Tag Archives: Balboa Cafe Mill Valley

Insider Tips: Best Hikes in Marin County

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If you want a break from the hustle and bustle, we have insider tips on the best hikes in Marin County with breathtaking views of the city and the dozens of hiking trails that get you there. While the list of hikes in Marin has virtually no end, we’ve rounded up our top three picks based on insider tips. Grab those hiking boots!

Cataract Loop Trail Best Hikes in Marin County

Cataract Loop Trail on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County California

#1 Cataract Trail Loop on Mount Tamalpais
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 7.7 miles / 12.4 km
Duration: Half day
Mount Tamalpais State Park is the symbolic peak at the heart of Marin County and a beautiful change of scenery from the city to the woods. The loop offers panoramic views of the entire bay stretching to the Pacific Ocean. The most popular attraction is Cataract Falls; however, popularity comes with little secrecy, making the trail relatively packed during summer months. Our tip, and the best way to avoid crowds and ensure you can find a parking spot is to go on a weekday.
Click here for more tips and directions to the trail head.

Angel Island, Best Hikes in Marin County

Angel Island Fire Road Hike in Marin County California

#2 Angel Island Perimeter Fire Road
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4.7 miles
Duration: Half day
If you’re looking for a more leisurely hike without skimping on the 360 degree view of the bay, Angel Island is your best bet. This loop is more than just a hike, you will encounter historic sites, beaches and picnic spots so pack some snacks and enjoy the view. Our insider tips are to A) check the weather. San Francisco Bay, especially at sea level, is prone to fog which would inhibit visibility of the main attraction! B) Check the Angel Island Ferry Schedule and plan your day ahead of time and don’t get stuck on the island overnight! Fun fact: you can take your bike to Angel via the ferry.

Point Bonita, Best Hikes in Marin County

Point Bonita in Marin County California

#3 Point Bonita Marin Headlands
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 4.1 miles

/ 6.6 km
Duration: 1-3 hours
When you see pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge with downtown San Francisco in the
background odds are they were probably taken in the Marin Headlands. The headlands offer
many long and short loops and trails, but this short hike leads to a beautiful historical sight
and a local favorite vista point. Point Bonita Lighthouse is a fully operational lighthouse with
fascinating history to be learned and experienced at the site. Don’t let the short distance lead you to believe this will be a boring walk; the hike is steep at points and requires crossing 2 suspension bridges. Insider tip: the tunnel to the lighthouse is open Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm, so plan accordingly so you don’t miss out on the beautiful
views.

After you experience the local nature and vistas Marin has to offer, enjoy brunch (weekends), lunch or dinner at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, a local favorite in historic Mill Valley. The restaurant is a short 10-to-15 minute drive from all of the hikes listed above!

Your nature experience doesn’t have to end with the hike; alfresco dining is available during the summer months! A day trip to Marin is a must during your visit to San Francisco for a local experience full of beautiful hikes and delicious cuisine.

Conversations with Hilary: Executive Chef Howard Ko

This month I sat down with new friend and member of the PlumpJack family, Chef Howard Ko. We are so excited to have him on board as Executive Chef of Balboa Cafe Mill Valley. In his career to date, Howard has already worked at some of the most well-respected establishments – The Restaurant at Meadowood with Christopher Kostow, The French Laundry with Thomas Keller and in the kitchens of Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Melisse in Los Angeles, Hanilkwan in Osaka, and Daniel in New York.

Howard lives in Napa with his fiancée, Wendy, and dog, Whiskey. If you haven’t experienced Chef Ko’s food yet, you’re in for a treat. Howard takes bistro classics and adds his own modern twist. Locally sourcing his ingredients, and sometimes even foraging for them in the wilderness.

Bon Appetite Test Kitchen NYC with Chef Christopher Kostow & Chef Pancho (Restaurant at Meadowood)

Bon Appetite Test Kitchen NYC with Chef Christopher Kostow & Chef Pancho (Restaurant at Meadowood)

What do you believe to be your greatest accomplishment?
Asking my fiancé Wendy to marry me. I never thought in a million years someone as wonderfully strong as her would agree to put up with my antics and this crazy adventure with me. We are getting married in August at San Francisco City Hall and am so excited!

What qualities do you think others love about you?
I think that I am understanding but stern at the same time. People know that I am fair and I think people are drawn to my work ethic, but also my sense of humor and lightheartedness.

If you could do anything other than what you currently do, what would it be?
I would own a barbershop. I spent a lot of my childhood at barbershops and I can do a killer fade. That was my side gig during my youth.

