Saturday, October 22, 2005

We Now Return To Our Regular Programming

I was working on a post about a meal I had during my recent visit to Portland, when it hit me: I haven't posted about Novato in quite a while, and, well, the name of my blog is The Novato Experiment. I guess you could say that I've been stalling a bit, trying to figure out how best to write about eating in this town...

At the beginning, I thought that I'd be reviewing places to eat within the confines of Novato, but thus far, I've only found two restaurants, maybe three, that I want to visit again. That seems like slim pickings to a girl who spent the last six years in San Francisco, and who relished the idea that she could put on her sneakers and find a fabulous meal within three to five blocks.

So there isn't much to write about Novato restaurants, but the question remains: what are people eating around here? I've been increasingly fascinated with this question. I've criss-crossed this area looking for clues, and have run into a host of other issues along the way. What happens when people have to drive miles to get to a good grocery market? What happens when there is a fast-food restaurant on every corner, but no place to buy a decent sandwich without driving an extra 10-15 minutes? And remember: this is Marin County we're talking about here, the fabled yogurt-and-granola capital of California!

Is Novato an exception? Well, yes: these problems don't exist in San Rafael or Larkspur or Corte Madera. But I would guess that there are communities like Novato sprinkled all over California that are similarly challenged.

So I may have been avoiding the subject of The Suburbs, but no longer. Bloom where you're planted, the old saying goes, and I'm going to do just that. I'm going to write about some of the things I've discovered during my voyages across Novato, and I'll occasionally report on a wonderful restaurant in Petaluma or San Anselmo or Ross... and I'll tell you how my own habits have changed, and how I've had to think a whole lot more about meal planning and suburban sprawl and the challenge of eating responsibly even though I'm surrounded by farmland.

And now this former City Girl is going to make herself a cup of tea and walk outside into the gorgeous fall morning and contemplate whether or not she should carve a pumpkin.


At 7:44 PM, Blogger DB said...

Life must be good if you can buy a house in Novato. I last stepped foot in Marin county in the early to mid '80s, and the rent was sky high then. I can only imagine what it is like now. DB

At 4:59 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Novato has a long history of not supporting good restauarants.Same with grocery stores.I look foward to the arrival of Trader Joes and Whole Foods

At 9:20 AM, Anonymous Natalie said...

You should carve a pumpkin. Be sure to wear gloves so that your fingernails do not turn orange.

At 5:57 PM, Blogger kitchenmage said...

Heh, you should try it in places like where I am--which is an hour from anything real. There's one place 15 min away that has decent small cafe food, but they close in the afternoon--heck you can't get espresso after about 3:00! Then again, when I lived in Marin, it was Bolinas, which was, at that time, highly similar with one or two notable exceptions. The nearest TJ's is almost two hours away, my friends send me care packages.

At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your writings are hilarious. An adult who complains as much as a Novato teenager... "there's nothing to do... nowhere to go...". Really! I've lived all over, 36 miles from town in Wyoming, the South, Alaska, Philadelphia, and even San Francisco but I call Novato home. Does every neighborhood in SF support a Trader Joe's, restaurants to fulfill your every craving, cinemas showing the movie you want to see, shopping that stimulates your particular tastes and other things of "interest"? I think not. Wouldn't that take away from the essence of the place...? Wouldn't every town and neighborhood just be the same? Granted Novato is a small place but it is also a part of a bigger place; Marin. Correct me if I'm wrong but the future King of England came to Marin to look at its organic gardening... going to the MANY farmers markets is a fun activity and there are plenty of choices and knowledgeable people. Surely you have been capable of acquiring some fresh produce somewhere?!? You live here and of course there is always room for change and growth... Novato could use some fresh, new ideas but please stop suggesting that the people of Novato all are truck driving country folk who don't have a clue how to "live"! You need to get out and go for a walk, smile at someone, take the time to learn their story, grow a little. It's not that far to the city... how lucky can you be? You live in Marin County... enjoy what is here. I surely hope that Trader Joe's proves to be the one thing that can truly bring happiness to the dismal existance you have here in Novato. Thanks for the laugh!!

At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hooray for anonymous! Your comments are right on.

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous SickOfSnobs said...

Are you certain you live IN Novato? Surrounded by farm land? Don't you mean what USED to be farm land?

Seriously, Jennifer, please relocate.

Have you eaten at Boca? What about Wild Fox? Star (for family style dining and quite a few healthy dishes too)? Fernando's? Roast Haus HofBrau (great sandwiches)?

You must live far from the actual city, maybe out where you still use an outhouse because I can walk to Rowland Theaters, Target, the Chinese buffet, about four churches, Safeway, Albertson's, Trader Joes, Longs, to get my vehicle repaired at the dealership or a local mechanic, dance lessons, Mt. Burdell and numerous other places.

That you cannot just step out of your door and in to a coffee shop just proves you are no longer in that filthy city you called home for so long.

I'll come and pull up the roots for you whenever you are ready to move on down the road.

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