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ALICE in Marinland

BEST of 2010

Staff pick BEST HISTORICAL HYPERVENTILATION In its nearly 12 decades of existence, the Dipsea Steps have acquired legendary status among runners, hikers and anyone in the mood for a good pulse-pounding alpine workout. Built, along with most of Mill Valley’s other tucked-away footpaths and staircases, when the town was laid out in the early 1890s, the three flights that make up the Steps were originally constructed of 671 logs and have the expedient if exhausting effect of delivering you from the floor of Cascade Canyon to the flanks of Mt. Tamalpais in a matter of minutes. The stairway has attained global fame as the first and most grueling challenge of the Dipsea Race, a 7.1mile Mill Valley-to-Stinson Beach marathon now in its 110th year. (“Old Dipsea runners never die,” said Jack Kirk, the local legend who ran every race from 1930 to 2002. “They just reach the 672nd step.”) It’s said that if you want to get from Lytton Square to the ocean in the space of an hour you’ve got to scale the stairs in 4 minutes and 15 seconds, a daunting concept, but it’s much more beatific to take on this fabled, bucolic staircase one step at a time, enjoying the dappled

Mill Valley Health Club’s Pilates is head, neck and shoulders above...

The Queen of Healthy Hearts WITH ALL THE RUNNING around, croquet playing and power walking taking place in Lewis Carroll’s books, it’s amazing how out of shape everyone seems (the Duchess, Queen of Hearts and the Tweedle twins would all benefit from a few more jumping jacks, if you ask us). We’d advise them to check out this year’s Best of Marin winners in health and fitness—from health club and sports apparel to yoga and Pilates studios, we could get Humpty Dumpty into a single-A-sized egg carton in no time. BEST GOLF COURSE Situated as it is in the gorgeous pastoral landscape west of Fairfax, the San Geronimo Golf Course is a breathtaking place to drive, chip, slice and putt. “We’ve got rolling hills, coastal oaks, almost 150 acres in all,” says co-manager Chris Bright of the 18-hole championship course. “There are coyotes, deer, foxes and wild turkeys, and salmon spawn in San Geronimo Valley Creek.” Built in 1967, San Geronimo 38 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010

features creeks, ponds, sand traps and encompassing redwoods that have made the course a fun-filled challenge for golfers at every skill level (including Bob Hope, Samuel L. Jackson and Jim Plunkett). The clubhouse is a destination in itself, offering a banquet room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the green and “live music for dancing and a great buffet supper every week for only $10,” says co-manager Jennifer Kim. The venue also hosts several

charity fundraisers and golf tournaments each year. ----------------------------San Geronimo Golf Course

5800 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Geronimo 488.4030 2ND Indian Valley Golf Club, Novato 3RD McInnis Park Golf Center, San Rafael

BEST HEALTH CLUB The 2007 renovation of the Osher Marin JCC’s health club brought state-of-the-art equipment into a welcoming, safe environment, with separate studios for spin classes, group fitness and yoga/Pilates—plus an indoor and an outdoor pool. Certified instructors, under the direction of Kelli Maciel, offer 80 fitness classes per week, in addition to personal training. Teens to seniors, novices to experienced athletes feel right at home. Childcare and the on-site esthetician and massage therapists enhance the experience. Joining this health club can improve body and mind. Operations manager Barabara Rosenstein and marketing director Iris Lax say the JCC puts on a variety of performing arts and family and cultural events, at discounted prices for members—another bonus for working out at this up-to-date facility. So what are you waiting for? ----------------------------Osher Marin JCC

200 N San Pedro Rd. San Rafael 444.8000 2ND Mt. Tam Racquet Club, Larkspur 3RD Marin YMCA, San Rafael

“BEGIN AT THE BEGINNING AND GO ON TILL YOU COME TO THE END: THEN STOP.”

—THE KING

sunshine and the dripping redwoods and the certainty that you’re improving your health whether you like it or not.

BEST MARTIAL ARTS When he was a scrappy 15-year-old kid, Mikyo Riggs originally wanted to be the toughest street fighter around. But what he got out of mixed marital arts instruction was so much more: “It taught me how to live my life by a code, a value system. I became a competitor not a street fighter.” Now a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt who has competed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing, and trained with the top champions in wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai and MMA, Mikyo has a double-goal as an instructor: to teach students how to win martial arts tournaments, and the life lessons that come with regular

41 >


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ALICE jo!Nbsjomboe

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harles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), aka Lewis Carroll, was a photographer, mathematician, logician and Anglican deacon, but his enduring fame is as the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass and other timeless examples of intellectual absurdity and literary nonsense. He was born the third of 11 children in Daresbury, Cheshire, to a country parson and his fruitful wife. An effortlessly successful academic (he never studied), young Charles earned a Christ Church Mathematical Lectureship at Oxford, a job that bored him and that he kept for 26 years. Although groomed since youth for the ministry (his great-grandfather was a bishop), Dodgson rejected The avid shutterbug. the priesthood and set his sights in several different directions. He had a passion for photography and created thousands of images alfresco and in his own studio, mostly of young girls, an abiding interest that has inspired psychological diagnosis and historical speculation for decades. He invented a stamp case, a double-sided adhesive, a writing tablet for note-taking in the dark and new and improved rules for tennis, wagering and parliamentary procedure. He wrote half-a-dozen books on algebra and geometry (the Dodgson Condensation algorithm is named after him) as well as four books on the science of logic and one titled Some Popular Fallacies About Vivisection. Adept at wordplay and a logician’s sense of the absurd, Dodgson had also been writing and illustrating a home-grown periodical called Mischmasch since boyhood and had modest success selling his humorous and satirical poems and short stories to national magazines (one poem, “Solitude,” was published under his soon-to-be-famous nom de plume, an Anglo-Irish rearrangement of his first two names). Despite a lifetime stammer, Dodgson was an adept singer, mimic and tale-spinner who enjoyed telling stories to his friends’ children. One story was so popular among his young fans (especially a girl named Alice Liddell), he spent two years getting it down on paper and submitted it to Macmillan. Published with woodblock illustrations by the great John Tenniel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland became an immediate bestseller. Carroll’s combination of fantasy, satire and a linguist’s smorgasbord of nonsense rhymes, puns, neologisms and portmanteaus has captivated readers young and old ever since. A sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, was published six years later and was even more successful. It’s best known for its poems “The Walrus and the Carpenter” and especially “Jabberwocky,” a triumph of literary nonsense that gave us the words “frabjous,”“chortled” and “galumphing.” But despite the fame and fortune the two books brought him, Carroll continued to teach at Oxford and wrote only one more novel, the unsuccessful Sylvie and Bruno. He died of pneumonia a few weeks shy of his 66th birthday, a renaissance man among the Victorians. A page from Dodgson’s original manuscript, with illustrations —Matthew Stafford by the author. John Tenniel’s famous woodblocks would grace the published version.

martial arts training. “When people start, they come for the external benefits, to get in shape,” says Mikyo. “As they stay, the benefits are internal: confidence, self-esteem, it also helps with anxiety. It’s the oldest system of self-improvement. It’s a lifestyle. But also what you learn is realistic self-defense.” Aside from their regular classes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kickboxing and MMA, Marin Mixed Martial Arts is planning on soon adding yoga classes, as well as women’s defense and martial arts fitness. ---------------------------Marin Mixed Martial Arts (MarinMMA)

222 Greenfield Ave., San Anselmo 456.1557 2ND Practical Martial Arts & Marin Karate Kids, Terra Linda, Corte Madera 3RD United Studios of Self Defense, San Anselmo, San Rafael

Tubgg!qjdl BEST NON-MOUNTAIN BIKING Mother country of mountain biking, Marin also offers superb road riding. Among the best is aptly named Paradise Drive around the Tiburon Peninsula. Apart from occasional trucks or speeding sports cars, the road has surprisingly little traffic, especially during weekdays. Recommended ride: From Blackie’s Pasture, cruise the bike path past the soccer field, go right at San Rafael Avenue through Belvedere—single file, note the stop signs— then through Tiburon past the ferry landing. Climb past the lighthouse to the end of the residential district, and the real fun begins—a spectacular, exhilarating multimile mix of curves, hills and sweeping views of the bay. It’s 8 miles from Blackie’s Pasture to the firehouse at the top of Trestle Glen, and a screaming downhill back. (Real lung-busting maniacs go the opposite way.) There’s also a nice approach from the Corte

Madera side, and detours to Paradise Beach County Park or Paradise Cay.