What do you like most about what you do for a career?
Making people happy. I never got into cooking just to feed people. I got into this career to create memories.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Hit the snooze button – ha, just kidding. Make it to CrossFit. I have to take care of my body due to the demands of the business. I either CrossFit, go to the gym or for a run, and I am getting into cycling now.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Friday night?
I’ve been working on Friday nights ever since I can remember but on the rare occasion I do have one off I like to try out a new restaurant and probably watch a movie.

What were you passionate about in your younger years growing up?
To get better at my craft. Cooking was something I knew I was going to do since I was in the 6th grade. I’ve been trying to perfect it ever since.

What are you passionate about now?
I’ve been cooking for 10 years now homing in on the things I don’t understand and researching them. Not knowing how to do something really bothers me when it comes to cooking. I want to know everything there is to know about it. My cookbook collection is getting rather extensive.

What’s your favorite season and why?
Spring! It’s when everything starts to come back to life. All the vegetables and fruits are so beautiful. They really add so much to dishes.

If you were a cocktail or a drink what would it be?
Jameson neat. Nothing fancy. It’s a cook thing. Oh and chase it with a Chimay.

What’s the #1 most played song on your music rotation?
Right now it’s Billie Jean by Michael Jackson.

If you could have lunch with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
My grandma who passed a while ago. At a young age she was the one who raised me and I felt I never appreciated that enough. I’d like to talk to her and get to know her and thank her.

If your life was made into a movie, what would it be called?
Sacrifice

Do you have any regrets?
I think everyone does to some extent. I have a lot. I could have been better, I could have loved more, I could have worked harder, but then I could have sacrificed less and spent more time with family. It’s the nature of what I do and I do it because I love it.

Wendy and Howard in Napa

Wendy and Howard in Napa

Define Freedom.
Being able to cook the food I love and want, and to have the support of every guest that comes into my establishment.

What are your personal core values?
To always be kind and genuine. I will help anyone out who needs it and I want to leave a legacy. Like the memories that I am trying to create, something that outlives me, my restaurant, our company.

What three things would you bring with you on a desert Island?
My fiancé Wendy, our dog Whiskey and some beers. I am a simple man with simple needs.

PlumpJack Does Easter Brunch Better than the Rest

PlumpJack does Easter Brunch better than the rest. With restaurants spanning from San Francisco and Marin to Napa and all the way up to the Sierra Mountains, you’re guaranteed a spot at the table. Enjoy the classics like the Balboa Huevos Rancheros or some upgrades on some classics, like PlumpJack Cafe’s Cinnamon Challah French Toast. See below for menus, links to make reservations and more.

FARM at The Carneros Inn
View Menu and Make a Reservation 
Boon Fly Café at The Carneros Inn
Will be serving their regular brunch menus from 7am to 3pm
Make a Reservation 
Balboa Cafe San Francisco
View Menu 
Balboa Café Mill Valley
Make a Reservation 
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PlumpJack Cafe
View Menu and Make a Reservation
Join us on the upper pool patio for an Easter egg hunt at 11:00 am
SVI Cafe Photos March 2014 - 111

Spread The #PlumpJackCheer

Tis the season for #PlumpJackCheer. We have countless activities, gift options and events going on at our properties to celebrate the holiday season!new balance running shoe

Show us Your Holiday Cheer with tag #PlumpJackCheer for a chance to win dinner for four. Share holiday décor; festive meals; celebrating with friends and family; and anything that brings you cheer!

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  1. Follow us on Instagram @PlumpJackGroup
  2. Point, zoom, shoot and show us your cheer!
  3. Tag it #plumpjackcheer
  4. Be automatically entered to win dinner for 4 at a PlumpJack Restaurant ($200 gift certificate)*
  5. Contest ends December 31st, winner announced in January 2015


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Balboa Cafe Mill Valley
Holiday Hours
Join us for Christmas and New Years Eve Dinner! Enjoy our regular menu plus specials. We are closed on Christmas Day.
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015 
Dinner served 4 pm to 10 pm
New Years Eve, December 31st, 2015 
Dinner served 4 pm to 11 pm

balboa holiday blog pic

Balboa Cafe San Francisco 
Holiday Hours
Join us for Christmas Dinner at Balboa Cafe San Francisco and enjoy traditional Christmas fixings, with choices from firsts and entrées
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015
11:30 am to 11:00 pm
Christmas Day, December 25, 2015
12 pm to 2 pm limited lunch menu
2 pm through 8 pm
Reservation recommended
New Years Day Brunch 10 am to 3 pm
Call us at 415.921.3944 to make a reservationpics of stephen curry shoes

In need of some special holidays plans for Christmas Eve, Day and New Years Day? PlumpJack Cafe at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn is the perfect please to celebrate the holidays. Nothing beats celebrating in the snowy mountains with friends and family.

