SHORT RIBS AND RANDOM THOUGHTS Oct 30 2017

PLAGIARISM hits the Mad River Union-  Check out their latest issue.  They had to fire their sports editor and what a blow to a small community paper. Jack and Kevin put out a great paper.  What a shame!

According to the Biz News papers, Santa Rosa lost fully 5% of their housing stock in the fire. Will folks be moving up here as a result? I was pleased to find out that the Sandman, the handiest, most affordable motel in SR, made it through the fire. I must have stayed there a dozen times when I worked for the State. Glad they made it through.

Last week’s  New Yorker had a piece about Mike Pence that was a lot more interesting than it had any right to be.  Did you know that he served 12 years in Congress without having  a single bill passed?  Talk about useless!  Javanka  apparently pushed him for Veep. I’ve claimed since our trip last year that Indiana is the weirdest State.

LIU’S -is not dead, they’re only sleeping or on vacation.  We pulled into their parking lot Friday to find they’d posted a sign saying they would be closed until November15th.  Hope they’re having a good time!   Liu’s is a good dependable  restaurant.  I like their broccoli beef and the hot and sour soup.

MORE BAD NEWS-  the Benbow construction project, which was supposed to be competed about now, is not.   They’re talking December but that’s just gossip. I hope they’ll be able to recover from the loss of revenue. People are still staying there, but I’m sure they’ve had lots of cancellations.  We cancelled my birthday party there  because of the construction.  Hurry back, Benbow!  We need you. There was no finer place to have a drink and some lunch than the old bar and I’m sure the replacement will be equally wonderful.  Especially on a winter day.

Didja notice that Trump gave himself a “10” for his handling of the Puerto Rico crisis? With 80% of the power still out? He must grade on a curve.

Does anyone watch the North Coast News on Ch 7? Have you noticed any rightwing propaganda yet? Please let me know if you do. That was supposed to be the result of the recent sale to Sinclair.  If you see clips with Sebastian Gorka commentaries, that’s a tell.

HSU FOOTBALL- I went to my first HSU football game when I was 17. It was also my last, but I do hope they’ll  be able to salvage the  program. At this point,  it seems the community wants it more than the  school does. There IS something beautiful about a football game on a Fall day except that the players break their necks. Would anyone show up for flag football? Why not?

EUREKA is going all-out  for Hallowe’en this year. I’ve never seen so many displays. Will we see a lot of Trump masks?   Would go well with a Dracula costume. You’re welcome.

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Short Ribs and Random Thoughts

Though I’d call our short takes this week “short ribs”. This county, like Napoleon’s army, lives on its stomach.

Eating Out:   we had out of town company and ended up unexpectedly in two  Asian places I hadn’t tried.  The A&J Ichiban had had some so-so reviews but we found it delightful.  I didn’t take notes but the food was fine. Good service, too. Will definitely be back.  The other was the Siam Orchid, tucked behind the lock shop at 4th and V Streets.   The shrimp curry was so good I took the sauce home in a little box. Again, we will return.

Dumping on Uber- seems to be the new cottage industry. I don’t CARE what happens to  their goofy CEO, I don’t CARE what happens to anyone there, I just want to  salute their magnificent software that AWAYS  WORKS. My friend got a ride to ACV the morning he left, no hassles. Like Obamacare,  now that we’re used to it, it won’t go away. Hopefully.

Old Town Sac- There are plans to our a lot of money into ti to make OTS a destination “such as Beale Street or the French Quarter”.  Well, Beale Street is nothing special but I’d sure like to see them do something with Old Sac.  Some former Disney Imagineers are apparently involved.  Read about it HERE.

Short Takes and Random Thoughts

Here is a miscellany of what’s been rambling around my brain.

MURPHY’S CUTTEN gets 4 stars for customer service.  I emailed then demanding to know why they were cutting off the BBQ at 3pm when there are 15,000 Cutten residents going past their door everyday who would love to take home some burgers or chicken.  Lo and behold manager Travis emailed me back that they will be keeping it going till 6pm M-F. That’s more like it!  Their burgers are GOOD.

NIXON/TRUMP  The last few days have been bizarre for those of us old enough to have watched every minute of the Watergate hearings, 40 years ago this week. CNN had a retrospective over the weekend and the similarities between what was being said about Nixon THEN and Trump NOW are astounding. “Isolated” is just the beginning.

