As long as it’s not al fresco…


When friends Lynn and Mike arrived at our door yesterday afternoon bearing gifts of food, I was delighted!  There’s nothing like being fed by professionals – and Lynn and Mike definitely qualify in that category.  They have a highly successful bagel business in Portland, for starters, and are passionate about their culinary escapades in their fabulous kitchen here at the beach.

Since Nyel’s latest injury, they have been bringing us comfort foods to die for.  Last time it was Lynn’s grandmother’s (or was it Mike’s mother’s) eggplant parmesan.  This time cioppino!  Plus, a fancy dessert (a galette?) that melts in your mouth and is covered with pine nuts that I’m sure are not randomly placed.  In fact, there might be a secret message involved.

Extra Crunch Garlic Bread

I must admit, though, the cioppino gave me pause.  It looked delicious and smelled delicious but… I’d had a long-ago experience with cioppino at Sam’s in Tiburon and I wasn’t sure I was over it yet.  It happened almost 50 years ago, mind you.  But still…

Sam’s is THE place to go on for Sunday brunch if you live in the Bay Area. Their enormous deck overlooks San Francisco Bay with a view to Angel Island and the City beyond and maybe a bridge or two.  Their drinks and food are to die for and well worth the long, looooong wait – even if you have reservations.  People arrive by sailboat or yacht or ferry besides the usual more pedestrian ways, the seagulls vie for crumbs the diners drop and all-in-all, it’s al fresco dining at its best, despite no reservations taken on the deck.

Sam’s, Tiburon

The one and only time I strayed from my usual Eggs Benedict, I ordered cioppino.  It was an unusually slow day and when our meals finally did come, a seagull came cruising over our table just as my lunch was served.  I felt a warm splat on my head and looked at the bowl in front of me to find it dotted with blobs of sour cream and parsley… or was it?  After all these years, I don’t remember if the management replaced my lunch or not, but I do know that, until yesterday, I’ve never tried cioppino again.

Mike’s was delicious, by the way.  And there was no parsley-garnished sour cream in sight.

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