No, Bay Area Real Estate is Not Slowing Down, not even a little bit.

We keep hearing  that SF area values are plateauing, but where’s the evidence?? The San Jose Marriott just sold for almost DOUBLE  the price it sold for less tan three years ago.  This is a slowdown?  What the Bay Area needs, and what WE need is some stability down there. Houses in Sonoma have doubled in value in the last few years but this is not necessarily good news for us.

Read about it HERE.

The JUNE ECONOMIC INDEX is IN

The June Economic Index for the Co, thanks to to  Dr Eschker and the folks at HSU. 

As they summarize it, “The Composite Index fell 1.4 points from last month’s value of 107.9 to the current value of 106.5. The Hospitality Index climbed over the past month, while the Home Sales, Retail Sales, and Employment Indices declined. The median home price decreased to $270,000. Leading Indicators are mostly rising in May. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Humboldt County decreased from 4.6 percent to 4.4 percent. ”  

Read the whole report HERE.

EATING OUT: Brick, AA and Jack’s Revisited

One of the pleasures of having out-of -town guests is that you can get feedback on restaurants from people who haven’t been been there a thousand times.  We visited Brick & Fire on the Fourth of July and discovered you CAN get a seat without a reservation if you’re wiling to come in at an odd time, like 530. I had the Italian Mac’n’cheese, ended up taking most of it home. The chopped Caesar with fried egg couldn’t have been better. My friend had oysters and the duck confit. Another great meal at the Brick.

We also visited the AA Bar & Grill for the second time since they’re changed hands.  We are very protective of the AA and vigilant against any type of change. Last time everything was identical to the time -honored AA dinner. This time there were CHANGES!!  The salad was about half the size it used to be and the “house dressing’, a blend of ranch and blue cheese that tastes a lot better than it sounds, is no more.  Mr  Munson, the owner, has apparently  made these cutbacks- let’s hope he doesn’t have any more in mind.            

Mr Munson, you have a treasure here!  No more changes!!!

Finally , we had lunch at Jack’s Seafood  on July 2.   You recall all the fuss when Jack’s opened last August. If not, read about it HERE.  The space at the Fisherman’s Building had lain fallow for months.  Every local entrepreneur who expressed an interest in doing business in the space was deemed unqualified. Isn’t that interesting?  That left the field open for half -Councilman Chet Albin to plug his crony,  Jack Wu, into the process with lots of goodies from the City to help him get started. 

Anyway, Mr Wu’s subsidy (forgiveness of $4500 monthly rent) ran out recently and we were  curious to see what,  if any,  changes would be evident at Jack’s given the new necessity to pay rent. The only change obvious to the the public was that they took down their website for a few days but and, yes, some of the prices have increased, mostly for the higher ticket items.  The fried ‘shrooms went from $8 to $10.  Linguine with clams went from $18 to $20, saute´ed halibut from $20 to $24 and they’e added crab cakes for $14 as a regular item.  The whole menu is HERE.

Okay, here’s the good news:  The clam chowder has improved!  It’s not great, but it’s acceptable and not the weird thin effort that it was before. I could actually see getting a bowl of it for a relaxing lunch.  Not as good as Gill’s, not as good as the Waterfront’s but acceptable,  and you’ll be distracted by the setting anyway.

The bad news: the crab sandwich was meh.  There was an acceptable amount of crab, good crab,  but served on a roll of what tasted like a sweet form of ciabatta. It would have been SO much better on sourdough.  Jack’s has a problem with bread.  I was curioius to see if they’re still serving their fish sandwiches on toast , the kind of lapse we have come to expect from Jack’s, but they have now discovered grilled sourdough so that’s progress.

I’ll try them again- hate to give up on that location but next time may be the last. Think I’ll try the tacos.

