Made With Love

Ever do tourist things in your own town?

I live in the beautiful southern part of Marin County, California; my own house only a couple of miles away from world famous Muir Woods and Stinson Beach (and that part of Highway 1 where all the car commercials are filmed) yet I’ve only been to each place once in the past decade. I know, I know, blasphemy, especially the fact that I NEVER go to the beach; I think it might have something to do with the fact that I lived in Dubai as a child and the warm majestic waters of the Persian Gulf and perfectly coiffed miles of sand straight up OWN Stinson Beach (or any beach in California) any day.

Go ahead, beg to differ, I won’t be offfended.

So, speaking of spectacular places near my house, there is this one organic restaurant, Cafe del Soul which I have driven by almost every day for the past who-knows-how-many-years but never actually bothered to stop by for a bite.

It has meat options (despite a mostly vegetarian menu), it’s all organic/local/healthy, it has incredible reviews and ratings on Yelp and Urbanspoon, and the people that work there are ever so genteel? So what exactly was stopping me?

No clue. It was just drive by wallpaper for the longest time to be honest…that was until last night however when I found myself at the nearby Walgreens stocking up on Trident Layers when I received a text from my mother advising me to bring myself take-out since her and the pops were planning on having a simple soup n bread supper.

Alors, I stopped at the vibrant Cafe del Soul, spent a century and a half trying to decide between all the delicious sounding rice/quinoa bowls, salads, and wraps, and finally decided on a wrap/salad combo to take along home:

I’m a sucker for a place that hand writes “Made with Love” on your order.

And with this place, I actually believe it

Small Sunshine Salad: Red leaf lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, cheddar cheese, free range chicken, and a delicious cumin citrus vinaigrette

Small Hummus Yummus Wrap: Hummus, asiago cheese, edamame, lettuce, spinach, onion, cucumber, almonds, tossed in a ginger vinaigrette and served in a spinach tortilla

Absolutely exquisite! The crunch of the almonds along with the texture of the edamame and crispness of the veggies melded perfectly with the hummus, cheese, and vinaigrette- I didn’t even miss the meat 😉

Plus, I felt completely satisfied after this healthy, balanced meal, now I’m just regretting that it took me so long to discover this place! But really, if you’re ever off to visit Muir Woods, Mount Tamalpais, or the beach, I’d hit up Cafe del Soul, it’s right on the way at Tamalpais Junction (between getting off highway 101 and continuing onto Highway 1)

Cafe Del Soul on Urbanspoon


Speaking of exploring nearby areas, this morning I drove on up to Sonoma County to visit Kyle for a little midday tour of the historic agricultural trade town of Petaluma

Yessss, I have been to Petaluma before, with Hallie in fact a few weeks ago when we dined on fabulous local fare at Luma as shown in this post, but I’ve never really perused around all the hidden treasures the downtown area has to offer

As a Petaluma native, Kyle knew exactly where to take me for lunch:

Don't you love the cow up there?

We headed to the adorable and bustling Tea Room Cafe

They have both a breakfast a lunch menu with to-die-for options, which of course left my indecisive not-picky-enough self befuddled with what to choose

Kyle however assured me that in the years he’s spent dining at this fine community establishment, he has never been disappointed

Kyle sprang for the Roasted beet salad: roasted beets, frisee, apples, walnuts, mixed greens, and fresh goat cheese with balsamic vinaigrette

I also decided to go the gourmet salad route and went for the large prawns served over a bed of fresh spinach, red onions, roasted red peppers, cucumber, kalamata olives, and the freshest most incredible massive mound of feta cheese I have ever had, also served with a balsamic vinaigrette.

