When Madcap opened in 2017 in San Anselmo, I considered its then eight-course $80 tasting menu a bargain.
Fast forward to six years later when I dined a few weeks ago, and that opinion still holds. The price tag may have risen to $140, but it’s still quite reasonable in the world of lofty tasting menus.
Especially when you consider that the restaurant’s owner and executive chef is Ron Siegel, who was not only on the opening team of the French Laundry, but went on to head the kitchens at San Francisco landmarks Charles Nob Hill, Masa’s, Michael Mina, and the Ritz-Carlton. Not to mention that he triumphed as the first American chef to trounce an “Iron Chef” on the original Japanese cooking competition show.
Madcap is a warm and welcoming family affair with Siegel’s wife Kimberly running the front of the house, and son Dillon now director of wine and beverages.
I love carrots — now more so than ever before, too.
That’s because during this unprecedented shelter-in-place mandate, I’ve been relying on delivery services to get all of my groceries.
As someone who’s used to combing through new cookbooks to hone in on an inspired recipe to try, then racing out the door to a grocery store or two to find just the right ingredients called for, this has been an adjustment.
Now, I let the ingredients solely dictate what I make. And because I only schedule deliveries once every 7 to 10 days, it requires a lot more planning. I covet peak-season produce, of course. But because so much of that is quite perishable, I also need a mix of sturdier fruits and veggies that will last at least until the next delivery.
That’s where carrots are a godsend. They hold up well in the crisper drawer for weeks, and they can be used in so many ways, both raw and cooked.
The stunning rabbit liver appetizer at the Western Room inside Rancho Nicasio.
You’ll be excused if you’ve never been to Rancho Nicasio in Marin before.
The out-of-the-way roadhouse and live music venue may not have been on most people’s radar before. But it sure is now.
That’s because about four months ago, it added a new chef.
Not just any chef. But Ron Siegel, former executive chef of Michael Mina Restaurant in San Francisco, who previously headed Masa’s in San Francisco and Charles Nob Hill in San Francisco. And the first American-born chef to beat an Iron Chef on the original Japanese TV cooking competition.
Chef Max Brown who has been at Rancho Nicasio for 18 years since his father Bob Brown, former manager of Pablo Cruise and Huey Lewis & The News, bought the property is still there. He still oversees the main dining room and the massive backyard barbecue festivities.
The unassuming facade of Rancho Nicasio, built in 1941.
The Western Room.
But Siegel now serves up an entirely separate menu in the Western Room inside the rustic Rancho Nicasio.