Jan 18th: New 'Batika India Bistro' Review & Stylish Reading Corner Ideas

Living etc
Add spice to your day by visiting a great new Indian restaurant that has just opened in Novato. 

This weekend check out the Garden Railway at the Conservatory of Flowers and the opening of the Bay Area's only private children’s library.  

I also offer ideas on how to turn areas of your home into stylish reading corners for your children.

Weekend Events

Saturday January 22nd

‘Open House at Pratum Children’s Library’ from 10.00 – 6.00 pm, Marin Art & Garden Center, 30 Sir Frances Drake Blvd, Ross; http://www.pratumliteracy.com/
The opening of the Bay Area’s only private children’s library The Pratum Children’s Library is located in the center of the MAGC next to the rose garden. The public is invited to come and browse their large children’s book collection and 3,000 volumes on education and parenting. Todd Pratum will be giving an introductory talk about the importance of books and literacy for children at noon and 3.00 pm each day.

‘Chinyakara Ensemble’, 11.00 – 12.00 pm, Bay Area Discovery Museum, address, members $7, General Adult $14 & General Child $12; http://www.baykidsmuseum.org/programs-and-events/calendar/
Celebrate Southern African culture through traditional instruments and dance performed by the Chinyakara Ensemble.

Saturday January 22nd & Sunday 23rd

‘Garden Railway’ time, Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, 100 John F. Kennedy Drive, San Francisco, check website for opening times; http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org/atconservatory/trains2011
The miniature Garden Railway is on display at the Conservatory of Flowers until March 13th to celebrate the park’s 140th anniversary. The railway recreates the gardens, lakes and landmarks of the park such as the Japanese Tea Garden, the de Young Museum, Stow Lake Boat House, the Dutch Windmill and music concourse, which have all made up the park since the 1870’s. Children will love the trains and trolleys zipping along the three separate tracks. There are also two additional railway displays specifically designed for children, which features everyone’s favorite Tank Engine, and another that recreates downtown San Francisco complete with cable cars, the Transamerica Pyramid and the sounds of the city!

Restaurant of the Week

Batika India Bistro, 868 Grant Avenue, Novato; http://www.batikaindia.com/

Open for lunch buffet from 11.30 – 2.30 pm and dinner from 5.00 – 9.30 pm.

Our family has been looking for a good local Indian restaurant for a while and we may have found one in downtown Novato.

“Batika India Bistro” opened on Grant Avenue just after Christmas, at the former Portelli Rossi location with its outside patio. Chief Anil Shahu is from Napal and his staff offers a friendly welcome to their new restaurant which is open for lunch buffet and dinner. They also offer a weekend champagne brunch for only $8.95. If you are a large group and have certain preferences in terms of mild or spicy food for lunch, Batika are willing to accommodate if called in advance.  To celebrate their opening they are currently offering 20% discount on all entrées and take out until the end of the month and 15% discount throughout February.

The menu has various appetizers, soups and salads. We shared the vegetable samosa appetizer, which are pastry parcels stuffed with peas and masaladar potatoes. There are also commentary poppadums’ with three different dipping sauces (mint yogurt, pickle carrot with cauliflower and a tamarind) brought to your table.

The menu offers various chicken, lamb, vegetable and seafood entrée options, with a variety of rice, dal and Briyanis, with fresh tandoori breads. For main course we shared three entrées; the Butter Chicken which is a delicious pulled tandoori chicken with tomatoes, fenugreek, spices and a touch of cream, a mild Yellow Dal which is a mix of lentils tempered with cumin, shallots and turmeric in a soup consistency (our son particular enjoyed this dish). Also the Lamb Kashmiri Rogan Josh which was tender cubes of lamb with onions, tomatoes and blend of spices. The lamb was also very good but the after taste was too hot for me, but it was my husband’s favorite dish.

We also had side dishes of Saffron Rice, Sweet Mango Chutney and the Butter Naan which is leavened flat bread topped with onion seeds, cilantro and butter, perfect for mopping up the sauces.

