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Saturday, December 24, 2022

Food Trucks and World Central Kitchen to the Rescue

Posted By on Sat, Dec 24, 2022 at 2:41 PM

Three-year-old Leilani Valverde held a partly unwrapped burrito sideways in both hands, took a bite out of the middle and came up smiling. According to her father, Christian Valverde, who brought her with him to the Rio Dell fire department Thursday morning, it was her first hot meal in two days, ever since a 6.4 magnitude earthquake near Ferndale knocked out power and water to their home.

Three-year-old Leilani Valverde has a burrito sponsored by World Central Kitchen in Rio Dell. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Three-year-old Leilani Valverde has a burrito sponsored by World Central Kitchen in Rio Dell.

Following the Dec. 20 temblor, chef José Andréas’ international relief organization World Central Kitchen mobilized quickly to feed residents without access to food, water and other utilities. Because power and water were up and running in other parts of the county, the nonprofit, which responds to humanitarian disasters all over the world, did not need to set up whole mobile kitchens. Instead, it reached out to deploy a local resource that was ready to help: food trucks. By the end of the day Dec. 21, they’d served an estimated 1,700 meals.

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'Guy's Hometown: From Ferndale to Flavortown' to Air

Posted By on Sat, Dec 24, 2022 at 9:39 AM

 It's a Humboldt-heavy month at the Food Network. First it was Big Island Kine's feature on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and now a special Guy's Hometown: From Ferndale to Flavortown episode is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. on Dec. 30. Many fair-goers will recall Fieri's crew hauling cameras and equipment around the Humboldt County Fairgrounds, where they filmed the special this past summer. It showcases a couple more local businesses, including Big Island Kine and Fry Burger, Fieri's barbecue lunch for veterans and first responders, and his hosting of the Humboldt County Fair's Chili Cook-off.  
Guy Fieri and his crew filming at his free barbecue lunch for veterans and first responders during the Humboldt County Fair this past summer. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Guy Fieri and his crew filming at his free barbecue lunch for veterans and first responders during the Humboldt County Fair this past summer.


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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Sugar Bear's Holiday Spirit

Posted By on Wed, Nov 24, 2021 at 11:16 AM

We did not expect to get hit with Sugar Bear fever but here we are. The victory lap the 84-foot-tall tree took around the county as it made its way from its home in the Six Rivers National Forest to Washington, D.C., where it will serve as the Capitol Christmas tree, won it some fans.
The Sugar Bear edition of Little River Gin by Humboldt Craft Spirits. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • The Sugar Bear edition of Little River Gin by Humboldt Craft Spirits.
Thirsty tree huggers can now sip craft gin distilled with actual boughs from the famous fir, while aiding a good cause. Humboldt Craft Spirits is releasing a Sugar Bear edition of its Little River Gin. The bottles, which can be found at local retailers, bear little signs around their necks denoting their lineage from the limbs of our county's evergreen holiday ambassador to the Capitol and the $1 donation each one scores for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Logger Bar Reopening Cut Short by COVID Numbers

Posted By on Tue, Aug 3, 2021 at 12:12 PM

Well, crap. After a brief and much anticipated reopening, the Logger Bar, Blue Lake's iconic watering hole, has shut its doors once again. Owner Kate Martin, who'd closed the bar for more than a year and put it up for sale, spoke with the Journal last month about the additional outdoor seating she hoped would help keep customers safe with COVID-19 still circulating and much of the county still unvaccinated.

In her Facebook post, Martin says how "deeply wonderful" the last three weeks of being open have been. "However, due to the sharp increase of Covid-19 cases in Humboldt County it no longer feels in the best interest of our community to stay open at this time." (See the full post below.) That increase yielded a single-day record of 69 confirmed new cases on Friday, July 30, and a test-positivity rate of 10.1 percent for the month of July, the highest for any month since the pandemic began.

Over the phone, Martin, who is vaccinated herself and has been getting tested weekly, says she knows vaccinated people who've fallen ill with so-called breakthrough cases of COVID-19. Serving only outside, she says, isn't worth it financially and it's impractical to require masks indoors for people who are drinking. Martin adds that she has people in her life with medical issues that make them particularly vulnerable. "I don't want to have to choose between running my business and spending time with my family."

For her, says Martin, especially in a community like Blue Lake with so many older residents, being open doesn't feel right. But she's hopeful about reopening if and when Humboldt's COVID-19 infection numbers go down. Hopefully, she says, it won't be another year. We'll drink to that.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Love for Local Restaurants

Posted By on Tue, Jul 13, 2021 at 10:55 AM

Restaurants and their workers helped get us through the last year. The Journal wants to hear about the ones closest to your heart and share your appreciation in the upcoming Menu of Menus. Shout out your gratitude, letting us know which restaurant meant the most to you with a brief explanation of why in the comments or by emailing jennifer@northcoastjournal.com, and it might end up in print. So, Humboldt, who do you love?

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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Esteban's Reopens in Arcata

Posted By on Sat, Mar 20, 2021 at 10:33 AM

After closing briefly upon of the death of its locally beloved proprietor Esteban Gonzales, Esteban's is open once again. His wife, Francisca Gonzales, reopened the tiny Mexican institution on March 4 with help from her nephew Luis Cilveron. Esteban was hospitalized in December of 2020 with COVID-19 and, despite the virus having left his system weeks later, succumbed to pneumonia in January of 2021. According to him, the family used the funds donated by community members to pay for Esteban's funeral and to reopen the restaurant.
An ofrenda for Esteban Gonzales. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • An ofrenda for Esteban Gonzales.
"She is the one who puts all the flavor in the food — she is the one," says Cilveron. That flavor, in the pastor burrito and its deep orange rice, for example, remains the same as when he stirred the pots in the side kitchen and passed food across the tiny counter. "She's working hard to keep the legacy of Esteban, with the food the way he want it." But it's not always emotionally easy.

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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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Friday, January 15, 2021

Blue Room Lounge Closes

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2021 at 6:52 AM

Garberville lost a stalwart watering hole on Sunday when the Blue Room Lounge announced on Facebook it had poured its last cocktail. The bar's owner did not respond to messages from the Journal but patrons replied to the post with their lamentations. 

It is the start of a new year but the end of an era. We are heartbroken to inform you that the Blue Room has had its...

Posted by Blue Room Lounge on Sunday, January 10, 2021


Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all bars not serving food are currently closed in Humboldt County, which is now in the state's purple "widespread" risk tier
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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Eating in the Purple Tier

Posted By on Wed, Jan 13, 2021 at 5:16 PM

On Tuesday, the state moved Humboldt County back into the purple "widespread" tier. Some of the restrictions under the state's highest risk tier have shifted over the course of the pandemic, so here's a rundown of what's allowed at eating and drinking establishments under current conditions.
The dining room at the Sea Grill, where indoor dining ends after tonight. - PHOTO BY THOMAS LAL
  • Photo by Thomas Lal
  • The dining room at the Sea Grill, where indoor dining ends after tonight.
Bars that don't serve food must remain closed. Indoor dining is closed, while outdoor dining is allowed with modifications. Those modifications include spacing outdoor tables at least 6 feet apart (measured from the back of a chair at one table to the back of a chair at the next table) and, if using a tent, only closing one side. Takeout and delivery are still allowed.

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