Stuffed pizza tends to let you down while doubling your carbs. This is partly because the bubbly exposed cheese doesn't happen and the sauce stays too wet. The Brooklyn at Paul's Live from New York (604 F St. Eureka) does not fall into this trap, mainly because it is — shhhh! — not really a slice of pizza.
It's profoundly garlicky sautéed spinach with mozzarella and ricotta cheese between two layers of pizza crust, the top of which is dusted with Romano cheese. Sharing is a good idea, as are mints, unless you want to keep Twilight fans at bay. (So sad — it's over and they have nowhere to go.)
But what about sauce? Got your sauce right here. On the side in a little cup, thus solving the mushy stuffed pizza dilemma and satisfying control freaks. I used to bring my Nanna, a Sicilian New Yorker who relocated here, a slice at her assisted living home. I suspect she loved the smell of it filling up the whole dining room and making people jealous as much as she loved eating it. Bring some back to the office and see what I mean.
Tragically, the lure of delicately battered fish and chips might keep one from trying the mashed potato cone ($5) at the Lighthouse Grill. There you are at the edge of the sea, salt air, outdoor seating — can you really order a land-locked menu item?
Yes. Yes, you can. This is not some state fair gimmick. It's a freshly rolled cornmeal and herb waffle cone, like a crisped version of the savory-sweet cornbread that comes with chili or Thanksgiving dinner. Inside is a hot dollop of creamy mashed potato, fallen-apart brisket in gravy, melting cheddar cheese and pieces of smoky bacon. You can also go vegetarian with veggie gravy and cheese ($4).
The best thing about the local food movement is how it lends political, nay, moral weight to indulging in the pleasures of eating. Get ready for some righteous noshing, because September is Local Food Month!
All over Humboldt this month, everybody and their local farmer is putting on some sort of event to help us all appreciate and enjoy the food we produce right here on the North Coast. And there's usually something to eat.
There are over 40 events planned — go to localfoodmonth.org for a full menu of the goings on. Some highlights this weekend include a master preservers herb drying demo from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Arcata Farmers Market on Saturday (where some family farm produce tasting is also going on) and a farm tour and open house at the College of the Redwoods farm in Shively.
On Sunday from 1-3 p.m., take a tour of the Mycality Mushroom farm in Samoa. Mushrooms! There are grange breakfasts, dinner events, tastings, potlucks and gardening workshops. Learn to can! See beer brewed! Save seeds! The world is your locally harvested oyster. And it will be delicious.
The V & N Burger Bar in Arcata gets instant street cred for only serving chicken fried steak for breakfast ($9.25). It's the best part of fried chicken — the crispy, salty crust! — on something like a thin Salisbury steak. What cut of beef exactly? It's early — stop asking so many questions. Thick, peppery pan gravy with sausage chunks that are on the verge of being meatballs smother the whole thing. It comes with two eggs, toast and tender, stringy hash browns.