Monday, January 14, 2008


It's mind boggling, when you think about it. So many chefs live in Marin County.
I ran into Ron Siegel at the farmers market a few weeks ago. I mention him by name because he may be one of the most famous. (He once won an episode of "Iron Chef" — in Japanese!) But several other stellar chefs, many of whom own or at least cook at some of San Francisco's finest places, live here. Many of them are our local French chefs, presumably because of access to a French school in Marin for their kids, but probably also because they're a tight gang and love to hang out with each other.
You'd think the eating would be better in Marin because of this, but no.
We have Applebee's.
Oh, to be fair, we have loads of lovely, small, personal restaurants. I haven't even visited them all.
(I tend to return to some of my tried and true joints.)
It was while I was snacking on a dish of wonderful carpaccio with capers and cheese and arugula at an old standby restaurant that I sensed an infusion of spa-smacked radiance. A bolt of buffed and puffed beauty had entered the room, I could tell even with my back to the door. All mani-pedi, exfoliated and gelled to camera-ready faux casualness, it was Tyler Florence. TV chef guy. I actually don't know much about him.
I do know he recently moved to Marin County, without a place to cook. He just squeezed in amongst all our talent, and — I guess he's waiting for an offer.
He popped into this restaurant at the side of the hostess (she was taller), took an appraising gaze down the length of the place (it's gorgeous; it could stand a little spa-smacking, but it has good bones), and then he vanished.
I don't know what that was all about.
But I do know Florence is in partnership with Applebee's, creating Marin-worthy yummables such as the Bruschetta Burger.
See ya there?
Didn't think so.
UPDATE: Tyler Florence will be opening his "first signature restaurant" in San Francisco this summer, in the York Hotel, which is being renamed Hotel Vertigo. Urp! Hee hee. Guesses are still on as to what he'll call the eatery.


peter said...

Eeeew. I bet he pronounces it "Broo-shetta" too (and what would it be? A burger with no top? Capitalist tool, eatin' good in YOUR neighborhood.

Kalyn said...

I was never a fan of Tyler, on his first show (cooking 911 or something like that) I thought a lot of his comments were pretty sexist. But I do have to admit that I got one of his cookbooks for a gift, and everything I've made out of it has been quite fantastic. Since then I've tried to be a bit more open-minded about him, but still I think he's not really my type.

Zoomie said...

Where were you eating that got such a cursory exam from the glam? Maybe he was looking for a friend? And maybe he's a jerk...

Sam said...

no buffy puffys in my presence please. I prefer my food hot and dirty, not sterile.

Anna Haight said...

Gosh, I'm so non-TV chef oriented I've probably missed a few sightings here. That Applebee's feels so out of place...

Anonymous said...

I think Tyler Florence moved to Marin because that's where his wife's from. I don't think it's a nefarious plot to litter the county with Applebee's and Wal-Marts...either way, he's a talented chef (if I can make his recipes, anyone can) of a credible pedigree.

dancingmorganmouse said...

Never trust a chef with neat & beautiful hands -

Anita said...

Mystery (sort of) solved:

cookiecrumb said...

Peter: He pronounces it "bruce-ketta," with an emphasis on the "k" that suggests he may have had his wrist slapped.

Kalyn: Intriguing. I'm going to take a look at his books.

Zoomie: In Mill Valley, at Piazza D'Angelo. At first I couldn't place him. I said to Cranky, "Look, there's that Bobby Flay guy."

Sam: Maybe he gets all sweaty and serious in the kitchen!

Anna: Tyler Florence is the only TV chef in Marin, I think. (Siegel was just a contestant on a show.)

Anonymous: I'm really grateful to you for your comment. Let's be nice, everybody! So interesting to learn that his wife hails from these parts... And that you like his food. Worth a peek.

Morgan: Oh, like you're all oven-burned and knife-knicked? Yeah, me too.

Anita: OMG!!! Evabody go see.
Amazing, that the date of your breaking story is the same as my snark.

leena! said...


You saw my food boyfriend. Therefore, I want to be you now. (Please don't tell my husband).

I really dig his cookbooks, actually. Nothing terribly unique, but he is great at combining flavors and make simple, rustic food. I have practically cooked my way through two of his books!

Bri said...

There is room for everyone, but I'll take Jamie Oliver's real home food over Tyler Florence any day. Not having actually tasted his food, Tyler has always struck me as someone who has that "I've gotten by on my looks" quality.

Zoomie said...

Piazza D'Angelo is a nice place - wonder what the cursory glance was about? Maybe just research for his new place in the Vertigo? (Thanks to Anita for the link!) I had no idea who he even was until you spotted him! I'm always out of the loop on celebs - MB does better.

kudzu said...

A long time ago when he first started showing up on the telly, Tyler Florence occasionally went home and cooked for/with his Southern family. He seemed quite adorable to me then, pre-buffing. I think his food is dependably worthwhile and he appeals more than "that Bobby Flay guy," for sure.

I can't imagine why anyone would name a hotel Vertigo, movie or no movie. Will the restaurant be called Dizzy?

Want to hear more about d'Angelo. Last time I was there the food was horrid and the service just short of rude.

cookiecrumb said...

Leena: Another kind word for Tyler's cookbooks. Must pursue. Thanks.

Bri: I've never been exfoliated. You think I could turn heads in restaurants if I got my teeth whitened and my abs hardened? Hee. Oh. Right. It's all about food.

Zoomie: Cranky and I have some romantic baggage permanently stored at D'Angelo's.

Kudzu: And it's not about the food. We hardly ever order a "meal." Drinks and a little pizza, some beef carpaccio... I guess the staff loves us 'cause we've dropped so many bucks (and tips) there.
As for the hotel and restaurant. Hm. Vertigo. Nausea?

peter said...

"I can't imagine why anyone would name a hotel Vertigo, movie or no movie."

It's for people who don't know vertigo.

(Funnier with Yiddish accent.)

dancingmorganmouse said...

Cookie, hands AND arms, I'm quite proud of my most recent bacon burns ;)

kudzu said...

Oy, Peter --- Veah to go, indeed. Good one.

Anonymous said...

I'm envious. Not of your sighting, as, well, it'd been lost on me. Of your restaurant choices! I guess I could just go into the applebees and dream...(not)

Zoomie said...

How about "Dizzy's" as a name for the new restaurant? :-)

cookiecrumb said...

Ha ha, Zoomie. That was Kudzu's nomination, too.

Jack said...

Marin does seem like a backwater county compared to its neighbors for quality restaurants.

Does seem? Is.

cookiecrumb said...

Jack: It's inexplicable. I've lived in Marin for nearly 20 years, and while I've seen improvements on the dining horizon, it's been such a slow, disappointing slog.