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Out of sight, out of mind Ritter wants to move clients inside; neighbor wants them moved as well... by D on Sp e ic h
ugo Landecker is a soft-spoken, articulate fellow on a mission. The San Rafael retiree and neighborhood activist has mounted a campaign to stop the expansion of the venerable and well-regarded Ritter Center at 16 Ritter Street in San Rafael, which provides a variety of services for lowincome and homeless people. Landecker, who lives in Gerstle Park, believes a new, 900square-foot medical module that would nestle up to busy Third Street would be an eyesore. But perhaps more important to him, Landecker believes it would attract an increasing number of the homeless seeking medical attention and other Ritter services and thereby add to what he sees as the homeless threat to downtown businesses. Like Landecker, Diane Linn, Ritter Center’s executive director, is articulate, softspoken and determined. Not surprisingly, she disagrees with Landecker—and there is an air of frustration in her voice when she states what she no doubt has said repeatedly: The new addition is needed to allow those seeking medical help—who now frequently line up outside the center—a place indoors to wait to be seen by the medical staff. In Linn’s words the passion to help those in need is palpable. She is not naive about others—those in liberal Marin who believe
in helping people in need but who in an acronym of contemporary culture are called NIMBYs (not in my back yard). She did not mention this when we spoke with her (in fact, she painstakingly avoided any criticism of those who oppose the proposed expansion), but it certainly appears that this is what she is up against with her pleas to understand the plight and indignity of being homeless. Said Landecker: “If you took the Ritter Center and moved it to another part of town, the bad behavior would shift to the other place,” he said. Currently, Linn says, there are three or four chairs in the waiting room and these are shared with the center’s daycare center. “It is substandard,” Linn said. The expanded facility will have 18 chairs. “It is,” she said, “more digniﬁed and respectful.” As to the eyesore contention, Linn says the module will be painted the same powder blue as the main facility and, therefore, will blend in and hardly be noticeable. But, says Landecker, the architectural plans call for two Dumpsters to be placed in front of the module next to Third Street, creating a displeasing, conspicuous distraction to the Mission-style architecture of the city beyond. Linn says there will be no Dumpsters. The proposed expansion is scheduled to come before the San Rafael City Council
›› NEWSGRAMS Health lab not dead yet A proposal to close Marin’s public health lab will have to sit in the waiting room a bit longer—as Marin County supervisors this week decided to examine the matter further before calling for a vote. Their decision to delay a vote on whether to close the health facility and contract with Sonoma County came after opponents of the proposal showed up by the dozens to voice their criticisms at the March 28 supervisors’ meeting. Marin health officials insist the decline in federal and state funding is necessitating the move—consolidating with Sonoma would save about $300,000 per year, according to County Health and Human Services Director Larry Meredith. Public health labs perform tests that diagnose and track communicable diseases such as flu, mumps and measles during outbreaks. They also test for such things as hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, tick-related illnesses, food- and water-related illnesses, as well as environmental conditions such as chemical and biological contamination. According to a county health and human services information sheet,“The three-year average of operating net loss to the laboratory is approximately $750,000 each year”— losses largely due to a decreased number of tests performed by the lab after 2010 when OB/GYN services were shifted to community clinics, which can receive federal funding for such services.—Jason Walsh Exhibit space dedicated to McGlashan The memory of late Supervisor Charles McGlashan was celebrated this week when county officials dedicated the newly created exhibit space at the Marin County Civic Center in his honor. A dedication ceremony took place March 27, and was attended by his wife, Carol Misseldine, and other members of his family, as well as county staff. The date coincided with the one-year anniversary of the 48-year-old supervisor’s fatal heart attack. The opening exhibit in the new space reflects McGlashan’s admiration for the works of the renowned architect who a half-century ago designed the Civic Center—”Marin & the Realm of Frank Lloyd Wright” was curated by County Librarian Laurie Thompson and tells the story of the design and construction of the Civic Center Administration and Hall of Justice buildings. It features historical photographs, documents and other artifacts from the Marin County Library’s Anne T. Kent California Room. The main exhibit is complemented by two smaller ones:“Frank Lloyd Wright: In the Realm of Ideas” and “Homes & Buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in California & Beyond.” The new exhibit space had previously been the gift shop adjacent to the cafeteria, which closed in 2010 due to budget cutbacks. A plaque at the exhibit space reads, in part,“this space is dedicated in honor of [McGlashan’s] commitment to preserving Frank Lloyd Wright’s legacy and a shared vision of open government.” The exhibit will be open to the public as a self-guided tour during cafeteria hours, Monday through Friday, 7am to 3pm.—JW San Pablo Bay gets a toxic report card Is it safe to go back in water? Yes, but you might want to think twice about it along the shores of Novato and San Rafael—as the San Pablo Bay was named among the most toxic waterways in California. According to envi-
8 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012
PHOTO: JASON WALSH
A typically unchaotic March 28 afternoon outside Ritter Center; Damian—blue shirt at center—is the nonproﬁt’s new community outreach coordinator.
at its April 2 meeting. The city’s Planning Commission earlier, in a 3-2 vote, approved the expansion. Landecker appealed the decision, which put the expansion proposal in the hands of the City Council. Landecker says he has no plans to legally challenge the council’s decision if it approves the expansion. But he says he is mustering the forces— businesses that he says are neighbors of the Ritter Center—to persuade the council that the Ritter expansion would be yet another step in the denigration of downtown San Rafael. He declined to name the businesses, saying they were “scared to death” of repercussions if they said anything publicly. “They are being held hostage to the situation,” he said. Jonathan Frieman is a member of the Ritter Center board of directors and says he has known Landecker for several years. In an interview he said Landecker has a “blind spot,” which is an “extensive prejudice against the homeless.” Frieman added that he had been with Landecker in downtown San Rafael when they had spotted some of the homeless. “A few times he has said to me, ‘Just watch the chaos.’” Landecker fears that sooner rather than later businesses will be irrevocably crippled because of vanishing diners and shoppers put off by the potential of unpleasant—or worse—encounters with the homeless who typically gather up and down Fourth Street. “Business owners are at wits’ end,” he said in a recent interview. “They have been putting up with it for years.” Frieman disagrees. “I am not worried about the homeless folks. They don’t paralyze commerce down there [downtown],” he said. “Too many places are doing well. It’s just not true.” Landecker, who is active in the Gerstle Park neighborhood association that recently opposed minor league baseball being played at Albert Park, sees the expansion of Ritter as the tip of the iceberg, as he called it, of an exponentially growing malaise in downtown San Rafael brought in on the heels of the homeless. His opposition to the proposed
expansion is his line in the sand; it is here where the battle begins. Landecker insists that he is not at war with the homeless or Ritter Center. He underscored this by saying, “Do I believe the homeless need medical care? Yes I do.” He mentioned other facilities in San Rafael that provide for the medical needs of the homeless. He added that he thinks “the Ritter Center has a lot of good things that they do.” However, during the interview Landecker repeatedly talked about how the homeless defecate and urinate in parking lots of the businesses near the Ritter Center. He also talked about verbal and physical assaults that have increased over the years. He said both he and his wife have been subjected to verbal harassment from homeless individuals near the Ritter Center. He said, though, he had not reported these incidents to the police. But he was conﬁdent that these confrontations probably would not have occurred if the Ritter Center was not where it is. Linn noted that the terrible economy has resulted in a noticeable increase in the number of persons who need help with such things as food and housing and clothing. She said that the center serves many who have suffered major ﬁnancial setbacks since the beginning of the recession. And this, she said, has resulted in an “uptick in the number who need medical services.” The number of homeless also has increased, she said. The center now has 400 homeless clients and over the course of the last year has had 3,000 visits to the medical clinic. In response to Landecker’s charge that Ritter Center’s location has resulted in assaults, defecation in parking lots and general unpleasantness, Linn said that Ritter Center has employees who clean up the area and respond to complaints from its neighbors; they’ve recently hired a staff member whose primary duty is community outreach and neighborhood cleanup. And that brings up the question: Have there been more incidents involving the police that occurred between 2010 and 2011 in the Ritter Center neighborhood,
ronmental watchdog group Environment California, the stretch of bay along the east side of north Marin contains the highest amount of “toxic discharge” in the state. The report,“Wasting Our Waterways: Industrial Toxic Pollution and the Unfulfilled Promise of the Clean Water Act,” said that 1 million pounds of such toxins as mercury, benzene and arsenic entered the bay in 2010, according to Environmental Protection Agency numbers. These toxins have been linked to such health problems as developmental disorders, reproductive disorders and cancers, continues the report. “Wasting Our Waterways” concludes by recommending that the Clean Water Act be better policed. Suggestions include that the Obama administration should emphasize that the Clean Water Act applies to headwater streams and wetlands, and the EPA should strengthen enforcement of the act and eliminate polluter loopholes that allow discharge of toxic chemicals. Safer alternatives to chemicals are encouraged by the group—the report recommends requiring chemical manufacturers to test all chemicals for safety and submit the results to the government and public, regulate chemicals based on their “intrinsic capacity” to cause harm to the environment or health, require industries to disclose the amount of toxic chemicals they us in their facilities and phase out the worst toxic chemicals.—JW
Hal Brown remembered Marinites paid tribute to longtime county Supervisor Hal Brown on March 24—at a Marin Center memorial honoring the life and achievements of the Sleepy Hollow resident who died earlier this month at age 66, following a year-long battle with cancer. Brown announced he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December of 2010; after undergoing months of treatment, he retired from his seventh term in office last October. At the time he was the longest-tenured supervisor in Marin history, having first been appointed to the seat representing Ross Valley in 1983 by his cousin, then first-time Gov. Jerry Brown.—JW Social de-networking “Project Restore,” a program to decommission unofficial trails in the Marin Municipal Water District’s watershed area, has started its fourth year of work, the utility reports. The goal of this spring’s work is to take out about 3 miles of “social” trails near the top of Lagunitas-Rock Spring Road and on the west peak of Mt. Tamalpais and to better define legal trails. The district reports that “unofficial trails in this area have been proliferating over the years and some pass through sensitive habitats. Of particular concern are areas with serpentine soils, where many special-status plants grow. These plants can be easily damaged by people traveling off-trail.” The current project was launched in 2009 and in past years “trails have been removed, habitat has been restored and trail signage and connectivity have been improved in the Bon Tempe Lake area, the Temelpa Trail area on the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais and in the Kent Trail/High Marsh area on the north side of Mt. Tamalpais,” according to MMWD. The district states that visitors “may also help the district by refraining from creating new trails and by reporting evidence of unauthorized trail building,” or by volunteering for trail crews, which work on the first Saturday of each month. For more information, see marinwater.org.—Julie Vader
as Landecker contends? Statistics provided by the San Rafael Police Department show that there has been an increase in a variety of different kinds of calls made to the police from the neighborhood. Police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said it is not known how many of the reported calls involved homeless individuals. The statistics show that the number of reports to the police about a variety of instances was 116 in 2010 and 211 in 2011. The largest increase was in the number of people checked to determine whether they were on probation, rising from 10 in 2010 to 40 in 2011. Another category, called “Unwanted Subject,” increased from eight in 2010 to 10 in 2012. “Physical Fight” increased from three to four. “Suspicious Person/Circumstance” increased from four to 10; “Trespass” rose from zero to one. Other categories decreased in the period— “Vandalism” from two to zero; “Threats” from ﬁve to three.