BEST PILATES STUDIO Mill Valley Health Club & Spa is serious about your fitness. And you seriously appreciate that! Clean, spacious, wellappointed with lots of natural light, the family-owned club offers a comfortable yet focused facility to unleash the toned health-nut deep within you. For over 13 years, the MV Health Club has boasted the most comprehensive and unique Pilates program, incorporating current trends in biomechanics and props, encouraging cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. And with additional customized, results-driven fitness training programs and camps, along with small group classes, yoga and spa services, there’s little room for exercise ennui. So really, what have you got to lose?—except inches and pounds... ----------------------------Mill Valley Health Club & Spa

639 E. Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley 380.8787 2ND Novato Pilates, Novato 3RD Elan Fitness Center, San Anselmo

Tubgg!qjdl BEST PLACE TO BELLY FLOP ON THE CHEAP Probably unknown to many Marin residents, College of Marin’s Indian Valley campus has the largest swimming pool in the county—if not the entire Bay Area— and it’s often open to the public. Site of all sorts of swim meets, from kiddie level to high school championships, the IVC pool is truly spectacular—25 yards by 50 meters, with 19 available lanes, and two diving boards at the deep end. Lifeguards are on duty. If your aquatic skills aren’t quite at the Michael Phelps level, inquire about IVC’s 42 >

+ ++ Michael Langer Mill Valley Massage

Thea Langer Mill Valley Massage

Jonah Langer Mill Valley Massage

’Her flamingo was gone across to the other side of the garden, where Alice could see it trying in a helpless sort of way to fly up into a tree.’ MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010 PACIFIC SUN 41


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ALICE jo!Nbsjomboe

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+ + Erika Gutierrez Pleasures of the Heart

Jennifer Islas Pleasures of the Heart

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< 41 Best of Marin 2010 swim classes. Last summer the pool was open Monday through Thursday, 11:30am to 3:30pm, from mid-June through the ďŹ rst week of August and the rates were $5 general; kids $4; seniors $3 (parking $3). ----------------------------IVC pool

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pains are eased and people want to get back to exerciseâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;from sofa spud to the Dipsea in one easy step. ----------------------------Arch Rival

150 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae 461.6588; 206 Strawberry Village, Mill Valley 383.0275 2ND Marin Running Company, San Anselmo 3RD Brad Gilbert Tennis Nation, San Rafael

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+ + Justis Van Tyler Bikram Yoga San Rafael

Chloe Islas Pleasures of the Heart

BEST SPORTS SHOES AND APPAREL Shoes and clothing for runners heading for the Bay to Breakers or the Dipsea are still the bread and butter at Arch Rival, but owner Peter Van Camerik says heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s seeing more and more â&#x20AC;&#x153;nonathleticâ&#x20AC;? people coming through the door. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve heard about the Masai Barefoot Technology shoes and virtually anyone who spends time on his or her feetâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;grocery store clerks, surgeons, waitstaffâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;can beneďŹ t from well-designed footwear. The longtime, well-trained staff at the two stores evaluate the foot, the stride and talk about concerns or injuries in order to get the perfect shoe on every foot. The shoes make such a difference that aches and

The Osher Marin JCC actually has three pools. The indoor pool, heated to 88 degrees, is used for therapeutic classes; the eight-lane outdoor heated lap pool is open year-round and, in the summer, tots have their own pool. On weekends the outdoor pool is separated with four lanes for lap swimming and the other half for family swim. The JCC is gearing up for family summer funâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;after an afternoon of swimming, stick around for an outdoor movie or concert on the lawn. What about eating? Poolside food service (on the lawn, actually) is part of the deal, as is the JCCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pledge to provide the best in pool safety, a model for the community, according to health and ďŹ tness director Kelli Maciel. The premier swim school offers a variety of classesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;not just for kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;including water exercise. The pool is open to the publicâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;pay for the day and get so much more here than a swim. ----------------------------Osher Marin JCC

200 N San Pedro Rd. San Rafael, 444.8000 2ND Indian Valley College, Novato YMCA San Rafael 3RD YMCA, San Rafael

BEST YOGA STUDIO Designed to work 100 percent of the body, Bikram yoga refers to one speciďŹ c style of


BEST pg!2010

+ + + Shahram Bijan ToastNovato

Jennifer Kim San Geronimo Golf Course

Chris Bright San Geronimo Golf Course

She could even make out that one of them didn’t know how to spell ‘stupid,’ and that he had to ask his neighbor to tell him.

the practice: The 90-minute class consists of 26 postures and two breathing exercises done in a room heated to 105 degrees. It not only strengthens, it heals and prevents various afflictions. According to Justis Van Tyler, an instructor at Bikram Yoga San Rafael, nothing else comes close to what this copyrighted variation of Hatha yoga does for one’s body—and spirit. What keeps people coming back? The high energy classes provide each student with instruction and attention. Practitioners at the studio range from teens to octogenar-

Thank You, Marin County, for Voting Us One of the Best! Come by and Say Hello! -ILLER!VENUEs-ILL6ALLEYs 

Thank You For Voting Us Best Martial Arts Studio

ians, beginners to longtime devotees. The heat and the order of the postures allow muscles to warm quickly, making injury much less likely, as freshly oxygenated blood travels to muscles being stretched. Van Tyler says practicing Bikram leads to a “healthy glowing body...lean, light, flexible” and a “peaceful, shining mind.” ----------------------------Bikram Yoga San Rafael

1295 2nd St. # 201, San Rafael 453.9642 2ND Yoga Works, Larkspur and Mill Valley 3RD Red Dragon, Mill Valley <

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ALICE in Marinland

BEST of 2010 cases, LPs, paperbacks, soup spoons and everything in between. ----------------------------Mt. Carmel Salvage Shop

45 Lovell Ave., Mill Valley 388.4332

BEST DAY SPA/BEST FACIAL

Even the most hard-to-please customers will be impressed by the service at Stephan-Hill Jewelers.

Through the Looking-Glass IN ‘THROUGH THE Looking-Glass’—Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—Alice discovers that she can step through a large mirror into a surreal world of exotic beauty. Same could be said of Marin, where our unmatched lineup of boutiques, jewelers, spas and beauty suppliers keep county residents looking splendid throughout the year. We have every confidence our Best of Marin winners could even shed a few years off the Duchess...

BEST BEAUTY SUPPLY COMPANY For 22 years the Marin Beauty Company has been keeping Marin fabulous with an unparalleled array of top-quality products and services. “We have everything you need from head to toe,” says owner Sheri Dunne. Now in three locations, the company’s pampering salons offer facials, manicures, pedicures and 44 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010

full-service hair styling as well as the latest, greenest, healthiest products. “Our staff is trained to know the different qualities of the products we carry,” says general manager Lesley Bonilla, who has been with the MBC for 18 years. “We try to be prescriptive to a customer’s particular needs.”

----------------------------Marin Beauty Company

120 Strawberry Village, Mill Valley 381.6275; 208 Vintage Way, Novato 892.3600; 417 Third St., San Rafael 454.4500 2ND Sally Beauty Supply, San Rafael 3RD Beauty Store & Salon, Novato

Staff pick

Double Best of Marin winner Evo Spa was voted best of for both day spas and facials this year. All due, according to owner Gail Ann, to a staff who lives their motto, “pampering with purpose” and promotes healing inside and out. New at the spa are Bio-mats, used during massage or acupuncture sessions. The mats are impregnated with amethyst crystal channels, believed to emit negative ions and promote healing. Evo Spa offers a full menu of facials, which are carefully geared to the individual customer’s skin type, including LED microcurrent skin rejuvenation, oxygen infusion facials and something called “The Little Miracle.” Relaxation and rejuvenation are goals of most spa treatments, of course, but Evo Spa customers can also lie back and contemplate all the giving back to the community their spa does, such as helping Marin Food Bank, Ritter House and Glide Memorial Church. Or they can think about the products they can pick up anytime in Evo Spa’s boutique, including herbs, vitamins, organic skin care items, clothes and jewelry. The pampering never has to end. ----------------------------Evo Spa

800 Redwood Hwy., Mill Valley 383.3223 Best Spa 2ND Tea Garden Springs 3RD Shibui Gardens Best Facial 2ND Stellar Spa 3RD Marin Beauty Company

BEST CHEAP CLOTHES When you need a new-to-you blouse, blazer, jacket or jumper, hike thyself over to the Mt. Carmel Salvage Shop, where primo castoffs from Mill Valley’s upscale citizenry are available at rock-bottom prices. Browse the racks, shelves and cubbies of this rambling two-story emporium and you’re sure to come upon a fetching bit of raiment or glittering accessory: a vintage silk necktie, a shiny pair of stilettos, cuff-links, earrings and mint-condition chapeaux, jeans and T-shirts for the back yard, a white cotton frock or gray flannel suit for a night on the town. The merchandise is well organized, the volunteer staff are sweet and helpful, and there’s a “changing room” (really just a corner with a mirror and a barely modest curtain) where you can try stuff on. As “Mill Valley’s Only Department Store,” Mt. Carmel also offers a treasure trove of martini glasses, picture frames, dessert plates, table lamps, toys, curtains, pillow-

“BUT THEN, SHALL I NEVER GET ANY OLDER THAN I AM NOW? THAT’LL BE A COMFORT, ONE WAY — NEVER TO BE AN OLD WOMAN — BUT THEN — ALWAYS TO HAVE LESSONS TO LEARN!” —ALICE

BEST DRY CLEANER For 60 years, Gary Casassas’ family has run Marin Cleaners, providing invaluable trust, apparent in their impressive longevity and commitment to apparel and customer care. Because of that, Marin residents “know who they’re dealing with, and that we stand


ALICE in Marinland

BEST of 2010

behind our work,” says Casassa. In addition to dry cleaning, shirt laundry, bed and table linen cleaning and alterations, Marin Cleaners recently began offering couture care—high-end clothing that gets special, hands-on attention. And professional attention really does make a difference. “We have the right equipment to iron-press and clean the right way, and are more in tune with what’s out there in the clothing and cleaning industry.” They also offer free pick-up and delivery service. ---------------------------Marin Cleaners

700 A St., San Rafael 453.5841; 520 Fourth St., San Rafael 454.4792; Cove Shopping Center, 1 Blackfield Dr., Tiburon 388.6221; 818 College Ave., Kentfield 453.8433 2ND Maxwell the Cleaner, Larkspur, Mill Valley, San Rafael 3RD Fairfax French Laundry, Fairfax

BEST GLASSES AND EYEWEAR Touting the Bay Area’s largest selection of distinctive glasses from around the world, 20/20 Optical can adorn your face with the most eye-opening accessory you’ll ever own. Envision the latest styles from top eyewear designers like Oliver Peoples, Paul Smith, Anne et Valentin, Betsey Johnson, Chanel and many more. Your gorgeous peepers will only be enhanced by the expertise and service of owner David Schwartz and staff, as they be-spectacle you with the ultimate in design, comfort and individuality. ---------------------------20/20 Optical

1127 Fourth St., San Rafael 453.2020; 181 San Marin Dr., Novato 892.2020 2ND Rims & Goggles, Mill Valley 3RD Marin Optometry, Mill Valley

+ + Angie Nguyen Three Sisters Nails

Lori Nguyen Three Sisters Nails

‘The first witness was the Hatter. He came in with a teacup in one hand and a piece of bread-and-butter in the other.’

