I really wanted to visit China Camp State Park just for the small historic shrimping-fishing Chinese village still open to the public. In the 1880s, the village hit its peak population (~500 Chinese Americans — which, for such a small area, is astounding) but due to increased immigration restrictions and anti-Chinese sentiment, the population dwindled dramatically by 1920s until it eventually closed. One resident, Frank Quan, was born and raised in the village in the 1920s, and still lives there today. (In fact, he runs the diner that sits in the village now, and does the cooking himself!) The village sits on the coast of the San Pablo Bay, among popular hiking and biking trails that run throughout the park.
We’ve never made granola from scratch, so we decided to give it a whirl. We adapted this recipe into a peanut butter & cranberry chewy granola. Like any recipe we ever attempt, it’s super easy (and tastes great!).
Step 1: toast the dry ingredients (oats and almonds) at 350F for 5 minutes. Stir them around, then continue toasting for another 3-5 minutes. Pour into a large bowl.
Step 2: melt the butter, honey, vanilla extract, and brown sugar over low heat, stirring occasionally until fully dissolved.
(Clearly, a spatula would have worked best to flatten the granola, but we don’t have one. So we kept it real and used our rice scooper.)
If the granola is too crumbly as you cut it, stick it back in the fridge for another 30 minutes and try again. Otherwise, enjoy!
PS: There are tons of other ingredients you could add instead (like chocolate chips, blueberries, dried coconut) or remove (peanut butter, etc.). This recipe is prime for improvisation.
We’d never much explored Marin County and the north bay, so we decided to make a weekend of it. It’s beautiful, but so surprisingly different from the south bay/peninsula/San Francisco. So much less populated and congested. I was amazed to see that by 8pm, the bustling downtown areas of the major cities were effectively shut down. Even restaurants! (On the plus side, that meant that parking was always very easy to find.)
Some places visited:
Tiburon ~ Mill Valley ~ Larkspur ~ Fairfax ~ Sausalito ~ San Rafael
the Hummingbird Cafe // Fairfax, CA (very highly recommended!)
Fat Angel Bakery // Fairfax, CA
Fish. // Sausalito, CA
the Depot Cafe & Bookstore // Mill Valley
China Camp State Park // San Rafael, CA