END

Our Hip Chicks strike “West Texas” gold

I was pleased and surprised to see that the HipChicks,  who farm in Sebastopol (how can anyone afford to do that?) and sell their frozen organic chicken products at the Co-Op and ENF,  were featured on “The West Texas Investors Club”.  This is a yeehaw version of “Shark Tank “, corny and predictable but it grows on you. ( CNBC,  Ch 51 on Suddenlink, 7pm and 10pm Tuesdays.) The ladies of HipChicks are true Redwood Coast types and would fit right in here.

They had to do a store demo for the Club with a bunch of kids.  It was a success and everyone, especially old Gil, the one with the screechy voice, pronounced it the best chicken he’d had. I don’t usually buy organic but next time I’m at the Coop or ENF I’ll give them a try. Heck, they’re practically local.   Check out their site HERE.

And yes, they got an investment.

END

WHY COSTCO IS SUING THE CONTACT LENS MAKERS

All the major manufacturers of contact lenses raised their prices recently.

“But opponents, which include big discounters such as Costco and 1-800 Contacts as well as the nonprofit group Consumers Union, say the policies amount to illegal price-fixing and are restricting consumer choice in an industry that has long been accused of anticompetitive practices.”

Read about it HERE.

END

Will Someone Please Buy The Eureka Inn?

You don’t hear much about the Eureka Inn these days. When the current owner took over, the whole town turned out to welcome him but since then things have been pretty quiet.  There hasn’t been much promotion, the service clubs that used to meet there have gone elsewhere and only the occasional music performances seem to be bringing people in.

I had a friend stay there over the Fourth .  Her room was fine, the cold breakfast was acceptable but check this out:  there is NO TELEPHONE ACCESS to the Inn from 8am until around 930!!!!  I was calling to reach my friend and kept getting transferred to another number that no one ever answered.  I finally reached her on her cell but by that time I wondered what would people do in an emergency.  I called back about 930 and the woman who answered told me nonchalantly that, yes, there was no telephone response during  breakfast hours because they don’t have enough staff to answer the phone and serve coffee, rolls and hard boiled eggs at the same time.

So this is where they’re at after several years.  The owner’s lack of ambition and , apparently, money, have left us with exactly  the kind of operation we dreaded upon hearing that his background consisted of owning a Day’s Inn, I think it was in Monterey.

I’m sure they are nice people but PLEASE GOD LET SOMEONE BUY THE EUREKA INN who knows how to run a fine establishment. It can limp along forever but what a damn shame.  This is the place where Shirley Temple and Cornelius Vanderbilt stayed (not together).  If only someone with smarts and money would take over this wonderful place, which used to be the heart and soul of the community.  Light a candle.

END

A Glorious Fourth In Eureka

Or the past few years I has been my pleasure to volunteer to staff the Humboldt Democrats’ booth at the  Fourth of July street fair in Old Town. With the exception of the Rhody Parade, I can’t think of a more “Eureka Moment” in the local calendar.

Our booth was across from the Chapala so we were at the opposite end from the GOP booth.  We had a lot more traffic than they did because we had life-size cardboard cutouts of Hilary, Bernie and Obama and everyone wanted to take selfies with them.  I had thought about getting a Trump piñata (you can order them online HERE ) but didn’t.

Everyone in town was there and everyone came by.  John Fullerton, Linda Atkins,  Matt Owen sporting an “I LIke Eureka ” ballcap, Kim Bergel helping exhibitors find their spaces.  We registered several newbies to Humboldt including a nice couple from Mariposa. The kids in the booth next to us were from Teen Challenge and if they do everything as competently as they do their tri tip sandwiches I can see why people hire them.  I’m not a big meat eater but their sandwich was delicious.

Bob and Pam Service, Sylvia Scott, Peggy Dickinson  and Jon Yalcinkaya  registered voters.  I had one man ask where he could see the candidates’ debates in view of the fact that he didn’t own a TV, or have  access to the internet.  I asked him to call the Democratic HQ (445-3366) since we will surely have a showing.  It was a good day.

END