BEST HAIR SALON A full-service beauty salon from head to toe, diPietro Todd is like the Vogue “September Issue” of hair. Always on the forefront of follicle-styling, the salon’s formidable legion of professional hairdressers will dazzle your ’do with their expertise in the craft of color, cuttery,

shape and technique, ensuring that your head looks as good as the rest of you—or, more likely, better. And reclining in their spacious, light-filled salon, you can blissfully sink into your transformation like a slightly disheveled caterpillar to a beautiful well-coiffed butterfly. Ever so helpful, the diPietro Todd Salon Web site even offers this tip from Amita Moticka, the academy’s director of cutting: “Run cool air through hair after a blow dry to set hair and give it shine.” Who knew? DiPietro Todd, that’s who. ---------------------------DiPietro Todd Salon

250 Camino Alto, Mill Valley 388.0250 2ND Marin Beauty Company & Hair Salon, Mill Valley, San Rafael, Novato 3RD Benvenuto, San Anselmo

BEST JEWELER

+ Jennifer Islas Pleasures of the Heart

‘It must be a very pretty dance,’ said Alice timidly.

+ Lily Nguyen Three Sisters Nails

Locally owned and operated, Stephan-Hill Jewelers prides itself on the art of detail. Half of the items carried in the store are designed and manufactured by husband-andwife team John and Marian Garfolo, artists in metalwork and jewelry design. They are inspired by the craftsmanship of European jewelers and travel there on a regular basis to get ideas, as well as collect and sell the work of internationally known jewelers. Working with colored gemstones, they’ve

created award-winning collections, such as their Paradise Pendant series. Designs range from classical to modern with exquisite details bringing the pieces together. John and Marian will consult with you to come up with a personal design for your ring, earrings or pendant. The devil is in the details. And details happen to be a specialty at Stephan-Hill Jewelers. ----------------------------Stephan-Hill Jewelers

1226 Fourth St., San Rafael 459.5808 2ND Julianna’s, Corte Madera 3RD Johann Paul, Greenbrae

BEST LINGERIE For a place that sells sensual accessories and intimate apparel—everything from flirty ruffled baby dolls to naughty crotchless panties “and everything in between, literally and figuratively”—it’s possibly the down-homefriendliest, most un-intimidating shop there is. And, apparently, you agree! A large part of this surprising niceness could be attributed to Pleasures of the Heart’s very empathetic owner, Jennifer Islas, a former librarian whose background in women’s health inspired her to provide a venue for healthy sex education— and, of course, lingerie, of which there is a pleasing and diverse plethora. Jennifer, along with her daughter Chloe and longtime employee Erika Gutierrez, really do their best 46 > to make sure people feel comfortable. MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010 PACIFIC SUN 45


ALICE in Marinland < 45 Best of Marin 2010 The ladies also host events, classes and free services—like a recent “Nutrition for Lovers” group with healthy, delectable, libido-enhancing snacks; “Wisdom of the Face,” a free workshop on the ancient art of Chinese facereading; monthly co-ed discussion groups on sexuality; and occasional classes on how to pleasure women and men orally and manually, taught by popular local author Midori. ---------------------------Pleasures of the Heart

1310 Fourth St., San Rafael 482.9899 2ND Chadwick’s of London, Mill Valley, San Anselmo 3RD Daydreams, Novato

BEST MASSAGE The secret to their success is “keeping it simple.” Mill Valley Massage provides affordable treatment by qualified professionals in a tranquil setting, supporting the belief that regular massage is part of a healthy lifestyle—and some say it even passes as “a passive form of exercise.” And clearly, the benefits are plentiful: Massage promotes relaxation, reduces stress, relieves muscle tension, raises immune efficiency, helps heal musculoskeletal injuries, improves circulation, increases energy, enhances flexibility, improves sleep and creates an overall sense of well-being. Mill Valley Massage—which also has a larger location in San Rafael— offers shorter lunchtime and chair massages, as well as facials, using local, natural,

organic and vegan skincare products. (They’re hoping to add more spa services in the next few months.) There’s no doubt about it—massage is good for the body, mind and soul. And Mill Valley Massage makes it good for the pocketbook, too. ---------------------------Mill Valley Massage

61 Camino Alto, Suite 102, Mill Valley 381.1855; 1007 C St., San Rafael 460.1855 2ND Stellar Spa, Corte Madera 3RD Evo Spa, Mill Valley

BEST MEN’S CLOTHIER Let’s face it: We may be high achievers in this county, but we are not stuffy pedants. And Patrick James Clothiers knows this well. Sure, men find plenty of stylish, high-quality suits and dress clothes here, but the store’s buyers scour every show and market to ���nd the best collections of contemporary fashion for the most discriminating tastes. That means an impressive selection of business casual and sportswear, which Marin men seem to prefer. Customers rely on the professional sales associates—who do far more than merely ring up sales—to achieve the right look. Custom-made clothing and onsite tailoring ensure a proper fit. Along with well-known brands, such as Tommy Bahama, are a number of natty lines including Robert Graham, Joseph Abboud and Jack Victor of Canada, among others. These updated West Coast classics last, style- and quality-wise—

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For some minutes [the caterpillar] puffed away without speaking, but at last it unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said, `So you think you’re changed, do you?’

just as this store has for more than 30 years in Strawberry Village. ----------------------------Patrick James Clothiers

306 Strawberry Village Mill Valley 383.2174 2ND: Gene Hiller Exclusive Menswear, Sausalito 3RD Louis Thomas Fine Men’s Apparel & Formal Wear, Corte Madera

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BEST NAIL CARE

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Lori, Lily and Angie, the three sisters of Three Sisters, have been keeping Marin’s nails shiny and beautiful for 20 satisfying years. “We’re a family business and we love and support each other,” says Angie. “And we care about our customers too.” Lily agrees. “Our clients have been coming here and supporting us for many years and they’re like part of the family. We greet them by name when they walk in the door and we remember their favorite color and shape. It’s a very friendly atmosphere.” “Our customers say this is the cleanest shop around,” continues Angie. “In fact we just got a perfect 100 percent score from the State Board of Cosmetology.” The sisters’ staff of 10 “does everything,” says Lily, “manicures, pedicures, artificial nails—and we help keep your nails healthy. We have hundreds of different colors and we do nail design, too.” 48 >


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Everything in Wonderland has a moral—if only you can find it... “Poor, poor little Alice! She has not only been caught and made to do lessons; she has been forced to inflict lessons on others.”—G.K. Chesterton

O Accumulation

M

ewis Carroll’s Alice books are so ripe with allusion, allegory and arcane Victorian in-jokes, it’s difficult to determine when the author was lambasting the world and its inhabitants and when he was simply indulging his intellectual delight in nonsense, wordplay and childish high spirits. What seems obvious is that Carroll beheld the pompous Victorian society he belonged to with raised eyebrow and could cloak his nettling observations in a sublime sense of the ridiculous. Here are a few themes and concepts from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass that have beguiled analysts of every stripe for over a century. only finds peace when she lets go of her preconceived notions of how things should be and accepts how they are: an epiphany that would please any Zen Buddhist. Alice is a good little girl from a strict 19th-century moral upbringing, but in Wonderland her formal education is totally useless. When she cuts the crap and speaks truth to power, she triumphs.

trial is a fairly scathing indictment of the British legal system, with trivial points of order trumping issues of guilt, innocence, right and wrong and the king/judge attaching great importance to the nonsense testimony of the Knave. Politics and politicians get their due elsewhere, when several characters hold a caucus-race, in which everyone runs in a circle and accomplishes nothing. of wealth as the key to happiness is presented as a loony concept, to say the least. At one point manic investors hug life-size “tickets” as they ostracize the cashpoor Alice and gurgle about smoke worth a thousand pounds per puff; in Through the Looking Glass, the now-grown Alice aspires to wealth and social position and finds both of them illusory, insufficient or unreliable (“the rushes had begun to fade, and to lose all their scent and beauty, from the very moment that she picked them”). O “The Walrus

and the Carpenter”: where to begin? Is it a condemnation of colonial Britain’s duplicity and avarice? A warning against our planet’s diminishing resources? An attack on a species (human) that sheds crocodile tears at the travails of the world as it adds to its problems? Decide for yourself as you devour it again, right on down to the last gruesome couplet.

O Alice

O The

Duchess, a dead ringer for the bad-tempered, self-righteous, rigidly upright Queen Victoria, is a hypocrite as well, making what you might call unseemly advances on our Alice while she proclaims that “Everything’s got a moral if only you can find it.”

If I were a carpenter, and you were a, er… walrus?!