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PlumpJack Wine & Spirits, Marina: Give amazing gifts this holiday season! From gift baskets/boxes and wooden boxes can be filled with the wine or spirit of your choice. Our gift baskets are packed with wine, spirits, beer, gourmet treats, and more. Custom gift boxes and baskets are also available. These gift packs are perfect for holiday gifting and special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, congratulations, corporate gifts and more.
Cocktail kits make a great gift for the experienced cocktail maker, or for a beginner trying to build their at home bar.
PlumpJack Wine & Spirits Clubs are the perfect gift that keeps on giving. With nine different clubs to choose from there is something for everyone. Wine, whiskey, champagne to gin, we have it all.
Try Forgery‘s new cocktail menu! A fun place to reunite with family and friends around the holiday season. Forgery recently made Playboys list of Best Bars in America, check out the article here.Give Back This Holiday SeasonWe love supporting great causes and charities, especially around the holiday season. For a special Thanksgiving meal our Chef from Balboa Cafe San Francisco prepared a delicious thanksgiving meal for 160 students at Holy Family Day Home in the mission.

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Balboa Cafe Mill Valley Announces New Exec Chef Howard Ko

Balboa Cafe Mill Valley Announces New Executive Chef Howard Ko
Critically Acclaimed Chef Brings Impressive Culinary Background,
Local and Seasonal Focus to New Role

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MILL VALLEY, Calif. – PlumpJack is excited to announce the appointment of Howard Ko to the position of executive chef at the Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, known for classic American bistro cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients.  Ko has worked at some of the most critically acclaimed culinary establishments in the United States, including The Restaurant at Meadowood with Christopher Kostow and The French Laundry with Thomas Keller, as well as Goose & Gander in St. Helena, Melisse in Los Angeles, Hanilkwan in Osaka, and DB Bistro Moderne, Picholine and Daniel in New York.
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“It is a privilege to welcome distinguished Chef Ko to the Balboa Cafe Mill Valley,” said Hilary Newsom.  “He brings a wealth of knowledge having worked at award-winning restaurants across the country and around the world, and we’re thrilled to bring his expertise to the restaurant’s culinary program.”
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Ko began his career in Los Angeles, mastering the art of pastry making and baking before relocating to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America.  As a student at the CIA, Ko assisted at Daniel on weekends to gain experience in the kitchen, doing everything from peeling potatoes to cleaning mushrooms.

Making the move to Wine Country as chef de partie at The French Laundry in Yountville, Ko worked the line and focused on creating new dishes for the daily changing menu.  From there he joined acclaimed chef Christopher Kostow at three Michelin-starred The Restaurant at Meadowood as chef de partie, where he assisted at all stations and mentored the commis.
Ko accepted a position as chef de cuisine at his third Wine Country restaurant, Goose & Gander in St. Helena, where he ran the kitchen and was responsible for putting a dramatic spin on the neighborhood eatery.  Ko also introduced a shared-plates concept, new flavors, and new techniques with the goal of bringing people together to taste different flavors.nike free runners

As executive chef at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley, Ko will serve a seasonal menu with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients, taking advantage of all that Northern California has to offer.  The menu will consist of market-driven bistro classics with modern twists.

Balboa Cafe Mill Valley is located at 38 Miller Avenue in the historic downtown Mill Valley.  For more information, please visit www.BalboaCafe.com.  For more information about The PlumpJack Group, please visit www.PlumpJack.com.air jordan xiii

 

The People of PlumpJack: Jared Forkner


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Featured this week on The People of PlumpJack is Jared Forkner, Entertainment Director at MATRIXFILLMORE. Jared has been with the PlumpJack family for more than 10 years and got his start in 2005 waiting tables at Balboa Cafe San Francisco. Just a year later he began DJing at MATRIXFILLMORE and now manages the club’s entertainment. Extremely passionate about Electronic Dance Music, Jared helped create the blog Dancing Astronaut, which is considered to be one of the biggest ‘EDM’ blogs in the world.
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Originally from Malibu and Santa Barbara, he attended boarding school in Indiana at Culver Academies. Little did he know Jared had a PlumpJack connection early on in life. During his sophomore year he roomed with, now former Chef at Balboa Mill Valley, Dave Wasemsmall world, right?

When he’s not working you can find Jared in his hometown of Fairfax, mountain biking, ghost producing music for Bay Area DJ’s and working on special projects with Dolby Labs.