In terms of arrests made, the statistics show that there were 15 in 2010 on charges of drunkenness, assault, outstanding warrants and probation/parole violations. In 2011, 46 arrests were made on a variety of charges including drunkenness, drugs, burglary, outstanding warrants and probation violation. It is fair to assume that Landecker and others who oppose the expansion of Ritter Center believe these numbers would increase because the number of homeless needing Ritter’s services would increase. But again, there is no way to determine whether these police reports involved homeless individuals, according to police spokeswoman Rohrbacher. There is also no way to determine just how many homeless and low-income individuals will avail themselves of the medical aid provided in the new facility—a facility designed, as Linn says, to provide a digniﬁed and respectful setting for those in need. < Email Don at firstname.lastname@example.org. MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 9
›› TRiViA CAFÉ
by Howard Rachelson
1. Pictured, right: The Beatles performed their last live concert on Aug. 29, 1966, 1 before a crowd of 25,000 people, at what Bay Area venue? 2. Pictured, right: On Feb. 9, 1964, the Beatles’ first performance on what TV show was viewed by 73 million people, giving it the highest ratings in TV history up to that time? 3. Identify these Beatles albums: 3a. What’s the proper name of the 1968 Beatles album most commonly known as the White Album? 3b. Which 1966 album did the Beatles name after the motion of a record turntable (not a weapon)? 3c. What 1969 album was named for the London street where the Apple Studios 2 were located? 4. Pictured, below: In the early 1960s, the Beatles refined their skills playing in nightclubs in what two cities (in two different countries)? 5. The Beatles won an Academy Award one time in their career, for Best Original Song Score, from what 1970 movie? 6. Pictured, below: In a 1966 London newspaper interview, John Lennon made what controversial statement, causing a ban of Beatles music and public burnings of their records and memorabilia by some ultra-conservatives in America? 7. Name these fictional characters from these Beatles songs: 7a. She “picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been” 7b. He sang “With a Little Help from My Friends” on the Sgt. Pepper album 7c. The three grandchildren on your knee, in the song “When I’m Sixty-Four” 7d. A man who thought he was a loner, who left his home in Tucson, Arizona, for some California grass, in “Get Back” 7e. He can see the sun going down, and the eyes in his head see the world spinning round 7f. She worked as a parking monitor 7g. Beatles asked her,“Won’t you come out to play?” 8. In 1969, the first top-40 hit single by a solo Beatle was adored as an 4 anti-war anthem by its followers and ridiculed by its political foes. Give the singer and song title. 9. What line did the Beatles sing in French, in the song “Michelle”? 10. As a youth in Liverpool, John Lennon and friends played in the trees behind a Salvation Army orphanage, in a garden-like location that influenced the title of one of the Beatles’ biggest hits. What was it? 11. Name the five full-length 6 Beatles films. 12. In 1963, what R&B song became the Beatles’ longest-running top-40 hit that they did not write? BONUS QUESTION: On Feb. 4, 2008, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this song, and the 50th anniversary of NASA, what Beatles song was beamed directly into outer space, toward Polaris, the North Star, 431 light years away?
Send your best trivia question (with your name and hometown) to email@example.com; if your question is used in the ‘Paciﬁc Sun,’ we’ll give you credit! 10 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012
Answers on page p. 84
›› THAT TV GUY FRIDAY, MARCH 30 Supernatural Sam and Dean battle a Japanese creature.They can tell it’s Japanese because it roars out of sync with the audio. CW. 10pm. Lockup Do people in prison watch shows about other prisons? Is this the Travel Channel for the incarcerated? MSNBC. 10pm. The Tonight Show Somebody needs to tell Nicole Richie that she’s not famous any more. NBC. 11:35pm.
by Rick Polito
crack were radioactive. A&E. 9pm. Undercover Boss The head of Domino’s goes out delivering pizza. It’s hard work. But at least he doesn’t have to eat any of it. TLC. 9pm.
TUESDAY, APRIL 3 Deadliest Catch It’s a “Best of Season 7”episode.The SATURDAY, MARCH 31 West real best of the season should Side Story An updated urban verbe served with melted butter sion of Romeo and Juliet is set to and garlic. Discovery Channel. music with the star-crossed lovers 9pm. torn by their loyalties to rival gangs. The Village The residents of We’re still waiting for the Blue a 19th-century village fear State/Red State version, “Romeo X the creatures that inhabit the and Julie Sue.” (1961) KQED. 8pm. With each step, and every woods. It’s sort of like living Escape Routes This is some realnext to a high school. (2004) ity show about teens driving Ford hip replacement you show it... Sunday, 8pm. SyFY. 9pm. Escapes cross-country facing Red Dawn When the United States is invadvarious scripted challenges. It’s like running ed by the Soviet Union, a small band of high away from home, but you get a sponsor and schoolers uses guerrilla tactics to stop the your sponsor is not a pimp. NBC. 8pm. Russian war machine in its tracks.This was Kids Choice Awards 2012 The kids already back before the Russians actually did invade chose Justin Bieber. Don’t ask how much and were satisfied taking over the taxi conworse it can get. Nickelodeon. 8pm. cessions in major cities. (1984) AMC. 10pm. Blade II In the first sequel, the half-vampire played by Wesley Snipes, sworn to destroy all vampires, aligns with the vampire council WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4 Betty White’s Off to battle some kind of super-vampire who Their Rockers This is a new Candid Camerafeeds on other vampires.Typically in such style series with seniors playing tricks on cases, one of the factions will appoint a speyounger people, like bankrupting Social cial prosecutor. (2002) KICU. 9pm. Security. NBC. 8pm. Man v. Food Adam goes to the state fair in Sacramento. It’d only be fair if his SUNDAY, APRIL 1 Celebrity food challenge were followed Apprentice The teams are supby a Tilt-a-Whirl challenge. Travel posed to create a “Celebrity Channel. 8:30pm. Guidebook to New York.” HopeCriminal Minds This week, the fully the guidebook will have team investigates a series of some celebrity rating that will “gothic murders.”These are murbreak the news to them that they ders that dress in black, don’t have are not “celebrities” themselves. any real friends and spend all their NBC. 8pm. time in chat rooms with names Academy of Country Music like Death Grotto and the Salon of Awards Do you really want to risk Shadows. CBS. 9pm. seeing Mitt Romney showing up Pickup lines are even in boots and a cowboy hat trying worse when he mento fake some heartland cred? CBS. tions his ‘friend Mr. THURSDAY, APRIL 5 The Big Noodle,’ Thursday at 10. Bang Theory Sheldon is on a 8pm. Mary and Rhoda Mary Tyler Moore and mission to meet Stephen Hawking. For hardValerie Harper reprise their‘70s sitcom roles core geeks, this is the equivalent of meeting in this TV movie reunion. Confronting old age, the pope, or the president or Miley Cyrus! Mary is forced to admit that she can no longer CBS. 8pm. turn the world on with her smile or take a Grey’s Anatomy The ER team has to be nothing day and suddenly make it all seem ready for anything after reports of a lion worthwhile—at least not without adding gin loose in Seattle. But the lion will probably to the mix. Hallmark.8pm. just buy a plaid shirt and a raincoat and get a Mythbusters Tonight includes a special flame- job at Starbucks. ABC. 9pm. thrower vs. fire extinguisher test.We’ve seen Independent Lens In Being Elmo: a Puppetmarriages like that. Discovery Channel.9pm. eer’s Journey, we learn about the challenges and joys of being the voice and hands behind one of the world’s most legendary puppets MONDAY, APRIL 2 Final Four Basketball and how that voice is really not suited for The teams wrap up March Madness and rush home to study for midterms! CBS. 6pm. picking up women in bars. KQED.10pm. < Intervention This week we meet a “Super Critique That TV Guy at letters@paciﬁcsun.com. Mom” addicted to crack. It sounds tragic, but it also sounds like a really awesome idea for Turn on more TV Guy at a comic book superhero, especially if the ›› paciﬁcsun.com
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get by with a little help from my friends,” the Beatles famously sang in 1967. But if the Liverpool foursome had come from around here, they’d have probably echoed a different chorus: “I get by with a little help from Best of Marin.” Love may be all you need — but knowing the county’s finest in entertainment, dining and beautification doesn’t hurt either. For our 2012 Best of Marin readers poll, the Pacific Sun is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the formation
of the classic Beatles lineup and the release of their first single! It was in 1962 that John, Paul and George added Ringo to the band, completing the lineup that would be forever known as the Fab Four — and before the year was out “Love Me Do” would hit the charts and the rest, as they say, is history. So never mind the Walrus, put a hold on the revolution and don’t pine too much for yesterday. Just let it be...the Best of Marin.
Were the Fab Four really the greatest rock ’n’roll band of all time?
ock intelligentsia tell us time and again—the Beatles were the greatest rock band of all time. End of discussion. Let’s move on. The concept has become so ingrained in popular music’s collective consciousness that it nears heresy to suggest otherwise. When Rolling Stone magazine publishes one of its now-quite-frequent lists of the greatest albums of all time, it goes without saying that Sgt. Pepper’s is going to top the list. When that magazine issued its 100 Greatest Artists of All Time list, the question wasn’t “who will be at number one?” it was “what order will everyone else be following the Beatles?” But could it be that the Beatles rise to the top of these lists not because they’re the best band—but because they’re the most well known and least offensive? A lot of British Invasion obsessives would rank such ’60s contemporaries as the Rolling Stones, the Who or the Kinks as high, or higher. Consider the cult of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—the so-called greatest album of all time. The record was groundbreaking in a lot of ways: its use of multi-tracking, sound collages, printed lyrics, song segues, a loose “concept” to the album featuring char-
12 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012
acter Billy Shears, etc. (It also broke new ground in pretentiousness.) Everything about it is quite provocative—if this were 1967; and none of this makes anyone want to listen to “Being for the Beneﬁt of Mr. Kite”more BY JA SO than once. There are plenty more wellproduced duds to be found on that album—you can’t blame John and Paul for questioning George’s songwriter abilities after hearing “Within You Without You”; “She’s Leaving Home” is a dreary example of the maudlin “ditties” McCartney would plague fans with throughout his solo career. “Fixing a Hole,” “When I’m Sixty-Four,” “Getting Better” and “Good Morning, Good Morning” are OK, but would’ve been ﬁller on any Dylan or Stones album of the same period. In fact, it seems that the legend of Sgt. Pepper’s is based largely on Ringo’s charming offkey vocals on “A Little Help from My Friends,” the effectively dramatic “A Day in the Life” and an admittedly cool album cover. Worse than the overrated status of Sgt. Pepper’s itself, could be its inﬂuence on other bands far less talented than the Beatles. After the Beatles gave pop music prestige and artistic
credibility, a slew of terrible “concept” albums were set forth upon the rock landscape—Tales from Topographic Oceans by Yes, Days of Future Passed by the Moody Blues, Tarkus by Emerson, Lake and N WAL SH Palmer, everything ever released by Styx. The punk and new wave bands that dominated the late ’70s and ’80s (and their descendants today) were a direct backlash to such “art rock” meanderings—creating tight, catchy, lyrically direct songs based on ’50s rock ’n’ rollers and the edgier ’60s work of the Kinks, Stones, Who—and pre-Sgt. Pepper’s Beatles. It’s an anti-Beatles reaction that deﬁned the ’80s and ’90s. The Clash growled “No more Elvis, Beatles and the Rolling Stones”; R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe referred to the Beatles as “elevator music”; and the Replacements named an album Let It Be simply to emphasize that the Beatles were “just another band”— there’s a reason these major bands weren’t picking on Herman’s Hermits or the Dave Clark Five. One can’t argue that the Beatles wrote and recorded some of the greatest songs of their era—I could name at least two songs per Beatles
album that are beyond reproach. I could also name at least two songs per album that no band in contention for the title of greatest band of all time should have to its credit (the White Album is especially bloated with ﬁller; if it had been kept to a single album, it’d have a strong argument for best album of all time). So after bashing the Beatles for 600 words, it may come as a surprise to reveal I was one of the aforementioned British Invasion obsessives during high school in the late ’80s— had all the Beatles albums (U.K. and U.S. versions) and even bought several of the Fab Four solo works (a fool on the hill and his money soon parted, gotta say). Name a Beatles song and I could name the album, year and lead vocalist for it. But after all these years and several other great bands later, there’s a lot more to discuss about which band is the greatest. As Paul McCartney sang in 1968, “Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on, brah! La la, how life goes on.” Man, that’s an annoying song. < Stones or Beatles? Weigh in with Jason at jwalsh@paciﬁcsun.com.