THE FITZGERALD-  let’s take a few moment to mourn the loss of seven young sailors who  died a horrible death aboard the Fitzgerald.  Doesn’t matter whose fault this will turn out to be.  It’s just tragic.

BOOK CLUB-  I don’t read enough  books.  Who does? But at the behest of one of our readers I went to the Humboldt County library and checked out their copy of Evicted:  Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond..   It was one of the NYT’s 10 beat books last year and it is a terrific and harrowing read. I’ll return it before the end of the month.

REST IN PEACE:  Mrs Maureen Johanneson  who was my teacher at EHS in my tenth grade.  We were in her class when JFK was shot.  She was a wonderful person and wonderful teacher. Also, Fred Mangels, (Fred’s Humboldt Blog)  who I never met and seldom agreed with, has passed.  He was incredibly consistent in his blogging and was an inspiration to those of us who just can’t get it together daily.

THE WHITE HOUSE TAPES:  Isn’t it fairly obvious that there are none? If there were, Trump and his minions have had enough time to find them and erase them. Lordy, they’re gone!

ANTHONY BOURDAIN: His current show on CNN, Parts Unknown, is the best TV he’s ever done. Maybe CNN has a bigger budget that the travel Channel?  Parts Unknown is a beautiful show, fantastic photography.  Tape it. The show on Laos was particularly memorable.  

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Yo’ Mamma’s In Town

While Donald Trump works furiously to destroy our republic, I want you to know we’re got our priorities straight.  We checked out the food truck pod on Broadway (between Mr Fish and Les Schwab) and discovered that ALL the denizens are there and open on Saturdays- Yo’ Mamma’s Fish & Shrimp, Southside Mike’s BBQ and  El Pueblo. Picked up another Southsider TriTip san ($11) from Mike’s and noticed he’s promising chicken livers and fries soon, ( $6) a great idea for those needing a budget option.

Now, about Yo’ Mamma’s. I hadn’t realized there was a demand for  high-end food trucks in Eureka, but that demand has now been satisfied.  The basic lunch at Yo’ Mamma’s, which features 5 jumbo shrimp, goes for $15. I decided to go lowclass and ordered the Fish & Chips, at $11.99.  The sign said that the F&C were made with sole, an unusual choice since sole  is a light fish that can fall apart in the frying. They give a LOT of fish , dusted with a Cajun seasoning that they don’t overdo. I had two pieces that were clearly sole and a big chunky piece which could not possibly have been sole – seemed like cod- all of which were delicious. They serve with a remoulade sauce and everything is delicious once you get past the sticker shock.  The fries are steak fries and are fine. They have something on the menu called garlic noodles that sounds interesting. The staff is warm and welcoming in true Nawlins fashion.

So can a food truck in Eureka break the $15 lunch barrier??  Guess we’ll find out.  Last time I had DINNER in NOLA I don’t think it cost $15 but whatever. The cost of living inches ever higher.

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Eureka’s Food Truck Pod

They call them pods in Portland, hubs in other places. They’re semi-legit places where your local food purveyors can offer their wares without interference. WE HAVE ONE!  It’s next to Mr Fish on Broadway (between Mr Fish and Les Schwab) and the current occupants are Taco El Pueblo,  Yo’Mamma’s Fish & Shrimp and our ninja BBQ maestro SOUTHSIDE MIKE  who keeps disappearing and reappearing.  Right now he’s doing T-F, 11-7 at the Mr FIsh site and Saturdays 12-7 in Old Town.  I had his Southsider,  a tri-tip san that comes with fries for $11.99. His fries are fabulous.

Drop by soon to support our local food truck culture, and our local entrepreneurs.

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Gonsea Restaurant Closed- Now Reopened

The Gonsea, that place on the way out of town at 2335 4th Street, has been closed by the County for health violations.

The Times-Standard’s account is HERE.

Personally, I wont miss the place.  We only ate there half a dozen times, were never impressed.  They were expensive and uninspired. I usually avoid restaurants that try to be both Chinese and Japanese at once. The Gonsea had a sign in front offering “Japanese sushi”.  Is there any other kind???  German sushi??? Polish sushi??

I also hated the name.  “Gonsea”,   it turns out  IS a legit Chinese name  meaning celebration or holiday.  But its a dumb name for a restaurant.  Invokes no food images or suggestions of deliciousness.  l say they might as well stay closed, although I hate to see folks losing their jobs.

