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.
If you're not going to treat yourself to an ice cream cone when it's warm like this, you just don't want to be happy.
I went into Living the Dream Ice Cream looking for Dirty Monkey (chocolate, banana and peanut butter) but discovered instead orange blossom honey. It is the ideal end of summer flavor — light and faintly fragrant, but not actually flowery, with that warm honey sweetness. My fear of all bees disappearing just got real.
Previously, I had scoffed at cheese puffs (crab or otherwise) as something only a novice would order at an Asian restaurant. When my pregnant friend raved about the little golden triangles, I dismissed it as a hormonal craving.
That said, I have tasted the puffs at Annie's Cambodian Cuisine, and lo, they are good. Crispy, bubbly wonton skins that show up hot and filled with melted cream cheese and scallions. Add a dab of chili oil to the sweet sauce they come with and revel in an appetizer that hits every one of your deserving taste buds. The smallest order is three for $1.50, and you get six for $2.75, but in a moment of honesty we got a dozen to split and left no puff behind.
So dish, Humboldt — what's your current food crush? Send tips and photos to Jennifer@northcoastjournal.com.
It's comforting to know that if we were ever completely cut off from the rest of the world, we'd still have good wine up in these parts. The results are in for the wine competition at the Humboldt County Fair, and local grapes are representing. A panel of seven judges picked the winning bottles out of 60 wines from 15 wineries and individual vintners.
Briceland Vineyard emerged as the top winery, actually tying with itself twice — for Best Wine from Humboldt County grapes and Best Other White with its sparkling brut and 2012 Riesling. Fieldbrook took Best White with its 2012 chardonnay from Mendocino grapes. (Full disclosure, Fieldbrook is the family winery of the Journal's publisher Judy Hodgson.)
The fair is back, and with it the deep-fried carny cuisine we love. Oh, don't look like that. All over the world, people of different cultures and creeds are united by a universal love of fried dough.
Purists insist on powdered sugar only on their funnel cakes, or else a little cinnamon sugar. Really, it's cousin to the French beignet. Classy. Once you branch out into gooey fruit toppings, whipped cream and "sweet cream," which borders on cream cheese frosting, things get decidedly more lurid.
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