I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAM B16 Bakery Rustic Bakery Breakfast Half Day Cafe Brew Pub/Sports Bar Marin Brewing Company Burger Joint Phyllis’ Giant Burgers Burrito High Tech Burrito Caterer Forks & Fingers Chinese Restaurant Yet Wah Deli Comforts French Restaurant Left Bank Frozen Yogurt Shop Swirl Independent Coffee House Dr. Insomnia’s Coffee & Tea Indian Restaurant Lotus Cuisine of India Italian Restaurant Il Davide Japanese Restaurant Sushi Ran Local Winery Point Reyes Vineyard Inn & Winery Meal Under $20 Joe’s Taco Lounge and Salsaria Mediterranean Restaurant Insalata’s Mexican Restaurant Celia’s Mexican Restaurant Mill Valley Restaurant Buckeye Roadhouse New Restaurant 2011 El Paseo House of Chops Novato Restaurant Boca Steak and Seafood Organic/Sustainable Restaurant Insalata’s Pizzeria Pizzeria Picco Ross Valley Restaurant Insalata’s San Rafael Restaurant Sol Food Sausalito/Tiburon Restaurant Poggio Seafood Restaurant Fish Thai Restaurant My Thai Twin Cities Restaurant Picco West Marin Restaurant Parkside Cafe Wine Bar Rick’s Wine Cellar
CARRY THAT WEIGHT B31 Health Club Marin YMCA Martial Arts Studio Practical Martial Arts Pilates Body Kinetics Health Club & Spa Tennis Club Mt. Tam Racquet Club Yoga Studio Red Dragon Yoga
LOVE ME HAIRDO B 37 Beauty Supply Company Marin Beauty Company Day Spa Evo Spa Facial Jessa Skin Florist Natalie & Daria’s Flowers & Gifts Glasses and Eyewear Rims & Goggles Hair Salon Brewer Phillips Jeweler Johann Paul Lingerie Pleasures of the Heart Massage Evo Spa Men’s Clothier Patrick James Nail Salon Three Sisters Nails Shoes Lark Shoes Women’s Boutique Viva Diva
FIXING A HOLE B46 Appliance Repair Mike’s Appliance Repair Beds and Bedding Duxiana Carpeting Rafael Floors Cleaning Service Marin Cleaning Services Computer Repair Service Computer Connection Deck and Fencing Contractor Clough Construction Electrical Contractor Integrity Electric, Inc. Hardwood Flooring Rafael Floors Hauling 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Home Furnishings Harvest Home Home Organizer Changing-Places, Inc. Kitchen/Bath Remodeler Lamperti Landscape Designer Cynthia Egger Landscape Design Local Financial Institution Bank of Marin Locksmith Transbay Security Service Moving and Storage Earl Farnsworth Express Paint Store Marin Color Service Painting Contractor McCarthy Painting Plumber Ongaro & Sons Real Estate Brokerage Bradley Real Estate Roofer McLaren Rooﬁng Self-Storage Bellam Self Storage
When the Beatles need a rest during their long hikes through Tam Valley, they remain eco-friendly minimalists by sharing a single chair. Tile and Stone Store Ceramic Tile Design Window and Door Showroom Charles Window and Door Window Cleaners Atlas Window & Carpet Cleaning
MOTHER NATURE’S SON B 60 Bike Shop Mike’s Bikes Business That Promotes Going Green Good Earth Natural Foods Nursery/Garden Center West End Nursery Organic Produce Marin Agricultural Institute (Marin County Farmers Market) Personnel Agency Nelson Stafﬁng Resale/Consignment Clothing Shop Stella’s Fine Consignments Solar Supplier SolarCraft
YOUR MOTHER SHOULD KNOW B 66 Pet Store Woodland Pets Art Supplies Rileystreet Art Supply Children’s Clothing Kidiniki Hobby Shop Dollhouses, Trains & More Kid-Friendly, Non-Chain Restaurant Toast Overnight Summer Camp Camp Soulajoule at Walker Creek Ranch Pet Groomer Doggie Styles Place for a Kid’s Party Bay Area Discovery Museum Summer Day Camp Steve & Kate’s Camp Toy Store Five Little Monkeys
CAN’T BUY ME LOVE B 74 Antique Store Laurel House Antiques Frame Shop Cheap Pete’s Frame Factory Outlet Gift Shop Meadowlark Lighting Shop Lights of Rafael Local Bookstore Book Passage New Retail Business Opened in 2011 Sans Gluten-Free Grocery Town Other Than Your Own Fairfax Biggest Local News Story San Rafael Approves Construction of Target
BABY YOU CAN DRIVE MY CAR B 81 Auto Dealer Toyota Marin Auto Body Repair/Design Blake’s Auto Body Domestic Car Repair D & K Auto Services Foreign Car Repair Easy Automotive Tire Shop Cain’s Used Cars California Motors
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR B 86 Art Gallery Art Works Downtown Gallery Live Music Venue George’s Nightclub Movie Theater Fairfax 6 Theatres MusicStore Mill Valley Music Place for a Wedding Marin Art and Garden Center Place for Dancing Rancho Nicasio Place to Buy Musical Instruments Magic Flute Theater Company Marin Theatre Company
MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 13
thing For Everyone. Whether they’re looking for underwear for hands (that’s right) or a one-of-a-kind jewelry piece, Great Acorn is the place to ﬁnd it. And they’ll wrap it up for free. It all makes for a very happy place. -----------------------------------------Great Acorn Co.
LOCAL BUSINESSES that have won their categories ﬁve times consecutively are elevated to the vaunted Best of Marin Hall of Fame. They remain in the hall for two years. This year, several new members join the esteemed group. Congratulations to all these winners who have been consistently voted tops for their terriﬁc service.
B 1st YEAR B BEST ANTIQUE STORE A Dove Place owners Robin and Wayne Wechsler invite everyone to come to their store to sell or buy beautiful objects; Robin specializes in evaluating estate jewelry, and both Wechslers urge anyone who is thinking about maybe, perhaps, I don’t know, exploring the chance of doing something about some old Chinese porcelain or silver shoved back in the cupboard to talk to them—the market has been very good for those objects in recent years. ------------------------------------------A Dove Place
160 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo 453.1490
BEST BAKERY Dear unfortunate gluten-free souls, please don’t torture yourselves with a visit to Emporio Rulli. The heaps of freshly prepared desserts, loaves of tenderly kneaded and baked sweet breads and magically decorated specialty cakes will make you cry. The authentically Italian emporium of delicious wonder continues to bring a sample of sinful Italian delight to Marin pasticceria connoisseurs, with a wide selection of soul-quenching wines to wash it all down, for over 20 years. Yum! ----------------------------------------------Emporio Rulli
464 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur 924.7478 14 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012
BEST CARPET CLEANING After winning the award for carpet cleaning ﬁve times in a row, it’s obvious that clients of Atlas Window and Carpet Cleaning are satisﬁed. All the carpet cleaning is done using unique tools that remove more soil than the competition. They are experts at stain elimination, going over, above and beyond. --------------------------------------Atlas Window and Carpet Cleaning
118 Auburn St., San Rafael 256.8321
BEST CLEANING SERVICE Anyone who has ever—even just once—had to remove obnoxious dust bunnies, relocate the spider colonies in the laundry room and wipe crumbs and coffee stains from kitchen counters, knows the joy of stepping into a clean house at the end of a long day. Molly Maid of Marin continues to offer this reliable and timesaving service with stellar reviews and loyal, long-term customers. Molly Maid is available for one-time cleanings, regularly scheduled cleanings and gift certiﬁcates for new moms and anyone else who would rather come home to a clean home. ----------------------------------------------Molly Maid of Marin
424 Irwin St., San Rafael 454.3600
BEST GIFT SHOP In a place ﬁlled with an eclectic mix of wind-up toys, novelty items, ﬁne art and ﬁne jewelry—Great Acorn really, truly has Some-
wonder customers have been voting them Best of Marin every year since they opened. With two locations in Marin, MVM continues to bring affordable luxury to Marinites. ---------------------------------------------Mill Valley Massage
800 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo 454.2990
61 Camino Alto Ste. 102, Mill Valley 381.1855; 1007 C St., San Rafael 460.1855
BEST GLASSES AND EYEWEAR
BEST MEAL UNDER $20
For over 30 years, 20/20 Optical has provided Marinites with the clear vision to view the county in all of its glory. With a second location in Novato, the San Rafael business is on a winning streak with Paciﬁc Sun readers, who have voted 20/20 Best from 2006 to this year’s entry into the Hall. Without them, many of you would not be reading this right now. Thank you, 20/20 Optical! ---------------------------------------------20/20 Optical
Clear glass bottles of annatto oil arranged among jars of silverware line the counters of the festively crowded and lively colored Sol Food takeout restaurant on San Rafael’s Fourth Street, while lines form at the restaurant location just a block away on Third and Lincoln. It isn’t a special occasion that has brought the masses downtown for lunch, just a typical day of the scrumptious eats and gracious atmosphere at Marin’s best-loved Puerto Rican restaurant. ----------------------------------------------Sol Food
1127 4th St., San Rafael 453.2020, 5800 Nave Dr., Novato 892.2020
BEST HEALTH CLUB Osher Marin JCC’s health facilities have been offering Marinites several terriﬁc reasons to get ﬁt since 1991, and the options have expanded exponentially since the place was renovated ﬁve years ago—new cardio equipment, three ﬁtness studios, one of them dedicated to group cycle, a full-court gymnasium, an indoor pool, an outdoor pool and on-site childcare, plus massage, Pilates and personal training. It’s a workout just considering the options! -----------------------------------------------Osher Marin JCC
200 N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael 444.8000
BEST ICE CREAM/YOGURT Coming up on a decade in business, Fairfax Scoop shows no signs of becoming a truculent tween. Using local, organic ingredients (70 percent from Marin, according to owner Ray Martin) and concentrating on doing one thing and one thing only: making delicious ice cream and sorbet in small batches on-site (cones are made in-house, too). The storefront is tiny, but the staff is always patient and pleasant, no matter how long the line. And it’s deﬁnitely worth waiting in line for. ----------------------------------------------Fairfax Scoop
901 Lincoln Ave., San Rafael. 451.4765
BEST MOVIE THEATER From foreign ﬁlms to educational programs to star-studded festival soirees, the Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center offers much more than just the stale popcorn and mainstream rom coms of most cineplexes. The Rafael holds movies up to the standard of other art forms—and ﬁlm buffs across the Bay Area couldn’t be happier. ------------------------------------------------Rafael Film Center
1118 4th St., San Rafael 454.1222
BEST MOVING AND STORAGE The family-owned ﬁrm of Johnson & Daly (est. 1979) has a ﬂeet of two dozen trucks, 40-plus employees and a 150,000-square-foot warehouse, the biggest in the North Bay. Their state-of-the-art moving technology includes piano and stair-climbing dollies and trucks specially built to tackle steep driveways. Their “soup to nuts” service ranges from packing, moving and storing your stuff as long as necessary to unpacking it and taking the boxes away. And thanks to its global team of destination agents, Johnson & Daly can handle moves across town or around the world. ----------------------------------------------Johnson & Daly Moving Storage
63 Broadway Blvd., Fairfax 453.3130
110 Belvedere St., San Rafael 491.4444
BEST NURSERY/GARDEN CENTER
Getting massage on a regular basis can greatly reduce stress, giving an overall sense of wellbeing. At Mill Valley Massage, they provide professional massage in a comfortable setting at a reasonable price. While soothing hands melt away the stress, circulation is improved and the immune system is given a boost. No
When asked why readers consider Sloat Garden Centers Best of Marin, operations manager Dave Stoner’s ﬁrst response when winning for the ﬁfth time last year was, “it’s the people who work here.” But he has many more reasons, including Sloat’s signature item, pottery. He also says that “sustainability, growing your own groceries” has become
important to many Marinites. Whatever the reason—Sloat leaves other green-thumb centers green with envy. ----------------------------------------------Sloat Garden Centers
700 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Kentﬁeld 454.0262; additional locations in Mill Valley, Novato and San Rafael
BEST PAINTING CONTRACTOR Kunst Bros. Painting Contractors have painted everything from the San Francisco Theological Seminary to Industrial Light and Magic to the ICB Building to the gold leaf on the stage of Veterans’ Auditorium, but “our bread and butter is people’s homes,” says owner Nick Kunst. The business began in 1871 and has been in the same San Rafael location since 1959, and that 141 years of experience has translated into plenty of customer satisfaction and repeat business—and repeat Best of Marin wins. -----------------------------------------------Kunst Bros. Painting Contractors
76 Belvedere St., San Rafael 456.4044 kunstbros.com
