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!

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Redding Man Featured in “Blue Collar Millionaires”

CNBC’s new series “Blue Collar Millionaires” featured a Redding man, Boyce Muse, in its initial broadcast. Muse, the founder and owner, with his wife, of Muse Concrete, came up from dire poverty.  At an early age, they bet everything they owned on a future building boom in Northern California.  They bet right.

Concrete is an expensive business.  The machinery involved in pouring and sawing concrete is massive and difficult to transport.  Muse now has over 100 employees, 16 machines up from the original one, and the business did $13M in 2014. They do projects all over Northern California.  The Muses have two homes, a 4000 sf home in Redding and and an 8000 sf mountain retreat near Mt Shasta. And a plane.  You can rent the Shasta house when they’re not using it for $895 a night.

Mrs. Muse is shown describing the trepidation they felt at taking out a loan for a machine that cost more than their then-house. Yes, their bet paid off.  But would that kind of financing even be available today?  Ever since the 2008 crash, it seems that financing has dried up.  It’s going to be hard to spawn more tycoons without capital available for investment.

The next two episodes of “Blue Collar Millionaire” air tonight (July 22) at 7 and 10pm on CNBC.  You may have to tape Sharknado.

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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.

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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!

Henderson Center is Hoppin’

…and we don’t just mean celebrating Easter. Here’s a summary of recent events in my favorite part of town.

Little Japan, which used to be on 4th Street across from where Liu’s used to be, is open for business at their new home on F Street next to the BofA. Harvey says they are yet to have a full-on grand opening but they’e already had the Chamber ribbon cutting and a cash mob. The new store is gorgeous and well-stocked.   I bought some miso and realized how much I had missed this store as I tucked into my soup with the March winds blowing outside. No website, but they do have a Facebook page.

Next door, in the old pharmacy are signs indicating a Eureka Planning Commission hearing concerning four parking places in the adjacent lot. The parking is for a Chinese restaurant named Zoe,  which will  be a welcome addition to the neighborhood.  Converting  a drugstore to a restaurant is expensive so this is a massive investment for someone. 

Another massive investment is contemplated for the space now occupied by Glow, a facial and nails salon that has taken its operation to an appointment-only model. A gentleman from Fortuna has advertised his intention to open the Diver Bar and Grille in the Glow space but the fictitious business name statement was filed back in December and it doesn’t look like much is happening.  Stay tuned. And if you figure out the difference between a ‘grille’ and a ‘grill”,  kindly inform me. 

Lastly, the space vacated by the short-lived Caribbean Picnic operation is now occupied by Nourish Bistro and Catering  which has a website up although it’s awfully heard to read. They will have their grand opening tomorrow,  Friday,  at 10am, and according to the Times they will be serving beverages and appetizers so there’s a chance to sample their wares.  Wish I could make it. 

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Things You Didn’t Know About Redding

I call Redding our step-sister city. No one really likes it,  but we’re joined at the hip. The following are factoids gleaned from the Bee, the Record-Searchliight and the Sac Business News.

Their mall, the Mt. Shasta Mall,  is owned by the owners of Bayshore Mall and has roughly the same number of stores.  Unlike our mall, theirs is scheduled for a major renovation to make it more upscale. Hmm.

Like our ACV,  Redding has also this week experienced the return of jet service, except for the flight to SFO that was cancelled this morning.

A couple of WOMEN are kicking butt in IT services.  Their company is called Nerd Chicks , or officially Nerds on Call and is an onsite computer and laptop repair service. I wonder why we don’t have the equivalent over here.   They write a column for the R-S a couple of times a month which is worth watching for if you’re not a complete geek yourself.

..and the good people of Palo Cedro, pop. 1400, are fighting  Dollar General over its plans to build in their community.  They fear the local stores already there will suffer if DG opens. 

Stay tuned.

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