My Favorite Businesses: Jeff W’s Lawn Service

I’d like to give a shout out to a business in which I have no financial stake at all. Jeff Wickizer has been doing my lawn for three or four years now and does a great job. He shows up when he says he will and works quickly. His cleanup is great and his suggestions are helpful.  In other words, he gets five stars.

You can reach Jeff by email to or on his cell which is 601-2090.  He’s also the General Foreman and Estimator at Professional Tree Services and you can reach him there at 839-TREE (8733). Jeff is a hardworking young guy with a family (they just had a baby a few weeks ago) and I say anyone ambitious enough to start their own company on top of a full-time job is the type of entrepreneur who deserves your support. Besides, he does good work. Give him a call and tell him I sent you. You won’t regret it. 


Tidbits and Gossip August 19 2015

One thing leads to another: I called the Kyoto Restaurant because I saw one of these liquor license notices in the window and wondered if they had changed hands.  Not so, said Jenny Masaki,  wife of owner Eric Masaki.   The liquor license transfer came about because Eric has been hired as a Deputy Sheriff and was only pinned a day or so ago. A corporate “split” was necessitated because law enforcement personnel are prohibited by law from selling booze. Good luck in your new assignment, Deputy Masaki!

The Cutten Inn is still in a holding pattern.  No less a personage than the owner’s brother gave us the word on when the Inn will be open again: “Sometime”.

I apparently don’t get  out enough or I wouldn’t be the last person on earth to know that The Works, our hallowed indy record store, has left its digs on “C” Street and is now located at 434 Second Street. They have less space but lots more visibility.  Bandon hasn’t thrown a grand opening party yet but let’s keep asking. The old space on “C” Street was taken over by neighboring Mantova’s Two Street Music.

I signed up for Newsmax by mistake- and it’s been enlightening. One of the out-of-town papers I read is showing a lot of Trump ads and when I clicked on a poll I somehow ended up with a trial subscription. I’ll be bailing soon because most of their “news” is about health matters and topics of interest to the elderly. I had expected a lot of right-wing politics,  not so much the alzheimers-and-diabetes  ads. I guess they know their market.

The ONLY fast-food chain that I would cheerfully welcome into Humboldt County,       Chick-fil-A, is opening a new store today in Rancho Cordova at 2234 Sunrise Boulevard. The closest CFA fix remains the Santa Rosa store at 1452 Mendocino Avenue. Ave. For those of us who are truly addicted, there are days when we have to stop ourselves from hitting the road in  pursuit of the Magic Sandwich. To go from the sublime to the ridiculous, I’m even having pangs for KFC lately.  We are truly a chick-deprived community.

CNBC’s latest series, “Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” is an oddball show, to judge from its first episode. They followed two inventors through the initial pitch.  The first was a woman from an events-planning background whose invention was a kind of chocolate fountain but instead of chocolate, it showers down cascades of marinara sauce! I didn’t find it appetizing at all;  it reminded me of chainsaw massacres and Edgar Allen Poe, but maybe some one will find it charming.  The contraption kept breaking down, since marinara sauce is much thicker than chocolate, fountain chocolate anyway.  Maybe they should try alfredo sauce.  The other invention was a device to be worn by athletes which signals when one is in danger of sustaining a concussion. The two Silicon Valley types who pitched this came away with some seed money and a lot of compliments and encouragement from the investor. THEIR  invention didn’t remind anyone of a slasher movie.  Continues Wednesdays at 7pm, repeats at 10pm, on CNBC, Suddenlink Channel 51.  I’m in.



We Finally Check Out The Oaxaca Grill

Those of you who are familiar with this fine Henderson Center establishment- and I guess that’s most of you- can skip reading the rest of this. I am ashamed-ASHAMED- that I never ate there until Monday.  I have been missing out, clearly.

The Oaxaca ( 508 Henderson, near F Street, 445-9702) doesn’t have a website. It’s a family-run cafe with surprisingly sophisticated Mexican food.  The personable server is the paterfamilias.  The menu looks spendy until you figure in that most of the choices include soup or salad. I tried the Cream of Jalapeno and it was really different, smooth and richly flavorful.  I had the fish tacos and the fish appeared to be filet of sole.  The small pieces were tucked into thin corn tortillas that were a little too delicate to hold a taco together, especially with the mound of mango salsa that was piled on.  I used a knife and fork. It was great. 

My friend ordered a chimichanga and pronounced it good, although there was some debate over whether the chimi should have come with lettuce, guac etc on top as it does at Rita’s.  At the Oaxaca, it won’t, so take that into your considerations. Although we came into this situation knowing that the Oaxaca is renowned for its mole,  we left without trying it.

Shucks, I guess we’ll have to go back!


Have You Tried Sammy’s BBQ Catering in King Salmon?

No one goes to King Salmon by accident. You have to want to go ‘way out there. When I heard about Sammy’s it was from friends in Washington State,  go figure.
So when my friend and I checked them out on Tuesday, they had already been open for a year. The first thing we learned was, don’t go late. We thought showing up at 1:30 was the right thing to do, but they were already out of tri-tip by then. As you can gather from their website,  they usually have tri-tip, kalua pork, pork ribs, teri chicken, and meatballs.