BEST PIZZERIA Ted Rowe, owner—with his wife, Barbara— of Mulberry Street Pizzeria, refers to himself as “a dinosaur about pizza” because he continues to serve, as he has since 1986, mealsize pizzas with “big, bold ﬂavors that stand out,” using toppings that are generous in both size and amount. He and his staff make each pizza as if it were being presented to their own family—cutting corners is not an option. The Rowes work hard to maintain a clean, casual, fun restaurant with great food—which clearly appeals to Paciﬁc Sun readers who time and time again have voted for Mulberry Street as the Best of Marin. ----------------------------------------------Mulberry Street Pizzeria
101 Smith Ranch Rd., San Rafael 472.7272
BEST PLACE TO BUY MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS For over three decades, Marin County musicians and music lovers alike insist that Bananas at Large is the epicenter of all things musical in Marin County. Established in San Rafael way back in 1972, the music store has expanded from simply selling guitars and band wind instruments to encompassing all aspects of sharing the undeniable joy that music brings. -------------------------------------------------Bananas at Large
1504 4th St., San Rafael 457.7600
BEST PLACE TO BUY A SPA/HOT TUB
BEST PLACE TO BUY APPLIANCES
What object could be more quintessentially Marin than a hot tub? The epitome of luxury and health, the home spas and hot tubs of Creative Energy have soothed the aching bodies and psyches of Marin’s high-powered and perpetually stressed for over 35 years. In fact, it was Creative Energy that spawned the original redwood hot tubs of the groovy, swinging ’70s, for which Marin earned something of a reputation. Family-owned and operated, San Rafael based Creative Energy teamed up with Hot Spring—the largest portable spa manufacturer in the world—in the early ’80s, and now boasts four locations throughout the greater Bay Area. ----------------------------------------------Creative Energy
1295 2nd St., San Rafael 453.9642
In this age of nasty leaks—at the government level and at home—it’s never been a better time to have Martin & Harris around. When your Whirlpool stops whirling and your Kenmore ken-do-no-more, M&H will bring its more than 50 years of experience to the job for either repairs or purchases. With this Hall of Fame appliance business, you won’t be throwing your money down the drain. -----------------------------------------------Martin & Harris
3815 Redwood Hwy., San Rafael 471.7727
BEST SPORTS SHOES AND APPAREL Loyal customers know Arch Rival has the best service and their salespeople are the most knowledgeable about foot Problems. Keeping up with all the latest technologies in footwear has kept Arch Rival at the head of the class. The experienced staff at Arch Rival is now waiting on the grandchildren of their original customers, which is a clue that they are doing something right. ---------------------------------------------Arch Rival
150 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae 461.6588; 206 Strawberry Village, Mill Valley 383.0275
BEST THAI RESTAURANT Natalie and Sak Kamloom, owners of Thep Lela Thai Restaurant, aren’t resting on their laurels (repeat Best of Marin winners)— they’re always striving to make their delicious dishes even healthier. They serve certiﬁed organic chicken, mostly the white meat, and use canola oil and fresh, seasonal ingredients. The Kamlooms estimate their clientele is 80 to 90 percent repeat customers, who enjoy the best in food, service and setting, all at a more-than reasonable price. No wonder they’ve been in business for more than 20 years. ---------------------------------------------Thep Lela Thai Restaurant
615 Strawberry Village, Mill Valley 383.3444
BEST YOGA STUDIO When Bikram Yoga opened in 1994, it was only the eighth Bikram studio in the United States. Now 2,000 studios worldwide offer the unique Bikram method of high-temperature yoga practice. Following the Bikram credo of “Never too old, never too late, never too sick and never too bad to start from scratch again,” a typical class might include professional dancers and racecar drivers to injured athletes on the mend and everyday enthusiasts 14 to 90 years old.
B 2nd YEAR B BEST CHINESE CUISINE In the deepest recesses of Marin County Chinese food lovers’ dreams, their fortune cookies will forever read: “You will soon dine again at Jennie Low’s.” But after 25 years in Marin, her regular customers don’t need any ethereal prognostications to get them queuing up for Jennie’s signature mango chicken, pot stickers and Cantonese noodles (her honeyglazed walnut chicken is a particular pleasure for many of us at the Pac Sun). In this Chinese year of the dragon, county residents need no further encouragement to hop on over to Jennie’s for a hall-of-fame-worthy ﬁne meal. -----------------------------------------------Jennie Low’s Chinese Cuisine
120 Vintage Way, Novato 892.8838
BEST HEALTH FOOD STORE Good Earth has been a Best of Marin force to be reckoned with for years—and that was before it moved to its bigger and better digs across town in Fairfax. Now health conscious shoppers in Marin will have even more ginseng, granola, yogurt, bean curd and wheat germ to choose from—and just as organic, GMO-free, local and delicious as the folks at Good Earth can ﬁnd. ----------------------------------------------Good Earth Natural Foods
2158 4th St., San Rafael 454.2021
BEST SWIMMING POOL Make that swimming pools. When you can’t decide if you want to dog paddle alfresco or pull a Louganis in more sheltered surroundings, head to Osher Marin JCC, where there’s a pool for each impulse. The outdoor option is a gorgeous 50-meter eight-laner with nowave technology; the indoor natatorium is lane-free and 25 yards in length. The outdoor pool (which is open year-round, 100 hours per week) also features an adjacent pint-size swimmin’ hole (open seasonally) for kids up to 4 years old, while the indoor pool offers courses in swim instruction, aquatic exercise and hydrotherapy. (Swimming classes are offered outdoors during the summer.) You can also take a dip with the whole family on weekends in both summer (outdoor) and winter (indoor). It’s never been easier to perfect your turtle stroke. -----------------------------------------------Osher Marin JCC
720 Center Blvd. Fairfax 454.0123
200 N. San Pedro Rd., San Rafael 444.8000 www.marinjcc.org
BEST KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT
BEST TOY STORE
We can’t think of a better place for families to go for a relaxing meal. Aside from tasty food at reasonable prices, Easy Street Cafe’s true inspiration is its “kids’ section”—a giant dollhouse at the center of the restaurant—where the young ones stay entertained while Mom and Dad watch quietly from their tables a few blessed feet away. Quality time, indeed. We’ll see you on Easy Street! -----------------------------------------------Easy Street Cafe
From all-time classics like blocks and dolls to the latest and greatest name-brand toys, the folks at A Child’s Delight understand that a favorite toy is something a kid will remember the rest of his or her life. Which is why choosing the right gifts for your little ones is sometimes the hardest purchase a parent has to make. Have no fear moms and dads— the experts at A Child’s Delight have the toy know-how and the game gumption to steer you and your family in an educational and fun direction. -----------------------------------------------A Child’s Delight
882 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo 453.1984
BEST HOME FURNISHINGS Thirty-three years on the home-furnishing scene hasn’t relegated Sunrise Home to the ol’ rockin’ chair—in fact this frequent Best of Marin winner has designs on the future by trending toward new green and eco-friendly designs. From contemporary to classic, Sunrise can make any home look like it’s just entered a brand new day. -----------------------------------------------Sunrise Home
105 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera; 945.9221; Northgate One shopping center, San Rafael 499.0739
631 B St., San Rafael 456.3939 MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 15
When the Beatles find themselves ‘biding [their] time, drinking her wine’ as they did in ‘Norwegian Wood,’ the lads invariably seek out a locally produced California sparkling wine from Rick’s Wine Cellar.
I Want to Hold Your Ham
From “Strawberry Fields,” “Savoy Truffle” and “Mean Mr. Mustard” to “Wild Honey Pie,” “Glass Onion” and “Cayenne,” the Beatles reliance on food-based themes demonstrated a clear affinity for the culinary pleasures. With England’s cuisine reputation what it is, they’d have been wise to stop in at some of Marin’s fab foodie hot spots and groovy pubs where the menu options move far beyond the Fab Four’s self-imposed diet of tangerine trees, marmalade skies and marshmallow pies.
18 > 16 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012
Picco Lovers for Voting Us #1 Best Twin Cities Restaurant in Two Categories & Best Pizzeria The food at Picco is designed with sharing in mind to best experience our local, seasonal, and ingredient-driven cuisine. Join us for Marin Mondays...We present a special menu to showcase the finest products exclusively from Marinâ€™s farms and ranches.
320 Magnolia Ave | Larkspur 415-924-0300 www.restaurantpicco.com MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 17
Best Sausalito/ Tiburon Restaurant Becky Chatoya, Fish Restaurant
Nina Atkinson, Fish Restaurant
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â€˜We would sing and dance around, because we know we canâ€™t be foundâ€™â€”Octopusâ€™s Garden
< 16 I want to hold your ham
BEST BAKERY Baking is about precision, technique and quality ingredients. Itâ€™s about staying true to traditional methods and measurements. Baking can be restrictive and challenging, and it takes time. But for the owners of Rustic Bakery, itâ€™s also a â€œlabor of love.â€? While theyâ€™ve had requests to branch outside of Marin, Carol LeValley and her husband, Josh Harris, are committed to staying handson and connected to the county. Itâ€™s that self-control that allows Rustic Bakery to maintain its superior quality, freshbaked goods and cafe menu itemsâ€”that, and they refuse to take shortcuts. Everything is made by hand, from scratch, utilizing as many locally grown, organic and whole-grain ingredients as possible. All dairy comes from Straus Creamery; flour from Central Milling in Petaluma. You already rave about their croissants, cinnamon puffs, wheat breads and gluten-free scones. And LeValley keeps the cafe menu â€œeasy, simple and fresh,â€? featuring soups, salads and sandwiches. But with their newest location at Marin Country Mart, fans will soon also be treated to a Rustic-style enoteca with beer, 18 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012
wine and small bites in the evening, along with complimentary views of the Bay and Mt. Tam. -----------------------------------------------Rustic Bakery
1139 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur 925.1556; 1407 Grant Ave., Novato 878.4952; Marin Country Mart, 2257 Larkspur Landing Cir. Ste. 20, Larkspur 461.9900 2ND Sweet Things, Tiburon 3RD Arizmendi, San Rafael
BEST BREAKFAST Fresh-from-the-oven scones, biscuits and mufďŹ ns; blueberry pancakes with whipped cream and honest-to-God maple syrup; housemade sausages and omelets brimming with avocado, queso fresco and chorizo; fragrant lattes served in big bowls: what more could the mid-morning gourmet ask for? Half Day Cafe has been serving fabulous breakfasts to ravenous Marinites since 1986, and their whole-wheat sunďŹ‚ower-seed wafďŹ‚es, spinach-and-tomato California benedicts, ďŹ ve-grain organic hot cereal with dried fruits and cinnamon and freshly squeezed juices and lemonade (among other toothsome house specialties) are the stuff of local legend. Whatâ€™s more, â€œOur staff is the most friendly and welcoming anywhere,â€? says owner Tory Monahan, whose 20 >
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Lunch M - F Dinner M - Sat Happy Hour M - F 3AUSALITO s 3AYLORS2ESTAURANTand"ARCOM s
Christine Van Dyke, Rickâ€™s Wine Cellar
J.J. SpringďŹ eld, Rickâ€™s Wine Cellar
Rick Mendell, Rickâ€™s Wine Cellar
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901 A St. San Rafael â€˘ 454-8080 www.ildavide.net
Thank You Marin for Voting Us #1 Again and for Your Support for 26 Years! BEST BURRITO
Candy Mendell, Rickâ€™s Wine Cellar
â€˜For well you know that itâ€™s a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colderâ€™â€”Hey Jude
< 18 I want to hold your ham father opened the place in 1986. â€œMost of us have been working here a long time, and we have an amazing group of regular customers.â€? The setting is high-ceilinged and sunny, with a lovely brick patio in the middle of a garden. -----------------------------------------------Half Day Cafe
848 College Ave., KentďŹ eld 459.0291 halfdaycafe.com 2ND Dipsea Cafe, Mill Valley and San Rafael 3RD Marvinâ€™s Restaurant, Novato
BEST BREW PUB/SPORTS BAR
To show our appreciation and gratitude, we are introducing our new loyalty program, ClubHTB. It rewards loyal customers, just like you, with free food and special offers. Itâ€™s the electronic version of a stamp card. Stop by your local store, sign up online at clubhtb.com, or on Facebook.
