So I needed to go to Walmart and Linens 'n Things and the closest ones to San Rafael happen to be in Vallejo, a good 30 minute drive but fun sightseeing for a newcomer to SF.
So I went exploring in Vallejo, south on 29 rather than shooting straight over to the giant Marin Shopping area by Marine Park (ok so I was lost maybe) (which has, by the way, a Red Lobster, a Black Angus (or something along those lines), Pasta Pomodoro, Chevy's, and some other "Mainstays" if you need that sort of thing.
Anyway, around 3000 Sonoma Blvd (that would be route 29) I found the Filipino-owned Seafood City, which was last mentioned here back in 2003 mostly. It's part of the renovated Vallejo Plaza.
Here is some more information on the "recovery" of Vallejo Plaza: http://www.bizjournals.com/eastbay/st...
I didn't believe that it could really be a city of seafood until I went in and found myself in practically a foreign country, a wild but working mix of Filipino and Asian.
Most exciting to me was their selection of fresh seafood, 40-60 different whole fish, all very fresh and incredibly inexpensive, many I'd never seen or heard of. Most of the whole fish was 50 cents to 3 or 4 dollars a pound. And everything had English translations, thankfully. They also had dungeness at 3.99 a pound, and lobsters at 10.99 a pound. Even better was live whole shrimp at 3.99 a pound! Too bad I didn't have a cooler. Or at this point any pots and pans (hence my trip).
They also had huge selections of meats in traditional asian and latin formats, and a pretty great produce department with the same.
Next door was Valeria's Tropical Bakery, which looked to be a latin bakery of some sort, with a line 30 people deep. I couldn't tell exactly what was being ordered, but obviously something good was going on.
Next door was also Max's of Manila, an interesting looking family style restaurant but with a Manila twist.
I also ran across two BBQ restaurants, both closed on this particular Sunday: D's BBQ on Sonoma and another one I have forgotten the name of (but I have it written down in the car and will go get it later.)