Category Archives: PlumpJack Balboa Cafe

Homemade Five Spice Balboa Margarita Recipe


There’s a new margarita in town! It’s getting warmer in the city and that means the drinks are getting cooler. Prepare yourself for this one: it’s not your average bevy. With a homemade simple syrup made from toasted spices, fresh lime juice and plenty of love, the new Five Spice Balboa Margarita is causing a thirst-quenching stir in the neighborhood. Balboa Cafe’s Assistant GM Lisa Leventhal shares her homemade recipe for our new favorite summer staple.

Homemade Five Spice Balboa Margarita
  • 1 1/2 oz. Double Barrel Reposado Tequila
  • 1/2 oz. Combier
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 oz. Five-Spice simple syrup (see recipe below)
Homemade Five Spice Simple Syrup
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of Szechuan peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons of cloves
  1. Grind all the spices in a spice grinder.
  2. Toast ground spices in a pan on the stove (the spices
    will start to smoke).
  3. Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar.
  4. Bring mixture to a boil and then remove from heat.
  5. Strain mixture through cheese cloth.
  6. Store in the fridge, and it’s ready to use when chilled!


Balboa Cafe Mill Valley's Kale Slaw Recipe

Kale Slaw

Balboa Mill Valley’s Kale Slaw

Chef Rick Edge of Balboa Cafe Mill Valley shares his kale slaw recipe with the masses. If you can’t make it to the restaurant to get your fix, like LA resident and fan Lisa Miller, we have you covered with a simple at-home recipe.

Recently, Noelle Carter of the LA Times Daily Dish reached out Chef Rick Edge to request the kale slaw recipe for fan Lisa Miller. This is what she had to say:

Dear SOS: I am in love with the kale slaw from Balboa Cafe in Mill Valley, Calif. That dish was actually what turned me on to kale, but I can’t find a salad as good. I love visiting Northern California and especially going to Balboa Cafe for the kale slaw. So I can also enjoy it at home, do you think you can get the recipe? Lisa Miller

Kale Slaw Recipe
Serves 8-10 people


2 bunches lacinato kale (aka dino kale), cut into strips
2 cups shaved carrot
2 cups shaved red cabbage
1 ½ cups shaved fennel
1 cups toasted walnuts

  1. Combine all ingredients except walnuts in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Store in an air tight container.
  3. When ready to serve, mix with walnuts and dress with dressing.


2 ¾ cups aioli
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 ounces lemon juice
½ cup apple cider vinegar
3 ounces pumpkin seed oil
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.

RickEdge_020912_Color1Balboa Cafe Mill Valley is part of

the PlumpJack Group, a San Francisco-based hospitality and lifestyle management company with 15 properties under its collective brand. For more information about Balboa Mill Valley’s Executive Chef Rick Edge go to the website.

Big-Flavor Mixed Summer Squash Recipe

Chef Rick Edge from Balboa Cafe Mill Valley offers simple seasonal recipes featuring the bounty of the summer harvest. First up was his crowd-pleasing grilled corn recipe and this month’s feature is a simple, healthy summer squash recipe. A side or main course of this dish is full of antioxidants which promotes healthy immunity.

Join us July 25th, when Chef Edge partners with Lazaro Calderon from Sonoma’s The Patch Organic Farm. Summer squash will be the star, and other seasonal produce will make a splash, at our first-ever Farm-to-Table Dinner. View Menu HERE and Make a Reservation NOW.


Serves Four

1 1/2 pounds mixed summer squash
2 cups red onion, large dice
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup roasted garlic
3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash squash and dry it well. Trim ends off and cut squash into one inch pieces. In a large skillet, heat the canola oil. On medium-high heat, add the onions and cook for one minute. Add the squash and cook for another two minutes or until the squash starts to soften, season with salt and pepper. Add the chopped garlic and cook for another minute so that the garlic perfumes the vegetables. Add the roasted garlic and cherry tomatoes and turn off the heat. Keep stirring the vegetables to warm the garlic and tomatoes. Add the extra
< virgin olive oil, vinegar, parsley and season with salt and pepper. Squash may be served at room temperature as a salad or hot as a side dish.

What Dads Want: Five Gift Ideas from PlumpJack


PlumpJack’s perfect gift-giving ideas for your favorite Dad – Sunday, June 15th.

