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November 10, 2005


Fall is in the air. The leaves are turning, mushrooms are popping up left and right, the crops are pretty much all in and I'm told the grape harvest was bountiful. There are a lot of food-related events in the next couple of weeks, so this week's Talk will be a grab bag or, if you prefer, a cornucopia.

Let's start with a quick note: The Arcata Farmers' Market runs just two more weekends, concluding as always the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It happens rain or shine, so bring your umbrella if it's drizzling.

I've been hearing good things about the Cutten Inn and its Chef Shane Phillis, but I haven't eaten there yet. This Thursday, Nov. 10, they jump into the winemaker's dinner game, offering a five-course meal with wines to match from one of the area's latest garagistes, Moonstone Crossing Wine Cellars. Seating is limited, and it may be too late to make a reservation, but if you want to try, call them right now at 445-9217.

If you miss that one, Restaurant 310 at Carter House has another in their ongoing series of winemaker fêtes coming up next Friday, Nov. 18, this one featuring fine wines from Neyers Vineyards from St. Helena, an operation named "Artisan Winery of the Year" by Wine and Spirits magazine in 2002. Dinner and wine: $95. Call 444-8062 for reservations.

More wine? There's the Humboldt Harvest Wine Tasting starting at noon, Saturday, Nov. 12, at Riverbend Cellars in Myers Flat (that's 12990 Avenue of the Giants, to be precise.) Ten bucks gets you one of those etched commemorative glasses and ten wine tasting tickets, although you'll need more since there are 11 fine local wineries participating. The event also includes fine recent vintage jazz by my friends in Humboldt Time, with special guest Sam Maez on trumpet. They'll have horse and carriage rides and, of course, food, including samples from Henry's Olives and Loleta Cheese. Call 943-9907 for further details.

And speaking of Loleta Cheese, a note came in this week announcing its entry into the online sales world. "Every year, thousands of cheese lovers come from across the country to visit our factory and enjoy our cheeses," said Loleta Cheese Co. President Bob Laffranchi. "While our factory doors are open every day of the week and our cheese can be found in several retail grocers, consumer demand told us it was time to open our doors to everyone throughout the country by offering customers the ability to shop anytime from the comfort and convenience of their own home. In addition, our website will allow us to educate both consumers and industry partners about our company and its philosophies."

Check it out at

While there will not be white linen tablecloths, and no wine will be served, you can get a great meal at Redwood Acres Saturday afternoon, Nov. 12, at the Northwest Intertribal Gathering and Elders' Dinner. The all-day event also includes Indian card games, arts and crafts, dancers and drummers from California tribes -- and they'll have the requisite fry bread -- but the main event is the Elders honoring ceremony, and a salmon and turkey dinner served from noon-4 p.m. or, as they put it, "until it's gone!" Dinner is just $6, $2 for kids and, if you're an elder (over 55), it's free. Call 445-8451 or check for more information.

A number of people have inquired as to what happened to Rolf's Park Café, the inimitable German eatery north of Orick right next door to Prairie Creek State Park. Well, Rolf sold the place to the park, presumably so it can be returned to elk pasture. (Ask me some time why Rolf put elk on the menu there.) Chef Rolf and his sons had planned on opening up in The Little Red School House on the way into Orick, but apparently the space did not pass muster with the Health Dept. and other government agencies, so the plan was abandoned.

Those who are jonesing for those homemade sausages and German potato salad may want to check out the Westhaven Center for the Arts' Novemberfest on Sunday, Nov. 13, from 3-7 p.m. -- where, they promise, "culinary offerings will be overseen by members of the skilled Rolf family." Also on the menu, "a special sauerkraut, sour cream and caraway seed dish, delicious red cabbage, homemade applesauce and, of course, a sweet ending with homemade German Chocolate Cake." They'll have "tofu sausages" (whatever that might be) for the vegetarians, and since this is a variation on Oktoberfest, beer will be flowing, along with wine and hot-spiced apple cider. Dinner is $15 per plate, $7 for a half-plate. Details at 677-9493.

Are you ready for still more wine? College of the Redwoods hosts its 6th annual Autumn Vintage Wine Auction Gala next weekend, on Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Adorni Center. But first, before the auction, there's the 2nd annual WineWalk Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. in Eureka, with folks from 22 local and regional California wineries, and various wine reps offering tastes in 16 Old Town restaurants, art galleries and shops. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased on the night of the event from any participating merchant.

During the day Saturday, CR hosts an Open House at its Teaching Kitchen in the CR Arcata Instructional Site from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. located at 100 Ericson Court, aka Foodworks. Expect tours, cooking demonstrations and a showcase of made-in-Humboldt foodstuffs from the building's other tenants.

The big event is that night at the Adorni with dinner, a tasting featuring 28 different wineries, a silent auction and a live auction featuring rare and fine wine, art, travel and dinner packages, with auctioneer Fritz Hatton at the gavel. The fun starts at 5 p.m. Dinner is at 7 p.m. The live auction kicks off at 7:15. Dinner is followed by post-auction dancing to music provided by a swinging band, Magnolia. And don't forget to say hello to honorary Gala chairman Trent Moffett from the family-run Livingston Moffett Winery in the Napa Valley. Gala tickets are $125 apiece. Call the CR Foundation Office at 476-4357 for reservations. Go to to see some of what's in the auction.


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