Comfort Food Reimagined

NESTLED WITHIN THE Lodge at Tiburon, Tiburon Tavern has undergone several iterations over the years, but the menu has consistently centered on “elevated comfort cuisine.” And though it was always a popular dinner destination, chef Tim Humphrey’s arrival in summer 2014 brought new appeal to the restaurant’s farm-to-fork approach. Raised in a farm family in rural northern Florida, Humphrey moved to California at 25 to continue his kitchen education. Over the next decade the chef — who began his food industry work with a summer stint in a Florida dish pit — earned Michelin stars at acclaimed restaurants Meadowood and Murray Circle, and alongside his older brother Joseph (also a chef), Humphrey cooked at the James Beard House, even traveling as a U.S. representative to prepare meals for the president of Taiwan. In 2012, the Humphrey brothers opened Dixie, a San Francisco eatery featuring Southern-style cuisine, and now Humphrey-the-younger brings his breadth of experience and love of comfort food and fresh ingredients back to our side of the bridge. “I really love cooking in Marin because, in addition to all of the great products that our phenomenal farmers provide, the county is just an epicenter for delicious food and talented artists,” he says. “Guests at Tiburon Tavern are so connected with the community — it’s a great place to be a chef.” Here Humphrey shares a chicken-fried quail recipe representative of the restaurant’s upscale comfort theme.

Chicken Fried Quail

Serves 1


  • 1 semi-boneless quail
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Oil, for pan frying
  • 3 ounces ranch or blue cheese dressing

To Prepare

  1. Begin by cutting up the quail. First remove the tips of the wings; then cut off both legs and breasts. Remove the thighbone. Place the quail breasts and legs in a bowl and pour in buttermilk. Allow quail to marinate in buttermilk overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. When you are ready to fry, heat your frying oil to 350°F.
  3. Mix flour, salt, smoked paprika and cayenne in a bowl.
  4. Remove quail from the buttermilk and drain off the excess, leaving just enough to coat the pieces. Place quail in seasoned flour mixture one piece at a time.
  5. Carefully place coated pieces in fry oil in a pan. Once all quail has been added, gently stir once to make sure the quail is all separated.
  6. Fry for 5–7 minutes.
  7. Carefully remove quail from the fryer oil and place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up excess oil.
  8. Season with a pinch of kosher salt.
  9. Plate your quail to your liking and serve with your favorite ranch or blue cheese dressing.