Strange Name Amazing Food!
Marin Country Mart, 1809 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur 461.4677 marinbrewingcompany.com 2ND Moylanâ€™s Brewery and Restaurant, Novato 3RD Iron Springs Pub and Brewery, Fairfax
BEST BURGER JOINT Like Us on Facebook!
12 Bay Area Locations 1 Locally Owned 1 www.hightechburrito.com 20 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012
Marin Brewing Company knows beerâ€” theyâ€™ve ďŹ lled Marinâ€™s mugs for more than 20 years and have brewed their way to multiple Best of Marin victories thanks to the many thirst-quenched PaciďŹ c Sun readers who frequent the Larkspur alehouse. Whether your drinks of choice are such mainstays as the Mt. Tam Pale Ale and the Albion Amber Ale or the more adventurous White Knuckle Ale and the San Quentin Breakout Stout, thereâ€™s only one thing to sayâ€”â€œsame again, barkeep!â€? -----------------------------------------------Marin Brewing Company
The signature dish at Phyllisâ€™ Giant Burgers and the Beatles got their start the same place: Hamburg. And while bands may come and go, great sandwiches just keep getting better. James Cho, owner of
Phyllisâ€™, says the secret to success is basic: really good food. Their burgers are made with Niman Ranch beef, trucked in fresh every day, as well as fresh produce and buns. During the past few tough economic years Cho says his costs have gone up but he hasnâ€™t raised his prices. And if youâ€™ve been to the San Rafael store you know they arenâ€™t pouring money into the decor, a large part of which consists of many framed â€œBest of Marinâ€? certiďŹ cates, some of which are older than the customers who have driven up and are waiting for a burger. Weâ€™re happy that Marinâ€™s best burger joint has just earned yet another fresh new certiďŹ cate for the wall. -----------------------------------------------Phyllisâ€™ Giant Burgers
924 Diablo Ave., Novato 898.8294; 2202 4th St., San Rafael 456.0866 phyllisgiantburgers.com 2ND M&G Burgers and Beverages, Fairfax and Larkspur 3RD Pearlâ€™s Phatburger, Mill Valley
BEST BURRITO â€œI was in the mood for Thai food one night, so I made a Thai burrito,â€? says Greg Maples, founder and CEO of High Tech Burrito, explaining how his mini-chainâ€™s multi-ethnic approach to the Mexican foodstuff was born. In addition to the Thai varietal (chicken, purple cabbage, carrots, peanut sauce), the menu offers Cajun, teriyaki, surf â€™nâ€™ turf and shrimp curry burritos as well as the classic beans/rice/salsa, steak/chicken/cheese version. So what makes High Tech different from the standard taqueria? â€œAll of our food is cooked to order from scratch,â€? says Maples. â€œOur meats are hormone free, the beef is crueltyfree Angus, and the guacamole is made fresh
the Bay Area to offer Peking Duck—”Our signature dish,” Young says—which takes more than eight hours to prepare. Young also says customers are devoted to Yet Wah’s homemade ginger ale and swear the won ton soup cures colds. Yet Wah opened a branch restaurant in the Canal area not long ago, and continues its emphasis on good food prepared right. Like those delectable potstickers. “The secret is garlic and ginger,” Young says, which means it really isn’t all that secret anymore. -----------------------------------------------Yet Wah
Erin Miwa, Comforts Patti Pattiman, Comforts
1238 4th St., San Rafael 460.9883 yetwahsanrafael.com 2ND Ping’s Mandarin Restaurant, San Rafael 3RD Tommy’s Wok Cuisine, Sausalito
335 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo, 454.9840 comfortscafe.com 2ND Michael’s Sourdough, Novato and San Rafael 3RD Perry’s, various locations
BEST FRENCH RESTAURANT Happy customers have been ﬂocking to Left Bank to satisfy their Francophile cravings for years. Now, well-traveled chef Fabrice Marcon has taken over behind the stoves and put an exciting modern twist on the traditional brasserie menu. Think
When I feel my head start to swell, I look at Ringo and know perfectly well we’re not supermen. – John
‘I don’t know how you were diverted, you were perverted too’—While My Guitar Gently Weeps
three times a day from one hundred percent Haas avocados.” Aside from the 25- oz. Godzilla, the burritos aren’t overwhelmingly huge, but “they’re proportionally correct: not too much beans-and-rice ﬁller.” There are lots of vegan and vegetarian options as well as “bowls” (“burritos without the starch”) and eight kinds of salsa to choose from. -----------------------------------------------High Tech Burrito
118 Stawberry Village, Mill Valley 388.7002; 942 Diablo Ave., Novato 897.8083; 484 Las Gallinas Ave., Terra Linda 526.2188; 2042 4th St., San Rafael 485-0214 hightechburrito.com 2ND Grilly’s Restaurant, Fairfax and Mill Valley 3RD Lucinda’s Mexican Food To Go, Mill Valley
BEST CATERER According to our readers, Forks & Fingers provides the best catering in Marin County. Whether it’s fabulous food for a wedding with a bursting guest list, a corporate luncheon or a private residential party, Forks & Fingers delivers the best quality service.
With a highly attentive staff and a menu that includes an abundance of fresh salads, vegetables and hearty bites like meats and pastas, the ﬁne folks at Forks get the job done, leaving everyone sated and satisﬁed. -----------------------------------------------Forks & Fingers
372 Bel Marin Keys Blvd. #M, Novato 883.1900 forksandﬁngers.com 2ND Delicious Catering, San Rafael 3RD An Affair to Remember, San Rafael
What started as a small San Anselmo restaurant 25 years ago, Comforts has expanded into a full-service cafe and Marin’s favorite deli, offering a wide range of fresh lunch favorites. In addition to picking up popular specialties like Chinese Chicken Salad and Chicken Okasan, customers can stay in Comforts large dining area, enjoy breakfast, brunch or lunch or even have Comforts cater a speacial event. “People come in and grab salads to go, but they can also stay and enjoy their lunch in our dining area,” says Erin Miwa. Comforts also provides holiday meals and in-demand selections such as vegan, vegetarian and even gluten or soy-free eats. “We love it when our customers ask for specialties,” says Miwa. “We are happy to accommodate dietary needs.” And if all of the great food and friendly customer service isn’t enough, Comforts also has select, local items like oils, jams and other retail items for purchase adding to the popularity that recognizes them as Best Deli.
Paul Peluchette, San Anselmo Swirl
salmon with vadovan curry or Vietnamese ceviche with lime and lemongrass, recent dishes that highlight the ﬂavors of the world. Marcon and manager Jennifer Courtney maintain the farm to table commitment by procuring most vegetables from the local farmers market. In addition, Left Bank is a “water to table” restaurant, with seafood plucked from Marin waters by a local ﬁsherman. The bar scene is hopping with happy hour from 4-6:30 and 9p.m.close, Monday through Friday. -----------------------------------------------Left Bank Brasserie
507 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur 927.3331 leftbank.com
Will Shine, Mill Valley Swirl
Jeff Shine, Mill Valley Swirl
BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT Simon Young, a partner at Yet Wah, knows that his restaurant in downtown San Rafael is no stranger to winning “Best of ” awards. He notes that Yet Wah won “Best Potsticker” accolades in 1987, and that, after 36 years in Marin, his experienced, longtime staff has learned more than a little about what diners want. If you’re having a hard day’s night it’s good to know they’re open until midnight, with a full bar, and have delivery service—and they are one of very few restaurants in
‘You’re asking me will my love grow—I don’t know, I don’t know’—Something
MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 21
< 21 I want to hold your ham 2ND Le Garage, Sausalito 3RD Le Chalet Basque, San Rafael
BEST FROZEN YOGURT The fro-yo served at Swirl Frozen Yogurt can be as simple as good old vanilla or as extravagant as dulce de leche and red velvet cake with mochi, sea salt and Skittles on top: It’s entirely up to you. The shops’ 10 daily ﬂavors always include chocolate, vanilla, an organic option and a couple of nondairy sorbets; beyond that you might come across yellow cake batter, Mounds, peanut butter or some other tasty temptation. Available separately or swirled together, they’re even better with a few of the 40-plus toppings on hand: frozen cookie dough, homemade brownies, Hot Tamales, you name it. “We make our own wafﬂe bowls, too,” says co-owner Jeff Shine. “You pay by the weight, so ﬁll it up however you want.” (For a set $3.25 you can get a house-made wafﬂe cone plus “whatever you can cram into it.”) The high-end yogurt comes from Straus and from Visalia’s Potter Family Farms, and the atmosphere is “fun, upbeat, colorful and clean,” says co-owner Paul Peluchette. (Swirl TV, a continuous slide show of past and present customers, is another popular innovation.) -----------------------------------------------Swirl Frozen Yogurt
417 Miller Ave., Mill Valley 388.2636; 916 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo 451.0190 2ND Woody’s Yogurt Place, Mill Valley 3RD Double Rainbow, San Rafael
Amy Svendberg, Poggio
BEST INDEPENDENT COFFEE HOUSE Although insomnia is a less-than-pleasant afﬂiction in the the late dark hours of night, a jolt of caffeine to peel groggy eyes open ﬁrst thing in the morning is a much welcomed experience for thousands of coffee consumers every day. And for many, sipping java isn’t just about kicking neurons into high gear and zooming through the day— it’s about the morning ritual, the warmth of ﬂuid heating us up from the insides and of course, morning visits to a favorite cafe. And as Marin County caffeine aﬁcionados have pointed out—again—Novato’s Dr. Insomnia’s Coffee and Tea has all of the above to offer and more. Located in downtown, the cafe’s loyal customers return daily for the friendly staff, fresh-baked pastries (the scufﬁns are a huge hit). -----------------------------------------------Dr. Insomnia’s Coffee and Tea
800 Grant Ave., Novato 897.9500 2ND Emporio Rulli, Larkspur 3RD Aroma Cafe, San Rafael
BEST INDIAN RESTAURANT Repeat Best of Marin winner Lotus Cuisine of India knows how to keep customers satisﬁed. The commitment to quality ingredients and respect for dietary restrictions exceeds all the competition. Everything is made in-house, including the gluten-free ﬂour mix used to make the delicious naan bread. The menu is packed with many items that are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free, such as the terriﬁc Bengan Bartha. Sourcing the ﬁnest local and organic ingredients is a priority to keep the health-conscious eatery top-notch. The family-operated restaurant is one of ﬁve run by owner Paul Sroa that are sprinkled throughout Marin County. Check out the website for
Peter McNee, Poggio
‘And when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer’—Let It Be 22 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012
Jennifer Courtney, Left Bank
Fabrice Margon, Left Bank
‘I once had a girl, or should I say she once had me’—Norwegian Wood
upcoming cooking classes taught by his skilled chefs so you can try some of the dishes at home. -----------------------------------------------Lotus Cuisine of India
704 4th St., San Rafael 456.5808 lotusrestaurant.com 2ND Avatar, Sausalito 3RD India Palace Restaurant, Mill Valley
BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT There’s no shortage of good eats in Marin but you consistently return to Il Davide for service, ambience and scrumptious Italian fare. After 16 years in the Il Davide kitchen, chef/owner David Haydon wants to keep the menu fresh and creatively satisfying. Reﬁned classics combined with a rotation of progressive new items results in an ambitious menu of traditional Italian plates with a modern twist, and an eye on local, organic ingredients. But he admits the winning formula also includes consistent service—professionalism with a personal touch. Along those lines, Haydon has recently employed the wine guidance of sommelier-to-be Mandy Trilck, whose interest in small boutique producers perfectly complements Il Davide’s menu and modus operandi. It’s this passion for food and wine, along with an ambience that lies somewhere between business-casual urban trattoria and special-occasion neighborhood bistro that makes post-work, happy hour
lounging and romantic dinner-dating at Il Davide so seductive and carefree. -----------------------------------------------Il Davide
901 A St., San Rafael 454.8080 ildavide.net 2ND Il Fornaio, Corte Madera 3RD Poggio, Sausalito
BEST JAPANESE RESTAURANT Sushi Ran has consistently served up innovative victuals from its stylish Sausalito location for 25 years. The food is a lively blend of traditional Japanese and Paciﬁc cuisine using only the freshest, top-quality ingredients. The chefs are always pushing the envelope to develop new combinations such as the kimchee brussels sprouts and live New England lobster nigiri on a recent menu. In addition, a groundbreaking drinks program creates soju cocktails, along with one of the most extensive selections of sake in Northern California and a sophisticated wine list that pairs perfectly with all the items on the menu. The folks at Sushi Ran would like to thank their customers for 25 years of support; they are proud to be a part of such a wonderful community. ---------------------------------------------Sushi Ran
107 Caledonia St., Sausalito 332.3620 sushiran.com 2ND Sushi to Dai For, San Rafael 3RD Robata Grill and Sushi, Mill Valley 24 >
COME CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS WITH US!
