Oct 15th: 'Tomatina' review, 'Tolay Festival' Play Date, Weekend events & Weekly Activities Calendar

Welcome to The Marin Scoop, this week I review the new ‘Tomatina’ restaurant that opened in the Northgate Mall last week, I will also review a different children's book each week starting of with a wonderful bedtime read. 
Check out the 'Tolay Festival' as a possible play date or day out over the weekend, there is also the ‘Goblin Jamboree’ event at the BADM over the weekend which will be full of spooky games and live entertainment to get you in the mood for Halloween!

Weekend Events

Friday October 15th

Friday Night Fusion, Village of Corte Madera, Center Court, 5.30 – 7.30 pm, $15 per person including a local cheese plate.www.villageatcortemadera.com/events
Local musician performs while you enjoy a wine tasting presented by Sonoma County Vintners

Saturday October 16th

Fall Carnival at Venetia Valley School, from 10.00 – 4.00 pm, 177 North San Pedro Road, San Rafael, free entry, www.vvef.org
Fundraiser event with kid’s games, rides, jumpee houses, face painting Henna tattoos, cake walk, raffle and live entertainment by their students and local talent. Homemade food that is also available for take-out.

Saturday October 16th & Sunday October 17th

‘Goblin Jamboree’, from 10.00 – 4.00 pm, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Fort Baker, Sausalito, members $13, General $15 & children under 1 are free, www.baykidsmuseum.org 
The BADM will be transformed into a ‘haunted wonderland’ full of games and activities, you can come in costume and ride a train, a real pony, visit the petting zoo or visit the spooky haunted pier, and make potions in the witches and wizards school. Live entertainment will include Tim Cain, The Hip Waders and Benny the wizard, Magic Circus, see full schedule on their website. 

Sunday October 17th

‘The Waldorf Children's Faire’, from 10.00 - 4.00 pm, Waldorf School, 755 Idylberry Road, Marinwood. Free shuttle from Hwy 101 park & ride at Lucas valley exit to and from the school; www.marinwaldorf.org
 Faire mainly aimed at children 3 – 10 years old with magical games, puppet shows, story time and crafts such as painting and the candle making. Organic food available for purchase.

Christopher Smith’s Storytime, at 11.00 – 11.30 am, Book Passage, 55 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera, www.bookpassage.com
Enjoy the wonderful stories and songs with Christopher and his guitar every week!

Chileno Valley Ranch, Sundays throughout Oct, 5105 Chileno Valley Road, Petaluma, call or email before visit; www.chilenobnb.com
The Ranch will be open to the public for apple picking and families may bring children to pet the sheep, feed the pigs, pet the milk cow, and to play with their springer spaniels, Toby and Mac. Volunteers are available to take families around to see the farm with a $5.00 per family charge, unless you buy over $40.00 worth of wholesome food. Grass fed beef and pastured eggs available for purchase. Call or email before your visit through their website.

Restaurant of the Week

Tomatina, 5800 Northgate Mall, San Rafael (parking by Kohls), www.tomatina.com

The new Tomatina restaurant opened last Wednesday at the Northgate Mall so we headed over there on Sunday to enjoy the warm evening on their outdoor patio. We were greeted by a very friendly waiter who guided our way through their menu. Recipes marked with a tomato beside them do not carry red meat or poultry but may contain dairy and seafood, you can ask about possible vegetarian modifications to the item. We started off by sharing the risotto balls stuffed with fontina cheese, this is one of our favorite appetizers and these did not disappoint, they melt in your mouth and were bigger than expected. After a busy weekend of packing and painting we were hungry and thirsty, my husband ordered a Pyramid Hefeweizen beer and the Rabbit Ridge Zinfandel wine with his main course, I was tempted by their Sangria but had their signature lemonade with vanilla mint (also comes with strawberry) which was very refreshing.

Our son’s spaghetti and meatballs in tomato sauce arrived promptly and he devoured the bowl in no time as it was delicious. Other kid’s options include mac and cheese, Ravioli, noodle and sauce, Caesar salad or pizza. There are pasta options such as Lasagna, Rigatoni with braised vegetable, fennel sausage, red wine and tomato sauce, and a Risotto ‘Paella Style’ with mussels, calabrian sausage, chicken, tomato and artichoke hearts. A great lunch option is the Piadine which is warm flatbread topped with a variety of cool salads that you can fold and eat like a sandwich in homemade white or wheat crust.

We decided to go  for ‘Tomatina’s Favorite pizzas’, my husband ordered the Spicy Calabrian Sausage pizza with mozzarella, caramelized onion, sautéed mushrooms and parmesan cheese, he particularly like pizzas without tomato sauce and found this pizza very flavorable and mentioned that “it gave ‘Boca Pizzeria’ in Novato a run for its money”, which is a huge compliment!  I, on the other hand, love tomato sauce and ordered the Calzone, a large roasted chicken pocket stuffed with mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts, sautéed red bell peppers and onion, topped with tomato and garlic confit, served with a green salad. It was so succulent and oozed with so many commentary favors, I don’t think I came up for air until I was half way through the second pocket!