O Sly parodies of ritualistic Victorian etiquette abound (e.g., the pomp and circumstance of

the lobster quadrille and Alice’s surrealistically “proper” coronation banquet). One imperial character, the Duchess, has a foul-tempered frog for a footman and a squealing pig for a child. Practically everyone Alice encounters lives by arbitrary rules and a rigid social structure that are incomprehensible to a logical, unprejudiced child.

In case all of this deep-dish uber-analysis makes you nervous, don’t worry: The books aren’t all about capitalism, class conflict and the hypocrisy of Victorian society. Carroll threw in parodies of contemporary poetry, caricatures of his friends and colleagues and several allusions to non-Euclidean geometry and abstract algebra. He also told a pretty good story. — Matthew Stafford

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When John Lennon later realized that the Carpenter—not the Walrus—was the good guy in Carroll’s poem, he said, ‘Oh, sh--! I picked the wrong guy!’

ince their initial publication 140 years ago, Lewis Carroll’s Alice books and their characters, images, situations and dialogue have entered the popular culture to an extent practically unprecedented by anything this side of Stratford-upon-Avon. Many of the books’ phrases—”curiouser and curiouser,” “down the rabbit hole,” “through the looking glass,” “Wonderland” itself—are commonly employed to evoke a perplexing otherworld where perception is altered and absurdity is the order of the day. “Off with their heads!” has become a universal cry of imperious discontent; “jabberwocky” is shorthand for divine, nonsensical doubletalk. And in thousands of books, plays, poems,

films, television shows, concert works, computer games and pop songs created over the past century, Alice’s journey has served as symbol, inspiration, departure point and cultural touchstone. The books’ immediate popularity inspired a rash of imitations and parodies (1902’s Lost in Blunderland was a satirical attack on Prime Minister Arthur Balfour’s role in the second Boer War). Many employed the concept of a plucky youngster who finds herself in a fantastical alternative world: Dorothy in Oz, Peter Pan’s friends in Neverland, the kids adrift in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia. James Joyce, a neologistic wordsmith as facile and convoluted as Carroll himself, paid tribute to Alice throughout Finnegans Wake, e.g., “Alicious, The Mad Hatter tried to steal a ruby from twinstreams twinestraines, through alluring glass or the Golden Buddha of Bergama’s forehead alas in jumboland?” Frumious bandersnatches make in a 1967 episode of ‘Batman.’ cameo appearances throughout Larry Niven’s science fiction stories, the Andrzej Sapkowski’s story “Golden Afternoon” recounts Alice’s adventures from the point of view of the Cheshire Cat, and in Boris Starling’s Vodka, Alice Liddell (the reallife inspiration ÓBmjdjpvt-!uxjotusfbnt! for Carroll’s Alice) finds herself uxjoftusbjoft-!uispvhi! in post-Soviet Russia battling bmmvsjoh!hmbtt!ps!bmbt!jo! her own “drinkme” alcoholism. kvncpmboe@Ô! And Joyce Carol Oates’ Wonderland has more in common with Lewis Carroll than the title. There have been at least four operas and four concert works based on the Alice books, but Carroll’s snarky, subversive, surrealistic fairy tale has been especially popular among rockers and rappers, as witness the several dozen pop-musical tributes that have Edward Harold Begbie’s 1903 satire often appeared since the Woodstock era. Primary among shows up on Top Ten book lists of Boer War them are Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit,” a 50 > historians.

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< 47 Best of Marin 2010 “We just make sure everyone leaves happy,” says Angie, summing things up nicely. ----------------------------Three Sisters Nails

963 Grand Ave., San Rafael 454.9662 2ND Marin Beauty Company & Nail Salon, Novato 3RD Maya Diaz Studios, San Rafael

BEST SHOE STORE Not that long ago, shoe shoppers—particularly women—had to choose between looking stylish or feeling comfortable. These days, footwear can feel good and be fashionable, too. And that’s exactly what shoe-aholics love about Lark Shoes. Maggie and Harry Kupelian carry all the top-of-the-line brands of comfort shoes for men and women. That includes low heels for women as well as an array of flats, boots and the trendy gladiator sandals. The wide selection of brands ensures shoes to fit a

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‘Have some wine,’the March Hare said in an encouraging tone. 48 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010

range of foot shapes and sizes. And, unlike many bigger stores, customers can expect advice and help with fit—even an opinion, if desired. Thirty years after opening in Larkspur Landing, a larger second branch opened in San Anselmo last October, with the same brands and friendly service. Daughter Tina and sons Sero and Vatche are all involved in this family operation. Unfortunately, Harry can’t be in two places at once, so shoe repair—his specialty—is only available at the Larkspur location. ----------------------------Lark Shoes 2239 Larkspur Landing Circle Larkspur

461.6226; 890 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. (Red Hill Shopping Center) San Anselmo 258.9954 2ND: Sole Desire, San Rafael 3RD: Shoes at Bon Air, Greenbrae

BEST WOMEN’S BOUTIQUE Bringing stylish clothing to Marinites for 13 years, Viva Diva carries unique designs at good prices. The friendly, outgoing staff helps each customer find the perfect outfit that suits her life without being pushy or snobby. They want you to leave the shop loving what you’ve purchased. If you’re looking for the perfect dress for prom, stop in. They have many dresses to choose from and have an exclusivity policy on the ones that are sold so you won’t see anyone else walking around in “your” dress! Looks for spring include bright colored dresses with racer backs in both maxi and above-knee lengths, tubes and halters in eye-catching prints and drapey necklaces. Viva Diva— exclusive styles for gals on any budget. ----------------------------Viva Diva

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lyrical ode to recreational drugs thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s as psychedelic as the novels themselves, and the Beatlesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;I Am the Walrus,â&#x20AC;? which John Lennon (a Carroll enthusiast) based on â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Walrus and the Carpenter.â&#x20AC;? Tom Waits wrote the songs for a stage adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, and everyone from Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty and Stevie Nicks to Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stafani, Cradle of Filth and Marilyn Manson have contributed their own Wonderlandish interpretations to the canon. DJ Fresh even sampled a spoken-word excerpt from The Jefferson Airplaneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;White Rabbitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; completely jumbles the plots of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Aliceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Adventures in Wonderlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; and â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Through the Looking-Glassâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;; but, then again, they were on a lot of drugsâ&#x20AC;Ś

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Through the Looking Glass in one recent recording. Wonderlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s characters and situations have also cropped up in movies and TV shows beyond the many adaptations of the two novels. David Wayne made a mesmerizing Mad Hatter in the campy old Batman television series. The White Rabbit turned up in a particularly surreal episode of the original Star Trek. The Simpsons references Alice on a fairly regular basis, and Lost wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exist without Lewis Carroll. Terry Gilliamâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jabberwocky, Jim Hensonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Dreamchild, the Matrix trilogy and the 2002 horror flick Resident Evil abound with references to the books and poems as well. Seems we just canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get enough of that spirited little girl and her tantalizing, bewildering alternative universe.â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Matthew Stafford


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DESTINATION TIBURON Enjoy shops, restaurants, biking and views in this welcoming city by the sea. Fine Jewelry & Estate Pieces

A wonderful selection of gifts & cards from the largest collection of card companies in Marin. A boutique with fun gifts, large and small

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DESTINATION TIBURON Enjoy shops, restaurants, biking and views in this welcoming city by the sea. Stop by Caffe Acri or Servino Ristorante and enjoy fine food and drinks on Tiburon’s beautiful waterfront

bar s Ristorante s Banquet 9 Main street tiburon 435-2676

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ALICE in Marinland

BEST of 2010 Best Carpeting 2ND Ken’s Carpets and Flooring, San Rafael 3RD City Carpets, San Rafael Best Hardwood Flooring 2ND Marin Hardwood Floor Center 3RD Mill Valley Bamboo

BEST FRAME SHOP Serving Marin for 24 years, Frame Crafters Gallery has withstood the test of time. With two locations in Bon Air and Strawberry Village, quality framing and customer service are their specialties. They have an extensive selection of frames and mats to choose from and their sales people have an artistic eye and lots of experience if you need good advice. Frame Crafters’ staff are willing to tackle any job and will even do home or office consultations as well as pick-up and delivery. The team at Frame Crafters is passionate about their business and are all artists in some capacity. From current trends, such as bright-colored lacquer frames, to timeless classics, Frame Crafters provides topnotch service. ----------------------------Frame Crafters Gallery

320 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae 461.7688; 614 Strawberry Village, Mill Valley 383.8793 2ND Frame-O-Rama, Mill Valley 3RD Fast Frame, Novato Take a plunge down the rabbit hole at Fairfax Lumber.

BEST GIFT SHOP

Down the Rabbit Hole WHILE SEARCHING FOR the Duchess’s gloves and fan, Alice enters the rabbit’s house and immediately grows to such a large size that she’s too big to get out. If only she’d had our Best of Marin list of home, garden and maintenance winners to relieve her of any daunting household situation, with quick and friendly service, of course. BEST BEDS AND BEDDING Our bodies heal during deep sleep—and far too many of us don’t get enough of it. But that’s not the case says Mark Battersby of Duxiana with the handmade-fromthe-base-up Dux bed, featuring thin wire, tempered steel, interlocking coils and latex top pad (a natural material, no offgassing); the body sinks right in without having to adjust. And Battersby’s not spinning a tale—he has sold for every mattress company and never come across another like this. No shortcuts on materials—all are high quality, natural, from sustainable 54 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010

sources. In fact, Dux was eco before the word was coined. While the initial outlay may be high, over time the value vs. cost works out in one’s favor—especially since no one can put a price on a good night’s sleep. Unlike other mattress systems that must be replaced every 10-20 years, only the separate top pad has to be replaced every 10 years or so—the mattress itself is a keeper. Top that mattress off with an amazingly comfortable pillow and a selection of the store’s gorgeous, luxurious linens from Germany, Italy and Portugal, and drift off.