This salad was amazing. No seriously, it was INCREDIBLE, all the ingredients were of the utmost quality, there was no skimpin’ on the good stuff (cheese and prawn), and the sliver of bread was toasty yet chewy and the perfect accompaniment to the remaining speckles of feta

The food here is most certainly made with love

Tea Room Cafe on Urbanspoon

Plus, having a light lunch meant we both had space for…

High quality fro yo for sure, MoYo (like Swirl and YoLo in Mill Valley) uses the local Straus Organic Creamery yogurt which makes their tart flavours absolutely exquisite. I swirled a mix of blueberry and plain tart, vanilla chocolate, and cookies n cream; delicious and a welcome compliment to the sunshine

Post frozen sustenance, Kyle took me on a little tour around downtown Petaluma, and all I can say is I wish I had more time here to try the COUNTLESS Zagat and Michelin-Guide ranked restaurants lining it’s boulevards:

Della Fattoria, an Italian bakery/restaurant/wine bar
Central Market, one of Kyle's favourite restaurants (it had an impeccable menu featuring FRIED poached egg over tuscan kale)!

 Cafe Cocolat, which supposedly has President Obama’s favourite sea salt chocolate caramels; Kyle attests that they are indeed a sumptious praise-worthy treat

Petaluma Blvd South, such old Western town architecture

 Cute little semi-janky bridge at the Petaluma “waterfront”

Old Railroad tracks at the waterfront

Petaluma was historically a trade town and the evidence is all around with old grain mills, warehouses, and the like in the older downtown area

It still is an agricultural powerhouse, famous for it’s free-range Petaluma chickens, dairies, and of course the home of wholesome brands, Amy’s Kitchen (all those delicious frozen vegetarian meals you get at Whole Foods) and Barbara’s Bakery (inventor of my favourite cereal of all time, Cinnamon Puffins)!

In the recent years, many chic waterfront restaurants have taken up residence in these old Petaluma warehouses giving the town a trendy-mod vibe while still staying true to its historic roots

The surrounding streets are alive with its residents, young and old, the sidewalks lead you past countless antique shops, Old Western movie-like saloons and beauty parlours, boutiques selling either vintage clothing or Ralph Lauren furniture, and countless Italian restaurants and Bistros with the scents of Neapolitan pizza and Espresso wafting through the air

All in all, a great little community nestled at the southernmost tip of Sonoma County and less than an hour away from San Francisco

Thank you Kyle for the beautifully commentated tour (and your splendid company, as always)!

What sort of touristy stuff is there to do in your town?

Have you ever been to Muir Woods/Stinson Beach/Petaluma?

Feta or Goat Cheese?


9 thoughts on “Made With Love

  1. Wow– SO many good eats in this post. I’m practically hyperventilating!

    Being from Miami, there are TONS of tourist attractions where I live. When Will and I started dating, I actually dragged him to ride this tourist ferry with me that took us around the Miami shore. Come to find out, he hates water.. but that’s a whole different story.


    1. Thanks Brittany! Isn’t Trident Layers the best, I just binged on an entire pack of the green apple one…my bad…I just have waaaaay to much of an oral fixation

  2. I’m with brittany about the eats. haha seriously, droooool.
    I wish there were any touristy things to do in my hick town of Ohio.. maybe when I reach Columbus next month? For now I’ll just enjoy the touristy things in Boston. Shopping as of late 😀
    Goat cheese for me! Though the rest of my family is feta all the way.
    I’ve never been to the aforementioned beautiful places, though if your looking for some company i’d love to help a girl out 😉

    1. Anytime my dear, it’s beautiful out here, living a few minutes from San Francisco 🙂 I honestly can’t decide on my goat cheese opinion- it’s way too pungent for my in salads or sandwiches but I can tolerate it when it’s melted on a pizza…weird…maybe my tastes will change, after all I never used to like feta until about a year ago

  3. Wow this post is filled with deliciousness- it’s a good thing I’m eating breakfast as I read otherwise I would be hangry! I’m a goat cheese girl- can’t get enough of the stuff! Feta is hit & miss with me but I couldn’t turn it down when watermelon is involved!

    1. Watermelon and feta, how have I never tried this combo?! I’ve seen it on so many menus and my mom keeps telling me it was my grandma’s favourite snack.

  4. You sure get around to great restaurants Sara! Both of those Cafes look adorable. I take a century and half trying to decide what to order of the menu too. If I’m going to be spending the money I want to make sure I pick the right thing haha 🙂 It looks like you made good choices, all your eats look great 🙂

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