PASSOVER TAKE-OUT MENU
APPETIZER Chopped Liver Appetizer Chopped Herring Appetizer Liver and Herring Appetizer Combo Served with Grilled Onions, Eggs, and Matzah
Roast Brisket with Au Jus Half Roasted Chickens Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls Cabbage Soup Roasted Carrots, Potatoes & Yams Matzo Kugel Chopped Liver Chopped Herring Spread Assorted Macaroons Flourless Chocolate Decadence Cake NEWMatzo Brittle
ENTRĂ‰E Roast Brisket Dinner Served with Matzah Kugel and Roasted Root Vegetables D E S S E RT Flourless Chocolate Torte Rich, dense and fudgy
EASTER Honey-Orange Glazed Ham with Candied Walnut Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Oven Roasted Brussel Sprouts $13.99 â€“ Adults/Seniors Kids Size Glazed Ham $6.99 (under 12 please) D E S S E RT Flourless Chocolate Torte Rich, dense and fudgy with Fresh Raspberry Sauce $4.99 ** Maxâ€™s Full Menu Also Available ANIMAL BALLOON SCULPTURE 12-2 pm for Kids
Seating Limited. Call for Reservations
of Corte Madera
DELI Like us on Facebook Facebook.com/MaxsCorteMadera
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Buckeye Roadhouse and Bungalow 44 Thank You for Your Votes We are proud to be among your favorite restaurants in Mill Valley
Best Mill Valley Restaurant
#2 Best Mill Valley Restaurant Stop by at the easiest commuter coffee kiosk Mon-Fri, 6â€“10am where we serve warm mufďŹ ns and scones.
44 East Blithedale, Mill Valley 415.381.2500 Bungalow44.com
15 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley 415.331.2600 Buckeyeroadhouse.com
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< 22 I want to hold your ham
BEST LOCAL WINERY Point Reyes Vineyard Inn & Winery is a quaint bed and breakfast overlooking 800 acres of seaside ranch and vineyard in West Marin. While the dairy has been operating since 1973, Steve and Sharon Doughty planted the ďŹ rst grapes for the 15-acre vineyard in 1990. They opened the three-bedroom inn six years later and the tasting room three years after that. Point Reyes Vineyard Winery is known for its award-winning sparkling wine and excellent Terra Linda cabernet. Theyâ€™ve also housed merlot, zinfandel,
Iâ€™m a tidy sort of bloke. I donâ€™t like chaos. I keep records in the record rack, tea in the tea caddy, and pot in the pot box. â€“ George
chardonnay, syrah, late-harvest viognier and a commemorative line of Grateful Dead wines. â€œWhat we canâ€™t grow, we buy grapes from Napa and Sonoma and make at home,â€? says Steve, who started winemaking 22 years ago, and believes that good wine is made from â€œgood grapes from good regions, clean facilities and not rushing the process.â€? He is now assisted by winemaker Will Clark. The scenic property is also a coveted venue for small weddings and parties, picnics are encouraged, and Sharon is a veritable historian of West Marin culture. ---------------------------------------------Point Reyes Vineyard Inn & Winery
Steve Doughty, Point Reyes Vineyards
Elizabeth Friedrich, Bay Area Discovery Museum
Sharon Doughty, Point Reyes Vineyards
12700 Highway One, Point Reyes Station 663.1011 ptreyesvineyardinn.com 2ND Pey-Marin Vineyard, San Anselmo 3RD Starry Night Winery, San Rafael
BEST MEAL UNDER $20 This year, Joeâ€™s Taco Lounge & Salsaria will celebrate its 20-year anniversary of serving up tasty Mexican specialties in the comfortable, friendly restaurant. Patrons come far and wide for the famous ďŹ sh tacos served up with vats of homemade salsa. Under the festive Christmas lights that decorate the ceiling, families celebrate no-cook nights and friends clink glasses of aqua fresco. Everything on the menu is home-
â€˜Now they know how many holes it takes to ďŹ ll the Albert Hallâ€™â€”A Day in the Life
made and fresh, even the croutons for the salad. According to Joeâ€™s son Gabe, some regular customers eat at Joeâ€™s Taco Lounge three to ďŹ ve times per week. Gabe says, â€œWe love all our custom-
ers. Weâ€™ve been serving ďŹ ne food at fair prices for nearly two decades thanks in no small part to the support of our local community and for that we extend our gratitude.â€?
Thanks for Voting Us Best of Marin! We Hope to See you Soon! Best Place to Dine Alone
Best place to take the in-laws to eat
2005 Best Brew Pub
Best Brew Pub
Best Place to Dine after Nine 2009-201
2009 Best Brew Pub
Best Pub/ Sports Bar
Best Caesar Salad Best Burger
Best Brew Pub
Best Brew Pub
1809 Larkspur Landing Circle Larkspur, CA. 94939 Tel: 415-461-4688
Best Restaurant over 20 years old
For 57 Years Voted the Best for Everything that Matters to You in Dining
Best Brew Pub
Marin Brewing Co. Brew Pub
Best Place to Get Stuffed
Brendan Moylan Owner
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24 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012
Best Brew Pub
Moylanâ€™s Brewery & Restaurant 15 Rowland Way Novato, CA 94945 Tel: 415-898-HOPS
Thank you to all of our loyal customers and thank you to all of our treasured employeesâ€Śwhose careful and precise execution of every satisfying and delicious dish makes every Marin Joeâ€™s dining experience a â€œBest.â€?
â€“ Romano, Paul & Ralph Della Santina
---------------------------------------------Joeâ€™s Taco Lounge & Salsaria
382 Miller Ave, Mill Valley 383.8164 2ND Crepevine, San Rafael 3RD Dipsea Cafe, Mill Valley
Bruce Hill, Picco Pizzeria
Gina ChannellAllen, PaciďŹ c Sun
BEST ROSS VALLEY RESTAURANT, BEST MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT, BEST ORGANIC AND SUSTAINABLE RESTAURANT With wins in three different categories this year, Insalataâ€™s is a Marin favorite. The restaurant just celebrated its 15th anniversary and is as busy now as its ďŹ rst year. In addition to seated dining service, Insalataâ€™s does a brisk takeout business at the counter in back and offers a full range of catering options for that special party or wedding. The menu is brimming with the Mediterranean specialties that Insalataâ€™s is known for, from their signature Fattoush Salad to Lamb Tagine and homemade pastas with seasonal vegetables. Ingredients are sourced from local, organic purveyors whenever possible. One thing that sets Insalataâ€™s apart from many other establishments is owner/ chef Heidi Krahlingâ€™s commitment to the community and extensive charity work. Whether it is a fundraiser for the St. Vincent de Paul free dining room or donating part of a nightâ€™s proceeds to WildCare, Insalataâ€™s is
Jason Walsh, PaciďŹ c Sun
â€˜Wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the graveâ€”no one was savedâ€™â€”Eleanor Rigby
always giving back, which has helped create a loyal customer base. They appreciate all the support for the triple win. -----------------------------------------------Insalataâ€™s Restaurant
120 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., San Anselmo 457.7700 insalatas.com
Best Ross Valley Restaurant 2ND Marche Aux Fleurs, Ross 3RD Marinitas, San Anselmo
Best Organic and Sustainable Restaurant 2RD Rustic Bakery, Novato, Larkspur
Best Mediterranean Restaurant 2ND Picco, Larkspur 3RD Falafel Hut, San Rafael
3RD Picco, Larkspur
Thank You to Our Loyal Customers for Voting Us into
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The Hall of Fame!
& Larkspur Landing
Enjoy Fresh Oysters at the Farm in our picnic area overlooking Drakes Estero
The heart of Point Reyes National Seashore. Donâ€™t forget your coolers! Open Everyday from 8:30am to 4:30pm 17171 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, Inverness 415-669-1149 â€˘ drakesbayoyster.com MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 25
Edgar Ortega, Sol Food Restaurant Sandra Gonzalez, Sol Food Restaurant
‘Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see’—Strawberry Fields Forever
Freshest Funnest Farmers Markets Thank you for - once again - voting our Marin Farmers Markets the “Best of Marin” for Organic Produce!