----------------------------Duxiana

901 A St. San Rafael 459.0365 2ND Mary’s Futons, San Rafael 3RD Warm Things, San Rafael

BEST CARPETING/BEST HARDWOOD FLOORING Co-owners Ron Leach and Steve Villa say their business is getting corny, in a literal sense. New to Rafael Floors are corn carpets—no petroleum products used to make the soft, full fibers that hold dye well and will, eventually, with the help of a special spray, biodegrade. After 53 years of flooring Marin, they’ve learned a few things that make them a multiple Diamond-certified company and repeat Best of Marin winner, such as having the installers be their employees so they can respond to the customers’ needs quickly. In the current housing economy they’ve found their business shifting as well—they see customers buying better quality hardwood and carpet because they’re looking for lasting beauty for their own homes. Rafael Floors is affiliated with Abbey Carpet, and they install laminates and vinyl and do refinishing work as well. ----------------------------Rafael Floors

822 Francisco Blvd., San Rafael 456.3656

“We entertain all aspects of your personality at Great Acorn,” says co-owner Judy Morris, discussing her singular emporium of the unique, the collectible and the downright unusual. “We have something for your wife, your child, your grandma and everyone else.” Indeed. Among the eclectic merchandise are garden sculptures made from recycled tools, artwork by top talents like Tom Killion and Kathleen Lipinski, pounded Haitian wall hangings made from old oil drums, burnished 56 >

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ceramic rattles, jewelry crafted from vintage beads and pins, “unusual yet functional” sweaters, belts and scarves...and don’t forget the bacon-themed board games and the ever-popular squirrel underwear. Handblown glass, garden accessories, books and pottery are popular as well. “If it catches our attention, we get it for the shop,” says co-owner Mary Rathbun. “We listen to our customers and try to provide fun things at reasonable prices.” Rathbun and Morris have owned the store for 34 years, “watching our customers go from our toy table to our jewelry counter.” ----------------------------Great Acorn Co., Inc.

800 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo 454.2990 2ND David M. Brian, Greenbrae 3RD Folk Art Gallery, San Rafael

BEST CLEANING SERVICE Those who use Molly Maid of Marin are not only getting a perennial Best of Marin winner vacuuming their rugs and dusting their bric-a-brac, they’re getting a crew rated in the top 20 of Molly Maid franchises nationwide. Pat Belardi, who has owned and operated her army of cleaners since 2002, says their success is due to their professionalism and dependability. They train all employees on top-quality equipment and arm them with environmentally safe products. “The same kind of products used in hospitals and restaurants,” Pat says. Which should make your home feel not only clean, but healing and nourishing as well. ----------------------------Molly Maid of Marin

424 Irwin St., San Rafael 578.3627 2ND Housekeepers of Marin, San Rafael 3RD Maid Brigade of Marin, San Rafael

BEST HAULING The guys at Hurricane Hauling can do it all. Sure they won for Best Hauling, but they also do deconstruction, demolition, salvage, tree work and yard service. Best of all, they do it as sustainably as possible. A Bay Area certified green business and recipient of a sustainability award, Hurricane repurposes or recycles as much as possible, as well as powering their vehicles and equipment with recycled biodiesel. By offering deconstruction, materials can be repurposed and clients get a tax write-off. Materials are either donated to charitable organizations or sold via Craig’s List or Hurricane’s annual sale. After 21 years in Marin, Hurricane Hauling has earned its reputation as a business that gives a fair price and goes the extra mile to take care of the planet. ----------------------------Hurricane Hauling

425 Irwin St., San Rafael 456.3407 2ND Got Hauling?, San Rafael 3RD Grange Debris Box and Wrecking, Corte Madera

61 >

+ Pat Belardi Molly Maid

‘The Queen smiled and passed on.’ 56 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010


Thank You, Marin, for Voting Me into the Hall of Fame! 1â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 4 hour consultation for your design & garden needs Landscape site planning and design for small gardens Large projects including pools, patios, outdoor ďŹ replaces & ďŹ re-pits, outdoor kitchens & barbeques, spas, ponds, fountains, decks, walkways, lighting, planting and irrigation Planting designs include sustainable landscapes, deer resistant, mediterranean, cottage, formal, tropical, Asian, roses and perennial cutting, California casual, and more

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LANDSCAPE DESIGN, INC.

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s)NTERIORAND%XTERIOR s4OP1UALITYSPECIAL 20%OFF POWER WASHING s#OMMERCIALAND Spring is the best time-ATERIALSAND,ABOR of year to power 2ESIDENTIAL wash your home. s2EPAIRSTO$ECKS With your plants 7ALLS 'UTTERS s%XPERT3URFACE already acclimated to the rain, it is less of 7INDOWS 4RIM %TC 0REPARATION a shock to them than power washing in s7E#LEAN s3TUCCO3PECIALISTS 'UTTERS4OO the summer heat. Offer expires 4/30/10 s0RESSURE7ASHING

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Years Thank You, Marin, for Voting Us the Best Place to Shop for Home Furnishings and Home Accessories. 30,000 square feet of Furnishings Interior Design Services

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Thank you for voting us Best Frame Shop in Marin!

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Providing Great Care & Attention to the ONE Tree We are Working on at that Moment

BEST TREE CARE SERVICE 3 Years in a Row! Serving Marin County for 20 Years

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2158 4th St. ->Â&#x2DC;Ă&#x160;,>v>iÂ?Ă&#x160;UĂ&#x160;{x{Â&#x2021;Ă&#x201C;äĂ&#x201C;ÂŁ Ă&#x153;Ă&#x153;Ă&#x153;°Â&#x201C;>Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x152;Â&#x2C6;Â&#x2DC;Â&#x2021;Â&#x2026;>Ă&#x20AC;Ă&#x20AC;Â&#x2C6;Ă&#x192;Ă&#x160;°VÂ&#x153;Â&#x201C;

Tad Jacobs, Owner CertiďŹ ed Arborist 8281

60 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 26 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; APRIL 1, 2010

Mike Queirolo, CertiďŹ ed Arborist 8291

Uriel Barron, CertiďŹ ed Arborist 1328


ALICE jo!Nbsjomboe

BEST pg!2010 < 56 Best of Marin 2010

BEST HOME ACCESSORIES

+

Marin people-who-live-in-homes are simply thrilled to be able to furnish their space with the unique, inspiring and eclectic accessories of Summer House. Robert Adams and his pro-home team are only happy to oblige, offering up a bevy of lovely linens, leather ottomans, scented candles and triple-milled soaps, jewelry, scarves, French pottery and the artisanal, from the elaborately elegant to the shabby chic, in all price ranges and stylistic tendencies—perhaps things you may not need but everything you definitely want. ----------------------------Summer House

Brian McLeran McLeran Roofing

+ + Steve Cerami Ceramic Tile Design

James Greenhill Marin Color Service

‘It’s the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!’

21 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley 383.6695 2ND Feathered Nest, Novato 3RD Sur, Fairfax

BEST HOME FURNISHINGS It’s certainly not your average “furniture store.” But with 33 years in the home-decor biz, and over 30,000 square feet of displays, Sunrise Home is definitely bigger than a boutique—although it sort of acts like one. Annie Bowman, along with her team of accredited interior designers, has tallied about half as many Best of wins as years they’ve been open. The massive showroom, with its meticulously stylized rooms meant to 62 >

Your Link to Marin Free e-bulletins from the Pacific Sun that provide the perfect quick read digest of Marin news, opinions, restaurant and film reviews, and entertainment picks for the coming week. Ask us about advertising options in express! Call 415/485-6700 for more info

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TASTE T HE M A N Y F L AVO RS O F M A RINâ&#x20AC;Ś

SPRING/SUMMER 2010

ALICE jo!Nbsjomboe

+ + + + Ron Leach Rafael Floors

Steve Villa Rafael Floors

David Haydon Il Davide

Eva Haydon Il Davide

Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. `I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see any wine,â&#x20AC;&#x2122; she remarked.

< 61 Best of Marin 2010 inspire, encompasses practically every genre of design, with â&#x20AC;&#x153;a lot more contemporary offerings than weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve had in a long time,â&#x20AC;? said Bowman, whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s noted a trend recently in â&#x20AC;&#x153;greenâ&#x20AC;? furniture, natural upholstery and â&#x20AC;&#x153;more pieces that are easy on the environment.â&#x20AC;? All the in-house designers regularly attend educational meetings, keeping up-to-date on the latest and greatest in aesthetic know-how. Wielding this creative wisdom enables Sunrise Homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s designers to ascertain the best kinds of furniture for their clients, given their particular lifestyle, tastes, budget and the ways in which they hope to utilize their homeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;beyond merely â&#x20AC;&#x153;bragging rightsâ&#x20AC;? to envious neighbors. ----------------------------Sunrise Home

631 B St., San Rafael 456.3939 2ND Feathered Nest, Novato 3RD Maryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Futons, San Rafael

BEST HOME ORGANIZER

SPRING/SUMMER 2010 PUBLISHING DATE: May 21, 2010 DEADLINE: April 20, 2010

TO A DVER TISE IN MENUS OF MARIN C ALL 415.4 8 5.670 0 PACIFIC SUN.COM 62 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 26 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; APRIL 1, 2010

â&#x20AC;&#x153;We organize your home from attic to basement and make it work better,â&#x20AC;? says Margaret Walsh, president of ChangingPlaces. Under the guidance of Walshâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s head supervisor, a feng shui master, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we put your cupboards and closets in order, organize your belongings, create ofďŹ ces that work and build bookshelves and storage systems to improve your houseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s energy and make it ďŹ&#x201A;ow.â&#x20AC;? The ďŹ rm also assembles teams of eco-friendly painters, plumbers and contractors to meet your remodeling needs and prepares homes for the real estate market, helping with downsizing, packing, estate liquidation and moving. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We make downsizing as easy as possible, helping our clients sell or donate their belongings so they can live a simpler life.â&#x20AC;? ----------------------------Changing-Places, Inc.

