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Posts Tagged ‘food’

My husband gave me a local cookbook for Christmas, “Locally Delicious”, which was just published about a month ago. I’ve been talking about cooking more often (he does most of the cooking)and we’re both partisans of the idea of eating locally grown or produced food, in season. I was raised that way — my mom always goes into cooking overdrive during the successive harvests of strawberries, string beans, corn, tomatoes, raspberries, etc., and still buys locally produced beef, chicken, bread, cheese, etc.

This weekend I tried three recipes from Locally Delicious: the cross rib roast (Humboldt grass-fed beef cross rib was on sale!), spicy roasted beets, and oven rosemary potatoes. Everything but the rosemary, salt and pepper was locally produced. (OK, the olive oil was regional, from Sonoma County.) All three recipes were keepers and quite easy. I liked that I was able to prepare everything in advance in the morning and leave it in the fridge until I was ready to pop the dishes in the oven.

I like “slow food” and I detest most instant, frozen, highly prepared foods (with some exceptions for brands like Casbah, Newman, and Oetker). I like a seasonal menu that reflects the changes around us. I like restaurants where the dishes taste a little different every time you go because they’re made in small batches by a cook, not an industrial assembly line. I like planning a menu based on what looks fresh. I like the rich flavours of produce and meat that have not had to travel more than a few hours to reach my kitchen. I like encouraging our local producers.

There are resources online for people trying to find out more about their local food chain. A good, food-lover’s book explaining our alimentary systems is Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.”

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The Foodie Shuffle

Recent news for a couple of good eating places in Humboldt:

(1) Curley’s Grill, formerly in Ferndale and chased out last fall by sky-rocketing rent costs, just re-opened at 320 Main Street, Fortuna last week.

(2) Cafe Nooner in Eureka just started this week will start in a few days offering breakfast items in addition to its customary lunch.  I can’t wait to try it this Sunday.

These are two quintessential “comfort food” places in the area, quality served with pride but without pretention.

(3) In addition, I’m awaiting with curiosity the re-opening of Go Fish, the fish & chips cafe on 1st Avenue in Eureka, at the corner of Commercial Street.  A sign was recently posted, announcing the upcoming opening, but giving no date.

(Edited 12/20/2009.)

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Comfort food

I really love Cafe Nooner in Eureka.  I think of all the comfort food available for puchase in town, theirs may be the comfortingest!  I stopped there yesterday — it has become a Sunday tradition for my husband and I — and had their cream of porcini mushroom (mmm, with green onions and garlic) and their Rueben-style patty melt.  Nothing pretentious, nothing extravagant, but hearty, delicious and plentiful food with friendly service.

Some day I must try their decadent-looking desserts…

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Peachy keen

On Saturday we made our weekly visit to the Arcata farmers market and among other scrumptious offering, there were organic peaches from Hunter’s Orchards in Grenada, CA (just south of Yreka). Oh, those peaches were so ripe and beautiful, we just had to get a flat.

They are unbelievable; we’ve been eating them like candy.  We’re almost through that flat of 21 beautiful, perfect, Platonic peaches. I can see why Yahweh got so upset about the apples in Genesis: he figured if he didn’t kick the vermin out of Eden right then, they’d get to the peaches next.

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I love the taste and smell of good coffee. When I was driving across the continent form Quebec to start my first job in the San Francisco, years ago, I remember being progressively more appalled by what was called coffee as I moved through the center of the continent. (This has held true on every trip, whether I go through the U.S. or Canada.) I felt better about life when I reached the Bay Area and coffee was good again.

Later in Seattle I had access to plenty of fine coffee — though the Seattleites’ conceit that they invented good coffee and are the only ones who know anything about coffee is entirely misplaced.

So while I try not to drink too much coffee, and none after lunch unless it’s decaf, I do like fine coffee. And I don’t want non-dairy creamer to come anywhere near my cup! I’ve never found any of that stuff that didn’t taste like oil. I’m OK with unsweetened soy milk, but I prefer “real” milk whenever possible.

A few months ago, our very good Krups drip coffee-maker suddenly stopped working for no reason we could find. We were going to have it repaired but in the interim we bought a French press at the Co-op, a sturdy model we figured we could take camping later. But we decided we loved the resulting coffee so well that we’d stick with it; we still have not had the drip coffee-maker looked at for repair (that’d cost money).

In fact, I liked the coffee so much that I got myself a little desktop French press for the office, which makes a couple of small cups. Along with it, to make the perfect cup of java at the office:

  • In the office fridge, I have a carton of (organic, Humboldt Creamery) whole milk.
  • In a cupboard, I keep some agave nectar (never crystallizes, mild taste, mixes in drinks without leaving a residue at the bottom, can be refilled in bulk at the Co-op.)
  • I keep a stash of grounds from one of the many fine local roasters.

We have many suppliers of good beans in the area: Humboldt Bay Coffee Company and Muddy Waters Coffee Co. in Eureka; Kinetic Koffee Company and Sacred Grounds Organic Coffee Roasters in Arcata; Bayside Roasters in Bayside; Thanksgiving Coffee Company in Fort Bragg; The Coffee Critic in Ukiah; and many more I’m just forgetting at the moment.

Life is too short for anything but good coffee…

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Tonight (March 26) is time for the 17th annual Taste of Main Street event in Old Town Eureka, featuring 23 local restaurants and food producers, including:

A Taste of Main Street 2009 participants -- Click to view in Google Maps

A Taste of Main Street 2009 participants -- Click to view in Google Maps

Feasting starts at 5 pm and lasts until 9 pm. There will also be live music at many of the venues and a free shuttle service. Ticket books are $25, and entitle holders to discounted admission to the Big Band Dance at the Adorni Center, 1011 Waterfront Drive, Eureka, from 7 pm to 10:30 pm; the dance features the live music of Blue Street, kicking off the Redwood Coast Jazz Festival.

Call 442-9054 for tickets. Tickets are also available at all three Ramone’s Bakery & Cafe locations (in Eureka at 209 E St. and on Harrison Avenue, and in Arcata at Wildberries Marketplace), The Linen Closet at Second and F streets in Eureka, and the Eureka Main Street office, 525 Second St., Suite 105, located inside the Vance Hotel.

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larrupindishA frivolous post for today: a friend gave my husband and I a fantastic Christmas present this weekend when she bought us dinner at Larrupin Cafe in Trinidad.  She’s sending us to the Inaugural Celebration dinner!

If you have never been there, I have to tell you that this is one of the best restaurants in Humboldt — just superb.  It’s also quaint and quirky as all heck.  I’ve been there five times, I believe — twice as part of the gala dinners for Dr. Robert Gearheart‘s annual Constructed Wetlands workshop, once when the good folks at Humboldt State University’s Environmental Engineering Department gave me a going-away party as I was leaving for Seattle, once when we had guests who wanted a special treat, and once for our wedding anniversary.

I’m spoiled!  I’m only sorry I won’t have all these wonderful friends with me for the meal.

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