  1. Dads like the great outdoors or they like pretending that they like the great outdoors.
    Surprise Dad with the Cast n’ Catch Fly Fishing package from PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn. In addition to fishing instruction by one of the best outfitters, Matt Heron Fly Fishing School, dad also gets a bottle of CADE in his room and some tasty treats.pj 082
  2. Dads like big, bold wines with muscle.
    Buy Dad a 2010 PlumpJack Estate Cabernet Sauvignon or 2009 CADE Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. Or you could take him to all three of our wineries in Napa for a day of wine tasting and then he can choose his own wine(s).PJ_Wines__048
  3. Dads like interesting and unusual beers that need to be sourced by beer experts who are in-the-know.
    PlumpJack Wine & Spirits in Noe Valley has one of the largest selection of Belgian Ales and microbrews in Northern California, and a great Beer of the Month Club, where dad will get his beers shipped to him directly for about $25-30 per month.  Carneros_17
  4. Dads enjoy staring at the stars while vacationing with a loved one.
    Better yet, staring at the stars from The Carneros Inn in Napa after eating, drinking and lounging by the pool all day. Cap it off with a Starry, Starry Night package.IMG_2645
  5. Dads usually enjoy a nice juicy burger and the best Bloody Mary in San Francisco with their buddies at Balboa Cafe San Francisco.
    Enjoy the famous Balboa Burger at Balboa Cafe San Francisco in the month of June and proceeds from that burger help the Glogau Teddy Bear Rescue Fund that provides aid to families whose children are undergoing lifesaving treatment at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. Dad will feel better knowing it’s not all about him.




Conversations with Hilary: Kyri McClellan, CEO America’s Cup Organizing Committee

Kyri McClellan wearing Lily SamiiKyri McClellan wearing Lily Samii

I have had the great opportunity to get to know Kyri McClellan, one of the loveliest, hardest working and toughest people I know. She is the face behind the America’s Cup Organizing Committee, which is tasked with raising money to help offset the city’s costs for hosting the racing event. The fruits of her labor are about to come to become a reality this summer when the America’s Cup debuts on the San Francisco Bay, July 4th. I, personally, cannot wait for this event and am so proud that San Francisco gets to be the backdrop to this stellar world-class event.

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Consistently persisting through adversity, at least so far. Also probably playing in the NCAA Final Four in Field Hockey and skiing in the US Downhill National Championships. We didn’t win our game, and I didn’t finish in the top ten in that race, but both of those experiences instilled in me a confidence that I can compete at a high level.

What do you considered your most prized possession?
Consciousness and my mental faculties. Without them I’m not sure what else there is. Also, my Blackberry.  I make no apologies for clinging to outdated technology. I think that smartphones have been as significant in liberating working mothers as any technology yet invented. My husband might disagree.

What do you love about yourself? What do you think others love about you?
My determination and optimism, but I am comfortable in my skin living my life with this approach.  I think others love that I don’t readily give up, and I always show up.

If you could be anything other than what you currently are, what would it be?
Done with fundraising for the America’s Cup and having vastly exceeded my targets. The chief executive of a foundation with the resources and passion to make a difference in the world. I think about this a lot these days, as six months from now I will likely be looking for a new opportunity.  I want to continue to meet amazing people, put my skills to work helping our community, and still have time to be a wife and mother.  Let me know if you know what that job is.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Usually throw back the covers and let my three-year old climb into bed to snuggle. He is our human alarm clock.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
Movie night on our couch with my husband and boys.

What do you like most about what you do for a living/career?
Working every day with a clear focus for the delivery of community and legacy benefits. For me, undertaking the America’s Cup has always been about leveraging the event to improve our waterfront and broader community.

What were you passionate about when you were a kid?
As a kid, like most kids, I just wanted to fit in. I was teased a lot and always felt like the odd one out.  By the time I was a teenager I just wanted to win and was very focused and driven in sports.

What are you passionate about now?
Living moment by moment, savoring the wins – big and small, and remembering to breathe. My two borrowed mantras are (1) Be the light and love you wish to see in the world; and (2) We May Not Have It All Together but Together We Have It All. Every day in my current job is intense and the way I maintain perspective is to greet each moment and challenge as they come.

What’s your favorite season? Why?
Summer. The down time (except this summer!) with my extended family and friends creating great memories…camping, trips to the beaches, etc.

If you were a cocktail or drink what would it be?
Navarro Pinot Noir grape juice, over ice.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you?
My husband and my boys which total three. I wouldn’t need anything else because my men are my life and my husband is my MacGyver (and he would have water, matches, food, a lounge chair, a Sonos and iPod…get the picture?)

If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
Lay out by the pool and read, if I could stay awake. A day of leisure is rare.

