2014 Top Five Marin County Restaurants

According to Michael Bauer, the San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic, five of the 2014 Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants are in Marin County. They are El Paseo in Mill Valley, Farmshop and Picco in Larkspur, Poggio and Sushi Ran in Sausalito.

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Ever since he published the first guide nineteen years, compiling the list has remained an ongoing project for Bauer, and one he does not take lightly.  From Los Gatos to Calistoga and everywhere in between, he visits thousands of places and awards a spot on the list to restaurants he has visited a minimum of three times. How does he do it? He dines out every night – sometimes consuming two or three dinners in an evening – checking out new restaurants and returning to those he’s previously reviewed.  Wow!

This year, he added 20 new restaurants to the Top 100 list, including Farmshop and Picco (which had been on the list previously several years back.)

Each year, when Michael Bauer finally finishes the list, he says he reawakens to the fact that dining in the Bay Area is so rich. It’s inarguably one of the best places to eat in the United States, and maybe the world.  I could not agree more! How about you?  I just wish we had more top restaurants in Marin for special occasions. For casual dinners out, however, we do have a great selection of wonderful restaurants that might not have made Mr. Bauer’s list, but are pretty good in my book.

 

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 El Paseo – Mill Valley – Photo Courtesy of SF Chronicle

EL PASEO  HOUSE OF CHOPS – MILL VALLEY, CA – According to Bauer, El Paseo, which has been in business since 1948, is a gem, and even if the food wasn’t so good it would be worth a visit because it captures the spirit of Marin. A brick walkway connects a series of outdoor and indoor rooms that seem to flow into one another. The restaurant was carefully reinvented and reopened in March 2011 by rocker Sammy Hagar and chef Tyler Florence, who also owns the wildly popular Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco. It calls itself a chophouse, but the menu also offers a variety of main courses: pan-roasted duck breast accented with cauliflower; red snapper with quinoa and mussels, and seared chicken breast with the smoked leg. I have not been in years, but reading Bauer’s review made me want to revisit the quaint building and try the revamped menu.

 

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 Farmshop – Larkspur – Photo courtesy of Farmshop

FARMSHOP MARIN – LARKSPUR, CA –  Chef/owner Jeff Cerciello, longtime chef of Bouchon in Yountville, offers dishes that showcase a direct link to the producers. According to Michael Bauer, the food is every bit as good as it is in the original and very successful Farmshop in Santa Monica.  Bauer puts the chicken ($27) right up there with the Zuni Cafe signature–I am not sure I would agree, but it sure is very tasty.. Located in the Marin Country Mart, Farmshop Marin sits a stone’s throw from the Larkspur Landing ferry dock offering up a full-flavored experience with style and comfort. I particularly enjoy lunch in the spacious fenced patio overlooking the shopping complex. The bar has to be the longest I have seen, seating over twenty in a row. Like the Country Mart complex itself, Farmshop has become part of the fabric of the community. Plus, it’s so close to the ferry landing–you can walk over Sir Francis Drake and be there in two minutes– and Highway 101 that it’s a good stopping point for anyone coming or going to San Francisco. It looks as if Farmshop is destined to become a local restaurant for the entire Bay Area.

Picco – Larkspur – Photo by S. Zolezzi

PICCO, LARKSPUR, CA  – Back on the list as.Jared Rogers, a 2014 Chronicle Rising Star, and pastry chef Jeannette Taylor have brought Bruce Hill’s 9-year-old Picco back to top form, according to Bauer, making it one of the area’s best casual restaurants. Hill is also the master behind Zero Zero, Bix and the new Fog City in San Francisco. The 30-plus-item menu is weighted to small plates, and there are loads of vegetable options such as wok-roasted broccoli di ciccio with toasted garlic, chile and preserved lemon; and spinach sformato with black truffle, olives and fennel salad. Favorites include the Kampachi crudo, avocado bruschetta and mini burgers. The restaurant features a handsome beamed ceiling, brick walls and large windows that open on to a front patio. The pizzeria next door offers, in my humble opinion, the best pies in the Bay Area, especially the Margarita and the Marin. The Strauss Valley soft ice cream is also worth a trip!