P.O. Box 629, Sausalito 461.6257 2ND A Space for Everything, San Rafael 3RD California Space Organizers, San Rafael

BEST KITCHEN/ BATH REMODELER As owners of Kitchens and More, Rosemarie and Krikor Halajian realize theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re designing precious space in the heart of a home that impacts all lives, many times a day. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is a room people share with others,â&#x20AC;? say the Halajians. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an expression of themselves. After the kitchen is done, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re living with that space.â&#x20AC;? A fullservice design, supply and construction company, Kitchens and More has been supplying kitchens and baths of all styles and materials in Marin homes since 1992. Creating partnerships with their customers enables the design team to give their customers what they want, with a healthy dose of positive energy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We want them to be happy through the entire process. At the end of the project, we like them to look at it and feel that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not any point that didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pay backâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;that thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing [about the process] they would change.â&#x20AC;? ----------------------------Kitchens and More

4178 Redwood Hwy., San Rafael 479.1000 2ND Lamperti, San Rafael 3RD Marin Kitchenworks, Novato

BEST LANDSCAPE DESIGNER No one can call partners Kathleen Slattery and Dave Phelps uneducated about their business. Slattery is an AIA architect and Phelps is a landscape architect, landscape contractor and certiďŹ ed arborist. The advantage to Gardens & Gables customers, they say, is the whole-project expertise and experience they bring to the table, if not the garden. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our designs can be connected and ďŹ&#x201A;ow smoothly,â&#x20AC;? Slattery says. They are especially good at habitat gardens, removing lawns and putting in alternatives, and developing ground water and rain water catchment for a greener green space around Marin homes and businesses.


BEST pg!2010

+

Thank You for Voting Us #1! 8 X winner

Dave Phelps Gardens & Gables

CARPET

+

+ Kathleen Slattery Gardens & Gables

Al Baylacq Good Earth

5 X winner

HARDWOOD CALL TODAY FOR A FREE ESTIMATE

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;If the Queen was to ďŹ nd it out, we should all have our heads cut off, you know.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;

----------------------------Gardens & Gables

21 Joseph Court, San Rafael 499.0331 2ND American Soil and Stone, San Rafael 3RD Earthwomen Plus One, Fairfax

BEST LUMBER & HARDWARE STORE Popularly considered a Marin institute for building supplies in the upper end of Ross Valley, Fairfax Lumber & Hardware was founded in 1912 and is 100 percent employee-owned. Augie Venezia, a 32year staff member, believes its long-term success is due to the shopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s broad range of materials and full line of hardware options that are solutions-based, rather than lifestyle-based. Whether youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re remodeling, doing household repair or new construction, this is where you go to get what you needâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;not what you think might be cool. â&#x20AC;&#x153;No â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;feel-goodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; stuff here,â&#x20AC;? laughs Augie. Fairfax Lumber also stocks a nursery and has become a leader in the assortment of nontoxic, recycled and nature-friendly â&#x20AC;&#x153;greenâ&#x20AC;? products available. ----------------------------Fairfax Lumber & Hardware

109 Broadway Blvd., Fairfax 453.4410 2ND Pini Ace Hardware, Novato 3RD Goodman Building Supply, Mill Valley

BEST MOVING AND STORAGE â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never had a complaint in the history of the company, and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never missed a move,â&#x20AC;? says Mario Batz, general manager of Johnson & Daly, the go-to choice for the countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s moving and storing needs for over three decades. Why? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Integrity, dependability and value. If we break it, we ďŹ x it. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re very price-competitive: We offer free boxes, free storage and percentage discounts. Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re absolutely full serviceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;we take pictures of your furniture and belongings, container-

ize them, move them, unpack them where you want them and take away the boxes. We can even hook up your stereo.â&#x20AC;? The familyowned ďŹ rm has a ďŹ&#x201A;eet of 23 trucks, 40-plus employees with workersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; comp and a 150,000-square-foot warehouse, the biggest in the North Bay. Johnson & Daly also does heavy liftingâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;safes, cars, pianos, you name itâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and can handle moves across town or around the globe. ----------------------------Johnson & Daly Moving and Storage

110 Belvedere St., San Rafael 491.4444 2ND Earl Farnsworth Express, San Rafael 3RD Aloha Moving & Storage, San Rafael

BEST PAINTING CONTRACTOR Nick Kunst calls his business â&#x20AC;&#x153;the Nordstromâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of painting,â&#x20AC;? and with good reason. In business since 1871, Kunst Bros. covers all the bases, from doing any preliminary repairs to recommending color schemes. Employees are all long term, wear uniforms and are neat and easy to identify. The company is insured, licensed and bonded and a helpful person always answers the ofďŹ ce phone. Kunst Bros. is a throwback to the way many businesses used to beâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;quality work done by people you can trust. They are proud to be a green business, recycling all materials and using mostly low-VOC paints, making theirs a zero-waste company. For superior workmanship on your next paint job, call Kunst Bros., a fourth-generation family-owned and -operated business. ----------------------------Kunst Bros. Painting

76 Belvedere St., San Rafael 456.4044 2ND McCarthy Painting, San Rafael 3RD Giesen Painting, San Rafael

456-3658

Summer Festivals 2010 A 3-Month preview of whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s HOT in Marin this Summer!

Coming Friday, May 21

A roundup of Marin Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sizzling events of summer, from 4th of July parades to the Twilight Criterium to the San Anselmo Art & Wine Festival. This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s issue will be highlighting events in San Rafael, San Anselmo, Sausalito, Corte Madera, Mill Valley, Fairfax, Novato, Larkspur and Tiburon. This edition will surely be kept and referred to throughout the summer.

For more information about advertising call

415/485-6700

BEST PAINT STORE Marin Color Service has been providing paint and paint-related services to Marinites for 62 years, and, says longtime man64 > ager James Greenhill, it continues to

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&OURTH3TREET 3UITE"ENTRANCEON#IJOS3T s3AN2AFAEL #! MARCH 26 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; APRIL 1, 2010 PACIFIC SUN 63


ALICE in Marinland

BEST of 2010 tention are what turns on the power for Martin & Harris—and you, according to the polls—with over 50 years of successful service and supplying appliances in Marin. Buying a household fixture is generally more necessity than sport and the M&H sales team aims for quick-and-easy fulfillment, even going as far as prompt, free delivery and the recycling of your old goods. Knowing that no machine is a perfect vessel forever, owner Paul Berry takes pride in his experienced technicians (some of whom have been on staff for over 25 years) who are on-site to care for your shiny, new, energy-efficient, stainless steel frontload washer from the very first cycle to the last. With a 3,500-square-foot showroom, top name brands from Amana to Whirlpool, and every imaginable cooking, cleaning or refrigerating apparatus you’d need, why not plug in? ----------------------------Martin & Harris Appliances

+ Mary Rathbun Great Acorn

+ Judy Morris Great Acorn

‘No, no!’ said the Queen. ‘Sentence first--verdict afterwards.’

< 63 Best of Marin 2010 keep up with customers’ needs. From little old ladies to high-end contractors, customers can count on getting quality products at the right price. With the largest selection of green paints and products in the area— including paint removers and cleaning supplies—more goods at lower prices for the budget-conscious, expertise in matching as well as mixing colors, Marin Color strives to stock everything a painter might want or need. And Marin Color is there to help with the process from start to finish: The in-house color consultant is available Monday through Saturday and the guys behind the counter will advise on the best materials for specific tasks. So forget the big chains, and let these pros color your world. ----------------------------Marin Color Service

770 Second St. San Rafael 453.4065; 703 Grant Ave. Novato, 897.9411 2ND Tamalpais Paint & Color, Corte Madera and Mill Valley 3RD Jackson’s Hardware, San Rafael

BEST PATIO FURNITURE “Why should I have to give my reasons for sitting in the midday sun?” Ray Davies of the Kinks famously asked in one of the band’s hit songs--and we don’t think he should. That’s why we recommend he check out Frellen’s Casual and Outdoor patio furniture for those upcoming sunny middays of 2010. Whether you’re a British Invasion icon who prefers cast aluminum and wrought iron or a value-seeking Marinite dreaming of afternoons in wicker and teak, Frellen’s will have you outdoors and casual at 64 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010

card, spooky Halloween greetings, handmade Valentines, a dizzying array of Christmas cards and hilarious, outrageous, sappy, sociopolitical, transcendental or simply beautiful cards for no particular occasion. (That Muir Woods snapshot should satisfy the A. Day conundrum.) Two Neat also sells cards by local artists and photographers as well as a unique selection of CDs, DVDs, gift wrap, T-shirts, postcards and goofy, avant-garde or otherwise cutting-edge toys and memorabilia (Sigmund Freud action figure, anyone?). ----------------------------Two Neat

111 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley 381.4222

2158 Fourth St., San Rafael 454.2021 2ND Standards of Excellence, San Rafael 3RD Rafael Appliance Co., San Rafael

a great price. Pass the lemonade, please. ---------------------------Frellen’s Casual and Outdoor

530 Francisco Blvd., W., San Rafael 459.6144 2ND Jackson’s Hardware, San Rafael 3RD West End Nursery, San Rafael

BEST PLACE TO BUY APPLIANCES Longevity, low prices and personal at-

“IT WAS MUCH PLEASANTER AT HOME, WHEN ONE WASN’T ALWAYS GROWING LARGER AND SMALLER, AND BEING ORDERED ABOUT BY MICE AND RABBITS.”