What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?
Tough call, my kids are always messing with it, so #1 is probably a favorite of theirs.…I can’t pick a single favorite although these days I generally swoon to Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Pistol Annies, Brett Dennen, or Pink.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
Warren Buffet – his philosophy that nice guys can finish first speaks to me. I would love to understand more intimately about how and why he has built his empire while staying true to that mantra, as it seems so counterintuitive to the rest of the pack.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Camp Lemonade. I make lemonade out of just about everything that comes my way.

Do you have any regrets?
Not that I dwell on beyond any given day.

Define Freedom.
The ability for all of us to individually and collectively pursue happiness.

What are your personal core values?
This may sound beyond corny, but it’s my truth and that is: Being the light and love that I wish to see in the world (my version of Gandhi’s famous saying). I can’t change or control the terrible things that happen in this world but I can bring my own intention and spirit forward and hope that it positively impacts those around me.

Crowd Pleasing Grilled Corn on the Cob


Grilled Corn from Chef Rick Edge

Just in time for BBQ season, Executive Chef Rick Edge from Balboa Cafe – Mill Valley, has created a tasty twist on the old stand-by, grilled corn. Turn it up a notch with the addition of roasted garlic Aioli and a sprinkling of Espelette and Parmesan and your crowd will sing your praises.

Serves Four
4 large ears sweet yellow corn
2 heads garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cup canola oil + 2 tablespoons (for cooking the corn)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Espelette pepper
½ tablespoon smoked sea salt
Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut top of garlic to expose the cloves. Place garlic in aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil & season with salt and pepper. Make sure garlic is covered with foil and place in the oven. Roast garlic for 45-50 minutes or until it is cooked through and tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins into a bowl. Whisk together the egg yolk, garlic, Dijon mustard & lemon juice until mixed well. While still whisking, slowly add the two cups canola oil until

the Aioli is emulsified. Season Aioli with salt and pepper and let chill until ready to use.

Pull the outer husks down the ear to the base. Strip away the silks from each ear of corn. Fold the husks back into place and place the ears of corn in a large bowl of cold water with a tablespoon of salt for ten minutes. Remove the corn from the water and shake off the excess. Place the corn on the grill and grill for 15-20 minutes turning every 4-5 minutes or until the kernels are tender and the husks take on color.

When the corn is done, remove the husks. Spread Aioli on each ear of corn and season with Parmesan cheese, Espelette pepper and smoked sea salt.

Over the Bridge and Through the Valley: Five Reasons to Visit Mill Valley

It’s a random weekday and you need a little adventure to spice up your day, look no further than beyond the fog across the Golden Gate. Just a short drive away the sun awaits as it beams down on adorable little towns, mountain tops, and Redwood trees. Visit Mill Valley, which recently ranked as one of the 20 Best Small Towns by Smithsonian Magazine. Here are five good reasons to put Mill Valley on your places to visit:

Escaping the fog – Most people know that summer in San Francisco can be grim with little sunshine and heavy on the fog; however, once you break through the tunnel on the other side of the bridge the heavens part and warm sun shine awaits.

Tourist Club
Tourist Club (Nature Friends) – It’s somewhat of a hidden treasure in the middle of the woods that is only accessible via hiking. It’s a welcome reprieve from a long hike where you can sit and enjoy a beer and some laughs with friends and strangers. Make sure to bring cash and to check the events calendar to make sure they are open, and don’t forget to leave your dog at home, as they are not allowed on the trails or at the Tourist Club.


Sweetwater Music Hall – In 2012 the Sweetwater had a rebirth since it’s original opening in 1972. It’s location changed along with the interiors and the addition of a million-dollar sound system. The venue is state-of-the-art, but the vibe is very local. Come for a burger and beer at the Balboa Cafe in Mill Valley and then stroll over to Sweetwater for some live music in a small, intimate venue with world-class musicians.

Shopping in Mill Valley – Nestled along Throckmorton and Miller Avenues, you will find a collection of various shops that will keep you occupied for many hours. You’ll find timeless clothing boutiques featuring the latest fashions, to antiques and housewares shops, plus a little bookstore in the center of the square where the town comes to congregate with their kids and dogs.

Lunch (or dinner) at Balboa Cafe – After hiking, shopping, and before dancing the night away at Sweetwater, join us for our famous burger or some of our other tasty menu items, including market-fresh salads, local seafood, and daily specials. And, of course, a full bar with great cocktails and wine and beer on tap.

And, if you’ve had too much fun and you don’t want to leave, you can always stay close at the charming Mill Valley Inn just off the square.

