Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Chylde is Born!

Just a quick note to let you know that Flour Chylde is now open, as of 6:00pm yesterday. The walls are still bare, and they're still getting things set up, but the bakery case has lots of delicious items in it already.

I bought a mininature gluten-free lemon-coconut cake there last night. It was delicious; moist and lemony, and covered in a soft, fluffy coat of coconut flakes. Yum.

So if you're near Grant Street, stop by and welcome them to the neighborhood!

Address: 850 Grant Avenue. (415) 328-5522

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

New Reasons to Visit Grant Street

New things are happening in Novato!

The long-awaited Trader Joe's is now open, so I only have to travel 5 minutes to replenish my supplies of Fage 2% Greek yogurt and TJ's sea salt-black pepper-lemon blend (with grinder built in!). Their produce selection is still largely non-organic and sourced from places far, far away from California, so I generally steer clear of that section, but their wine guy is cute and sweet, and last week he pointed me towards a Cabernet Sauvignon that happens to be made from one of my favorite winemakers, at a price that made me smile.

With the Trader Joe's came yet another Starbucks. I haven't been inside, because who would want to when Dr. Insomnia's is just around the corner on Grant Avenue? Not only do they know how to make espresso drinks (they know to ask if I want my cappuccino wet or dry), they also have a house-made coffee cake that is so moist and buttery and cinnamon-y (is that a word?) that I was absolutely crushed a couple of weeks ago when they ran out of it on a Sunday morning.

Grant Avenue is becoming more exciting all the time! Yes, I really said that.

The Novato Farmer's Market takes up much of the street on Tuesday evenings from 5pm-8pm, and although it doesn't attract nearly as many quality vendors as the San Rafael Civic Center, it is worth stopping by if you live in the neighborhood. Every week, a different band plays live music, and Roli Roti is there with their addictive roast chickens, which they pop into a bag with lime slices. Mmmm... Perhaps in time, we'll see more of the high-quality organic vendors here as well. My guess is that current demand for fresh organic produce in the Bay Area might be exceeding supply...

One of my favorite vendors at the Novato Farmer's Market is Flour Chylde, a Novato-based bakery that creates an assortment of delectable breads, pastries, and desserts, including a selection of wheat or gluten-free offerings. Up until now, they haven't had a storefront, but they are opening up on Grant Avenue later this summer, which will make a fabulous addition to the Old Town "scene."

You know how I love Kitchen. Their short ribs send me into rapture, and I've been known to sneak into one of their two counter-top tables for a quick bite when B is out of town. Now they've opened up Finnegan's across the street. It has a cozy pub-like feel, with framed pictures all over the walls and flat-screen TV's near the bar. The menu is a mix of expected bar food, like Irish potato poppers and giant burgers, with somewhat more sophisticated offerings like cherry-glazed pork loin and an antipasto platter with buffalo mozzarella and roasted red peppers. Their Cobb salad isn't the same as Kitchen's was when Kitchen was open for lunch - I couldn't wait to see if it might be! - but it is beautifully presented and quite delicious.

I keep on driving past the alleged site of the Novato Whole Foods, but alas - not a single scoop of dirt has been removed from the site. It seems that now their projected opening date is 2008, so we'll have to wait a bit longer.

But hey: things are looking up in Novato when, along a single street, one can find a perfectly-made cappuccino, a loaf of bread made with organic flours, a nice lunch and a fabulous dinner. I'd say that's progress!