OK, I wish I was shopping around with Food Network personality and chef Tyler Florence. But really all I did was visit his store in this Marin County town just north of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Last weekend I had my hands on some wheels, so I drove up to check out the Tyler Florence store in the heart of tiny downtown Mill Valley. Florence calls this place home, giving up New York pizza for the fresh seasonal ingredients of the Bay Area.
Along with rooting his family here, he’s opened the store and has plans for three restaurants around the Bay Area (most probably opening next year).
The store reflects Florence’s personality — charming, handsome and stylish. It’s a bit Williams-Sonoma meets Oakville Grocery. Several products are from his own branded line, but he also sells products that he’s become a fan of, many of them grown or produced in California.
He also stocks products from fellow Food Network friends, like the Barefoot Contessa and Jamie Oliver.
Walk past the front area of cookware and dinnerware and there’s a center kitchen area that looks like the perfect spot for Florence to do a cooking demo. On this day, however, the TV screens were running old shows of Julia Childs. In fact, it seemed like the kitchen was dedicated to the French-influenced kitchen master.
The only thing non-Julia was this black-and-white photo of Mick Jagger.
In the back of the store is a room filled with cookbooks that felt like an exclusive men’s club or den. The leather seats were offset by photographs and antiques, and the back wall displayed a boar head. (In fact, there were quite a few dead animals around the store. I didn’t get that.)
There are a lot of interesting things to explore at the store. Some products look familiar (like the wall of Dean and Deluca spices) while others look like exclusive offerings. The prices can also run all over the place, from a few dollars for a kitchen gadget to hundreds for an antique kitchenware.
Visiting the store does feel like you’re walking into Florence’s home and getting a look at his very expansive pantry.
The Tyler Florence Shop, 59 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. PH: 415.380.9200. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. www.tylerflorence.com
Friday, October 09, 2009