Do You Go To “Free Dinners”?

Like everyone else, I’ve been aware that sales operations pushing timeshares, questionable real estate developments and other bad ideas sometimes entice their victims with a free meal. Lately there are even out-of-town hospitals inviting our folks to sit through a presentation on the glories of their particular institution while munching on a free hotel meal.   I can’t imagine why anyone shows up.  I’m really put off by the notion that I’m such an imbecile or so broke that a free meal would cause me to choose one vendor over another.  For a free meal, I couldn’t be bothered to drive downtown, not unless it was catered by Wolfgang Puck in person and we got to keep the chinaware. 

But hundreds of people show up at these things. I’ve heard about people who show up  at ALL of them.  I wonder how many of you got an invitation, on thick paper, to a “Free Eureka Dinner Conference” involving real estate investing, at the Red Lion on Monday Nov 30th. According to the flyer, this is “sponsored” by a couple of A&E TV personalities but  they will not be present.  Nowhere in the literature can you find the name of the entity actually presenting this “Real Estate Income Event”.   The return address is a “unicorn ” office In NYC, a virtual office where no one actually works. If you want advice from these folks, you’re welcome to it. I think I would recommend consulting one of our many local realtors or brokers, or taking a class. If you go, let us know how it was!!



I put out a request on the NextDoor website asking for locations with Hallowe’en lights or displays worth driving by. This is what has been reported so far. Enjoy! and watch out for little goblins.

Cedar Street past the corner of Cypress (the Cedar Street near Lundbar Hills, not the Cedar Street downtown)

Corner of “H” and Manzanita

3400 Block of “K” between Hodgson and Manzanita

London Drive on Humboldt Hill

Herrick between Noe and Bay Pointe (Don’t miss this one! Several figures)

Corner of Chester and Harrison- Spooks dancing around a tree. Excellent!

and everyone’ s favorite, Hodgson Street just before W Street. 

Just In from NN: “We are trying our first ever “Haunted Pathway” this year at our house! It’s not a haunted house per se, but it’s 50ft of Halloween fun with some entertainment, music, and an ending that will leave a lasting impression! Try out your courage, and you will surely be rewarded for your efforts at the end.

South end of D street in Eureka! Just follow the music =).”


Finally, I picked up a flyer at the Fresh Freeze which advertises “The Haunted Ghost Ship” which looks an awful lot like the Madaket.  The Ghost Ship will be open Friday and Saturday only from 6 to 10 pm for those 12 years and older, in flat shoes, admission “$10 per soul”.   Tickets sold on the dock at the foot of Commercial Street.  This is a joint presentation of the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum. the Humboldt Bay Air/Sea Naval Museum and the crew of the Madaket. They have a Facebook page right HERE. 

Please write in to share your favorites!  HAPPY HALLOWE’EN!.


Train Nuts, Morons, and Our Wack Harbor Election

Well, our sleepy little Harbor District is stealing all the attention in the upcoming November election.  As a First District resident,  I didn’t even get a ballot since the two doofuses who were supposed to run and were too incompetent to turn in their signatures left the field to Larry Doss who gets the job unopposed. Disgraceful!

So the action is all in the Second and Fifth Districts, and might be summarized as Higgins and Dale vs. Rotwein and Angeloff. There have been many strange issues and red herrings brought up in these races and very little clarity. Greg Dale either DOES or DOES NOT have a conflict of interest.  The Harbor District DOES or DOES NOT owe millions of dollars to the EPA. It IS binary!

Leo/Hank: One of the mini-issues has been Leo Sears’ shyness about being named a rail supporter  by Hank Sims of LOCO. Hank, of course, is famous for having labelled rail supporters “morons” in a discussion about restoring the North/South, or Eel River route.  I remain  proudly one of those “morons”  and I believe that restoring rail traffic to Marin would be a reasonable investment in our infrastructure, considering  it could be done for half a billion and would result in a world-class tourist attraction if done right and properly integrated with trails. On the other hand,  the East-West rail line being promoted by Angeloff  is lunacy.  It would cost at least a billion, have no tourist potential and have nothing to haul that doesn’t already have more efficient ways to get to market.

