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.

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Brexit: the Aftermath

I’m sad that the EU is failing. It was a noble experiment and a source of hope for those of us who are congenitally opposed to tariffs, borders and immigration laws. And of course, the parallels between the fascist campaigns in Europe and the Trump campaign can’t be denied. It’s going to be a L-O-N-G election season. Fasten your seat belts.

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Shopping for Tires

My tenant borrowed my car.   When he brought it back he said someone should look at the tires. So I took it to Gosselin’s.

A nice young guy there looked at them  and pronounced that I didn’t need tires, at least not till late in the year. What I needed if anything, he said, was an alignment. Okay.

It was late on a Friday so I didn’t pursue it right then.  The next week I took the car into Old Town Brake.  Old Town is a very different experience now that Wally has retired. The staff were unfamiliar to me although I’ve been going there for 15 years.  No, they said, an alignment wouldn’t do.  I needed new tires and would surely die before sundown without them.  They wanted $650.  I thought  that was way too high and told them I’d think it over.

I went online and found a set on the COSTCO website. $375 and change. Now, that’s more like it.  (I drive a 2007 PT Cruiser which is why I don’t like to spend much on car stuff.)

Then I Googled some more and found reviews that said you couldn’t make an appointment for tires at COSTCO.  You may end up waiting a long  time. I like to get in and out of COSTCO  real fast, so I demurred.

Finally I went back to Gosselin’s and spoke with Tim.  He inspected the tires and said I should come back around September.  Their price: $384.68 for Doral radials.

Guess where I’m buying my tires In September? Take a wild guess!  What a pleasure when supporting local business turns out to be the smart thing to do! God bless Gosselin’s. They’ve made a customer for life.

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EATING OUT-Brick & Fire- for the FRIES!

Our regular readers know how partial I am to Eureka’s culinary oasis on “F” Street, the Brick & Fire. I thought I was pretty familiar with their menu but had fallen into the trap of having the Wild Mushroom Cobbler, ($9) every time I went there.  I tend to go for salads over fries, therefore I had never had the Brick’s fries ($3.50).  They were a revelation.

The fries are steak fries and appear to be grilled rather than deep-fried.  I was trying to figure out how to duplicate them at home and concluded you would need a LARGE grill  to accommodate those tasty taters side-by-side.  They are loaded with chopped garlic and altogether wonderful.  I have a new favorite.

My friend had the Caprese BLT ($11) which she liked a lot and I had the panzanella salad ($11) which was seriously delicious, featuring nuggets of organic chicken that couldn’t have been better.  If you haven’t already memorized their menu, you can check it out HERE.

We are lucky to have a restaurant of this caliber here. Support your local Brick!  No, I do not own stock in them nor am I a friend of the owner.

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We’re Baaaaack-from Internet Hell

We got hacked. I guess it was inevitable. I didn’t even know it was happening until a friend (thanks Grace!) whom I hadn’t spoken to in years emailed me with those dreaded words: “Your site was hacked!” 

The hack was affecting everyone who accessed the site though Google, not the folks who were already on the mailing list. If you went through Google, you got redirected to a Russian porno site. What I saw of it was so unappetizing I now understand why the Russian population keeps dropping. I had noticed for awhile than a large number of the new signups were from Russia. I’ll be curious to see if that continues now that the hack is fixed. It was very, very stressful but the indispensable and extremely patient Bob Morse got us through it. 

Onward and upward!

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Harbor Working Group to Present Forum on DREDGING

Talk about a timely topic! Their program on Wednesday the 27th will address the recent $7.5M grant and plans and projects for the Humboldt Bay Channels. Click HERE for more info. Fried chicken too!  Ask them for a bib. See you at the Cookhouse!

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Sticker Shock at Loleta Cheese, Good Eats at Greene Lily, Southside Mike has a home on Myrtle Avenue

I visited Loleta Cheese over the weekend to buy a box of cheese which would have to be shipped. I’ve done this several times in the past and I guess I got spoiled by their generous free-shipping policy. Well, NO MORE!  To mail six cheeses, total value $33, I paid a $12.95 mailing charge PLUS $5 for “handling”.  I understand that they had to raise prices in view of their bankruptcy but how about phasing it in?  Or something.  Anyway,  35% is too much to pay for shipping in my book so I will be looking for other Humboldt-made  products to mail in the future. Jellies are too heavy and breakable, chocolate melts.  Ideas, anyone?

The Greene Lily at 307 2nd Street in Old Town has been garnering enthusiastic reviews since it opened last Fall and I feared it would be too crowded on opening day of the RCMF.  We found plenty of seating in the cheerful space and our breakfasts were excellent.  The chicken-fried steak ($12.95) is the star of the  show but the lady at the next table was enjoying their Cobb Salad, (also $12.95) which looked good. The biscuits are excellent and we shall be returning.  Nice place.

Finally, Southside Mike’s has found a home!!  After being available -sporadically- at the Myrtle Avenue center (think Myrtlewood Liquors and John’s Fine Cigars),  Mike Ross is now going to be grilling there EVERY THURSDAY, FRIDAY and SATURDAY from 10 to 5 but if you wait until after 4pm they run our of things. His awesome tri-tip san ($10) is huge and melts in your mouth.   They were out of the Smoked Mac’n’Cheese ($5) but I shall  return.   ‘Way to go, Mike!  The new website is under construction.

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