Holiday Comfort

THE HOLIDAY SEASON often finds us cozied up with home-cooked meals or, should we hit the town, chatting with regulars at a warm and friendly local bar, like the one at Bungalow 44. The bedimmed yet lively Mill Valley eatery — a sister to county favorites Buckeye Roadhouse and Bar Bocce — has been popular with locals since its opening in 2005, serving up plates of California comfort cuisine in equally comfy leather banquettes. In 2012, chef Michael Pihl took the reins. Pihl, who moved to the Bay Area from Arizona at age 14, began cooking at Sonoma’s The Girl and The Fig fresh out of high school, then relocated to San Francisco to try his hand in citycentric kitchens. It was then he really fell in love with the art. After a two-year stint at Cyrus in Healdsburg — where he began what he calls his “formal training” under chef Douglas Keane — he further honed his craft at Michael Mina in Union Square. At Bungalow, he says, “I love cooking for our loyal, food-savvy regulars who are open to new and exciting seasonal items and are willing to branch out and try something they normally wouldn’t.” Asked for a slightly simpler dish to add depth to this year’s Thanksgiving spread, he presented this take on a beloved standby: Black Garlic Mash.

Black Garlic Mash



  • 5 large Yukon gold potatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head of black garlic, peeled
  • ½ pound butter
  • 1 quart heavy cream

To Prepare

  1. Scrub, peel and quarter potatoes.
  2. In a large pot, cover potatoes with cool water and add a pinch of salt. Bring potatoes to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and continue to simmer until tender. Strain excess water.
  3. Using a food mill or ricer, mash the peeled black garlic (a type of caramelized garlic), followed by the potatoes.
  4. Place pot — now containing mashed garlic and potatoes — back on the stove on low heat.
  5. Add butter and stir before adding cream to achieve desired consistency.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and serve.