I cannot stress too strongly the difference between the two rail routes. East-West is a joke; North-South a noble endeavor.    No one who has ever personally ridden the train through the Eel River Valley is opposed to opening it up again.  No one. Yes, it will be expensive and will require more environmental safeguards than before but we would end up with a world -class tourist attraction which would attract folks who don’t necessarily enjoy backpacking.

 I was for several years a member of an amorphous group called the  Committee for Port/Rail Development.  At least I think that’s what they were called.  I have no written records of them although I must have attended several dozen of their monthly lunches at the Cookhouse.  Kaye Strickland was the wonderful lady who ran those lunches. I’m almost positive that’s where I met Leo. The group was not only amorphous-it was pretty much chaotic.  I don’t think they kept any attendance figures nor was any money collected.  Every once in a while Charles Ollivier would stand up and give an impassioned oration. There was a lot of discussion but nothing ever HAPPENED. Out of frustration, Mark Matteoli and some other guys started a committee called RAPIT but it was pretty short-lived. If you stroll into one of the monthly lunches being held by the “Humboldt Bay Harbor Working  Group” that evolved out of the 2012 Prosperity campaign,  you might think you’re in a time warp.  About 80% of the HBHWG were also involved in the CPD. More disclosure: I bailed from the Prosperity effort when we got to the point of recommending a full study of the East-West rail option. I didn’t think East/West would fly and I thought that would be the end of it.  Silly me! The CPR-backed Rotwein and Angeloff campaigns are pushing East/West as a route for moving their chesnuts or cherries or something.   If I’m a moron, these guys are lunatics.

A delicious complication appears to be on the horizon: Leo has taken out a Fictitious Business Name Statement in the Mad River Union announcing the establishment of something called “Economic Growth and Stability” located at TWO addresses in Eureka, which seems like a typo. The nicer house is located in the heart of Henderson Center and sports a huge Rex Bohn poster in the hedge. All roads led to Rex, apparently. So what’s Leo up to?  We could call and ask but what would be the fun in that? Stay tuned.

When I get around to having my “MORON AND PROUD” t-shirts printed up, I’ll let you know.  Meanwhile, the Times-Standard ran my letter the other day in which I advocate voting for Greg Dale and Pat Higgins. Wish I could vote!I

Letter to the Times-Standard, “Vote for Greg Dale and Pat Higgins”

The current Harbor Commission has, by and large, done a fine job in getting the District’s finances under control and setting a new course in the post-pulp mill era. The incumbents who are running for re-election, Greg Dale and Pat Higgins, deserve your vote. They bring experience and dedication. Their challengers bring flimflam and half-truths. The choice is clear. Vote for Pat Higgins and Greg Dale on November 3!


The Turkeys Are Lurking In Eureka


I don’t like cornbread stuffing. I don’t like cranberry sauce. I don’t like wheat bread. I don’t even like turkey much. But around this time last year I concluded that the Turkey Lurkey sandwich made with the foregoing ingredients by the then-Vellutini’s Bakery in Henderson Center, is one of the best I have ever had.

Vellutini’s has become a commercial bakery operating on Broadway near Marie Callender’s. Scott and Stephanie Phelps are now operating The Corner Bakery and Cafe at the Henderson and “F” location. (They also have Babe’s Pizza and Pasta, so they’re a busy pair.)  Stephanie shared that their intent, especially with regard to the Turkey Lurkeys, is to carry on exactly as before.  I agree. Why mess with perfection?

The origin of the Turkey Lurkey is shrouded in the mists of the past.  I think the reason they’re so darn good is the FRESHNESS of the ingredients, not just the bread, which you’d expect, but all of it. This season a Turkey Lurkey goes for $7.65 for a whole sandwich (they’re pretty big- I eat them in halves) and a half -sandwich is $5.25, both before tax. You have a choice of chips or potato salad. Get the potato salad.

I had a Turkey Lurkey  the other day and it was amazing.  Definitely puts you in a holiday mood, plus if you come in October you can check out the Hallowe’en goodies.

