By Jennifer Kaiser
No visit to the Point Reyes Peninsula is complete without a quick stop at Cowgirl Creamery, located inside a renovated hay barn one block off Point Reyes Station’s main street. This is where the Creamery originated 20 years ago, the brainchild of co-founders Sue Conley and Peggy Smith.
While Cowgirl Creamery cheeses are now available throughout the country at Whole Foods Markets, grocery stores, and farmers markets—and their delicious outpost in San Francisco’s Ferry Building—it’s worth it to go back to the start of this now-famous cheesemaker and importer. They make cheese right on the spot in Point Reyes, and you can watch them do it.
Both sites have prepared food available at their companion take-out counters: the Ferry Building’s Sidekick and Pt. Reyes Cantina. The restaurants offer daily specials and standard favorites, including a truly inspired tomato soup ($4.50 small, $5.95 large). Redolent of rosemary and with a nice kick of heat, the rustic soup is topped with Cowgirl Creamery crème fraiche.
On the day we visited, we enjoyed a Cabot Cheddar Toastie, a kind of open-face grilled cheese sandwich with caramelized onions and maple-honey mustard ($5.95) and Cantina Mac and Cheese, made with Wagon Wheel and Red Hawk cheeses ($8.95). The acidic tang of the soup balanced the cheesy richness perfectly.
There are a few tables inside the building but if the weather is grand, there are outside picnic tables on both sides of the building and in the nearby town commons. If you’re heading for the coast, you can pick up cold sandwiches and salads, charcuterie and other treats. To complete the meal, a little container of Chocolate Espresso Mousse ($2.95) works beautifully. It’s more of a ganache than a mousse, so sharing the richness is a must.
Below are the details on the Cowgirl Creamery and Sidekick Cafe locations in Point Reyes and San Francisco, and for a fun video peek at the Point Reyes cheesemaking shop, click here.
Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop & Cantina, 80 Fourth Street, Point Reyes Station. Wednesday-Sunday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 415.663.9335
Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop at the Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Building, No. 17, San Francisco. Monday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 415.362.9354
Sidekick Café & Milk Bar, 1 Ferry Building, No. 19, San Francisco. Monday-Saturday: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 415.392.4000