Staff pick

—ALICE

BEST PLACE TO FIND AN ARBOR DAY CARD Arbor Day’s coming up April 30, and if you’re worried about finding the perfect card for your favorite Druid, head to Two Neat, where you’re bound to find something suitable among the wide array of greetings, guffaws and gimcracks. This is the place to come for a sweet or sassy birthday

+ Sharon Nelson Sol Food

‘Alice put down her flamingo, and began an account of the game’

BEST PLUMBER Entering its 26th year of business in Marin, it’s easy to see why O’Connell Plumbing has earned the loyalty of its customers. “Tak-

+ + Robin Wechsler A Dove Place

Wayne Wechsler A Dove Place


ALICE in Marinland ing care of people is what we do best,” says general manager Paul Guzman, who’s taken over daily operations from recently retired founder Ed O’Connell (Rebecca Kleiner is the current de facto owner). “You’re our neighbor, not just our customer,” explains Paul. “People trust us—we see everything nobody else does—and we don’t take that lightly. We try to live up to that trust.” It’s a small company but Paul says their goal is to be responsible contractors, educating their customers about options so that they can make an informed decision, and implement plumbing what will last. “We aim to be our customers’ plumbers for life.” ----------------------------O’Connell Plumbing

P.O. Box 641, Fairfax 457.8932 2ND Ongaro and Sons, San Anselmo 3RD Peter Levi Plumbing, San Rafael

“READ THE DIRECTIONS AND DIRECTLY YOU WILL BE DIRECTED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.”

—DOORKNOB

BEST RESALE/ CONSIGNMENT SHOP After more than 25 years in the antique business, Robin and Wayne Wechsler are taking Dove Place to a whole new level. Son Matt has joined as their “tech guy,” giving their treasures even more exposure to a worldwide market. Dove Place is still the Marin place to sell single consigned goods or an entire estate, or to buy. (Right now is a marvelous time to buy rare and beautiful objects, Wayne points out.) But www.doveplaceantiques.com allows shoppers from Tamalpais to Timbuktu to peruse the estate jewelry, furniture, objects d’art, clocks, stemware and other merchandise. “While Best of Marin is good, we’re going for Best in World,” Robin says. ----------------------------Dove Place Antiques & Consignments

160 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo 453.1490 2ND Stella’s Fine Consignments, San Anselmo 3RD Encore, San Rafael

BEST ROOFER Charles McLeran established his full-service McLeran Roofing in Marin in 1929. And in 1978, his son Brian took over, taking to heart his father’s original motto, “Depend-

BEST of 2010 able Roofing Service.” With that in mind, Brian takes each job personally—whether it’s a small leak or complete overhaul, he always goes out of his way to take care of his customers. “It all pays off,” he says. Nowadays, while Brian has become more involved in community service and nonprofit work, Tarry Winfrey, who’s been with the company for 20 years, is in charge of day-to-day operations, carrying on the family tradition of dependable roofing service and treating every customer like family. ----------------------------McLeran Roofing

1945 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael 456.7663 2ND Marin County Roofing 3RD Morris Roofing

BEST SELF-STORAGE No matter what the reason, the act of moving can be a stressful, exhausting and overwhelming endeavor. Thankfully, Andree and John (aka “Dr. J”) Jansheski have made it their business for nearly three decades to lighten the load. And in 2006, Bellam Self Storage became solarpowered—within the past year, they’ve switched all gas to electric—making it the only certified green self-storage facility in the county. It’s a clean concrete building with stable temperature year-round, a gated entry and topnotch security, fully staffed seven days a week, and can accommodate the largest moving trucks in a covered loading area. The Bellam staff can offer and give assistance on how to pack, what size storage is needed, how to pack boxes or ship a crate, providing all supplies and free informational brochures. When it comes down to it, they just want to figure out what’s best for you, even if it involves going elsewhere—but really, why would you? ----------------------------Bellam Self Storage

24 Bellam Blvd., San Rafael 454.1983. 2ND Heirloom Storage, Novato 3RD Self-Storage Emporium of Larkspur

director of marketing, agree this creates a “dynamic and culture that are unique,” allowing the company to attract and keep the best agents in the business—instilling confidence in buyers and sellers. ----------------------------Frank Howard Allen

10 offices throughout Marin 2ND Bradley Real Estate 3RD Coldwell Banker

BEST TILE AND STONE Located in San Rafael since 1983, Ceramic Tile Design has seen trends come and go. They are very excited about the newest tile to come out of Italy—digital imaging of stone. The best patterns of real stone are reproduced using photography onto ceramic tiles; it’s so realistic with texture, color and pattern that you can’t tell the tile is not the real thing. Since no mining is involved, the tile is environmentally sound and it’s very durable and doesn’t need sealing. CTD carries the finest selection of tiles for any budget. Their sales team is knowledgeable and good at design, offering customers unsurpassed service. With over 1 million tiles in its inventory, CTD has the selection and service for any size job. ----------------------------Ceramic Tile Design

2ND CTW Designs, San Rafael 3RD Marin Tile Supply, Novato

BEST WINDOWS AND DOORS Window Warehouse has been outfitting Marin’s residences and business buildings with panes of glass, hinged entryways and skylights for 25 years. A few weeks ago, the Campodonico family sold the 8,000square-foot store—although Steve Campodonico is staying on as sales manager— to Eric Ziedrich, owner of Healdsburg Lumber. Ziedrich says he has no desire to change what seemed to be working so well, giving Steve all the credit for this year’s Best of Marin win. But there may be some “enhancements,” like introducing new products and expanding into window coverings, cabinets and kitchen design. The primary focus will remain windows and doors, with repair work and house calls made by all service staff, who still do all the recommendations, measurements and installations you’ve appreciated and acknowledged over the years. ----------------------------Window Warehouse

5776 Paradise Dr., Corte Madera 924.8388 2ND Glass & Sash, San Rafael 3RD Novato Glass, Novato <

846 W. Francisco Blvd., San Rafael 485.5180

+ John Bellam Storage

+ Andree Bellam Storage

BEST REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE Frank Howard Allen, founded right here in Marin and focused on the North Bay, celebrates its centennial in June (watch for the announcement of a major community service event in recognition of that feat). Under the guidance of longtime owner and CEO Larry Brackett, the company has grown (a new office opens in Larkspur next month) large enough to sustain all the services home buyers and sellers want and need, yet it remains small enough to maintain a close-knit, family feel. The direct link to management is empowering, giving agents a voice and sense of belonging. Brackett, president Noreen Smith, along with Ronna Somers, general manager and Claudia Coury,

‘Behead that Dormouse! Turn that Dormouse out of court! Suppress him! Pinch him! Off with his whiskers!’ MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010 PACIFIC SUN 65


ALICE in Marinland

BEST of 2010 ----------------------------Mike’s Bikes

836 Fourth St., San Rafael 454.3747. 2ND Mt. Tam Bikes, Mill Valley 3RD Sunshine Bicycles, Fairfax

“I DON’T BELIEVE THERE’S AN ATOM OF MEANING IN IT.” —ALICE

Staff pick BEST COLLEGIATE WORM FRATERNITY

The produce is 100-percent pesticide-free at Good Earth.

The Hookah-Smoking Caterpillar Awards THOUGH IT TAKES place in sooty Industrial Age England, ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ promotes a very small ecological footprint. Children frolicking in the great outdoors, characters eating (and smoking) organically grown herbs and veggies, fossilfuel-free interdimensional transportation... If the Mad Hatter and the Dormouse ever need a new bike to get to the March Hare’s pesticide-free green-tea party, they’ll be in good hands in Marin.

Staff pick BEST ALPINE GETAWAY In the mood for a little yodeling and lederhosing but the airfare to Zweilütschinen is just too altitudinous? Scale the flanks of the sleeping maiden to the venerable Mountain Home Inn, an upscale treehouse of an aerie where one can enjoy the beauty, stillness and arboreal fragrance of Mt. Tamalpais in bucolic comfort. 66 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010

The inn’s wonderfully rustic ambience is accented with branch-frame barstools, dried-twig chandeliers and mounted snowshoes, and there’s a lovely deck overlooking the perfumed, tree-filled canyon below where you can toast the redwoods, the mist and the mountain greenery. The 10 overnight accommodations all face the bay and the sunrise and might offer a private balcony, a fireplace or a Jacuzzi, just the thing after a day of mountaineering. Occasional guest Jack London once called

Mill Valley “America’s Little Switzerland,” and after a visit to this charming alpine cuckoo clock you’ll know why. ----------------------------Mountain Home Inn

810 Panoramic Hwy., Mill Valley 381.9000

BEST BIKE SHOP There are arguably few more vital contributions to civilization than man’s invention of the wheel—which makes Mike’s Bikes double the good. (Actually, triple, if you consider Mike’s donation of 450 bikes this year to people in Africa.) And with today’s focus on alternative transportation and reducing our carbon footprint (not to mention the desire to cut auto-costs in this tumultuous fuel-driven economy) the two-wheeled contraptions at Mike’s gigantic shop offer freedom in various pedaled guises. Although the vast array of frames, tires and gear may be overwhelming at first, store manager Chad Etheridge— under the strict (OK, not really) tutelage of local owners Ken Martin, Matt Adams and a silent third partner—promises to provide a “warm, fuzzy place” for all your forked, cranked and derailleur-ed options, depending on your thoughtful answers to the questions, “what’s your situation now?” and “where do you want to be?” The road is wide open...

