Magazine article Sunset

Mill Valley, CA: New Eats and Classic Hikes Make This Village at the Base of Mt. Tamalpais Summer's Sweetest Spot

Magazine article Sunset

Mill Valley, CA: New Eats and Classic Hikes Make This Village at the Base of Mt. Tamalpais Summer's Sweetest Spot

Article excerpt

The best 688 steps in the Bay Area

Pounded by semi-insane runners every June since 1905, the Dipsea Stairs might be the most storied stairwell in the West. Restored over the last few years, the steps have cowered beneath local legends like the late Jack Kirk ("the Dipsea Demon"), who finished the famed 7.4-mile Dipsea Trail race 67 consecutive times. Even if you're not one of the 1,500 competitors on June 9, you're welcome to hike, run, or hobble up the shaded 688 steps anytime. Encouraging notes ("Don't stop now!" "Live life My!" "Run, Carl, Run!") embedded in bronze plaques will cheer you on your way up the stairs leading out of Mill Valley. Cascade Dr. at Molino Ave.; dipsea.org.

The Sweetwater is back

"Bob Weir comes in all the time," says the bearded barista, speaking of the Grateful Dead guitarist responsible for the elegant rebirth of Sweetwater, Mill Valley's beloved music hall. Fronting the nightclub, a cafe, improved by chef Gordon Drysdale, serves sturdy egg-and-chorizo burritos. The inti-mate 300-person venue, which moved around the corner from the original 1972 location, welcomes a range of acts, including the all-female Led Zeppelin cover band Zepparella and Lukas Nelson, Willie's son. "Sounds just like his dad," says that same barista, who goes from mixing Stumptown lattes by day to stiff Sazeracs at night. 19 Corte Madera Ave.; sweet watermusichall.com.

Now dishing up more than gnocchi

Not long ago, it seemed all there was to eat in downtown Mill Valley was saucy Italian food. But Boo Koo, a new Southeast Asian street food place, has been a big hit with the apres-soccer set for its banh mi and pad Thai. And lines instantly snaked outside Sol Food when the popular Puerto Rican restaurant opened a new location here in February. Expect juicy bistec sandwiches, sticky-sweet plantains, fizzy housemade limeade poured into mason jars, and service as warm as the summer sun. …

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