Tyler Florence's 'El Paseo' Review & Nature Walk in Las Gallinas Valley

I am really excited that The Marin Scoop has been nominated for the SF Bay Area Mom Blogs list on ‘Circle of Moms’. Their Top 25 honors the great Mom Bloggers and I would love your support by voting for this blog, just click on this link: VOTE NOW

You can vote for The Marin Scoop once a day until July 29th, thanks so much!

This week I review Tyler Florence’s ‘El Paseo House of Chops’ restaurant in Mill Valley which makes a great date night for a special occasion. 
Also going on a nature walk and spotting the wildlife in Las Gallinas Valley makes a fun and educational play date.  

Date Night – Restaurant of the week

'El Paseo House of chops'
17 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley; view website

A friend of mine bought me the Tyler Florence's 'Family Meal' cookbook for my birthday which contains great recipes and inspiring food and lifestyle photography, that reminded me a lot of Jamie Oliver's cookbooks that line our book shelves at home.

So after trying out various recipes, we were excited to finally get a chance to visit his restaurant 'El Paseo House of Chops' in Mill Valley. El Paseo has recently reopened after a period of remodeling and is located in a Spanish style building with a central pathway from Throckmorton Avenue. We had problems finding the main entrance as it is a labyrinth of small dining rooms on both sides of the path. We regretted not arriving earlier to take advantage of the lovely outside bar lounge area, a sun trap surrounded by flowering greenery, very pleasant.

It was a warm sunny evening so we requested to sit in the little dining patio. First the restaurant hostess left us in the dining room to double check availability and then guided us out to the worst table in the empty patio, but our friendly waiter told us we could sit wherever we liked. It was very sweet but i found it a little distracting having members of the public walking through the pathway with dogs and children, as we were eating. But my husband reminded me that it was a lot like the restaurants in the small back streets of Spain and Italy.

I ordered the bacon, lettuce and tomato style deviled eggs appetizer which came on a beautifully presented oval plate. The sauce was delicious but it would have been nice to have a little more bacon and tomato. My husband ordered the beef Carpaccio special which came with crostini, very refreshing, and again great presentation.

As you can imagine the chophouse's specialty is great pieces of high end meat. My husband chose the 12 oz. veal chop with porcini butter and fried sage which looked like a huge piece of meat from The Flintstones cartoon! He thoroughly enjoyed it as it was full of flavor and tender.
He also ordered the side dish of Mac and cheese, which we didn't really need but it was very creamy with a crispy topping.

For main course I went for the Béarnaise Burger, a very large delicious beef patty with cheese on a brioche bun, Béarnaise sauce on the side and fries. The tasty burger with bacon and caramelized onion was very filling but I couldn't manage the whole thing. The fries were perfectly crunchy.

After such mighty potions of meat and large glasses of fine Pinot Noir and Zinfandel we just couldn't manage a dessert; the choices included mini donuts and Panna Cotta.

El Paseo is an expensive treat for a special date night, birthday or anniversary. It was a fun evening out with great attentive service and well executed food. Tyler Florence wasn't in the kitchen that evening to sign our cookbook, but he should be there soon to oversee the recent changes to the menu, so you might see him next time you are there!

Play Date of the Week

Las Gallinas Valley Sanitary District, 
300 Smith Ranch Road, San Rafael; view website

One of our favorite things to do with the children is go on nature walks. My son likes to explore new places and collect little treasures in his bucket.

Last weekend we returned to a place we haven't been since he was an infant in his stroller; Las Gallinas Valley Sanity District. Now I admit the name is not very inviting, but the reclamation area has a large pond full of ducks and birds, and is surrounded by beautiful wildflowers, rolling hills, marsh land and clear views of San Pablo Bay and Mount Tampalais, plus it has a clean even-ground hiking trail (3.5 mile in total).

It is an interesting place to spot deer, cranes, pelicans and storks, in fact over 200 species of birds pass through it each year. It is a great place to walk or ride your bike during fall and winter too as you get to see the various migrating birds resting here. We have taken some wonderful photographs during the seasons here.

Along our walk we picked different colored wildflowers (which we pressed for Grandma), collected feathers, long grass, rocks and blew lots of dandelions. We watched butterflies fluttering past and bugs crawling by. All great, simple fun for a toddler to learn about nature that doesn't cost a dime!

Support our State Parks

The California State Parks Foundation and the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation have teamed up with the San Francisco Giants and members of the Grateful Dead to help save the State Parks. A portion of the proceeds from the August 9th, SF Giants vs Pittsburgh Pirates, game and a VIP pre-game party will help keep eleven state parks open that are slated for closure in Sonoma, Marin, and San Francisco Counties. See website for details & buy tickets

Mommy’s Treats

TV Shows of the Week

Fans of “9 By Design” will be pleased to know that husband-and-wife design team Robert and Cortney Novogratz are back with a new series on HGTV called “Home By Novogratz”. It is a home make over show that starts this Saturday July 16th at 10.00 pm.

The couple who seem to have it all: ‘Giuliana & Bill’ Rancic’s reality show is back on the Style channel this Monday July 18th. This season they are taking a break from the heartache of IVF and concentrating on building their new home and having fun. 

Baby & Toddler Weekly Activities Calendars

Looking for something to do to entertain your toddler or want to reach out to new moms with babies this week?

Click on the ‘Weekly Calendar’ bar at the top of the page to view this week’s “Baby & Toddler Weekly Activities Calendar”. 

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