The College of Marin, Marin Master Gardeners and Conservation Corps North Bay created the magical oasis that is the College of Marin’s organic farm more than a year ago. Students and community volunteers gather weekly on a 5-acre farm to learn about organic gardening from teachers Steve Quirt and Wendy Johnson, author of Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate. If you haven’t been over there, get off the couch, turn off the computer and slap on your hiking boots. I ride my mountain bike in these hills and always stop at the farm to breathe in the scent of fertile soil and to cheer on the young fruit and flower seedlings. Less than 5 percent of our farms nationally are tended organically. In organic farming and gardening, we continue to add organic matter (compost) to the soil once we’ve harvested the crops, so the land is always being replenished. We take from Mother Earth and we give back. As opposed

+ Adriana Broullon MC Farmers Market

‘Tell us a story!’ said the March Hare.


ALICE jo!Nbsjomboe

BEST pg!2010

+

+

Mark Battersby Duxiana

BEST HEALTH FOOD AND BEST BUSINESS THAT PROMOTES GOING GREEN

Dennis King Solar Craft

+ Page Leonard Solar Craft

+ + + Bob Smith Solar Craft

Kim Burnett Solar Craft

Bill Stewart Solar Craft

‘I beg pardon, your Majesty,’ he began, ‘for bringing these in: but I hadn’t quite finished my tea when I was sent for.’

to conventional farming, where it’s mostly hit and run agriculture. Organic Gardener’s Mission: To put worms in charge.

Tubgg!qjdl BEST COVE Pirate’s Cove in the Marin Headlands was a favorite drop-off point of Prohibition-era rum-runners, and this secluded nook’s encroaching cliffs, circling vultures and creeping ocean mists do lend the surroundings a certain rocky-coast smuggler-buccaneer ambience. Mostly, though, it’s an incomparable place to relax, reflect and reconnect with the natural world. Seals and sea lions frolic offshore. There are tide pools full of brightly colored starfish, mussels and anemones. The small beach is strewn with boulders and a fascinating collection of driftwood, and it’s sheltered on three sides so you can stare out to sea or lie in the sun without getting blasted by the shoreline’s un-gentle breezes. (The beach more or less disappears at high tide, so plan ahead.) To get there, take the Tennessee Valley Trail to the Pirate’s Cove Trail, a meandering, dropping-and-rising footpath abundant with spring wildflowers and spectacular vistas of the coast, the ocean and the city to the south. The trail continues to Muir Beach in case you’d like to down a pint of stout at the Pelican Inn to end your day in true yo-ho-ho fashion.

Tubgg!qjdl BEST GROUP TO SAY IT —DON’T SPRAY IT! A big round of applause and an organic floral bouquet to MOMAS (Marin Mothers Against the Spray)—along with EcoMom Alliance, Sustainable Novato and Fairfax, Teens Turning Green, Pesticide Free Zone and Paul Apffel—who have all been working

Good Earth Natural Foods is very proud to have a loyal customer base that has an understanding of food, a willingness to support the store and is committed to a level of integrity in what is sold there. Good Earth feels a responsibility to hold high standards and heightened criteria in what they carry. Each type of produce is labeled with origin and miles traveled, foods are grown or prepared with no pesticides, minimally processing and no food additives. Organic, no GMO, local and sustainable are all standards that the Good Earth strives to meet, giving customers the information they need to make food choices that are right for their bodies and the Earth. ----------------------------Good Earth Natural Foods

closely with the Marin County Board of Supervisors to create the terms of the new IPM Ordinance. (This means revising outdated pesticide laws and banning many dangerous chemicals from being used at county owned or maintained public spaces.) Because of these outspoken local groups and concerned citizens, the county is now looking for safer alternatives and has removed nearly all endocrine disruptors and all possible, probable and known carcinogens from the “special use” pesticide list. “We want to emphasize that the county has come a long way, and they are working in a very collaborative fashion—but we still have a long way to go to remove pesticides from public places,” says Debbie Friedman, chair of MOMAS. Garden Tip: Stop buying pesticides for your yard. They’re so old school. They should’ve gone out with Beatle-bangs.

1966 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Fairfax 454.0123 Health Food 2ND Oasis Natural Foods, Novato 3RD Real Foods, Sausalito Business That Supports Going Green 2ND Fairfax Lumber, Fairfax 3RD Marin Sanitary, San Rafael

BEST NURSERY/GARDEN Locally owned since 1958, Sloat Garden Center features nine Bay Area locations, all of which are open seven days a week. That kind of convenience is what you appreciate in your neighborhood nursery, along with knowledgeable staff, an colorful collection of pottery and their informative series of $5 seminars on subjects like: how to grow vegetables or make your own homemade jams; how to repot orchids; pruning your fruit trees, flowering shrubs and native plants; and more. And, if you need a little

helpful advice or assistance with designing your garden, Sloat’s consultants will come to your rescue, taking into account your existing plant material and available time. ---------------------------Sloat Garden Center

1580 Lincoln Ave., San Rafael 453.3977; 700 Sir Francis Blvd., Kentfield 454.0262; 657 E. Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley 388.0102; 401 Miller Ave., Mill Valley 388.0365; 2000 Novato Blvd., Novato 897.2169. 2ND Sunnyside Nursery, San Anselmo 3RD West End Nursery, San Rafael

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BEST ORGANIC PRODUCE For those who remember cellophanewrapped grocery-store produce, getting up-close and personal with the extensive selection of fresh organic fruits and veggies at the Marin Farmers Market—Civic Center, Fairfax and Novato, under the auspices of the nonprofit Marin Agricultural Institute—is a delectable encounter. Some farmers who grow organically are not certified—which Adriana Broullon, Sunday Civic Center market manager, says is a “daunting process”—but their goods are marked pesticide-free or no sprays used. 68 > If in doubt, Broullon says, just ask;

Marin Shares the Road MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010 PACIFIC SUN 67


ALICE jo!Nbsjomboe

+ Iris Lax Marin JCC

Excellence Speed Affordability

Delivering Five Star Talent for 40 Years

866-466-3576 www.nelsonjobs.com 

O u r Vo l u n t e e r s a r e t h e Best in Marin!

< 67 Best of Marin 2010 it feels good to develop a relationship with the people who grow what we eat. Though not all vendors offer organic goods, many do (organics aren’t limited to produce), and the market continues to increase its organic offerings. The quality and quantity of organic produce, grown and driven in from some of the choicest areas in the state each week—often picked the same day—can’t be matched. Part of the magic of the market is watching how the fruits and vegetables vary as the seasons change. Broullon enourages us to support farmers all year, including those cold and rainy days—and don’t forget to bring your own bags. ----------------------------Marin Farmers Market

76 San Pablo Ave Suite 200 San Rafael, 472.6100 2ND Good Earth Natural Foods Fairfax 3RD Mollie Stone’s, Greenbrae and Sausalito

BEST SOLAR SUPPLIER

S

pend a rewarding Saturday on the beautiful slopes of Mt. Tam and help preserve the mountain and its watershed for wildlife, plants and people. Volunteers are needed to remove invasive non-native plants, repair trails and bridges, and educate the public. Web: marinwater.org E-mail: volunteerprogram@marinwater.org Phone: (415) 945-1128 Regular volunteer events include Trail Days on the 1st Saturday of the month, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Habitat Restoration events on the 3rd Saturday of the month, 9 a.m. to noon.

68 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 26 – APRIL 1, 2010

+ Debbie Gellar Nelson Staffing

‘Idiot!’ said the Queen, tossing her head impatiently.

Best Personnel Agency

BEST pg!2010

It’s been a great year for SolarCraft, a Marin-based business since 1984. President and co-founder Bill Stewart, along with Bob Smith, director of sales and marketing, have turned up the heat on the latest, most efficient solar products in the industry, featuring solar-electric and solar-thermal products to fulfill all commercial and residential, as well as agricultural, energy needs. And if you’re thinking about going solar, Bill and Bob say, “Now’s the time.” State rebates are going to drop this spring. So wherever you go for your solar power

needs, Bill and Bob advise you to “look for a quality company with an established track record and a long warranty period.” ---------------------------SolarCraft

285-D Bel Marin Keys Blvd., Novato 382.7717 2ND Marin Solar, San Rafael 3RD SPG Solar, San Rafael, Novato

BEST STAFFING AGENCY “We’re large enough to offer a myriad of services and small enough to provide personalized support to our clients,” says Lorraine Gauthier, senior consultant with Nelson Staffing, the biggest independent staffing service in Northern California. The agency places both temporary and permanent employees in the administrative, financial, legal, technical and gaming fields and also offers Workforce Logic (professional payrolling, worker classification and contingent workforce management) for clients like Bank of America, Google and Hitachi. With 15 locations throughout Northern California, the firm is also very community oriented. “We’re family owned and operated, and that makes a big difference,” says account executive Debi Geller. “We’re proud to help our clients and job-seekers and that we’re doing our part to support the economy.” ----------------------------Nelson Staffing

18 Professional Center Pkwy. #2, San Rafael 479.5101 2ND Integrated Community Services, San Rafael <

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Pacific Sun 03.26.2010-Section 2