Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mac and Cheese Appreciation

Posted By on Sun, Mar 26, 2017 at 9:50 AM

Mac and cheese at Farmhouse on Main. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Mac and cheese at Farmhouse on Main.
We are living in a golden age — golden brown, really — of mac and cheese. Diners, high-end restaurants, bars and food trucks alike all offer their takes on the quintessential comfort food. It's a dish that contains multitudes: the basic elbow and cheddar, stretchy forkfuls drizzled in truffle oil and duck fat, and deep fried breaded nuggets. Roll your eyes and pretend to be jaded but if the trend ever ends and the molten crocks disappear, you will miss them (R.I. P., flambé everything). Bask in it now, before it joins its first cousin the casserole, languishing at potlucks.

You could do a solid tour of macaroni and cheese around Humboldt County. If you do, send pictures. And don't skip Farmhouse on Main (460 Main St., Ferndale). The sunny dining room with its sturdy wooden tables and vintage stove opened last fall in the former home of Curley's Full Circle. Its mac and cheese is baked dish or orecchiette pasta crusted over in herby bread crumbs that break to reveal a pale, creamy cheddar sauce ($10.50). There are additions to be had, like bacon and shrimp, but consider the sliced cremini mushrooms ($2.50), which stand up well here. If the crispy, flaky fried chicken with homemade tomato jam ($15 small plate) lures you away, at least get the pasta as a side to share. It may well stay on the menu forever but, you know, just in case.
Pan fried chicken with tomato jam. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Pan fried chicken with tomato jam.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Yes, Chefs!

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 5:09 PM

Lizette Acuna spoons an Argentinan Chimichurri on a grilled oyster. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Lizette Acuna spoons an Argentinan Chimichurri on a grilled oyster.

Too many cooks in the kitchen? It didn't look like it on Monday night at the Equinox in Old Town fundraiser dinner. The Humboldt County Office of Education event served up seven courses by a team of neighborhood chefs including coordinator Josh Wiley of Restaurant Five Eleven, where the dinner took place, Liz Acuna of Ramone's Cafe on Harrison, Erik Masaki of Masaki's Kyoto Japanese Restaurant, Raphael Pumphrey of Cafe Nooner, Graham Miller of Mazzotti's and Daniel Dagorret of Restaurant 301.

The team laid out a feast for diners who shelled out $100 each to raise a total of $4,200 for HCOE’s Nutrition Programs and Services, which covers school meals, training and bringing local beef and produce into schools. Photographer Mark McKenna was there shooting (and likely sampling) from the appetizers to the dessert. Get a taste from the slideshow below.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Intercontinental Breakfast

Posted By on Wed, Mar 1, 2017 at 10:30 AM

Serious steak and eggs. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Serious steak and eggs.
There's a daredevil glee in chowing down in a greasy spoon, casting hygiene-related fears aside, scratching the mystery spot off your glass and regard your plate — its contents fried to kill all but the most exotic contagions — as Evel Knievel must have eyed Snake Canyon before he hit the ramp. But, like all extreme sports, its high is a brief one you might die chasing.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the deep calm of Amy's Delight (401 W. Harris St., Eureka). The Chinese-American diner has been in business since 1997 but the open kitchen, with its mirror-like stainless steel panels, calls to mind a computer clean room more than a diner. Rumor has it regulars include health department employees.

This is the biscuit and gravy you're looking for. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • This is the biscuit and gravy you're looking for.
Which is not to say hedonists and masochists can't still hurt themselves here. Order up the steak and eggs and find yourself facing a mound of pan-crisped potatoes and a full 12-ounce ribeye ($23). No fancy oven finishing — the steak is fried on the grill and so long as you don't get it well done and cover it in ketchup, you're eating better than our president. A pair of pancakes is among your side options but consider there is nowhere to sleep here. And the homemade biscuits, it should be noted, come with the sausage-heavy white pan gravy we have been searching for ($7.95).

Ham and egg fried rice omelet. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Ham and egg fried rice omelet.
A more modest option is the signature Amy's Delight, an omelet stuffed with ham and egg fried rice and topped with mild cheese, tomatoes and cilantro ($11.95). It's homey and satisfying, especially with the house chili sauce. There are whispers, too, of a secret menu that includes a Taiwanese breakfast (Amy herself hails from Taiwan): two fried eggs over rice — break the yolks, drizzle with soy sauce — with a side of sautéed spinach ($9.95). But you didn't hear it from us.

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