So welcome the Corner Bakery and Cafe to Henderson Center. Sometimes it’s nice when things don’t change.


“Taste of Bim” IS Pretty Tasty; Amy’s Delight Delivers.

A TASTE OF BIM-  When I finally got to check out A Taste of Bim, the new Caribbean restaurant on 3rd Street (in the back half of what used to be the Avalon) the lunch rush had subsided and we were the only customers. The waitress was cheery and the space is colorful and full of light. Go HERE for a link to their website.

The food is definitely out of the ordinary. I ordered the codfish fritters, which come as three deep-fried tennis-ball size portions on a banana leaf. In appearance they’re kind of daunting but once you cut into them, they are absolutely delicious. They came with a mustard sauce that was also good.

I also had the jerk chicken wings, which were good. The jerk flavor was very mild. My friend had the roti with chicken, which turned out to be a large taco-like construction with the meat and potatoes stuffing folded into a sort of tortilla. It was very, very good and we were both impressed with the quality and the value.  The codfish fritters, for example, were $5. A Taste of Bim – “Bim” by the way, is short for Barbados- should do very well in a part of town that could use some new choices.  Open from 11-9 M-Th, 11-10 Fri-Sat, 11-7 Sunday. Check it out.

AMY’S DELIGHT- “I’ve driven past this place a thousand times” I said to myself. Amy’s is that place just down from Winco that you always pass by because  you’re just had lunch. I figure that with at least three trips a week to Winco,  COSTCO or some place on Broadway, plus return, I have actually driven past Amy’s 1560 times in the past five years. See? I never exaggerate.

We checked Amy’s out on a Friday morning and when we entered at 1130 no one was there.  We were greeted by a pleasant man who brought us a plate of cut-up oranges. He and his wife, who stayed in the kitchen, are the proprietors and her Asian heritage explains some of the menu items, like the chow mein.  They have many choices for breakfast or lunch and the prices are reasonable. We both had the chicken-fried steak breakfast which was good and which I could not finish.  By the time we left, the lunch crowd had arrived and there was not an empty seat. Amy’s closes at 3pm.  Their Facebook link is HERE and now you have no further excuse to drive past without stopping.  I’m definitely going back.

Open Tuesday-Friday 11-8, Saturday 7-2, closed Sunday and Monday.




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. 


How To Gain Five Pounds In Two Weeks; Eating Out At Brick, Kyoto, Toni’s and the Benbow

Had a crowd of summer visitors? At least they’re a excuse for eating out. Here are some meals we enjoyed recently.

Brick & Fire- this is everyone’s favorite restaurant and if you haven’t been,  do yourself a favor and go.  Go now.   They’ve had a good run and nothing lasts forever.  Yes, it’s spendy but you could have a Wild Mushroom Cobbler ($9) which is pretty darn filling. Add a salad for $7 and you’ve got a nice meal. Add WINE  and your costs increase exponentially. If you order the brick-pressed bird, ask for it well done. ($22, enough for two meals.) The Italian Mac’n’Cheese ($15- also so rich it’s two meals) is so good I ordered it for my birthday dinner. We came back the next week and I ordered it again. We are so luck to have a bistro of this caliber I don’t even mind calling it a bistro.  Their website is HERE.

Masaki’s Kyoto- We wanted to see how the Kyoto was holding up without Eric Masaki, now with the HCSO and good for him. The answer is : just fine. We walked in on a Friday night with no reservations, ordered dinners and sushi-  lemon and Eureka rolls and something with eel. Service was quick considering  we were ordering sushi.  I’ve always loved the Kyoto but one of our group is a Shanghai native who has lived in Japan, is a damn picky eater and has an encyclopedic knowledge of Asian food. He pronounced the meal excellent and we all agreed. No website.

Toni’s 24-Hour Restaurant – is just that, a real restaurant, not a burger stand.  I didn’t take Toni’s seriously because all I ever heard about it was that it ‘s a great place to go when you’re drunk, hungry and it’s 3am. Also I could never figure out to get there. With someone else driving, and headed  for a movie in Arcata, we got there at around 7pm and found only a short line. The menu goes ‘way beyond burgers. The folks across from us were all eating chef salads and they looked good. I had a blue cheese burger on ciabatta and really liked the way they grilled the ciabatta. The onion rings, unfortunately, were cooked with oil that tasted stale,but I would try them another time. The burgers and shakes were excellent, but I would definitely think about getting the chicken-fried steak next time. Cozy atmosphere. Their website is HERE.