Batika is a friendly and cozy environment and the meal experience left us feeling very satisfied and looking forward to sampling more of their dishes in the future, I especially want to try their kebabs next time.

Home Deco & Style - A Cup of Chic

We all love to cozy up to good book in our favorite chair, and story time with our children should also be an enjoyable experience in a comfortable area of the home. Create a fun reading corner in your child’s room or play room that evokes relaxation and a place to calm down before nap or bedtime.

Photo: 9ByDesign's 'Downtown Chic' book

Whether it is a beanbag or two next to a basket of books in a corner of the front room, or a row of cushions and favorite toys under a window, or a chic daybed with draped canopies, any space in the house can be transformed into a quiet place to cuddle up and read with parents or siblings.

Living etc magazine

Open forward facing bookshelves like this one from Pottery Barn Kids makes a feature of the book's artwork and adds colorful character to the room.

Pottery Barn Kids 'Maddison' book rack

Refresh an old chair or couch with layered blankets and mismatched throw pillows. Situate it next to a great lamp with a coffee table or book shelf and you have created the perfect cocoon to transport your children to story time.

Real Simple Magazine

Living etc magazine

Weekly Calendar of Ongoing 
Toddler 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

9.00 - 1.00 pm - 'Jack and Jill' indoor play space, 217 Western Avenue, Petaluma (every day)

10.00 - 6.00 pm - 'Jump n Bounce, 718 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo (every day)


9.30 – 10.45 am – Baby Bounce Story time – Larkspur Library, 400 Magnolia Ave, 1st Floor

10.00 – 10.30 am - ‘Baby Bounce’ Story time at Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

9.30 – 10.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (up to 24 months) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael (ON VACATION FROM JAN 17TH - FEB 1ST)

10.30 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (24 months & up) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael (ON VACATION FROM JAN 17TH - FEB 1ST)

10.00 – 11.30 am - ‘Play date 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


10.00 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, Suite 3, Novato (NEW START TIME)

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

10.15 – 10.45 am - ‘Music Circle’ (Under 1 yr), The Parents Center, Heller’s, 514 4th St, San Rafael 

10.00 - 10.45 am - Fun & Funky (age 2 - 4), Fairfax Community Center, 

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 Story time, Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd

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

6.30 - 7.30 pm - 'Magic Dan' performs at Novato Library, 1720 Novato Blvd, Novato


8.00 – 1.00 pm – Farmers Market, The Civic Center

10.00 - 12.00 pm - 'Indoor Power Play' at Cal Star Gym, 70 Digital Drive, Novato (NEW START TIME)

9.30 – 10.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (up to 24 months) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael (ON VACATION FROM JAN 17TH - FEB 1ST)

10.30 – 11.30 am - ‘Jumping Jacks’ (24 months & up) at the San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael (ON VACATION FROM JAN 17TH - FEB 1ST)

10.15 -10.45 am – Toddler Story time (2-3 yrs), Mill Valley Library, 375 Throckmorton Ave, Mill Valley

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


10.00 – 10.30 am – NEW! Intro to Ballet, Women’s Club, 46 Park Road, Fairfax (until July 6th)

9.30 – 10.15 am – NEW! Doodlers Craft Time, San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, San Rafael

10.30 - 11.30 am - Story Time with Sara Sonnet, San Rafael Library, 618 B Street, San Rafael 

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

10.30 – 12.00 pm – Free Playgroup (Under 5), Marin Head Start, 610 Drake Ave, Marin City

New Classes include an ‘Intro to Ballet’ on Fridays mornings in Fairfax, the class is for 2 – 5 year olds and is designed to help develop rhythm, co-ordination and attention while having fun playing and pretending to music. It is $12 drop in or $60 for a six week session.

Also on Fridays, a new art class begins at the San Rafael Community Center. The class, for 2 – 5 year olds, will have different crafts and materials set up to allow your child to engage in creative fun. It is not an instructor led class so parents are encouraged to help in creating a one of a kind master piece.

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