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Royal baker Claire Ptak’s ultimate guide to Marin County California

The California native reveals her secrets to Marin County’s west coast

Claire Ptak
21 June 2023

ucked away in Marin County lies Point Reyes, a small cape very different from much of California. Backdropped by towering cliffscapes, crisp-blue seas and quaint farmlands, it is home to some of the most talented artisans in the whole of the state. The thriving community and magnificent natural wonders make it a very special place.


Saltwater Oyster Depot

My favourite restaurant in the tiny town of Inverness. The menu is so good. It is the perfect hang-out spot for a glass of wine, locally sourced seafood and, of course, oysters!

Bovine Bakery

If you’re looking for a sweet treat, Bovine is a staple in the community. It’s a from-scratch bakery that’s been around for more than 25 years now. It’s always been there in my life — I was even born above it. When I was 15, I got my first job there. I learnt how to make croissants and did all the 4am shifts.

The Marshall Store

When we go to West Marin, we always go here. It’s another seafood restaurant (sorry vegans) and right on Tomales Bay. Sit there, order heaps of fish tacos and drink loads of rosé while watching sailboats on the water.


The Old Western Saloon

This saloon bar is always fun. I go here for tequila shots after cooking dinner with friends on the beach. Don’t miss the picture of King Charles hanging up — he came out here about 15 years ago with Camilla for a tour of Point Reyes’ organic farms and they had a pint in the bar. The same bar me and my friends have gone to since we were 21! It’s such a weird coincidence because I’ve made his son’s wedding cake and he’s actually been to my small town.


Wild West Ferments

This wild fermentation company is amazing. I like to stock up on their sauerkraut, sauces and organic preserves. They’re opening a shop in Point Reyes Station soon.

Monk Estate

You can buy pottery made from local artists, Victorian jewellery and antique pieces. The owner is a collector with an incredible eye.

Claire Ptak


Point Reyes Vacation Rentals

Seek out this company for a fantastic range of houses to book for a weekend — or the whole summer


JB Blunk Estate

My friend Mariah has a gallery called JB Blunk Estate. Her dad was JB Blunk, a prolific artist who built the house. She shows his work and that of other local artists.

Point Reyes Books

My parents really encouraged us to read growing up — we didn’t have a TV! This is a small indie bookshop that also holds a lot of events. It’s a hub for the community.

Steeped in Point Reyes’ natural, artisan setting, Claire, top right, works on her book at the JB Blunk Estate

/ Violet Cakes by Claire Ptak


National Seashore

The national parks are stunning. The peninsula juts out above San Francisco Bay and it’s a great destination for whale watching. Go out there to see the migration of humpback and grey whales and dolphins.

Hiking and foraging at Chimney Rock

My perfect day here would consist of foraging for wild blackberries and huckleberries — there’s great porcini and chanterelle mushrooms, too. I do this every time I go home, my daughter Francis loves it. We will then bake a big blackberry pie for my mom.


Tomales Point

It’s so peaceful. There are herds of tule elk and a beautiful old northern California barn. Go really far to the tip and you’ll feel like you’re floating above the ocean.

‘Love is a Pink Cake’, by Claire Ptak, is out now (£27; Vintage)

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