ZOE Coming to Henderson Center.

“Gonna be a Chinese restaurant!” said the beefy security guard in front of the BofA on F Street in Henderson Center. 
I was squinting at the chalked message on the window of the former Safeway Pharmacy and wondering how another Chinese restaurant would fit in, considering the Hunan is well established a block away.

When I caught up with the owner, Marsa Jordan, she explained that “Zoe” is actually the Greek word for ‘Life”. She also explained that the restaurant will not be Chinese and will be more upscale than anything currently in Henderson Center. “Casual sophistication” is the byword, and she will be offering organic, vegetarian and vegan choices as well as catering services.

Marsa, who’s originally from Fortuna, is also emphasizing original touches such as homemade hand-made crackers. Do fresh-baked oyster crackers sound good? With one of at least two homemade soups daily? I thought so. She’s still waiting for her permit but Zoe should be serving beer and wine by the time it opens, and seating 65 customers.

Marsa has shared her DRAFT menu and opening night menu with us.  Since the restaurant is still settling equipment issues, there will be changes before the opening,  but this is a chance to see the direction she’s going in.  Sadly, I couldn’t get the link to work and so I’ll have to leave you with “Appetizers: Caramelized onion with Gruyere in pastry, Cream puffs filled with Salmon and dill mousse, Baked brie with fruit compote, served with our house made crackers..” as a hint of what is to come.

Turning a retail location into a restaurant is a mighty undertaking so we’re not looking at an opening sooner than September. A sign in the window is already announcing that resumes for servers and other staff may be forwarded to Marsa at :  zoe2850fst@gmail.com. 

The advent of an upscale place is an exciting development in Henderson Center, where the long-anticipated “Henderson Center Marketplace”, which was supposed to go into the Robert’s space, is apparently wrecked on the shoals of we-couldn’t-get-financing although none of the principals have seen fit to answer my phone calls. On the same block, work is continuing on The Diver, a bar with an excellent logo that is already visible from the streetside. (Their menu was printed in the recent NCJ Menu of Menus but it’s awfully hard to read.) Lots going on in Henderson Center and the guard at the bank will keep you informed. I hope somebody’s already told him Zoe is not going to be a Chinese restaurant. I don’t want to be the one to break it to him.

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Weed TV

There is so much programming on TV about weed or cannabis or whatever you want to call it that it seems inevitable that there will eventually be a whole channel or channels devoted to the plant, its cultivation, its politics, its uses. I’m surprised no one has done it yet although I’m sure there are “channels” on You Tube that fill the void.

In terms of network television, however, we’re getting a lot of repeats and reruns, that is if you can figure out the programming. CNN has Sanjay Gupta going on and on about weed,  HBO had something that I can’t remember. CNN is also airing the only show of this ilk that is at all interesting. It’s called “High Profits” and I THINK the last episode runs tonight at 7pm.  When you have to depend on the info on the Suddenlink program guide and Google comes up empty, that’s where we’re at.

The show is about the efforts of some young entrepreneurs to expand their mj dispensary business in Breckinridge, Colorado, a rich ski resort community many miles away from anywhere else, sort of like Aspen.  So far, they have heavily invested in a huge growing facility but they need to retain their retail location on the main street of Breckinridge, or believe they do, in order to move all that weed.  The cast of characters includes the business owners  the local pols, the developers who want a “family” atmosphere on Main Street and of course the vile consultants who gravitate leech-like to the controversy. Last week they lost the special election which would have given them a permanent place on Main Street, and now they are being forced to remove out to Airport Road with the rest. It all sounds awfully familiar but in an interesting locale, quite different from ours. If you want to see it, set your recorders for CNN at 7pm.

I note with regret that “One Good Year”,  the Redway-produced documentary about the local scene apparently never got a distribution deal. It’s available on YouTube in a one-hour version although it was originally publicized as feature-length. Maybe they ran out of money.  It happens. 

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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!

 

 

Friday is NATIONAL DONUT DAY!

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!

The Ax Falls in Palo Alto – Ripple Effect in the North State.

PaloAltoHouse4

Sometimes you feel yourself to be a part of history. The wrenching changes that the cyber revolution has wreaked in Silicon Valley are coming home- to the North Coast- to roost. But let me begin at the beginning.

My aunt and uncle moved from Eureka to Palo Alto in the ’50’s when Ma Bell transferred him to the “Puzzle Palace” in San Jose.  (The house they vacated in Eureka is the third house north of 14th and H, the one currently sporting  a wheelchair ramp.)  They bought a house in Palo Alto, a 3/2 with an attached studio unit. They paid $16K.

That place was my second home for the next 60 years. That was where we spent holidays, where prospective spouses were introduced, where I stayed my first few weeks after college.  You get the idea. I always had a place to stay in the Bay Area. But when change comes, you’re never prepared for it. My aunt and uncle died and last summer the house was sold to a nice Indian couple.  The husband works for Microsoft and they paid $2.2M .

(Incidentally, during that time Palo Alto changed beyond recognition.  Once a liberal bastion, it recently decided to cooperate in evicting 400 poor, mostly Hispanic residents from the city ‘s only trailer park, which will be redeveloped for more extremely expensive housing.)

One of my cousins had already left the area for Minneapolis, the other did what so many other folks are doing-moved north to Sonoma, where housing prices have doubled in the past few years due to refugees from the high prices further South. If people are paying half a million dollars for small houses in Sonoma (which according to Zillow, they are) what does that mean for us?

I doubt we will ever  see the instant millionaire phenomenon up here, although I don’t see how there cannot be pressure on prices. But the demand here will never be enough to send prices skyward,  although I think anything in a decent neighborhood here is a good investment. People who have the option are moving to Seattle from the Bay Area if they’re still working and want a tech industry environment. What do we have? Weed. And it’s far from clear whether the prosperity generated by weed- pardon me, cannabis- will be pervasive or only for the few. 

Which brings us to last Friday. A Palo Alto neighbor sent us pix of the old house being torn down.  Along with it went the rhody my aunt had planted when they bought the house and a whole lifetime of memories. 

And so it goes.

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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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