PlumpJack Single-Barrel Herradura Reposado Cocktail Collection

This winter, three team members from PlumpJack’s businesses (MatrixFillmore & Balboa Cafe), took a two-day trip to the heart of Mexico’s tequila region. They arrived in the tiny town of Amatitan, Jalisco to Casa Herradura where they tasted a lot of tequila that resulted in PlumpJack’s very own hand-selected, single-barrel Reposado, now available for sipping and in cocktails at FARM at The Carneros Inn, MatrixFillmore, Balboa Cafe – San Francisco, Balboa Cafe – Mill Valley and PlumpJack Cafe, Squaw Valley.

To kick-off the release, we celebrated at MatrixFillmore with friends of PlumpJack by drinking refreshing cocktails fit for summer, featuring the Reposado. These signature cocktails are on cocktail menus at PlumpJack bars and restaurants, or you can perfect one of our signature cocktails at home with your own PlumpJack Reposado, now available in the stores at PlumpJack Wine & Spirits in the Marina and Noe Valley.

The PlumpJack Punch
by Balboa Cafe Mill Valley
1 ½ oz. PJ Herradura Reposado Tequila
½ oz. fresh lime juice
Dash grenadine
Splash OJ
Shake and serve up, chilled
Garnish with lime

Signature Reposado Margarita by Balboa Cafe San Francisco
2 oz. PlumpJack Herradura Reposado Tequila
½ oz Light Agave syrup
Splash Cointreau Liqueur
1 oz. fresh lime juice
Shaken over ice (salt optional)

Strawberry Summer Cooler by MatrixFillmore
2 oz. PlumpJack Herradura Reposado
1 oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz Agave
2 oz Strawberry puree
Muddled mint
Splash of soda


Agave Rose by FARM at The Carneros Inn
2 oz PlumpJack Herradura Reposado
1 oz Vanilla simple syrup infused with pink peppercorns
1 oz Grapefruit juice
Splash of Lemon Juice
Shaken over ice

Serve neat in a Martini glass and Garnish with a few pink pepper corns in the glass

An "Agave Way" from our mixologist

PlumpJack Perfecto Refresher by PlumpJack Wine & Spirits – Marina Location
2 oz. Herradura Reposado Tequila
1-inch slice fresh Anaheim chili, seeds removed
1-inch cube Honeydew melon, skinless
Dash of salt
½ oz fresh lime juice

Muddle the chili, melon and salt in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add tequila, lime and crushed ice. Shake well. Double strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a slice of fresh green chili.


Diablo Ahumado (the Smokey Devil) by PlumpJack Cafe, Squaw Valley
1 1/2 oz Plumpjack’s special Herradura Double Barrel Reposado tequila

1/2 oz mezcal reposado
1/4 oz creme de cassis
The juice of 1 full lime

Add these ingredients to a mixing tin filled with ice. Shake to chill. Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Fill the remaining space in the glass with ginger beer (2-3 oz). Garnish with a lime wheel. Mix and serve over ice.

And there you have it! Feel free to send us your own cocktail concoctions.


Find The Hero In You- Burger for a Pint

We hope you can join us and Blood Centers of the Pacific tomorrow, Wednesday, May 16th for our Annual Blood Drive at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley. All donors will receive a complimentary Balboa Burger!

Also, Blood Centers of the Pacific will automatically enter donors into a weekly drawing for 2 tickets to the final day of the US Open Golf Championship held at San Francisco’s Olympic Club on June 11-17th! Besides complete access to the beautiful course to see the world’s best golfers in action, the lucky winners will

also receive royal treatment at the private Trophy Club!

To make a reservation, please visit Click “Donate Blood” and enter the sponsor code: “Balboa- MV” to schedule your live-saving appointment.

* Don’t forget bring your photo ID and donor card.

Celebrate the New Year Dining with PlumpJack

Need to make last minute plans for New Year’s Eve? Whether you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, Napa or Tahoe, we’ve got just the place for you…

New Year’s Eve Dinner at

The first seating will feature a six-course menu and will begin from 5:30 to 6:30pm. $125 per person. The first seating is a two hour seating.

The second seating will feature an eight-course menu and entertainment. The dinner will begin from 8:00pm to 9:00pm. Entertainment and dancing featuring Dizzy & Grover: 8:30pm- 12:30am. $175 per person. Click here to view the menu.

To make a reservation, please call: 707.299.4880

Continue reading: Celebrate the New Year Dining with PlumpJack