We decided to order some desert to take out as I had eyed up so many amazing looking deserts displayed at the take out counter inside, in particular I wanted a chocolate Whoopee Pie. To my dismay I was told the pie wasn’t available that evening, how cruel to tangle such a delicious carrot in front of me! I decided to order the flourless chocolate cake with cream and caramel sauce instead, it was moist and heavenly. We found our first experience of Tomatina to be very enjoyable and rolled ourselves home very satisfied. We can’t wait to sample other options on the menu in the future as it is a great new addition to our neighborhood. It is also a great option when you don’t have the time to cook and need take out, which you can do in person, by phone, or online, www.tomattina.com/order.php

Play Date Idea

‘The Tolay Festival’, from Thursday Oct 14th – Sunday 17th, from 10.00 am – 3.30 pm on Thursday & Fridays, and 9.00 – 5.00 pm at weekends, at Tolay Lake Regional Park outside Petaluma, $3 admission, free entry for 12 and under & $6 parking fee. For driving directions see website: 

A fun adventure play date to do with friends or family is the annual ‘Tolay Festival’ that takes place later this week in Sonoma. The festival grew from the original pumpkin patch and there are free Ranger-led tractor hay rides to the patch. It is now a festival that offers various attractions and activities for all ages including an animal area with Boer goats, a night time Creatures Barn with a Creep Crawly Critters room. A hands-on children’s area and Kiddie Corral, lawn games, a firefighting display, a Native American village, a demonstration of old farm equipment and early gas engines (which my son loves).

You can grab a bite from ‘Willie Bird Turkey BBQ’, or there is a taco truck and kettle corn vendor, alternatively bring you own picnic and enjoy it on the lawn or picnic tables while taking in a wonderful surroundings.

Children's Book of the Week

My son recently received a wonderful new book from Grandma that we both enjoy reading before bedtime each night. ‘Goodnight to the Sleepy Animals’ is written by Ian Whybrow and tells the story of a ginger cat that heads out to say goodnight to his animal friends. We meet the dog guarding a juicy bone, the rabbits settling into the straw, the birds snuggling down in a feathery nest and the field mouse that climbs into bed with his supper in his cheeks. Finally home to the kittens, softly creep, a drink of milk and they’re fast asleep.
The illustrations by Ed Eaves are beautiful and children will enjoy stroking the velvety soft to touch animal on each page.  The last page asks you to say goodnight to all the animals one more time but in a quieter voice which is a perfect way to lead into gently saying goodnight to your little one before tucking them into bed. 

A Weekly Calendar of Toddler Appropriate Activities in Marin


10 .00 - 10.30 am - Kid's Story Time Club, Pharmaca, 7514 Redwood Blvd, Novato

10.00 – 10.30 am – Book Babies, San Anselmo Library, 110 Tunstead Ave Town Council chamber

10.30 – 11.15 am – ‘Music Together of Marin’, The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, 47 Tamal Vista Blvd.


9.30 – 10.45 am – Baby Bounce Storytime – Larkspur Library, 400 Magnolia Ave, 1st Floor
10.00 – 10.30 am - ‘Baby Bounce’ Story time at Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

10.00 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.00 – 11.30 am - ‘Playdate for 2 and Under’ at The Parent’s Place, 600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael

10.15 - 10.45 am - 'Music Circle', at The Parents Center, Heller's Store, 514 4th Street, San Rafael (

11.00 - 11.30 am – ‘Book Club Story Time’ at ‘Pottery Barns Kids’ store, Corte Madera Village


9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, suite 3, Novato

10.00 -10.30 am – Music Together, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 – 10.45 am - ‘Music Circle’ at The Parents Center, Heller’s store, 514 4th St, San Rafael (

10.30 - 11.30 am – Adventure Club Drop in Play, MLK Gym, 610 Colma Street, Sausalito

11.00 - 11.30 am – Story Time at Giggle Store, Corte Madera Village

11.00 -11.30 am – Preschool Storytime, Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

3.00 – 5.00 pm – Crawlers Camp (up to 23 months) at Stretch the Imagination, Corte Madera

4.00 – 8.00 pm - Farmer’s Market, Bolinas Park, Bolinas Road, Fairfax


8.00 – 1.00 pm – Farmers Market, The Civic Center (Puppet Show, balloon lady, Jumpy Houses & music)

9.30 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, Novato

9.30 – 10.30 am – ‘Jumping Jacks’, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.15 -10.45 am – Toddler Storytime, San Rafael Library, 1100 E St, San Rafael

10.30 – 11.00 am – Story Time at San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

11.00 - 11.30 am - Story Time at Barnes & Noble, 313 Corte Madera Center

3.30 - 4.00 pm - 'Stories with Phil Sheridan', Sausalito Library, 420 Litho Street

3.00 – 7.00 pm – Farmers Market, Marin Art & Garden Center, 30 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Ross

6.00 – 9.00 pm - Farmers Market, 4th St, between Lincoln and B St, San Rafael


10.30 - 11.30 am - Story Time with Sarah Bonnet, San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.30 - 11.30 am - Tot's Club, City Hall Parks & Recreation, 420 Litho Street, Exercise Room, Sausalito

10.30 – 12.00 pm – Jumping Jacks, Strawberry Recreation District, 118 Strawberry Drive, 2nd floor gym

9.00 – 2.00 pm – Farmers Market, Alto Shopping Center, Mill Valley

9.00 am – 2.00 pm – Farmers Market, Bank of America parking lot, Downtown Sausalito

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