SUNDAY Marin Civic Center (8-1, ALL YEAR) THURSDAY Marin Civic Center (8-1, ALL YEAR) Novato (Tues, 4-8, May-September) Fairfax (Wed, 4-8, May-September)
AG RI C U LT U R A LI N ST IT UT E . O RG 26 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012
A 501(C)3 NON-PROFIT
< 25 I want to hold your ham
BEST MILL VALLEY RESTAURANT
BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANT
There’s just something about Buckeye Roadhouse. It’s got swagger. Of course, it’s been around for a long time—since 1937, just like the Golden Gate Bridge!—and it continually wins your vote for the hottest spot in Mill Valley. It could be its stellar reputation for service or its elegantly rustic, upscale lodge-style ambience and cozy lounge. Or it could be menu mainstays like Oysters Bingo, beef brisket, pulled pork sandwich, braised lamb shank and petit ﬁlet mignon with gruyere-potato cake. Even celeb-chef Tyler Florence can’t resist Buckeye’s signature S’more Pie (featured on the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate). Buckeye executive chef/partner Robert Price (who also heads the kitchens at Bar Bocce and Bungalow 44, along with managing partner Peter Schumacher) acknowledges that consistency is key, but manages to keep things interesting by locally sourcing the latest and most delicious culinary trends and small farms run by people as passionate as he is about farm-totable cuisine. He also has fun utilizing the brick smoker on the patio, resulting in tasty barbecued baby-backs and smoked chicken wings. Oh, Buckeye...you had us at Bingo. -----------------------------------------------Buckeye Roadhouse
When you’re in the mood for big delectable platters of enchiladas, tamales, chiles rellenos and huevos rancheros, head to Celia’s, a fun and festive place to enjoy the satisfying ﬂavors of Mexican cuisine. For 35 years this family-owned and -operated mini-chain has served up the salsa to a devoted clientele who adore the kitchen’s fresh and natural take on homestyle Latin cooking. Tortillas are crafted without lard, the guacamole, salsa and tamales are prepared fresh daily, and the margaritas (in mango, guava, peach and trad) are perfectly balanced between tart and sweet. (There are also eight varieties of Mexican beer.) If you want to venture beyond the tostada-burrito-fajitas hit parade, there are classic dishes like chile verde, arroz con pollo, steak picado, carnitas adobadas and cheese-stuffed bacon-wrapped prawns, and the restaurant’s take on enchiladas mole is memorable indeed. The service is friendly and welcoming and the funky Southwestern decor is ideal for a party or a family gathering. -----------------------------------------------Celia’s Mexican Restaurant
1 Vivian St., San Rafael 456.8190 celiasrestaurants.com 2ND Las Camelias, San Rafael 3RD Joe’s Taco Lounge and Salsaria, Mill Valley
15 Shoreline Hwy., Mill Valley 331.2600 buckeyeroadhouse.com
2ND Bungalow 44 3RD Piazza D’Angelo
BEST NEW RESTAURANT 2011 Though not exactly new, El Paseo House of Chops has relatively new owners and a newly renovated structure and menu. First acquired in 1936, the building that now houses El Paseo has been home to a landscape business, artists, writers and musicians. After establishing the structure’s ﬁrst restaurant in 1948, the business has changed hands just a few times, most recently purchased by musician Sammy Hagar and business partner Tyler Florence in 2010. The pair have renovated the restaurant from top to bottom and are now open for business. With hearty bites like ﬁlet mignon or bacon-wrapped pork sirloin, El Paseo also offers up scrumptious starters like pumpkin bruschetta, oysters, marrow and a wide selection of salads, which can all be washed down with their their local and imported wines. A new interior, new owners and a new menu make El Paseo Marin’s new favorite. -----------------------------------------------El Paseo House of Chops
17 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley 388.0741 elpaseomillvalley.com 2ND Bar Bocce, Sausalito 3RD Pizza Orgasmica, San Rafael
the Bay Area’s best Neapolitan-style thincrust pizza. The hand-stretched dough is topped with high-quality, mostly local and organic ingredients—from arugula, roasted onions and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms to hand-pulled mozzarella and Hog Island clams—and served blistering hot from the wood-burning oven. Salumi and organic salads, along with reasonably priced wines and a nice selection of cold beers round out the menu. There’s not much room inside—but the umbrella-shaded tables out front offer a relaxed dining experience and some pretty
There’s a woman in the United States who predicted the plane we were traveling on would crash. Now, a lot of people would like to think we were scared into saying a prayer. What we did actually, we drank. – Ringo
BEST NOVATO RESTAURANT Smack dab in the middle of the North Bay, Novato isn’t exactly the ﬁrst place people think of heading for an enchanted dining experience. But for Marin residents, particularly in the northern wedge of the county, Novato’s Boca Steak and Seafood is a sought after destination. With a full bar (and a well-loved happy hour), Boca provides a variety of favorite eats not limited to what is ordinarily found in typical steak houses. Duck fat fries, crab cakes, oysters, butternut squash and turnip bisque—just a few of the starters to accompany a meal. A variety of seafood, pastas (the open face ravioli is a favorite) are also available along with Boca’s famous rib-eye, lamb and baby back ribs. And let’s not forget the wine! Boca features an extensive wine list, featuring a hefty portion of Northern California wines. With a welcoming atmosphere, friendly, attentive staff and a menu to satisfy any hungry belly, Boca is Novato’s pick for best restaurant. -----------------------------------------------Boca Steak and Seafood
340 Ignacio Blvd. 883.0901 bocasteak.com 2ND Hilltop 1892 3RD Finnegan’s Marin
BEST PIZZERIA The “sidekick” to Restaurant Picco, Bruce Hill’s Pizzeria Picco dishes up some of
good people-watching opportunities, too. And don’t skip the Straus Creamery softserve vanilla ice cream with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt—a perfect ending. And you might want to pick up some ﬂash-frozen, vacuum-packed pies to bake at home. -----------------------------------------------Pizzeria Picco
316 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur 945.8900 pizzeriapicco.com 2ND Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria, San Rafael 3RD LoCoco’s Pizzeria, Terra Linda
BEST SAN RAFAEL RESTAURANT Oh man. We at the Paciﬁc Sun are so lucky to be a hop, skip and a jump out the door from Sol Food’s three downtown San Rafael locations! With mouth-watering fresh ingredients and the quickest, friendliest staff around, Sol Food is not just our ofﬁce favorite for Best San Rafael Restaurant, but is yet again Marin County’s favorite, too. Opening its doors just seven years ago with a staff of four people, the Puerto Rican deliciousness of Sol Food has been in such high demand, that they now have three locations more than 150 employees. And one of the best things about this local favorite is that they are open late—until 28> MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 27
< 27 I want to hold your ham 2am on weekends and until midnight the rest of the week, making this a perfect late-night stop on the way home from concerts, movies and the like. -----------------------------------Sol Food
903 Lincoln Ave., San Rafael 451.4765 solfoodrestaurant.com 2ND Il Davide 3RD Panama Hotel
BEST SAUSALITO/TIBURON RESTAURANT The best place to enjoy northern Italyâ€™s ďŹ nest cuisine without suffering a bit of jet lag is to head on down to Sausalitoâ€™s favorite restaurant, Poggio. Specializing in homemade pasta with a farm-to-table approach, Poggio has delivered plates of goodness to Marin diners for nearly a decade. Utilizing produce from the restaurantâ€™s own organic garden and local meats, chef Peter McNeeâ€™s menu changes daily, providing patrons with fresh and exciting dishes like Bistecca and Polpettone plus seasonal specials. Along with the local or Italian imported beers and wines, the full bar features the infamous Tony Dâ€™Orrio serving up cocktails with a smile. And a bonus for pet-lovers: Poggio is dog friendly and provides outdoor seating
for those dreamy Marin evenings. It doesnâ€™t get better than this, people. -----------------------------------------------Poggio
777 Bridgeway, Sausalito 332.7771 poggiotrattoria.com 2ND Le Garage, Sausalito 3RD Samâ€™s Anchor Cafe, Tiburon
Steve Cerami, Ceramic Tile Design
Alicia Healy, Ceramic Tile Design
BEST SEAFOOD RESTAURANT Ringo Starr supposedly got the inspiration for â€œOctopusâ€™s Gardenâ€? when he ordered ďŹ sh and chips for lunch and got squid insteadâ€”something that just wouldnâ€™t happen at Marinâ€™s favorite seafood restaurant, Fish. The great attention paid to not only the preparation and the taste of their cuisine but to the source of the food makes this place stand out. â€œThe customers clearly care about what theyâ€™re eating,â€? says owner Becky Chaboya. And where what theyâ€™re eating comes from, exactly. Nina Atkinson, in the front of the house, explains to newbies that â€œFVâ€? on the chalkboard is not a new kind of critterâ€” it stands for â€œďŹ shing vessel.â€? Theyâ€™re that speciďŹ c. Fish uses local, sustainable and ultra-fresh seafood, with â€œsustainableâ€? being the key word. Their clever and entertaining website details their devotion to information and research that can be used to protect oceans and ďŹ sheries, and the
â€˜Expert, texpert choking smokers donâ€™t you think the joker laughs at you?â€™â€”I Am the Walrus
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restaurant itself holds educational events for ﬁlms, speakers or others to spread the word. As for their ﬁsh and chips— ”Unbelievable,” Chaboya says. Nice chunks of quality halibut in an Anchor Steam batter with organic potato wedges. If a certain “RS” ever dines here he’ll no doubt be inspired to write an ode to Sausalito. ---------------------------------------------Fish
350 Harbor Drive, Sausalito 331.FISH 331ﬁsh.com 2ND Yankee Pier, Larkspur 3RD Paciﬁc Cafe, Kentﬁeld
BEST THAI RESTAURANT Step into My Thai—a San Rafael staple for more than 20 years—and expect to be greeted with a warm smile. Of course the authentic Thai food is extremely important and the restaurant’s signature dish, Pad Thai, keeps customers coming back, but owners Dolaya and Jack Chaisirikun also work to make “every dining experience unique and memorable for their guests, from the moment customers walk in.” Dolaya says that includes taking “the extra time and care in selecting the freshest organic produce to make sure our food is both healthy and satisfying,” as well as maintaining the clean, modern decor imported from
Thailand. The Chaisirikuns consider their customers to be neighbors and friends, so, Dolaya says, “We want to make sure all of our guests feel like they are enjoying authentic Thai food in the comfort of their own house.” ---------------------------------------------My Thai
1230 4th St., San Rafael 456.4455 mythai.com 2ND Orchid Thai, San Anselmo 3RD Royal Thai, San Rafael
BEST TWIN CITIES RESTAURANT Since 2005, Marin residents have ﬂocked to Picco to enjoy the fresh, local ingredients that owner/chef Bruce Hill transforms into scrumptious dishes. “The spirit of our restaurant is that we’re constantly evolving,” he says. “And we are really passionate about bringing local ingredients to our customers.” And he’s not kidding. The ingredients include Tomales Bay mussels and oysters, West Marin cheeses and of course, local produce. In fact, every Monday at Picco is “Marin Monday” when diners can enjoy a four- to ﬁve-course meal in which all ingredients are sourced exclusively from Marin County. And he’s obviously doing things right, Picco has won multiple Best of Marin awards. An upbeat, passionate
2ND Station House Cafe, Point Reyes Station 3RD Osteria Stellina, Point Reyes Station
chef, great atmosphere and delicious local eats; it doesn’t get better than this! ---------------------------------------------Restaurant Picco
BEST WINE BAR
320 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur 924.0300 restaurantpicco.com 2ND Left Bank, Larkspur 3RD Marin Joe’s, Corte Madera
BEST WEST MARIN RESTAURANT There are few places as lovely as West Marin’s coast. Hiking lush trails through the Point Reyes National Seashore, kayaking in Tomales Bay, swimming out at Stinson, even a quiet Sunday drive down the striking coastline is only a complete West Marin experience when followed by a meal from a favorite dining spot. Situated along the sea in the county’s western town of Stinson Beach, the Parkside Cafe is just the place to round out a perfect day. Parkside offers a menu of nibbles to make everyone happy. Afterbreakfast favorites of burgers, ﬁsh tacos, salads and even milkshakes make this a great lunch spot whether seated inside during foggy afternoons or outside on sunny summer days. Head west. Parkside Cafe is there. ---------------------------------------------Parkside Cafe
43 Arenal Ave., Stinson Beach 868.1272 parksidecafe.com
Thank you for voting us Best Frozen Yogurt Shop in Marin!
Cozy, comfy chairs and a set-up reminiscent of a friend’s living room keep devoted followers coming back to Rick’s Wine Cellar in Corte Madera. Serving 20 wines by the glass from all over the world that are paired with outstanding sandwiches, charcuterie plates and cheeses, Rick’s has variety and selection. A customer favorite sandwich, the Rickinator, is pastrami with horseradish cheddar and fresh mozzarella on rosemary focaccia grilled to perfection in the panini press. Named after proprietor Rick Mendell, the dish exempliﬁes the homey atmosphere that has sophisticated ﬂair. Rick’s carries hard to ﬁnd and cult bottles of wines for that special gift, which the knowledgeable staff can help you choose. Check out the newsletter and learn about their different wine clubs at www. rickswinecellar.com. ---------------------------------------------Rick’s Wine Cellar
207 Corte Madera Ave., Corte Madera 927.9466 rickswinecellar.com 2ndSabor of Spain, San Rafael 3rd123 Bolinas, Fairfax
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www.ReallyGreatPizza.com Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm Dinner: Every Day from 5pm Dine in or Carry Out MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 29
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When Ringo needs to sweat off a few too many helpings of mince pie and blood sausage, he looks for a little help from his friends at the Marin YMCA.
