Some Thoughts on Wild Oaks Grill

I had been driving past the Wild Oaks signs in front of the Vets’ Memorial in Eureka for several weeks when I finally got a chance to stop and see what they had.  It was pouring rain but the two fellows at the grill were cheery and efficient.

This is not your ordinary food truck. They don’t sell sandwiches, just meat- in big chunks. Like all food trucks they have a website which explains the situation. No sides, no fixin’s, just meat. Well prepared meat, but in large quantities. You can get pastrami and brisket by the pound, but a lot of the other meats require a three to five pound purchase.  I had hoped to try their brisket but Rob, the friendly honcho,  said they were about half on hour away from finishing . I would have waited if it weren’t raining- the company was pleasant enough- but in the end I went home with about two pounds of pork belly which had been rouladed with peaches and other interesting flavors and then smoked and grilled. It was creative and well-executed, and I look forward to tasting their other wares. Next time I’m having company for dinner, I’m going to call ahead to pin down a time for getting brisket and let Rob and his staff do the prep. Their prices may seem a little spendy but you’re getting hours of real smoke.  Serve with a twice-cooked potato and fruit salad from Murphy’s and  you’ve got a no-fuss meal.

Wild Oaks has a few challenges.  Their website is a mess.  Their ever-changing locations and lack of sides or sandwiches may not be a sustainable model but for now they’re kicking butt.  The aroma from the grill will convince you. I asked Rob which location did the most business.  It’s McKinleyville,  with all those two-income commuters. 

So check them out and tell them I sent you. I note with interest that two of their three Yelp reviews to date were negative and focused more on the appearance of the staff rather than the quality of the food. The day I was there, we all looked like hell. It was raining!

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SAFEWAY IS HIRING!!

In Eureka, anyway. Good local Union jobs! Everyone starts out part-time. Do not be fooled by the phone listings in the phone book. The first is actually the pharmacy,   the second answers with a fax tone.
 No, instead go online at Safeway.com, click on “careers’ and download the application form then call the customer service number, 269-0133, when you’re ready to bring it in. Good luck!

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We’re Gonna Have a BOAT PARADE!!!

The Greater Eureka Chamber announces in its newsletter that on Saturday, July 11 a Lighted Boat Parade will be held in conjunction with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.  “The Lighted Boat Parade will showcase beautifully decorated boats of all sizes adorned with a dazzling array of lights and sounds, circling the Bay from the Eureka Public Marina to Halvorsen Park beginning at 8:30 PM.”

The City of Eureka,  Eureka Main Street,  the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum,  the M/V Madaket, and the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center have joined forces with the Chamber to coordinate this event.

We haven’t had a parade like this in years, or if we did, I missed it.  The last time we  were supposed to have a boat parade I and several other cars full of folks drove around the Adorni Parking lot looking in vain for a parade. This time it’s for real!

“To participate in the boat parade, please contact Amanda at Eureka Main Street at 442-9054.” 

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MY FAVORITE BUSINESSES- Shopping at the Grocery Outlet

When I first discovered the Grocery Outlet, they were in a slightly different location than they are now. The old place was in the same part of town, I just can’t remember where, so if anyone does, tell us please. The old one was a bit more adventurous for the shopper. The used to carry jams from Turkey and honey from places like Moldova. Every visit was an adventure. If you saw something you liked, you had to just grab it because it might disappear, never to return.

Since the move, it’s a different experience. Gone is the schadenfreude I used to feel from mixing with the hoipoloi.  These days I’m one of them, and glory in my identification with the 99%. GO is evolving, too.  Nowadays, like Safeway, they send you emails about their current offerings. I go about once a month (my food comes from Winco, COSTCO, Murphy’s and Safeway, in pretty much that order). I always go when there’s a food drive on.  Not only can you fill your bag cheaply, they stock the kinds of food you want for a food drive- canned soups and stews, peanut butter, tuna. I go to buy for the food drive,  then end up buying more stuff for myself than for Food for People. This last time GO was featuring Harris Ranch ground beef in 3 lb chubs for $10 and change. Considering the godawful rise in GB prices lately ($4.99/lb at Safeway) this is a no-brainer.  Made two meat loaves.

They still have the weird imports and the domestic non-starters too.  I bought tapenade from Peru and low-sugar marmalade from Smucker’s for $1.99.  (The NO-sugar version version goes for over $3 at Murphy’s.) They have Irish cheese and I picked up some Stilton, very cheap. They have a lot more fresh produce than they used to and their beer prices are excellent.  Definitely the first stop when I’m giving a party. 

So if you haven’t been  there, give GO a try.  Nice people,  good prices.  And on top of everything else, it’s just across the parking lot from Mike’s DriveUp,  of Garlic Fries fame.  I’ve never appreciated the Garlic Fries,  but Mike’s is the only place in Humboldt -as far as I know-  where you can get an LA Tommy’s-style cheeseburger, sloppy. drippy, gooey. With chili? Of course.

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The REAL High Crime Counties

The data crunchers at FindTheHome have an interesting approach . If you count robbery as a “violent” crime as opposed to a mere property” crime,  the “high crime” areas shift and San Francisco becomes the highest crime area in the State! Take a look at this great interactive graphic that shows, among other things, that Del Norte’s crime rate is twice ours.  I always knew Crescent City was a pit.  I just didn’t have proof.

I think this statistic-  how likely are you to be a victim of crime in general- is a lot more useful than splitting it up.  YMMV.  It’s a great map.  Have fun with it.

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SUPPORT THE LETTER CARRIERS’ FOOD DRIVE

Tomorrow, Saturday May 9, you have two painless opportunities to do something good for the community. Take that plastic bag that was left for you earlier this week, or any other bag, fill it with food for those in need, and set it out for your letter carrier to pick up tomorrow. Save gas! Save hassle! Help someone!

This is a huge undertaking.  Last year’s NALC (National Association of Letter Carriers) food drive netted 43,409 pounds of food, which amounted to a third of all food donations received by Food for People last year. Food for People helped 12,000 people in Humboldt County last year,  half of whom were children. 10% of our population needs help to have regular meals. You all know the statistics.  They translate into hungry seniors and kids, among others. 

Those of you who have the pleasure of knowing me know that I never give a party without setting out a can for FFP donations. One of my neighbors used to bring over all her expired food.  She’s passed away now but when I think of her, that’s the first thing that comes to mind, that she was chintzy with the food drive. Don’t be that guy! Fill up those bags! (I use Grocery Outlet) and give till it hurts.  Then to reward yourself cruise by the Zoo and enjoy the Brew at the Zoo from 4-8pm.  Another great weekend in Humboldt!

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“Hire A White Guy”

Bill Maher’s show “VICE”,  which is an excellent documentary series, just ran a segment called “Hire A White Guy”.  It’s about the propensity of Chinese corporations to hire white folks to dress up their corporate headquarters as ushers, greeters, even masquerading as Western doctors. They interviewed one fellow who said he regularly gets five or six job offers a DAY. Plus if you stick to Shanghai,  the city is so vast you can impersonate Western doctors all over the place and never get caught.  We all look alike to them, remember.

This sounds like a job even I could do, but the word “women” wasn’t uttered even once during the show.  So I asked my Shanghai-born friend if there was a market for women. He didn’t think so.  Even so,  I wonder if some of the single men languishing in the homeless camps  couldn’t be employed for the price of a new suit and a plane ticket. Food for thought, anyway.

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