Saturday, February 27, 2021

Taqueria Martinez Pulls Up

Posted By on Sat, Feb 27, 2021 at 9:00 AM

While the pandemic has robbed us of so many simple pleasures, getting a burrito from a truck parked at a gas station and eating it in your car in blissful solitude is not one of them. A week ago, Taqueria Martinez parked at the Texaco station on the Eureka side of the Samoa Bridge and reminded us to count that blessing.

Miguel Santiago's asada super burrito at Taqueria Martinez. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Miguel Santiago's asada super burrito at Taqueria Martinez.

According to his son Christo, owner Miguel Santiago worked in kitchens at Shamus T. Bones, Rita's and Taqueria La Barca before striking out on his own. On the menu are Santiago's Oaxacan and Azteca-style burritos, tacos, tortas and quesadillas, including an ochre-tinged asada marinated with chile California and mixed with grilled red onions. He's hopeful the different flavors will set Taqueria Martinez apart from other local offerings. Translating for his father, Christo says, "There's no other place you can get food like this truck."

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Eureka Gets Kentucky Fried

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2021 at 12:28 PM

If the addition of In-N-Out and Chipotle to the Broadway lineup didn't slake your thirst for fast food, a KFC has arrived to bulk up the ranks. Anticipation has been building for years, even before the massive chicken chain broke ground and built its new location on the site of the infamously run-down Blue Heron Motel, previously owned by Floyd and Betty Squires. Read more about the new restaurant's owner and how it came into its digs here.

To those braving the potential traffic snarl from today's opening, good luck. To those less intrepid or perhaps feeling a little salty, Humboldt has a bevy of alternatives. If you have patience, Arcata's Plaza Grill has a fried chicken dinner in its takeout rotation, as does Six Rivers Brewery, and Restaurant Five Eleven has a popular buttermilk fried chicken. Ferndale's Fat Anne's has fried chicken dinners and buckets that can be made gluten-free upon request, and the recently opened Couxp truck in Arcata features a lineup of fried chicken sandwiches. These represent just the crispy tip of the mountain of local options. Feel free to share your favorites with us.
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Thursday, February 11, 2021

Fieri Buys Ferndale Meat Co. Building, Enterprise Reports

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2021 at 11:04 AM

According to the Ferndale Enterprise, the Victorian Village's iconic butcher shop and sandwich stop's building has been purchased by hometown hero hero (not going to apologize for that) Guy Fieri. As soon as editor Caroline Titus got wind the property was up for sale from Paul Beatie of the Ferndale Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 4, she passed word on to Fieri, who jumped on the purchase the next day.
Fieri behind the counter at the Ferndale Meat Co. on his show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. - FOODNETWORK.COM
  • FoodNetwork.com
  • Fieri behind the counter at the Ferndale Meat Co. on his show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

Apparently this doesn't mean you can expect Guy-talian fondue dippers at the counter. Titus reports Fieri will support owner Curt Terribilini's plans to keep things as they are, which is pretty much as they were when a young Fieri worked there and when he featured it on his show Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Read the full story for the Mayor of Flavortown's reminiscing about the place and a look at its history here.  
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Sunday, February 7, 2021

A Couxp in Arcata

Posted By on Sun, Feb 7, 2021 at 10:35 AM

With insurrection fresh in our minds, you'd be forgiven for mispronouncing the name of the Couxp food truck lately parked by Pacific Outfitters in Arcata Monday through Friday. But the chickenwire detailing and the smell of Buffalo sauce should announce its poultry-centric mission of fried chicken sandwiches and wings. After a Feb. 1 soft opening and a week of customer feedback, owner Cormac McGrady is finalizing the menu.
Couxp brings Tennessee hot chicken to the North Coast. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Couxp brings Tennessee hot chicken to the North Coast.

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Monday, February 1, 2021

Chalet House of Omelettes Closes after 45 Years

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2021 at 12:26 PM

On Jan. 22, Chalet House of Omelettes announced via Facebook the 45-year-old restaurant on Eureka's Fifth Street would be closed permanently. Over the phone from the Chalet's Cutten location, owner Bill Tuttle told the Journal his mother, Vera Johnson, opened the restaurant March 1, 1975 in the former Mr. Swiss ice cream parlor after having worked as a server at a number of places, including Ben Chin's Canton Cafe (the first Chinese restaurant in Eureka since the expulsion of Chinese residents in 1885) and the storied Lazio's. It closed March 15, 2020 after shelter in place was declared. 
The Chalet House of Omelettes on Fifth Street is no more. - COURTESY OF BILL TUTTLE
  • Courtesy of Bill Tuttle
  • The Chalet House of Omelettes on Fifth Street is no more.

"It needed remodeling, new carpeting and the walls done … nothing real big and major — it just had to be shut down for a while and when it shut down I didn’t have the money for it,” said Tuttle. While the Cutten Chalet has a patio and tent for outdoor dining, he didn't feel the lot at the old restaurant on Fifth Street could work for outdoor seating, nor did he have confidence it would get enough takeout traffic to sustain it.

Staffing, Tuttle says, has also been a challenge during the pandemic. “Nobody wants to work, they’re getting too much unemployment," he said, though the additional $600 COVID-19 related unemployment benefit ended in July, and other employees didn't feel safe coming to work because of the virus. He added difficulty maintaining staff, especially cooks, was already a problem after legalization of cannabis. "We also started having trouble once they opened up the pot businesses [which often offer higher wages] … and it’s a unique trade to be a short order cook. … it takes quite a while to train 'em,” he said, noting working a flat-top grill and handling special orders takes a special skill set, and that he'd just lost one that day. Tuttle said he's talked to other owners who are struggling with the same challenge. "Your employees are your business."

Tuttle, who's keeping his chin up, said he got into the business when he returned from 30 years in the Marines to care for his ailing father in 1998 and started helping his mother out at the Chalet. He started bussing tables and washing dishes, both duties he still pitches in with at the remaining restaurant, where he works daily. “I still do that now, whenever they need help,” he said. “I’m either really good at it or really bad and they keep training me.”


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