The sides include chop suey, unusual for Humboldt but considering it’s a Tongan family that runs the place it all makes sense.  The menu is similar in part to that of the Banana Hut and it would be interesting to do a side-by-side tasting of the two versions of kalua and the two versions of pineapple gravy. The chop suey is made with glass noodles which I hadn’t seen before.  They also have a pineapple cole slaw which I didn’t expect to like, but I did.

I had the kalua pork, salty as heck but I can never resist it, and the ribs , which could have used more cooking. They were okay but not falling off the bone.  My friend got ribs which were too fatty.  The lady who was serving was slow about offering to replace them, and an unseemly discussion ensued during which my friend pointed out the layers of fat on her rib. Hers were too fat, mine were not. I liked the potato salad, wasn’t crazy about the meatballs. Things would have gone a lot better if we’d gotten there early enough for the tri-tip. 

The whole family works the restaurant .  When I lived on Oahu I had Tongan friends who used to come and visit me out on the North Shore and every time they would find an excuse to clean my house, which was not up to their standards. Sammy’s is spotless.

I see an ad for Sammy’s in the Times-Standard this morning, but the print is so muddy you can’t read it.  I hope they got their money back. Sammy’s will be open tomorrow and Friday but closed on the Fourth.  Check them out and have  a great holiday.


We Finally Review the Humboldt Soup Company

The Humboldt Soup Company opened for business in early December to an enormous fanfare of reviews and gossip. People were realy jazzed about it and for a few weeks it seemed to be attracting crowds. Now the hubbub has subsided. The Yelp review count is roughly divided with about four more positive than negative reviews. Practically all the Yelp reviews mention prices.

Price jumps out as an issue because the little 8-ounce cups of soup that go for $3.99 DO seem pathetically small, especially when the soup is particularly  good.  But we ‘re getting ahead of ourselves.

The soup selections when we went last week were as follows:

Farmers’ Market Vegetable:  plenty of vegetables , including broccoli.  I though it was a bit light on flavor but it improved a whole lot with a slug of Lea & Perrins and I finished every drop.

Tuscan Turkey Sausage: This soup got most of its flavor from the sausage, strong fennel flavor. Pretty good.

Smoked Ham & White Bean- my friend complained that hers wasn’t thick like mine but mine was fine.

Coconut Chicken and Curry: WE HAVE A WINNER.  This was the best soup I’ve had in a while and I’d go out of my way to get it again.  Absolutely scrumptious! Terrific!

Now, about those prices. HSC doesn’t have a functioning website and they present their menu on a Facebook page with a photo that looks like a selfie- blurred.  The cups of soup go for $3.99, the 16-oz bowls for $6.99, which seems like a much better deal. They have a good selection of salads and some sandwiches.  My friend had the pulled pork, which she pronounced fine. There’s enough on the menu to explore that I forsee several  upcoming visits. They really do stress local ingredients and in that context, they are not overpriced. The staff are excellent. 

So there it is.  I’d go back. And I’ll get a bowl of the Coconut Chicken Curry next time.  Definitely an upgrade from Church’s!




And the lovely Happy of Happy Donuts (2916 Central in Eureka, across from Eureka Mall) said that as of 4pm Thursday she had orders for 60 dozen donuts. I can’t count that high but it’s a lot.
Happy and staff are having a party today with a DJ, gifts and door prizes and she’s running a special involving a free soda with one of their Asian entrees. All well and good, but the crowning glory of Happy Donuts is the spring rolls, which are world-class and if you call ahead they will make them WITHOUT CILANTRO which is a godsend to cilantro-haters like me. I’m picking mine up at noon.

See you there.  Happy National Donut Day!

Arcata Business Closures

The Mad River Union has a helpful summary of recent business closures in Arcata. These include McKenny’s DIB, the St Vincent de Paul store on K Street, the Hunan Plaza Chinese restaurant (after 27 years!!), the Essence of Humboldt gift shop and , at the end of the month, the Eden seed and gift shop on Ninth Street.  It looks worse when you list them all together. Thanks to the Union for compiling these. No link available. 

The McKenny’s and Shafer’s Moves

After conversing  with staff from both companies,  we have established the following: 

1) The Arcata McKinney’s has indeed closed and is transferring its stock to the Eureka store on Hubbard.  Pay no attention to the TV ads which still show the Arcata store open. 

2) Shafer’s will continue to operate in Henderson Center AND will open a new store at the Old Safeway location on Harris near Harrison.  No word on an opening date. 

Happy Retirement, Wally Cunningham

I took my car into Old Town Brake and Auto at 4th and D as I have for the past 15 years and Wally told me he’s retiring at the end of the month, turning the shop over to his son Brian (whose own shop, Eureka Brake & Automotive, on Second Street, will remain open.) Wally has achieved the American dream- a successful business to pass on to his kids and as far as I can figure he did it the old -fashioned way-through hard work. Keeps the same employees around for years too. Stop by and say goodbye to Wally and Sharon, who are remaining in the area. We’ll miss ya, Wally. 

And I’ll be offline for a few days while St. Joseph’s installs my new knee. Or should that be, my knew knee?  Blessings of the season to all of you.