Carry That Weight
Considering all the running around the Beatles had to do in films like ‘Help!’ and ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ it’s no wonder this band wrote so many songs stressing the importance of physical fitness. From ‘Run for Your Life’ and ‘We Can Work It Out’ to ‘I Feel Fine’ and ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ the lads from Liverpool ranked a healthy physique right up there with eastern mysticism and anthropomorphic animals. Who knows—if they hadn’t broken up, later Beatles songs may have addressed such topics as Rolfing and Pilates… 32 >
MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 31
Craig Fruchter, Red Dragon Yoga
James Greenhill, Marin Color Service
Stephanie Schreiber, Red Dragon Yoga
can’t afford to enroll in programs. It’s a family-oriented facility with activities for all ages, including Zumba water class, tons of youth sports, after-school programs, childcare, award-winning teen civic programs, specialty camps, senior programs, cardiac therapy, hikes and other group classes, and even tax assistance and mind exercises—which really, if you think about it, could be the same thing. With 37,000 square feet, the Y features basketball, handball and racquetball courts, a 25-yard heated swimming pool, dry sauna, whirlpool, as well as a fully equipped gym with all the requisite, body-working equipment and free weights. -------------------------------------------Marin YMCA
1500 Los Gamos Dr., San Rafael 492.9622 2ND Elan Fitness Center, San Anselmo 3RD Body Kinetics Health Club & Spa, Mill Valley and Novato ‘And in her eyes you see nothing, no sign of love behind her tears’—For No One
< 31 Carry that weight
BEST HEALTH CLUB Marin YMCA is actually more than a health club—it has a wealth of services and programs, and awesomely sup-
portive staff. The friendly health and fitness champs at Marin YMCA really inhabit their commitment to community, actively engaging with each of its 3,900 club members’ goals. They also offer scholarships for people who
Omar Martinez, Atlas Window & Carpet Cleaning
BEST MARTIAL ARTS STUDIO For husband-and-wife team Karen and Mike Valentine, practicing martial arts is an all-encompassing lifestyle. Founded in 1993, Practical Martial Arts has helped spread their core values about responsibility in the community to countless
students throughout Marin. The ﬁrst local school to teach a mixed style of martial arts, the business draws students ranging in age from 3-years-old to mid-60s. Practical Martial Arts also teaches in a traditional context, emphasizing structure and safety. With ﬁve instructors and eight to ten classes per day, Practical Martial Arts encourages students to take their practice into everyday life. “We want our students to take what they learn out of the dojo and into the world,” says Mike. “We want them to be authentic and responsible.” They have even adopted a beach and participate in regular beach cleanup days. “We like to call it environmental self-defense,” says Karen. “It is important to have a personal connection with our students and the place we all live.” -------------------------------------------Practical Martial Arts
5768 Paradise Dr., Corte Madera 927.0899 2ND Marin MMA, San Anselmo 3RD Marin Dojo, San Anselmo
BEST PILATES Body Kinetics Health Club and Spa, known as Mill Valley Health Club before expanding to Novato early in 2011, offers a variety of Pilates classes at both locations. The Mill Valley club offers an 35 > extensive selection of Pilates op-
Simon Young, Yet Wah Restaurant
Rod Heckelman, Mt. Tam Racquet Club
Gerbert Mejia, Atlas Window & Carpet Cleaning
Elliot Atlas, Atlas Window & Carpet Cleaning
‘Words are ﬂowing out like endless rain into a paper cup, they slither wildly as they slip away’—Across the Universe 32 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012
Best Tennis Club
MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 33
An Insight Meditation Center Dedicated to the Classical Teachings of the Buddha
Expertise, Service & Selection
SPIRIT ROCK M E D I TAT I O N C E N T E R
UPCOMING EVENTS Helping Others, Helping Ourselves, Creating a Mindful Nation Sharon Salzberg, Congressman Tim Ryan Saturday, May 5, 9:30 am â€“ 5 pm
Emotional Chaos to Clarity: The Power of Mindfulness and Intention to Support Skillful Living Phillip MofďŹ tt Saturday, May 19, 9:30 am â€“ 4:30 pm
Uncovering Essence Love Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Sharon Salzberg Sunday, May 13, 9:30 am â€“ 5 pm
Tuning Your Instrument: The Buddha, the Brain, and Bach Sylvia Boorstein, Clifford Saron, Barbara Bogatin (cellist) Saturday, June 9, 9:30 am â€“ 5 pm
For more information on upcoming events and retreats, visit us at spiritrock.org -AJ J9F;AK J9C= DN< c 1GG<9;J= c
Thank you Marin for voting us into the Hall of Fame!!!
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You will sleep like a baby tonight. You will win that next triathlon. You will get that long overdue promotion. You will be able to talk to your teenager. You will find total enlightenment. Yeah, maybe... But, at Red Dragon Yoga you will sweat. Guaranteed. Come improve your strength, balance, flexibility, muscle tone, circulation and mental concentration - now at our Mill Valley studio and this fall at our new second studio location in downtown San Rafael.
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34 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012
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< 32 Carry that weight
Mike Valentine, Practical Martial Arts
Karen Valentine, Practical Martial Arts
tions, from private sessions, duo classes to group classes, for all bodies and levels— and that means all, including those with osteoporosis, a number of different injuries, right on up to the extreme athlete and competitor. Novato also has Pilates classes, but not as many (yet). Group classes are included in the membership. And, in addition to Pilates, membership includes a lot: a full gym, ﬁtness classes, yoga, Zumba, spinning and much more. --------------------------------------------Body Kinetics Health Club and Spa
639 E. Blithedale Ave., Mill Valley 380.8787; 1530 Center Rd., Novato 895.5965 2ND Fit First Pilates, Corte Madera 3RD Sky Frog Studios, Corte Madera
BEST TENNIS CLUB
‘Sont les mots qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble’—Michelle
Recently celebrating his 34th year with Mt. Tam Racquet Club, Rod Heckleman tells us that the success of the club lies in its commitment to the community they’ve been a part of since 1974. The largest independent, non-chain club in Northern California, Mt. Tam Racquet Club has the freedom to make decisions that beneﬁt members and act on them quickly. “We’re always looking ahead at what’s next and where the 36 >
Discover Marin’s Expanding Bicycle Network on a Free Bike! The Marin County Bicycle Coalition (MCBC) is giving away bicycles to six lucky novice cyclists and one cargo bike to a family or business in exchange for their pledge to convert from fossil-fuel-burning to calorie-burning commuters.
HERE’S HOW THE 6-MONTH CHALLENGE WORKS: 1. Apply for one of the Bike Locally Challenge positions (6 Specialized commuter bikes and 1 Yuba Mundo cargo bike are available). 2. If selected, MCBC will set you up to ride with a brand new bicycle and accessories for 6 months (May- October). 3. Make the commitment to ride your bicycle a minimum of 12.5 miles a week and document your bicycle riding on Facebook, Twitter, blog posts and in the local media, so everyone can share your experiences. 4. MCBC will provide you with a Bicycle Mentor for the duration of the Challenge to train you on basic street riding skills, help plan your routes, assist with gear selection, and take training rides with you. 5. Each ride earns you points which go towards the purchase of your bicycle. If you reach 500 points, you get to keep the bike for free! Who’s eligible? You must be a Marin County resident who does not use a bicycle for commuting or frequent recreation. All applicants are required to attend six meet-ups and agree to forfeit their bicycle if they are unable to meet the requirements. All applicants must have health insurance and applicants under 18 years of age need written permission from their parents.
Apply today for the Bike Locally Challenge at www.marinbike.org The Bike Locally Challenge is part of MCBC’s Third Bike Locally Campaign to get more people riding bikes for trips to work, school and local errands, and is sponsored by Mike’s Bikes, Good Earth Natural Foods, Specialized, Yuba Bikes and Paciﬁc Sun. MARCH 30 - APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 35
PEOPLE POWER MT. TAM WATERSHED TRAIL CREW Join us to improve tread and drainage plus trim vegetation along the Upper Yolanda Trail between Worn Springs Fire Rd and Six Points. Meeting location is at the Deer Park School in Fairfax at 9 AM. Trail crew events
are suitable for ages 13 and older. Volunteers under the age of 18 must have a permission form signed by a parent or guardian. Volunteers under the age of 16 must have a parent present at the event. Please wear close-toed shoes and long pants, dress for variable weather and bring a reusable water bottle. We provide breakfast snacks, water, tools and inspiration. Rain cancellation information can be found by calling after 7:30 a.m. on the day of the event. Volunteer Coordinator: Suzanna Whelan volunteerprogram@marinwater. org http://www.marinwater.org
The Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership 555 Northgate Drive, San Rafael 415/479-5710 FAX 415/479-9722
Lauren Clapperton, Marin YMCA
Johnathan Smith, Marin YMCA
Suzanne Putman, Marin YMCA
Brian Kuhn, Marin YMCA
‘Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song, and I’ll try not to sing out of key’—A Little Help from My Friends
< 35 Carry that weight
BEST YOGA STUDIO
industry is going,” says Heckleman. “We like to be innovative and follow what our members want.” In addition to 13 tennis courts, 600 tennis members and ﬁve pro teachers, the club has an incredible swimming pool and several ﬁtness classes. Mt. Tam Racquet Club also promotes and supports local school events—particularly sober graduation events. “It’s also a great place to work,” he says. “We have the best teachers and most of us have been there forever.” --------------------------------------------Mt. Tam Racquet Club
“We take yoga seriously, but with a light spirit,” says Craig Fruchter, Red Dragon Yoga’s head dragon. “We believe in creating a welcoming, nurturing environment.” The studio was the first to offer both 105-degree Bikram traditional hot yoga and 90-degree Power Baptiste hot yoga. “Our heating and humidifying system is state-of-the-art,” says director of yoga Stephanie Schreiber. “When the system senses high levels of CO2, fresh air is pumped in automatically.” The high-ceilinged, light-filled setting is especially conducive to rejuvenation, and “we have amazing teachers,” says Fruchter. “They’re constantly reeducating themselves and practicing in the
1 Larkspur Plaza Dr., Larkspur 924.6226 2ND Harbor Point Tennis Club, Mill Valley 3RD Rolling Hills Tennis Club, Novato
studio when they’re not teaching.” Both facilities have showers, “rockin’ retail stores” and on-site managers, and the new San Rafael location features a spa massage room as well. “This is a place for people to come and reset themselves, to reenergize, to go out into the world calmer and with less stress than before,” says Scheiber. “Some people have said it’s their home away from home.” -------------------------------------------Red Dragon Yoga
1701 4th St., San Rafael 306.7904; 438 Miller Ave., Mill Valley 381.3724 2ND Yoga Studio, Mill Valley 3RD Yoga of Sausalito, Sausalito
July 7, 1940 Richard Starkey, Jr. (Ringo Starr) is born in Liverpool. Oct. 9, 1940 John Winston Lennon is born in Liverpool. June 18, 1942 James Paul McCartney is born in Liverpool. Feb. 25, 1943 George Harold Harrison is born in Liverpool.
Connect to more volunteer opportunities by visiting www.cvnl.org 36 PACIFIC SUN MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012
Love Me Hairdo
When John, George, Paul and Ringo are in need of the latest style of four-man scarves, they head to none other than Patrick James Purveyor to Gentlemen in Mill Valley.
There’s no denying the Beatles were fashion trendsetters in swingin’ London. From mop tops and collarless Pierre Cardin suits to Nehru jackets and 18th century military attire, the boys weren’t averse to donning the cool, the dignified and the utterly ridiculous—sometimes all at once. “It doesn’t really matter what clothes I wear,” they crooned in “Only a Northern Song”— but if they sought style counsel in Marin, 38 > they’d soon change their tune.
MARCH 30 – APRIL 5, 2012 PACIFIC SUN 37
< 37 Love me hairdo Vilma Bodas, Evo Spa
Asia Thorpe, Evo Spa
Nicole Mezo, Evo Spa
Heather Daniels, Evo Spa
BEST BEAUTY SUPPLY For more than 23 years Marin Beauty Company has been the best source for cosmetics as well as salon services in the county. With three locations to serve customers, MBC continues to provide prescriptive product knowledge and comprehensive hair and nail care to keep clients looking their best. The salons offer precision cuts, highlights, vegan smoothing systems, manicures and pedicures. Some current favorite products in the retail stores are the Moroccan Oil line for haircare, Dermatologica Skincare and OPI nail polish. With the largest selection at fair prices, discount cards for returning customers and convenient store locations, Marin Beauty is a one-stop shop for all your beauty needs. Owners Sheri and Lesley want to thank Sun readers for voting MBC the Best of four years in a row. --------------------------------------------Marin Beauty Company
417 3rd St., San Rafael 454.4500; 140 Vintage Way G-11, Novato 892.3600; 800 Redwood Blvd. Ste. 120, Mill Valley 381.6275 2ND Beauty Store and Salon, San Rafael 3RD Beauty Magic Supply, Mill Valley â€˜Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly meltingâ€™â€”Here Comes the Sun
Thank you for voting us Best Martial Arts Studio in Marin Bringing out the BEST in kids & adults since 1993.
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