Food

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Tomo's Back

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2018 at 3:10 PM

Sushi chef Josh Hand is back behind the counter at Tomo Japanese Restaurant. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Sushi chef Josh Hand is back behind the counter at Tomo Japanese Restaurant.

Out of the ashes — well, mostly smoke damage — of a Jan. 27 fire, comes Tomo Japanese Restaurant in Arcata, having reopened Monday night for dinner service. According to the restaurant's General Manager Josh Hand, the fire, which started by the aquarium (check your fish, folks), did plenty of damage, leaving a path of destruction into the kitchen, where the range hoods pulled the smoke, and dining room. Insurance "took a while to come through," he says, but covered the rehab. That included new carpets, paint, repairing shoji screens, replacing part of the sushi counter, cleaning out sushi counter refrigeration units and a new range, floors and other equipment in the kitchen.

Hand, who started out washing dishes at Tomo as a teenager 16 years ago and is now the head sushi chef, spent the downtime helping with the cleanup. Most of the old staff is back, though management had to hire a new sushi maker, a cook and a pair of dishwashers. For now the Arcata institution is only open for dinner starting at 4 p.m., but Hand is hopeful it'll be back on for lunch over the next few months.  
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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Spammed: Photos from the Spamley Cup Cook-off

Posted By on Wed, May 2, 2018 at 6:02 PM

Team Dick Spam Dyke holds the majestic trophy aloft. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Team Dick Spam Dyke holds the majestic trophy aloft.
On Sunday, April 29, some 15 chefs and amateurs battled for the Spamley Cup at Redwood Fields in Cutten, whipping up schmancy SPAM dishes for some 750 attendees. The event also raised $9,000 for Humboldt CASA.

Over the phone, organizer Mike Vitiello retells the salty competition's origin story:
Nine years ago, a handful of chefs hanging out at the Shanty after work trash talked each other into a backyard challenge to see who could make the best meal out of the oft derided canned meat. After a few years, they decided to open it up to the public as a fundraiser and now it's an annual tradition. See Mark McKenna's photos of the nitrate-heavy action below.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Equinox Dinner Canceled Due to Five Eleven Fire

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 10:07 AM

Chef Lizette Acuna of Ramone's prepared a duo of oysters for last year's Equinox event. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • Chef Lizette Acuna of Ramone's prepared a duo of oysters for last year's Equinox event.

Untie your bibs, folks. The Equinox in Old Town benefit dinner for Humboldt County Office of Education's Nutrition Programs and Services set for Monday, March 19 is called off, at least for now. The seven-course feast prepared by a team of local chefs — from Five Eleven, Mazzotti's, Ramone's, Vista Del Mar, Kyoto and Le Monde — was set to take place at Five Eleven again this year but a fire in the its kitchen on March 9 has temporarily closed the restaurant and put the kibosh on the event.

So far, organizers haven't announced an alternative date or venue, but if you already purchased tickets, refunds are available. In the meantime, go ahead and torture yourself with this slideshow of last year's spread.
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Friday, March 9, 2018

Coming Soon: New Pizza in Old Town

Posted By on Fri, Mar 9, 2018 at 3:51 PM

The Madrone Brick Fire Pizza and Taphouse is set to open at 321 Third St. in Old Town. - PHOTO BY HOLLY HARVEY
  • Photo by Holly Harvey
  • The Madrone Brick Fire Pizza and Taphouse is set to open at 321 Third St. in Old Town.

If you were wondering if anybody was ever going to light up the darkened windows of The Ritz, that's a yes. Sort of. The Madrone Brick Fire Pizza and Taphouse is moving into the Opera Alley side of the 321 Third St. address, having split the kitchen and claimed its brick oven. Which also makes the Journal the only business in town without a fancy pizza oven.

Owner Kyall Widmier has his fingers crossed for an April opening but that depends on paperwork, and he's still nailing down some staffing. But once the doors open, expect 10-inch pizzas from pepperoni to chèvre and prosciutto, a bevy of beers, cider and wine.