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 Poggio, Sausalito – Photo courtesy of OurSausalito.com

POGGIO – SAUSALITO, CA – Under Chef Balesteri, who took over from Chef Peter McNee in 2013, the restaurant remains one of Bauer’s favorite spots in Marin.  From the rich marble and mahogany interior with large windows that can be thrown open to let in the marina breezes and the Bay view  to the soulful Italian-inspired food, it offers a superior dining experience in a magical setting, especially on warm summer nights. The menu features pizza (cooked in the wood-burning oven,) eight different pasta dishes, home made charcuterie (think house made prosciutto paired with locally grown melon!) and a great selection of main courses or “secondi” that include the always exceptional grilled chicken ($22); steak alla Fiorentina, a porterhouse grilled over oak that’s designed to serve two or three ($69); and meat loaf ($17) braised in tomato sauce, which has been on the menu since the restaurant opened. Another draw is the service; it’s where Mindel’s years of experience pay off. He founded the Il Fornaio chain but wanted to open a more personal restaurant near his home. Poggio offers some of the most professional service in a casual restaurant in the Bay Area. By the way, Il Fornaio is a great favorite of mine: never disappointing and one of the best values in Marin. As a bonus, Poggio is dog friendly.

Sushi Ran, Sausalito, CA - photo courtesy of Sushi Ran

Sushi Ran, Sausalito – Photo Courtesy of Sushi Ran

SUSHI RAN – SAUSALITO, CA – Last but certainly not least on our list of the five best restaurants in Marin is Sushi Ran.  Owned by Yoshi Tome since 1986, it is the best of the five in my book and has been our destination for our wedding anniversary for years. With a top Bay Area restaurant ranking from both Michelin and the Zagat Survey, three stars from SF Chronicle Food Critic Michael Bauer, and presidency of the Northern California Japanese Restaurant Association, Yoshi is one of Northern California’s most respected restaurateurs (and he happens to be a very nice person as well.) This exceptional Japanese restaurant offers a great selection of creative cooked dishes–the Miso glazed cod is a big favorite–and outstanding sushi and sashimi. I would agree with Zagat’s description of  a “classy” restaurant that is “always busy” yet somehow “always seems peaceful.”  I love the adjacent wine bar with its deep sake list that helps take your mind off the “pricey” tabs. .

 

 


Ten Most Expensive Homes Sold in Marin County in 2014

 

The 2014 Marin County luxury real estate market saw a  large upswing in prices and number of properties sold.  In the $5 million and up price range the number of properties sold more than doubled year over year, jumping from 15 in 2013 to 38 in 2014.  As the new year begins I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the most expensive homes that sold in Marin County in 2014.  My full annual review of the Marin County market is coming soon, stay tuned!

So here is some eye candy for you: the 10 most expensive residential homes that sold in 2014 according to the Bay Area Real Estate Multiple Listing Service.  These properties are concentrated in five Marin communities: Tiburon, Belvedere, Ross, Kentfield, and Stinson Beach.

11 Locust Avenue, Ross, CA

11 Locust Ave. – Listed by Tracy McLaughlin, Pacific Union

10. 11 Locust Avenue, Ross – Outstanding Hampton’s style estate situated on a flat acre! High end, timeless finishes, great scale & light. Fabulous floor plan with 4 bedrooms on one level plus separate 2 bedroom guest wing. Indoor/outdoor living with all main rooms opening to the sprawling level lawns and pool. Park like grounds include stunning, year round gardens, old growth trees,2 seasonal creeks, & vintage barn. Located in the flats just blocks from k-8 Ross School. Stats: 6 bedrooms/6 baths, 5,867 s.f., 1 acre. SOLD FOR $6,495,000 IN DECEMBER 2014.

 

465 Ridge Road, Tiburon, CA

465 Ridge Road – Listed by Scott Woods & Bill Smith, Pacific Union

9.  465 Ridge Road, Tiburon – This magnificent contemporary masterpiece boasts front row views of Angel Island, the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. The impressive 4 bedroom, 4 bath gated retreat is ideally sited in a premier Tiburon location. The Sutton-Suzuki design blends seamlessly into stunning landscape design. The Chef’s dream kitchen is equipped with Wolf, Sub-Zero and Miele. Level lawns and terraces offer the ultimate in indoor outdoor flow. Formal living, dining. Whole-home automation. Stats: 4 bedrooms/4 baths, 4,583 s.f., 0.51 acre. SOLD FOR $6,550,000 IN APRIL 2014.

 

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126 Cypress Ave. – Listed by M. Applegarth, B. Bullock, L. Sarkissian, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s I.R.

