by Alastair Bland
Editor's note: First Bite is a new concept in restaurant writing. This is not a go-three-times, try-everything-on-the-menu report; rather, this is a quick snapshot of a single experience. We invite you to come along with our writers as they—informed, intelligent eaters like yourselves—have a simple meal at an area restaurant, just like you do .
I locked up my bicycle and staggered into Paradise Bay around 2pm on a Saturday so hungry that I couldn't see straight. I'd been riding and foraging for mushrooms all day in the woods, and I hadn't eaten; that was partly intentional, as I was saving up for this moment. Going hungry is the surest way I know to have a great meal.
I sat on the back patio, overlooking Richardson Bay. I observed the brown waters, the boat traffic and the houseboat shanties, and noted that one must have some gall to nickname this slough "paradise" bay. Inspecting the menu, I found half of it to be brunch stuff, and I wasn't looking for breakfast. The rest of the menu offered flavorful paragraphs detailing each dish's merits, but I didn't particularly want to eat meat or shrimp, on which the menu is heavy.
Paradise Bay's executive chef Thomas Mitchell does whip up a few vegetarian items, and I waffled between the papaya, avocado and arugula salad and the romaine salad with persimmons, pears and blue cheese (both $9.50) before choosing the latter. My server brought it out minutes later with a glass of 2006 XYZIN Zinfandel ($8), a bold smoky wine. The salad consisted of two dozen little arugula leaves and scattered suggestions of avocado and papaya.
Still famished, I ordered a bowl of roasted sugar pumpkin curry ($6.50). Perfectly sweet, this creamy purée was topped with slivers of apple and fresh cilantro and bore strong hints of lemongrass and savory spices. The curry was absolutely delicious, and I only wish I could have ordered it twice as big, perhaps accompanied by a pile of steaming brown rice. Alas, for enough sustenance to get home, I had to order a burger.
Paradise Bay, 1200 Bridgeway Ave., Sausalito. Open daily for lunch and dinner; brunch, Saturday–Sunday. 415.331.3226.
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