So the other end of the restaurant is still available if anybody wants to put in a dim sum joint. Just putting that out into the universe, people.
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Monday, March 5, 2018

Early Oyster Fest Lineup

Posted By on Mon, Mar 5, 2018 at 3:44 PM

Competitive shucking on the Arcata Plaza during last year's Oyster Fest. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Competitive shucking on the Arcata Plaza during last year's Oyster Fest.
Maybe you can still revel in the moment when it's this chilly and rainy out, but we're dreaming of sunshine and looking at the early lineup for the Arcata Bay Oyster Festival on June 16, when we'll be ambling around in the sunshine with stainless steel beer cups and slurping the fruits of Humboldt's waters from their shells. Organizers at Arcata Main Street are taking vendor applications and planning the kid-friendly Flupsy Stage, street performers and the newly added Mermaid Lounge Stage. Take a gander below at the acts booked for the other three stages so far.

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Cool Ink, Hot Wings and Hot Dogs

Posted By on Tue, Feb 6, 2018 at 7:49 PM

Tattoo artist Megan Franklin, of Springfield, Missouri, had Tye Harris, of Kyle, Texas, add a realistic tattoo of her grandparents on their wedding day to her arm at the Inked Hearts Tattoo Expo at Blue Lake Casino and Hotel this past weekend. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Tattoo artist Megan Franklin, of Springfield, Missouri, had Tye Harris, of Kyle, Texas, add a realistic tattoo of her grandparents on their wedding day to her arm at the Inked Hearts Tattoo Expo at Blue Lake Casino and Hotel this past weekend.

The ninth annual Inked Hearts Tattoo Expo at the Blue Lake Casino & Hotel in Blue Lake last weekend wrapped the usual work of more than 30 talented tattoo artists around a few new features. Event organizers Ted and Amy Marks added the Hot Wings of Death Challenge and the all-bulldog Super Bully Bowl Pageant to the usual line up of the Hot Guy/Hot Girl Contests, daily tattoo contests and live music.

The bulldogs were not judged on their tattoos. See a slideshow of the contests and some prize-worthy body art below.


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Monday, August 21, 2017

Century Celebration

Posted By on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 at 12:28 PM

Shoshanna Rose (right), of Arcata, helped cut and serve the Creamery Building replica cake that building owners Lisa and Brian Finigan, of Arcata, brought to share with Fervor Fest attendees. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Shoshanna Rose (right), of Arcata, helped cut and serve the Creamery Building replica cake that building owners Lisa and Brian Finigan, of Arcata, brought to share with Fervor Fest attendees.

It took four days to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Creamery Building in Arcata this past week. Building owners Lisa and Brian Finigan, of Arcata, have spent the last 40 years rejuvenating the building and hosting an eclectic mix of tenants in the center of the emerging Creamery District — so they and friends decided to throw a party.

Arcata artist Lush Newton introduced her outdoor art installation "Golden State Creamery: The Land of Milk and Honey" at Thursday's evening reception at the Creamery District. She said her work commemorates the history, people and culture surrounding the historic Creamery building on its 100th anniversary. The billboard was inspired by designs for the original tenant, California Creameries, and her portable hand-painted figures were based on historical photos (including one of her great aunt riding a cow).

Friday evening's highlights were the Arcata Playhouse's outdoor shadow-puppet show that followed the Elemental Spectacle procession that included dancers, stilt walkers, giant puppets and a large dragon marching around the Creamery Building to live music. The Ya Habibi dancers performed next at the entrance of the Creamery prior to the shadow-puppet show.

More than 20 vendors offered unlimited samples of beer, wine, kombucha, cider and distilled spirits at Fervor Fest on Saturday. A large crowd attended the family-friendly event that included live music, food vendors and a popular children's play area. In mid-afternoon, the Finigans brought out the 100th anniversary cake shaped liked the Creamery building to share with Fervor Fest attendees.

