November 30, 2015
In the mood for an outdoorsy adventure? This one is paved with oysters, wine, cheese and fresh fruit – a foodie’s dream.
This is not a review of a destination, but more of a day-journey, filled with exciting and delicious stops along the way. That being said, every journey requires some planning for a successful execution. The day before gather up and pack your car with the following:
A camping propane burner (if you like day-trips, you need of these!)
A big pot for boiling, with the lid.
In the pot add: 1 lemon, 4 cloves of garlic, olive oil and a dash of red pepper flakes.
Look for and collect California wild fennel while driving…they grow everywhere!
1 bottle of white wine and cork screw.
1-gallon jug of water.
Depending how many people in your party; plastic bowls and utensils.
Roll of paper towel.
Bread of some sort; sourdough loaf or baguette works well.
An oyster shucker…if you know how to!
On the morning of your journey, wake up at 7 a.m. and head towards Marin County. If you’re leaving from San Francisco, cross the Golden Gate and head north on Hwy 101. Take the Lucas Valley Road exit and head west. Enjoy a beautiful drive through hills and valleys, alongside creeks and through a Redwood Grove until you reach an intersection. Take a right at Nicasio Valley Road and head up towards the little town. First stop! Nicasio Valley Cheese Company (http://www.nicasiocheese.com/). Taste and buy delicious award-winning cheese.
Ready? Back in the car! Make your way up the road and eventually make a left at Point Reyes-Petaluma Road. Keep driving until you get to a “T” in the road, Hwy 1. You can go left to the charming town of Point-Reyes Station; shops, restaurants and cafes. Or you can go right…that would be my suggestion. By the way, keep an eye out and pick some wild fennel.
Meander your way along the eastern shore of Tamales Bay with beautiful vistas until you get to Tomales Bay Oyster Company and the pursuit of happiness! This eatery used to have picnic tables, BBQ’s and you could have a great picnic eating oysters, clams and mussels. Those days are no more. Now, it’s strictly carry out. Park your car and walk over to the stand to get 1 pound of fresh mussels, 1 pound of fresh clams (more if you have more people) and some oysters.
Wash the oysters and mussels with the water you brought, throw them in the pot and get back in the car. Find a nice scenic area or local park to pull over and get ready for brunch. Setup your propane burner, wash the clams and mussels and throw them in the pot (containing the lemon juice, olive oil and red pepper flakes). Uncork the white wine and pour about 1/3 of the bottle in the pot. Throw the fennel prawns in, add about 2 cups of additional water, cover and steam until the bivalves open.
While you are waiting, if you bought oysters, get shucking! Enjoy great food, sights, sounds, smells and each other. Once you’re done eating and cleaned up, back in the car!
Keep driving north on Hwy 1 along the eastern shore of Tomales Bay. About 3.5 miles north of “the pursuit of happiniess,” you come to The Marshall Store (http://themarshallstore.com/). Wonderful oysters, smoked meats, sandwiches, soups and local beer await you! Park, have one person from your party grab a table outside by the water, while the rest go inside to order food and drinks. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
At this point of the trip, it most likely mid to late afternoon and time to head back home. You could either go back the way you came, or keep going north and see some new things. If you choose north, keep driving on Hwy 1, until you come to Tomales-Petaluma Road, just before the town of Tomales. Makes a right and head east through more wonderful rolling hills, vineyards and pastures with happy cows. This road will take you to the city of Petaluma where you can get back on Hwy 101 and be back in San Francisco by Sunset!