea salt.

Not just fries, pork fries ($3ish). Potatoes deep-fried in lard. Yes, that’s right: Rendered pork fat. Well, someone’s got to carry the torch, don’t they? And who better than Marin Sun Farms? Amazing stuff, and a fitting complement to MSF’s destination cheeseburger.

• • •

A good start.

I’m a font junkie, and the signage on the old Marshall Tavern caught my eye on the way up to Nick’s Cove. The patina and the coloring really work for me.

• • •

The Marshall Tavern: 20 years of slumber …

The Marshall Tavern has stood for more than 100 years, despite being knocked off its foundation by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It’s been unoccupied since 1990.

• • •

… But a renovation on the horizon.

This notice wasn’t visible from the road, but it was posted on the front door. The details reveal plans for a five-room bed and breakfast, or possibly an inn.

• • •

Tending the oyster beds.

• • •

Local rock cod with Kennebec potatoes. And lots of them.

Ostensibly, lunch at Nick’s Cove was my main reason for driving out to Point Reyes in the first place. Unfortunately, the fish and chips ($21) was just passable, despite its local provenance. More than anything, I felt like the fish and the batter were simply under-seasoned, but I couldn’t derive much zing from the tartar sauce, either. I was surprised, quite frankly.

• • •

Dungeness crab cake with arugula and aioli.

As the starter, the Dungeness crab cake ($12) proved delicious, free of unnecessary filler, and nary a shell within. It really had me thinking that the fish and chips would deliver in a more profound way.

• • •

Foothills to the Pacific: Thanks to my readers, I learned that the horizontal “terracing” pattern occurs as a result of grazing cattle. Weird and wild stuff.

• • •

Moon over Napa: The eastern view from the intersection of 121 and 29, just before sunset. Red skies were cast in almost every direction, as the fog descended for the evening. The moon will actually be full tonight.

7 comments to Daytripping California’s North Coast: Point Reyes

  • I have been meaning to get to Point Reyes for a while now! Thanks so much for suggestions on where to eat :)

  • Hope White

    I believe the horizontal terracing on the West Marin hills was caused by animals grazing.

  • Willi

    Well, my Papa said that the terracing effect on the hills comes from cows… Wait, he also said that those same cows had longer legs on one side so they could safely walk on the “terraced” parts…

  • Thirsty Reader

    @ Hope and Willi

    Very interesting. I’ll have to look into this further.

  • I have not been up that way in a long time. Those fries do seem like they are a destination in themselves! Which reminds me I recently had fries cooked in DUCK fat. Talk about “phat”!

  • Thirsty Reader

    It all makes sense to me now. I stand corrected.

  • Ben

    I share your opinions of Nick’s. Since I’m on a Tony’s boycott, and Nick’s is just too far out for too little return, I’ll slum it at Fish Story until a better fish & chips option.

    BTW, good to know about Marin Sun. Thanks.

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