8. 126 Cypress Avenue, Kentfield – This beautiful, private and gated, 2 story, 7 bedroom, 7.5 bath home of exceptional quality and style is ideally located in the flats of Kentfield. and offers over 10,200 sq.ft. with a separate Guest House and a 4-Car Garage. The grounds are meticulously landscaped on 1.20 acres, with large level lawns, Pool, Spa, Gardens, Courtyard with Outdoor BBQ & Kitchen, Sport-court and with a double gated driveway. Walk to award winning schools. Truly rare, exceptional quality and value. Stats: 7 bedrooms/8 baths, 10,291 s.f., 1.19 acres. SOLD FOR $6,762,5000 IN SEPTEMBER 2014.

 

3300 Paradise Drive, Tiburon, CA - Listed by Decker Bullock Sotheby's International Realty

3300 Paradise Dr.-  Listed by Bill Bullock & Lydia Sarkissian, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s I.R.

7. 3300 Paradise Drive, Tiburon – This resort-like, gated and private estate includes a four bedroom primary residence, au-pair studio, detached cabana/guest quarters on 1.6 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. You will enjoy your sun-soaked pool, spa, waterfall, cabana/pool house with fireplace and beach access. The house’s main level includes a large living/dining area with a wrap-around deck on the Bay view side, a Gourmet kitchen with pantry, family room with fireplace, and breakfast area and the Master suite with fireplace and view side porch. The upper level boasts three bedrooms (2 en-suite). On the lower level are the office, gym, rec. room and wine cellar.  Stats: 6 bedrooms/8 baths, 7,211 s.f., 1.66 acres. SOLD FOR $7,000,000 IN MAY 2014.

 

1910 Straits View Drive, Tiburon, CA

1910 Straits View Dr.-  Listed by Marilyn Rich, Pacific Union

6. 1910 Straits View Drive, Tiburon – On Top of the World! Gorgeous, gated estate with almost new 1BD/1.5BA Guest House. Reach out and touch me views of East Bay, Angel Island, S.F. and the G.G. Bridge. Sited on one + acre with lawns, swimming pool, in-ground spa with outdoor shower. The guest house has a high-tech theater, wine cellar, gym, sauna. Major remodel & guest house built in 2012/2013. Stats: 5 bedrooms/5 baths, 6,380 s.f., 1.01 acres. SOLD FOR $7,653,000 IN NOVEMBER 2014.

 

164 Seadrift Road, Stinson Beach, CA

164 Seadrift Road, – Listed by Lotte & Sarah, McGuire Real Estate

5. 164 Seadrift Road, Stinson Beach – This home combines exquisite views & luxurious oceanfront living in Seadrift. This gem is a Cape Cod style paradise on 2/3rd acre with your own private beach, dunes, front and rear decks, 4 en suite bedrooms, 3 sided solarium dining on ocean, 2 fireplaces, a great room with an open chef’s kitchen, guest house, skylights, hot tub, custom cabinetry, complete with art, sculptures, designer furniture and bikes for a complete ready-to-go retreat package, on 3 miles of beach 35 minutes from San Francisco. Stats: 4 bedrooms/4 baths, 3,425 s.f., 0.65 acre. SOLD FOR $8,000,000 IN NOVEMBER 2014.

440 Ridge Road, Tiburon, CA

440 Ridge Road, – Listed by Ann Green, Coldwell Banker

4. 440 Ridge Road, Tiburon – Stunning NEW home in Hill Haven! Styled after a Hamptons home, this easy floor plan is perfect for any lifestyle. Breathtaking AHA VIEWS from the East Bay to SF to the Golden Gate to Mt. Tam can be enjoyed from most rooms in the house, the pool or spa, the spacious lawn area, or blue stone terrace. Truly a magnificent detailed home in the California open style for the discriminating buyer. Stats: 4 bedrooms/6 baths, 4,400 s.f., 0.57 acre. SOLD FOR $8,985,000 IN NOVEMBER 2014.

 

12 Canyon Road, Ross

12 Canyon Road – Listed by Kathleen Clifford, Pacific Union

3. 12 Canyon Road, Ross – This exquisite, very private home shines in a resort setting on 5 acres of prime real estate. The main home has wonderful living space, great versatility, fulfilling everyone’s living, dining and entertaining needs. Superb finishes and exceptional design details will delight sophisticated buyers. This amazing compound features a level lawn (perfect for Thanksgiving family football games), an elaborate outdoor kitchen, pool, spa, pool house, MT TAM views. Close to ALL conveniences. Stats: 8 bedrooms/8 baths, 8,000 s.f., 5 acres. SOLD FOR $9,300,000 IN NOVEMBER 2014.

