Friday Night Bites: Holiday Edition

December 11, 2021

The true indicator of the winter season has come: Starbucks switched from its traditional cups to its festive, red and green colored “merry coffee” ones. Although this may seem like a minor change, it signifies the shift in the season’s vibes from pumpkin spice to peppermint, as the weather cools down and fireplaces turn on. 

Now that almost every coffee shop and bakery has transitioned to selling winter-themed items, it can be difficult to figure out where to find the best goods to immerse yourself in the holiday spirit. No need to fret though, Friday Night Bites has you covered with recommendations for the best holiday-themed food and drink in Marin. Although none of these desserts and beverages will ever amount to the nostalgia and comfort that homemade hot chocolate and your mom’s sugar cookie recipe provide, some do manage to get pretty close. Here is a list of the best winter-themed bites and sips to get you ready for this chilly season. 

Starbucks: Peppermint Mocha

Delivering a sweet and comforting taste, Starbucks’ peppermint mocha is the perfect drink to warm you up this winter season. (Photo by Sam Kimball)

Starbucks’ peppermint mocha may be the most classic winter drink of all time. The beverage consists of regular mocha and espresso mixed with mocha syrup and steamed milk, blended with a few pumps of peppermint syrup which makes this drink truly exceptional. While inhaling the sweet aroma and watching the steam escape from the cup, I was transported to a place with snow on the ground and holiday decorations all around. From the first sip, one is hit with the refreshingly sharp peppermint taste which manages to cut through the ordinarily overly sweet mocha flavors. The taste of coffee remains strong despite the drink’s added sweet syrups and whipped cream topping. Ultimately, the peppermint mocha managed to warm me up and got me fully ready to sit under a blanket and watch “The Grinch” for the millionth time. 

Shockingly flavorful, Noble Cow Creamery’s brown sugar cinnamon ice cream reminds one of the festive and fresh smell of a gingerbread house. (Photo by Sam Kimball)

Noble Cow Creamery: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Ice Cream

In a secluded corner of Strawberry Village lies Noble Cow Creamery and its Brown Sugar Cinnamon ice cream. Paired with a sugar cone, this ice cream is a delightful evening dessert. The flavor instantly flooded my mouth with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, anise and clove. The smell of the ice cream is so strong that it could be mistaken for a winter-spice Yankee candle. The cinnamon and brown sugar blend perfectly with the thick creaminess of the ice cream. Its smooth texture and decadent flavor combination make for a fabulous holiday dessert. Its rich qualities are contrasted with the sweet, crunchy cone. This combination balanced out the richness that would have otherwise been overwhelming. 

Victoria’s Bakery: Apple Strudel

Festively flavored, Victoria Bakery’s apple strudel is guaranteed to transport you to falling autumn leaves outside your door.

This apple strudel may be the best hidden winter baked good of Marin, tucked away in a tiny storefront in Bon Air Center. With a flaky exterior and a sweet, gooey apple interior, this dessert is guaranteed to get you in the holiday mood. While the golden crust made from puff pastry is delicious, the main star of this dessert is its apple filling. Without overpowering the apple, the cinnamon and nutmeg create a delicious blend of aromas that makes the pastry even more alluring. The apples are also cooked to perfection: not too soft yet not too crunchy. This dessert reminded me of the smell of hot apple cider on a cold winter night, making the experience even more comforting. With this delicious treat, you are guaranteed a fun, festive winter Friday night. 

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