“I love working for a company that takes care of it’s employees. I’ve had the opportunity to grow and learn and it’s really meant a lot to me.”
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1. What would your last meal be?
My families lamb recipe for sure!

2. What is the best advice you have ever received?
First you give them what they want, then you can give them what you want.” – The Big Night. This quote has remained relevant for me in all avenues of my career.

3. What is the last thing you googled?
Resetting PRAM Macpro 3,1

4. What is your personal mantra?
Follow your heart and be good to others.

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Jared DJing in 2001

Jared DJing in 2001

5. If you could travel back to any one point in time what would it be?
Tough question! Maybe I’d go back and tell my parents and ‘childhood me’ to FORCE me to play piano. Aside from that personal history I’d really like to go back and watch Nikola Tesla work. His mind was so far ahead of his time.
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6. If you could witness any event past, present or future, what would it be?
Maybe the days leading up to the end of the dinosaurs. I would love to see how the world looked and the shape of the continents back then.

7. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I would love to be able to really play piano. I understand it decently but would love to play well.

8. What was the last gift you gave someone?
I gave my wife some earbuds last week.new balance mens tennis shoes

9. If they made a film of your life what star would you like to play you?
Paul Rudd. A buddy says I look like him.

10. If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it?
I would work on music, have dinner with my family and then walk up the hill behind my house and
watch the sun set at a place that I want to have my ashes spread.air jordan all models

“Jared is a wonderful asset to the MatrixFillmore team, as his entertainment and music knowledge have helped excel our Events Department and service our clientele with all relative and pertinent information. He is always offering to assist in any way possible and is dedicated to the success and growth of our company.”
– Ashley Guillory, Director of Events at The PlumpJack Group

Give Back with PlumpJack for #BCAM

HilaryTessa

Hilary Newsom with her mother, Tessa Newsom, who lost her battle with breast cancer.


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Throughout the month of October, PlumpJack businesses are joining the cause to help raise awareness and raise funds for UCSF’s Art for Recovery. Every cent counts, so get shopping, sipping and dancing.
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Get educated with our social media campaign throughout the month of October. Follow the PlumpJack Group on twitter and facebook to get a daily mix of links, infogrpahics, photos, videos and messages! Become more aware of breast cancer prevention and help raise awareness with us.
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Tessa's Tini

Tessa’s Tini


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Sample delicious cocktails and help raise money for UCSF’s Art for RecoveryBalboa Cafe San Francisco  features the Tessa’s Tini with Absolut Kurant, Combier, fresh lime juice, a splash of simple syrup and cranberry – $14 ($4 will be donated). Balboa Cafe Mill Valley features a Bubbling Bliss cocktail with Skyy citrus vodka, St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, cranberry juice, sparkling wine – $1 from this drink will be donated.
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PlumpJack Wine & Spirits Noe Valley and Marina locations will feature Tessa’s Cuvée with 100% of the sale of this wine going to Art for Recovery.

PlumpJack Cafe at PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn features Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose for $10 a glass and $40 per bottle. Plus, a  featured specialty cocktail for October – the La Presidente with Papa’s Pilar Blonde Rum, Carpano Bianco vermouth, housemade grenadine, lime, Gran Classic bitters, and a house brandied cherry for $12.
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Odette Estate, PlumpJack Estate and CADE Estate Winery will donate a portion of their e-commerce sales, plus proceeds from all pink S’well bottles sold in the tasting rooms. These amazing water bottles are a must have, keeping your water cold for hours!
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Boon Fly Cafe‘s features their deliciously popular Bacon Bloody Mary ($1 from every bloody donated). No need to feel guilty about ordering your second at brunch.
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MatrixFillmore, they will be donating 20% of the door charge, so get dancing for the cause in October.
On October 19th, from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm Forgery will be hosting guest bartenders from Raven. Two dollars from every drink sold will go to UCSF’s Art for Recovery Fund. Charcuterie and cheese will be served, a new addition to the bars menu.

Sip, shop and enjoy light bites at both PlumpJackSport boutiques as they host events to raise money and awareness. PlumpJackSport, Napa Valley will host an accessories Trunk Show at Balboa Cafe Mill Valley during the Mill Valley Film Festival on Saturday October 10th from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.


Every Friday afternoon in October, PlumpJackSport in The Village at Squaw Valley will host a local artist from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. A portion of the sales will be donated to UCSF’s Art for Recovery.

Approximately one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. We’re proud to list our businesses that are making a difference and supporting the fight against cancer.

  www.distcalc.info