 

8 Crest Road, Belvedere, CA

8 Crest Road – Listed by Bill Bullock & Lydia Sarkissian, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s I.R.

2. 8 Crest Rd, Belvedere – Recently constructed, this home offers formal living & dining areas, a study and jaw dropping panoramic views. The stylish entry level includes the open kitchen/family room with an outdoor dining terrace, butlers pantry and home office. The formal living room opens to a courtyard with a fountain, poolside media room, private guest room & bath, spacious art room with a secret garden. The upstairs level is comprised of the master suite with his and her closets and a terrace with expansive Bay views and a kids wing with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a terrace.  Sited over 1/2 acre of level lawns & gardens with a pool and spa. Stats: 6 bedrooms/5 baths, 6,200 s.f., 0.54 acre.. SOLD FOR $12,000,000 IN MARCH 2014.

 

310 Palm Ave. Kentfield

310 Palm Avenue –  Listed by Tina Shone, Sotheby’s Intl. Realty

1. 310 Palm Avenue, Kentfield – This stunning home offers timeless elegance on a rare approximately 3 acre lot and gorgeous Mt. Tam views. Exquisite interiors access private patios, balconies, luscious grounds with secret paths. Bedrooms are suites; master has 2 baths & dressing rooms. Bountiful organic gardens, orchards; irrigation well. Al fresco dining encouraged: Stone patios, outdoor kitchen, pool & spa, changing room. 2 garages, workshop, workout room & family room not pictured. Private paradise just minutes from 101. Stats: 5 bedrooms/6 baths, 7,117 s.f. on 3.17 acres.  SOLD FOR $12,250,000 IN JULY 2014.

For those of you who like to dig into the numbers, here is a summary of the details of each sale.  You will note that even though the market has definitely picked up in the high end, these properties are still taking much longer to sell than lower priced homes as the pool of buyers in that price range is much more limited.

The 10 most expensive homes sold in Marin County, CA in 2014 - www.YourPieceofMarin.com - Sylvie Zolezzi

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions and for any assistance for your real estate needs.  I pride myself in providing extraordinary service at every price point.

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About the Author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point. It also empowers me to leverage the unique combination of Sotheby’s global resources, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty’s growing market share and local knowledge with my unmatched social media networks to provide highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur,Greenbrae, Kentfield,Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato, with a special focus on Central Marin.

 

 


Are you affected by the Ross Valley Sanitary District’s Sewer Lateral New Ordinance?

Have you heard about Ross Valley Sanitary District’s Sewer Lateral New Ordinance and wondered if it will affect you? Here are some general answers as to who is affected, why the ordinance was enacted, when you have to comply, and what you have to do to comply.  For further information, please scroll down to the end of this post for a link to a detailed list of Frequently Asked Questions prepared by the Ross Valley Sanitary District (RVSD.)

Sewer Lateral Pipe Responsibility
Sewer Lateral Pipe Responsibility (www.RVSD.org)

WHO?

The Ross Valley includes the following areas: Fairfax, San Anselmo, Ross, Larkspur, Bon Air, Sleepy Hollow, Kentfield, Kent Woodlands, Oak Manor, Greenbrae and Murray Park.  Single family homes, condominiums, townhomes, co-ops, multi-unit buildings and commercial use properties all have to comply with this ordinance.

WHY?

RVSD was required to enact an ordinance establishing a program to repair or replace failing private sewer laterals (mainly the old laterals made out of terra cotta that were installed over 20 years ago) in response to a Cease and Desist order from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

WHEN?

The ordinance went into effect on January 1, 2015.  The program that was established by Ordinance 66 creates “triggers” for when a private sewer lateral must be inspected and found in compliance through testing by RVSD.

Those triggers are:

– Remodeling projects that cost $75,000 or more OR remodel projects that include the addition of a bathroom; or

– The sale of real property, with two exceptions: 1. You will be happy to hear that if your property was already in escrow as of January 1, 2015, you are exempt, and 2. If your home was built less than 20 years ago and the District has the final inspection report documenting that your lateral installation was properly permitted and inspected, you are exempt!