The Creamery Festival wrapped up on Sunday with the last of the Flynn Creek Circus shows.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Bivalve Bacchanal

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 9:56 AM

Tens of thousands of locally produced oysters met their fate at the 27th annual Oyster Festival. - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Tens of thousands of locally produced oysters met their fate at the 27th annual Oyster Festival.

You could get just about any creative approach to raw or barbecued oysters on Saturday at the 27th annual Oyster Festival in Arcata – except oyster-flavored ice cream. Staff from Humboldt Creamery, who were passing out free ice cream in the Family Fun Zone, said they might work on that for next year.

The Arcata Plaza was a packed house for the annual celebration of all things related to oysters, including an Oyster-Calling contest, a Shuck-n-Swallow contest, live music and many other food and beer options. In addition to the family-oriented fun, side streets off the plaza held an art market, a “green” zone (electric vehicles and environmental information booths), as well as the usual Farmers’ Market.
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Best of the Oyster Fest

Posted By on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 5:19 PM

Savory Grill and Cafe's winning oysters. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Savory Grill and Cafe's winning oysters.
Upsets and new blood (brine?) marked this year' Arcata Bay Oyster Festival. As crowds swarmed the plaza, lining up for paper trays of oysters, judges (myself among them) sampled entrants in the Best Raw, Best Cooked, Best Non-oyster and, for the first time this year, Best in Show. The new Best in Show category, according to head Oystress Rachel Marella, keeps high-scoring entrants — sometimes a mere half point behind the winner — across categories.

While previous years have have left many wondering whether the Sushi Spot juggernaut could be stopped from another sweep, some new entrants nabbed top honors. The coveted Best Raw went to newcomer Savory Grill and Cafe for its oysters served in a molcajete cauldron and topped with carmelized onions, pineapple, red wine vinegar, cilantro, lemon juice, shallots, garlic, olive oil, cherry tomatoes and chives. And there's your recipe for Fourth of July, folks.

Sushi Spot keeps the cooked crown for this creamy-spicy entry. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Sushi Spot keeps the cooked crown for this creamy-spicy entry.
Sushi Spot stayed in the game for Best Cooked, serving up a showstopper of a barbecued Goose Point with a creamy, spicy-sweet topping of garlic-jalapeño aioli, honey sriracha, crunchy toasted  garlic and green onions.
A luxe lobster and Oyster dish from Five Eleven. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • A luxe lobster and Oyster dish from Five Eleven.
Five Eleven won Best in Show with a grilled Humboldt Bay oyster served with lobster sauce and roasted corn salsa, and a raw Humboldt Bay oyster with honeydew melon and cucumber gazpacho and golden trout caviar. (Its cooked oyster score was a mere .1 points behind Sushi Spot and the raw was .5 behind Savory's entry.)  
Cucumber gazpacho on an Oyster from Five Eleven. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Cucumber gazpacho on an Oyster from Five Eleven.
Salt Fish House, in its first year at the festival, took Best Non-oyster with a skewer of grilled octopus, cherry tomatoes and olives, with lemon vinaigrette and mint.

Skewered octopus won Salt Fish House its first prize. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Skewered octopus won Salt Fish House its first prize.



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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Humboldt Style: Boots and Brands

Posted By on Tue, Feb 23, 2016 at 1:08 PM

Brandy Mincks and Sorrel Divis button up and buckle up. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Brandy Mincks and Sorrel Divis button up and buckle up.

Next year, when you're standing in front of your open closet wondering what to wear to the Humboldt Del Norte Cattlemen's Association's annual spring dinner and dance, you'll want to scroll through this slideshow. The guys and gals who kicked up their heels in the Humboldt County Fairgrounds' Belotti Hall came correct. (Incidentally, turquoise is having a serious moment.) While volunteers dished out barbecued tri-tip, attendees cruised the auction items — everything from a Guy Fieri-themed basket to a log cabin dollhouse to a throne of horseshoes and antlers — and brought the ranch-style swag. 

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