The Benbow Inn- Our family has always loved the Benbow and it just gets better and better. We lost a family member earlier this year 

and a reunion at the Benbow just seemed like the right thing. Actually, my parents spent the first night of their honeymoon there and I thought that perhaps the reason I love the place so much is that I was conceived there. HA! Probably not since it would have involved a two year gestation. Yes, its spendy but they’ll negotiate, especially for groups. We had nine, in three rooms and two KOA “cabins” and they gave us a rate of $175 for Terrace Rooms, which are much nicer than some of the “historic” building rooms and are located on the other side of the building. The Terrace Rooms are a lot better for anyone who wants to avoid that godawful staircase going up to the front entrance. The food was perfect as always. They were featuring a white gazpacho ($7) with grapes which was pretty wonderful and very refreshing.  (The temperature was 95 and it didn’t start cooling off till 8pm.) The salmon ($32) was great, the linguini with vegetables was a big hit ($19) and the crab cakes ($15) are good and substantial  enough for a main course.  If you drive down for lunch , which is a nice excursion, you can have sandwiches and that gazpacho. You won’t spend any more at the Benbow than you will at Jack’s and some other mediocre places in Eureka. Benbow is especially nice for lunch around the holidays, when you can eat in the lounge near a roaring fire. And you feel like a millionaire. The website is HERE.







Hazards of Landlording-here’s one you never thought of

We’ve been offline for a couple of weeks, during which we experienced a lot of what all of you have- the cellphone outage. out-of-town visitors, more visitors, family reunions, and gaining five pounds from all the eating out. We’ll catch up little by little but I wanted to tell you first about a lesson learned re: the US Postal Service.  This lesson may save you some grief.

I have a 3 BR/2 BA house and for several years I have rented out the extra bedroom and bath.  On the same day that we had visitors from New Jersey,  one tenant moved out and another moved in.  Meanwhile my friend from LA , with whom I was planning a road trip to British Columbia, also showed up and realized he’d left his passport in LA. He got a friend to fetch his passport and mail it to my place using certified mail.  I use a PO box for 90% of my mail so I didn’t notice we weren’t getting any mail in the mailbox.

After a few days his passport hadn’t shown up so he accosted the mail carrier, who told him that he hadn’t delivered any mail to us for a few days because the house was vacant. Vacant!  Never mind the cars in the driveway and parked in front! Never mind the well-tended and watered planter box next to the mail box! Never mind that there were three adults and a dog living here the week this happened! Never mind that the house has not been vacant for even a day since I bought it in 1993! He thought the house was vacant.

Why?  Because he saw the forwarding order from the tenant who moved out and concluded that the house was empty. He apologized profusely for his error but by that time the passport had been sent to some kind of postal clearing house in Sacramento. We called the post office on Clark and they advised us to wait a few days. We did and nothing happened. To make a long story short, we went down there twice and enlisted the help of a supervisor named Eley,  The passport finally showed up this past Saturday, after being lost in the bowels of the USPS for almost three weeks. The stress on both of us was extreme.

The USPS is like any other organization- only as strong as its weakest link. Every supervisor we talked to at the USPS said the carrier “needed to be talked to”. How ’bout he should be retrained??  The lesson learned is that certified mail, which costs $3 and change, is useless.  If you have something valuable to send, send it REGISTERED which costs $12 but at least they can locate it. Registered mail is signed for at each stage of its journey, much tighter tracking.  I notice that Fed Ex has a small package option for $8.  I suspect that when Fed Ex loses something, they find it pretty quickly. Again, they have a signature for each transfer.

Next time, Fed Ex for sure. And folks, don’t bother with certified.  It’s not worth the paper it’s written on.  If you have any stories about lost mail and the USPS we’d love to hear them.