San Francisco is one of my favorite cities. Not so much for its nightlife or great city vibes, although those are great too, but for what surrounds it. Head off in almost any direction from downtown and you find a deluge of outdoor fun, not to mention great restaurants, wine and some of my favorite small towns in the state. Best part of all is that many of these great escapes can be totally car free. So grab your bike or your favorite walking shoes and come across the bay with me to the quaint seaside town of Tiburon.
My morning began leisurely on this warm and beautiful fall day. After a coffee and a scone at Tartine I headed over to San Francisco Bike Rentals located near Pier 41. I grabbed a bike and hopped on the Ferry dubbed the Blue and Gold Fleet which was destined to take me across the bay to Tiburon. Camera in hand I passed some of San Francisco’s most iconic sites, Angel Island, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge on my short trip across the bay.
Tiburon is a former railroad town that up until 1963 served as the terminus for the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. One of the railroad's "most famous deliveries" was Al Capone, who was carried by train to Alcatraz in 1934. Since then it has been transformed into a charming seacoast village that I was apt to explore.
Before exploring the shops I wanted to bike the Tiburon Historical Trail. The Bay area is well known for its miles of bike trails that meander from the city, to the coast and into the forest, this trail is part of the San Francisco Bay Trail, a developing effort to create a 500-mile multi-use trail encircling its namesake bay. A gentle trail it offers stunning views of both San Francisco Bay and Mt. Tamalpais. Starting at the ferry terminal I headed North along the path, passing some of the Tiburon historical markers and the coastal mudflats of Richardson Bay, a birders paradise they were filled with birds of all sizes and colors, like herons, hawk and waterfowl.
Working up an appetite I soon headed back towards Tiburon’s classic main street which offers antique, wine and specialty shops as well as some fantastic waterfront dining. I chose to grab a waterside table at the highly popular Italian restaurant Servino.
In the summer months not a table can be had in this family run establishment that happens to be celebrating 40 years of business. With winter comes a more relaxed atmosphere and I was happy to have a quiet lunch away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Joined by my friend and her pooch we sat down for an abundance of delectable dishes inspired by Angelo Servino’s upbringing in Southern Italy and created with fresh and locally purveyed ingredients by head chef Christian Darcoli.
Wanting to taste everything we ordered Tuna Tartare, and Mussels to start. A seafood lover I was blown away by how delicious the mussels were. Cooked to perfection in a cream and butter sauce, the rich flavors practically melted into my mouth. Next up were Brussel Sprouts, and a kale salad with ricotta and cranberries. They had me at ricotta with that salad and the infusion of different flavors and textures had me taking seconds before I knew it. One can never go wrong with Brussel Sprouts and the kitchen was happy to make these delicious babies with no animal products.
Already full, we buckled down and took a deep breath for our next dishes, hands down my two favorite. First up was a lobster agnolotti which is similar to a ravioli but better. I have had a lot of these in my life and none tasted as good as these. It was the perfect collision of parmesan and lobster placed perfectly within the freshly made pocket of pasta which is made in house. I had to force myself to eat them slowly so I could savor the immensely delicious flavors for as long as possible. Pasta complete we moved onto a funghi pizza, drizzled with white truffle oil and lightly dusted with parmesan. I am not a big pizza eater but this one was by far one of my favorite EVER!
After a cappuccino and flourless chocolate torte my friend and I headed back to the bike path, but this time for a walk through the local neighborhoods. We walked up towards Lyford’s Tower part of an old gate, that once was the entrance to a civil war utopian development that never came to light. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places and a great place for a scenic view. If you’re looking for a challenge you can also hike nearby Mt. Tamalpais or bike back toSan Francisco on the San Francisco Bay Trail. Before long it was time for me to head back across the water, ready for another day of adventure in San Francisco.
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