A lifelong passion for cooking and the persistent encouragement of fans has inspired Frantz Felix, to follow a course that began with casually catering events for friends and evolved to opening his own restaurant. Caribbean Spices debuted last week in downtown San Rafael.
“It was a long journey, but now that I’ve reached my destination, the end result tastes so much sweeter,” shares Felix, a Haitian native.
His path came about fortuitously. “One day while serving at a food festival, a man exclaimed after one taste that I must open up a restaurant and that I should start with a food truck.” This prompted the search for a vehicle and in 2009, the establishment of the Caribbean Spices food truck that can still be found Sundays at the Marin Country Mart and Thursday evenings at the San Rafael Summer Market (see more below).
The exotic flavors of Haitian cuisine are distinct from the other Caribbean islands, he says.
“Our menu is pretty rich and tasty, like our famous griot (pork bites), black mushroom rice and also our wee known-pikliz and banan peze (fried plantains).”
Check out the festive setting at 819 Fourth St. in San Rafael in the former Umi Sushi space. The restaurant is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. It is closed on Mondays. Additional information including the full restaurant and catering menus can be found at carribeanspicesdba.net or by calling 628-253-5385.
It’s bonjour for now at downtown San Anselmo’s L’Appart Resto where French cuisine meets farmers market local. General manager Olivier Criado and executive chef Alexandre De Jesus have announced that the restaurant will be serving its final meal June 28 before throwing a celebration the following night.
“After that, we will take a break to focus our efforts on finding a new Marin location,” says Criado.
The restaurant is at 636 San Anselmo Avenue and is open for dinner at 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and closed on Sundays. To make a reservation, call 415-256-9884. For details on the closing celebration June 29, visit the website at lappartresto.com.
“We are so thankful for all the support we have received over the years,” says Criado. “This really makes us feel part of our wonderful community!”
Local farmers markets are in full swing and this season, the Agricultural Institute of Marin (AIM) has a new one to add to its roster — the San Rafael Summer Market. The organization is working with the City of San Rafael on the longstanding June through September food fest from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday evenings on Fourth Street between A Street and Lootens Plaza. It continues weekly (except July 4) until Sept. 26.
Stop by for fresh fruits and vegetables from both new and returning farmers and purveyors. Or choose a snack or meal from a variety of cuisines, including Thai, Yucatan, Salvadorian and Southern to eat on-site or take-home. Feast on Mexican-style local roasted corn, chicken and waffles, Spanish churros or ice cream made with local fruits.
AIM and participating stands accept CalFresh/EBT and WIC vouchers and provide a market match of up to $10 for fruit and vegetable purchases for EBT cardholders.
In addition to food, the community gathering features music, crafts, children’s activities and late shopping hours at local businesses.
Note that the Marin County Fair, from July 3 through 7, will displace the Thursday and Sunday Marin Civic Center Farmers Market. On July 3 and 7, the market will be from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Northgate Mall at 7000 Northgate Drive, in front of the movie theater. There is no market on July 4.
For further details, go to agriculturalinstitute.org.
Leanne Battelle is a freelance food writer. Send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments, food news or restaurant recommendations. Or you can follow the Marin dining scene at instagram.com/therealdealmarin
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