Manka’s burned over Christmas and things in Inverness may never be the same. The inn and restaurant was visited by celebrities and locals alike — but what made it stand out was owner Margaret Grade’s use of produce and ingredients from within a 15-mile radius. This of course included Tomales Bay, rife with oysters and creepy, crawly things I personally won’t eat but which many others enjoy. Also: local cheeses, greens from neighbors’ gardens, and other such delicacies.
I never went there, but I passed it by countless times in its former incarnation as a Czech restaurant during trips out to visit my ‘second home’ overlooking the bay. I hope the county’s stipulation doesn’t hold (for some reason, it claims the restaurant can’t be rebuilt, although there may be a way around it), and Manka’s will indeed ‘rise from the ashes’ (there are rumors there’s a dinner planned in the upcoming weeks). Some day, I’d like to go and sample a tasting menu that required “for your penance, $58” or stay in a luxurious-looking cabin that can be a bit less pricey for extended or “spontaneous” stays. It’s all so West Marin. But I’ve never had any complaints about that before, and I’m not about to start now. It holds my heart, quirkiness and sea-breezes both.