Friday, June 30, 2017

Naughty

Posted By on Fri, Jun 30, 2017 at 1:05 PM

Start with the fork if you like, but you're kidding yourself. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Start with the fork if you like, but you're kidding yourself.

Let's not pretend names don't matter. This week Ferndale's favorite foodie son Guy Fieri revealed that his trademark Donkey Sauce — principal export of Flavortown — is just aioli. It's hard to know whether we should feel duped or just relieved on behalf of donkeys. And did aioli really need rebranding? Naming is a tricky business, the pitfalls of which include over-hyping and forced cheekiness. (See every cocktail you ordered when you turned 21.)

Humboldt Sweets Bakery and Cafe (614 Main Street, Ferndale), where Fieri and his Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives crew have filmed, sells out of its playfully named Knotty Buns ($5) if you don't get there early enough on the weekend. What appears to be a jam-topped brioche is actually a knot (we see what you did there) of cinnamon roll dough scraps — flaky at the edges, streaked with cinnamon and glaze — anchored by a cream cheese center and topped with a dollop of jammy raspberry sauce. It's a heavy kitchen sink of justifiably breakfast-y indulgences in a little paper cupcake liner. Does it live up to the naughty hype of its name? Once you give up on your fork and start pulling at the chunks of cinnamon roll, dabbing and scooping at the berry and cream cheese, your fingers sticky as a toddler's — yes. Yes, it does. Have it on the patio with its sweet backdrop of flowers, brazenly close to the church down the street.
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Meltdown

Posted By on Sat, Jun 17, 2017 at 10:13 AM

Brisket grilled cheese in the garden. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Brisket grilled cheese in the garden.

Artisanal toast hasn't yet made its way past the Redwood Curtain but expect it soon. Just wait. Until then, you can work on grilled cheese.

The Artisan Cheese Factory, née Loleta Cheese Factory (252 Loleta Drive, Loleta), upped the ante on its bevy of samples when it opened the Queso Kings grilled cheese bar in the back of the shop. It's a no-brainer and it has saved the dignity of many. (Don't pretend you've never toothpicked your way through a pound of cheese samples one cubic centimeter at a time. We've all been there.)

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Mussel Bound

Posted By on Sat, Jun 3, 2017 at 4:15 PM

Mussels with a splash of Thai curry. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Mussels with a splash of Thai curry.
Put away your clam diggers — domoic acid has put the local clam digging party on hold and mid-calf pants are hard to pull off anyway. But this is not to say shellfish is off the table. In fact, let's take a moment to appreciate the other mollusks that are so often overshadowed by our glamorous local oysters. (Oh, don't pout, oysters — you have a whole festival so sit down a minute.)

Our county runneth over with chowder. Not all of it is good. (Psst, cooks: If you can stand a spoon in it, ease up.) On the other hand, Salt Fish House (761 Eighth St., Arcata) has a solid entry with thick bacon and tender clams that is luxuriously creamy ($9). You would not be in the least bit deprived ordering it for dinner with a salad.

But look outside at the weather. The days of chunky fisherman sweaters before nightfall are behind us for now. (Maybe forever — we're apparently leaning in on climate change these days.) Drop a layer and ask for the curry mussels ($14). The enamel bowl is splashed over with a light red Thai-style curry sauce, chopped cilantro and fresh jalapeño slices. Swipe up extra coconut-rich sauce with the grill-striped bread (ask for it lightly done if you mind a dark char). As for the mussels themselves, they are steamed to a lush plumpness and are full of briny, earthy flavor. That's a luxury, too.


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