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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tyler Florence's West Coast Kitchen Essentials the Store

That's me leaving celebrated chef Tyler Florence's West Coast Kitchen Essentials store in downtown Mill Valley. To be honest I didn't know Tyler had a store in the SF Bay Area but my foodie friend Carl Mindling did... Today I'll share with you two of the purchases I made that day but the other items will be making their debuts in future blog posts.

When Carl told me Tyler had a store I went online to his website to take a peek... Yes, this was definitely the kind of place I would love. While most women I know love shopping for shoes, clothes and purses, I must confess my weakness has always been cookware, servingware and anything related to food and kitchens. Basically I'd rather wear the same pair of black shoes all year long and have a new plate each time I photograph a recipe for my blog.

Located just north of San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge, I'd only been to Mill Valley once in the past and never to the downtown area. It was cute and quaint, with a classic small town vibe. Tyler's store is located right at the corner of the intersection where Throckmorten meets Corte Madera Avenue. The gentleman working that day was delightful to chat with. It was the kind of experience where I felt like I connected with not only a place, but a person, and that's not something you can say about everywhere you've ever been.

The store is spacious with large picture windows that fill the front of the shop with natural light and double doors that stood wide open inviting us in.

And some very nice hospitality! As you perused the store you could sip on citrus infused water...

...And nosh a bit on samples of Tyler's own brand Smoky BBQ Sauce and California Chardonnay Marinade.

The front of the store held beautiful servingware pieces like stemware, plates, hand carved wooden bowls, glass pedestals and the Cairo Beverage Dispenser the citrus water was served from.

Another area in the middle of the store was filled with kitchen hand tools and cutlery.

We both loved the library in the back of the store. With floor to ceiling bookshelves and big, cushy, deep leather chairs. You could literally spend the afternoon there. Someday I would love to have a home library because I love to collect books. I don't have a lot because I've never had the space but if I did I would buy more. As convenient and eco-friendly as eBooks are, for me, they will never replace the experience of sitting in a comfy chair holding a book and flipping it's pages by hand.

I loved this photo I took of Carl in the library.

Just over Carl's shoulder you'll see a mounted wild boar. Believe it or not we have wild boars in the Santa Cruz Mountains south of San Jose and statewide. A non-native species they were introduced to California in the 1920's. Since then people hunt them for sport, food and to control their population from damaging both the environment and to protect crops and agriculture that can be destroyed by their foraging and contaminated by their waste.

And this may come as a shock but after learning so much about the less desirable aspects of factory farming last year I've decided that game meat is, in my opinion, a more humane option to factory farmed meat. The animals get to live a natural life, unconfined, eating natural food and interacting with each other in a natural way before they are slaughtered. Currently I am still choosing to be meat-free but if I ever do eat meat again I would limit my choices to humane raised livestock (like Niman Ranch or Prather Ranch) and wild game meat.

I did purchase a jar of Tyler's Puttanesca Sauce and a jar of his West Coast Smoky BBQ Sauce. I thought about making something super fancy with the pasta sauce to post here on the blog but then decided most of us appreciate more simple inspirations...

I swear, this was a five minute meal. I'd already boiled a whole batch of fusilli pasta last week and froze individual portions so as I warmed the pasta in the microwave I heated 1/3 of the sauce in a medium frying pan.

As the pasta was thawing and the sauce was heating I sliced a kalamata olive into slivers and spooned out some capers and the green olive tapenade. I then tossed the pasta into the sauce, stirred them together and let them heat a bit longer. I quickly grated some parmesan cheese and assembled everything together in less than 5 minutes. Even if you boil the pasta from scratch this is still a fifteen minute meal at most.

What you'll need:

 Pasta - I love fusilli because of the way the shape holds in the sauce.

 1 bottle of Tyler's Puttanesca Sauce

1 teaspoon of Green Olive Tapenade from B.R. Cohn

1 Tablespoon of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano Parmesan cheese

1 slightly heaping teaspoon of whole Capers

1 sliced Kalamata Olive

Yum! Tyler's sauce was flavorful with a particularly tangy note and a had a little bite to it from the chile that I could taste as I ate. The bite lingered just a bit after I had inhaled the entire plate.

The gourmet food section at the Kitchen Essentials store.

This image by Carl Mindling

And me, having fun shopping around the store.

We planned to be up in Mill Valley at 10:00 AM when the store opened. We arrived a bit early so we walked next door to "Champagne a French Bakery Cafe" and had a bite. I had a cup of green tea and ordered this cute apple tart. I could have eaten five of them I was so hungry.  

There was no shortage of options in the long pastry case. But I ate just a bite because after this we headed back over the Golden Gate Bridge to begin our great food truck adventure...

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful account of a beautiful start to a beautiful day of foodie heaven. I really look forward to our follow up excursion.


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