WHAT?

To comply with the ordinance, your sewer lateral has to pass a pressure test to determine if the lateral is in good condition and does not allow sewage to seep out of , or shallow groundwater/storm water to seep into, the lateral. (see above picture.) The pressure test uses either pressurized air or a standing head of water, held for a specific period, to verify the lateral is in good condition. The district will require that you have a sewer cleanout installed (if you don’t already have one) prior to the test. If the lateral does not pass the test, it will have to be replaced or repaired so that it can pass the pressure test.  The RVSD has a grant program with available funds for which you can apply. Laterals are not automatically eligible for the grant program however. The District has a list of qualified contractors that can perform the test.

I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the above information.. Please click on this link to open the detailed list of Frequently Asked Questions prepared by RVSD.  For more information and to verify how it affects you and your property specifically, please contact Ross Valley Sanitary District (RVSD) at 415-259-2949 and/or visit their website at www.rvsd.org.

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If you are thinking of selling your property and would like to discuss this matter, feel free to contact me at 415.505.4789 or Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com.

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About the Author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point. It also empowers me to leverage the unique combination of Sotheby’s global resources, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty’s growing market share and local knowledge with my unmatched social media networks to provide highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur,Greenbrae, Kentfield,Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato, with a special focus on Central Marin.

 

 


Your January Home Maintenance Checklist

For most Marin County homeowners, their home is their most valuable asset. Yet, I often notice that over their years of ownership, many fail to maintain that prized asset regularly, allowing small problems to turn into big and expensive headaches.

Whether you are a first-time home buyer or not, a maintenance checklist is all you need to help you make sure your house remains in tip top shape.  Just add reminders for all these tasks to your calendar (paper or digital.)

So here is your first checklist of the year. The focus this month is to keep your home warm and toasty and prevent any critters to enter your crawl space or basement. Spread these tasks out over the month of January and stay tuned for a new list for every month of the year.  If you complete all the tasks on my monthly lists, your home should be in much better condition by the end of 2015!

January Home Maintenance Checklist - www.YourPieceofMarin.com

 

JANUARY CHECKLIST

  • Store Holiday Decorations: Sort out your Holiday lights and decorations, pack and store.
  • Deep Clean your Stove, Oven and Range Hood Fan: Much needed after all that holiday entertaining.
  • Clean your Garbage Disposal: Run with crushed ice to sharpen and baking soda and/or citrus fruit rinds to freshen.
  • Give your drains some TLC: Maintain clean drains by adding one-half-cup baking soda followed by one-half-cup white vinegar. After 10 minutes, flush with boiling water.
  • Check your Fire Extinguisher: Check charge, verify its easy access from kitchen.
  • Change your Furnace Filters: Clogged filters decrease furnace efficiency and can cause breakdowns.
  • Clean your Baseboard Heating Units’ Coils: If you have baseboard heating units that use hot water, clear the dust from the coils inside the units to maximize heating efficiency.
  • Drain your Water Heater: Accumulated sediment will drain out along with the water, thus prolonging the heater’s useful life. This should be done at least once a year.
  • Check Vents: Walk around your home’s exterior and check the crawl space vents located at the foundation. Close any that are open to keep critters from coming in.

If you are thinking of selling your home this spring or later in the year, feel free to contact me so that I may recommend additional steps to ensure your home is in prime condition when you put it on the market.

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White glove service - www.YourPieceofMarin.com by Sylvie ZolezziAbout the Author: The above Real Estate information on Marin County Real Estate was provided by Sylvie Zolezzi.  I can be reached via email at Sylvie@YourPieceOfMarin.com or by phone/text at 415.505.4789.  I am an award winning Realtor specializing in luxury residential real estate in beautiful Marin County, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

I offer a wide range of real estate solutions for buyers, sellers and investors, attracting clients who demand excellence—in marketing, negotiations, market knowledge—and a genuine concern for their needs. My association with Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty allows me to provide a high-end luxury experience to all my clients at every single price point. It also empowers me to leverage the unique combination of Sotheby’s global resources, Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty’s growing market share and local knowledge with my unmatched social media networks to provide highly personalized service and unmatched exposure to my clients’ properties locally and worldwide.

I service all of Marin County’s beautiful towns: Sausalito, Tiburon, Belvedere, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, Larkspur,Greenbrae, Kentfield,Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Novato, with a special focus on Central Marin.