May I suggest as alternatives the always -reliable Hunan in Henderson Center,  the Szechuan Village in Arcata or the good old China Buffet just down the street from the Gonsea in Eureka.  We’ve used the CB for parties.  Check out their catering menu! And if you have any other recommendations for Chinese, send them our way. We’d love to hear them.

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Zöe, we hardly knew you.

Zöe, the upscale cafe in Henderson Center, is up for sale after barely a year in business.

The reviews all along were mixed. I only ate there once but I thought they had the  food down pretty well. There were a lot of complaints about the service. The owner has posted on the Zöe Facebook page that the closure is due to illness Damn shame,  and we  wish all the  best to her.  Ironically,  both Zöe AND The Diver had wood-fire pizza ovens so HC will be supplied for good pizza no matter who takes over Zöe.

Let’s hope that happens soon.  There is already an unhealthy amount of empty storefront space in everyone’s favorite neighborhood.  The patrons of The Diver are using the former Robert’s (“Henderson Center Marketplace”) parking lot and thank God it’s open because parking can definitely be tight.  I hate to see any business close.  Let’s hope someone can make that space work.

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The Diver IS A Winner

That long-anticipated Diver Bar & Grill is open in Henderson Center, and doing well, from what we saw on Friday.  Contrary to what you would think from the name, it  is neither a dive bar nor a seafood restaurant. It’s a killer pizza place in a town that is probably over-supplied with pizza.  But The Diver rules.

We showed up at 1pm and the place was half-full. Service was cheery and prompt.  Besides pizza, they have a GOOD chowder,  along with salads and burgers,  They have mussels! which are not that common on Eureka menus.  But the pizza is the thing.  It’s wood-fired and light as a feather.  Putting that pizza oven in must have been a real project but worth the wait. I haven’t had pizza this good since we got takeout from Blaze in Chicago, back in October.

I had the bacon and spinach.  I took most of it home since I’d already had the chowder.  It heated up well.  I would order it again. My friend had the Buffalo chicken pizza.  She wanted to send it back because it was “burned”.  I explained that “wood-fired” is not going to look like Papa Murphy’s and after she tried it, she liked it.

Sean, the owner, circulated among the tables.  They have a good selection of beers and I had a decent iced tea.  The pizzas run about $14, the chowder was $6.  The dinner menu, only available after 5pm,  includes a rib eye for $24  and they have seafood items du jour.

The place was almost full again  when we left.  We will be back. The Diver is here to stay. When you go,  be sure to check out  the ceiling!

The Diver is at 2824 F Street,  phone is 798-6184.

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The VISTA is back, bigtime

Back in my parents’ day, the Vista Del Mar was the hottest spot in town. They actually had dance bands in the relatively small space. We’re talking about the ’50s, now.  The earliest memory I have is from about 10-15 years ago when it was painted garishly and went by the moniker,  Go Fish.  For about a year and a half  they made the best fish & chips on the planet.  Then suddenly they closed.  Then they opened  as The Barfly, which has to be the worst name for an eating/drinking establishment ever. Somewhere along the line the awful red paint went away and the building now looks like a restaurant again.

Since December, they’ve been holding comedy nights and serving food till late. They have no website, only a Facebook page. I hate when they do that.  But they’re there, and answering the phone at 443-3770, and open from 1130 to 2am.. We checked them out on Friday and found a clean and welcoming space with the affable owner, Kito Vorobik, handling the front of the house by himself with one other person in the kitchen.  There was only one occupied table when we arrived but by the time we finished the place was almost full. Seemed like a nice crowd and I’m sure their happy hour (4pm to 6pm M-F,  dollar off) is well-attended.

The food is good, no question. I had the clam chowder.  It took a little while, and when I inquired I was told that they were making it to order.  They were! The clam chowder ($6) is a nice bowl with croutons and two pieces of freshly baked bread!  It was excellent and definitely worth returning for.  We both had the fish & chips ($14),  which were also excellent. Four or five pieces of cod with a nice light batter, reheated well later. I’m not big on chips/fries but my friend liked them fine. Other menu items include:  wings $6,  potato skins $7, fish tacos $5 and a Cubano for $12. If you haven’t had a Cuban sandwich, it involves ham, roast pork, pickles and a sandwich press.  In Florida it’s the standard grab-and-go supermarket lunch and I will definitely be trying the Vista’s.

Go check out the Vista- a noble piece of Humboldt history.  Good food and you no longer have to shade your eyes as you approach.   Good place to drop in after Arts Alive!  You know where it is.

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