Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Fresh Takes at Fregoso's

Posted By on Wed, Dec 19, 2018 at 3:33 PM

Octopus and aguachile at Fregoso's. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Octopus and aguachile at Fregoso's.
So long, Savory. Hola, Fregosos Comida Mexicana (1504 G St., Arcata). In November, Savory's owners, who also own the Fregoso Market across from the Arcata North Coast Co-op, made the switch with a bright coat of paint, a fully Mexican menu and a new name in the same location across from Stars Hamburgers in Arcata's Northtown.
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Those in thrall to the queso fresco-stuffed chile relleno served in a bubbling molcajete ($12) will be happy to learn it's still on the menu, along with a side of homemade corn tortillas, whole pinto beans and saffron risotto. The Mason jars of house made horchata, with telltale sediment and deep vanilla and cinnamon flavor deserves an equal following ($3.50). Branch out for the octopus and aguachile ($14), a bright tumble of seeded cucumbers, yellow tomatoes, radish, red onion, fresh jalapeño and cilantro with thinly sliced octopus and shrimp in a chile lime marinade. It's possibly the only salad you can lord over your companions in a Mexican restaurant. The aguachile also comes with a handful of crispy wontons, which you have missed at Chinese restaurants, whether or not you can admit it.
A fresh, minty take on tres leches cake. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • A fresh, minty take on tres leches cake.
It also leaves room for two desserts worth your gastronomic real estate. The tres leches cake ($6) is a light sponge soaked in its namesakes — condensed milk, evaporated milk and cream — and updated with a fresh mint syrup. Its polar opposite is the thick, alabaster flan ($6). You may marvel equally at its intense caramel flavor and the richness of the custard, which offers your spoon more resistance than the typical flan. And if you do order both desserts for yourself, I'm happy to report your server won't blink. That is service.
A thick flan for caramel fans. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • A thick flan for caramel fans.
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Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Cafe is Done but Bless My Soul is Still Catering

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 5:17 PM

Chef and owner Marie "Sweet Mama" Janisse. - FILE
  • File
  • Chef and owner Marie "Sweet Mama" Janisse.

If you've driven past Bless My Soul Cafe, you may have peeped the "for lease" sign in the window. The Creole restaurant, which was featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, closed its doors in September but is still catering and operating as a private party venue for now. Owner and chef Marie "Sweet Mama" Janisse says the combination of staffing issues and a drop in business she links to the hit the cannabis economy has taken led her and her daughter Desiree Janisse to shutter the dining room. 

"I had maybe 20, 25 people that were loyal customers but other than that," says Marie Janisse with a dry laugh. She says problems with staffing led to long workdays that were taking a physical toll. "It was me and my daughter carrying the whole weight of the restaurant cooking and serving, and it was killing us both."

Janisse says the Bless My Soul line of sauces are still in production and she has a private holiday party gig this weekend, so she's still working but has no plans to reopen. If you're jonesing for a chafing dish of her mac and cheese, the catering line is 362-1518.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Waffling in Rio Dell

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 3:42 PM

The cream cheese and blackberry jammy Blackout. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • The cream cheese and blackberry jammy Blackout.

Pull up to the Root 101 Nursery (770 Wildwood Ave., Rio Dell) and instead of soil you may smell waffles. Tucked in the corner of the shop is the Wildwood Waffles counter, behind which steams a trio of busy waffle irons.

Puffed, crisp and cakey, the waffles come straight off the cast iron and are folded around a bevy of fillings you may need time to consider. The Blackout ($5) is a good start, slathered with cream cheese and blackberry jam from Mad River Farms. A flurry of powdered sugar finishes it off but the finished product is not terribly sweet and exactly as melty as you hope. For another $2, toss on bacon strips and hit all the food groups.

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Toni's is Fancy Now

Posted By on Sat, Nov 24, 2018 at 5:36 PM

The pastry case at Toni's is the glass shrine the pies, brownies and cupcakes deserve. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • The pastry case at Toni's is the glass shrine the pies, brownies and cupcakes deserve.
Toni's has had work done. In the weeks you spent driving past its empty parking lot, afraid the closure of the one spot in Arcata that was always open might be forever, the truck stop swapped out its humble decor for glass, stainless steel and enough barn wood to make an actual barn.

On a pre-Thanksgiving visit to Toni's 24-hour Restaurant (1901 Heindon Road), there was a bit of a pile-up at the counter, where customers in line to order and pick up heavy pans of berry cobbler backed up into folks coming in the door. Credit cards are now accepted so if cash on hand was the only thing that was holding you back from the comically long list of shake flavors, beware.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Last-minute Thanksgiving Recipes

Posted By on Wed, Nov 21, 2018 at 7:01 PM

Sweet potato pie that will make you question your loyalty to pumpkin. - PHOTO BY ANDREA JUAREZ
  • Photo by Andrea Juarez
  • Sweet potato pie that will make you question your loyalty to pumpkin.
Whether you had grand plans for the holiday meal or you're flying by the seat of your chef's pants, these Thanksgiving-ready recipes might come in handy.

Stuck for sides? Nothing could be more fitting than a soup of acorns, a traditional indigenous food staple. Stuffed acorn squash is a winner and even works as a main dish for a vegetarian table. Or give the meal some color with a persimmon-spiked salad (don't worry, it's butter lettuce, not Romaine). You could add dash to your mash with a Belgian version of the beloved mashed potatoes with carrots and leeks. If you've got vegans at the table, whip up a butternut and broccoli soup everyone will love.

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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Meant to Brie

Posted By on Sun, Nov 18, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Brie and blueberry pancakes, where have you been all my life? - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Brie and blueberry pancakes, where have you been all my life?

Artful charcuterie boards spilling over with brie and fruit are the ephemeral mandalas of the food world. Brie and berry jam show up together on fancy grilled cheese and burger menus all the time. And you can't shimmy a buckwheat crepe out of a pan without someone tossing a slab of brie onto it. So why has it taken so long for brie to show up in my pancakes? I speak here in terms of both the breadth of history and my own flapjack-consuming career, which is long and storied.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Candy House: See's Returns to Henderson Center

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 3:28 PM

Judy Hartman, poised to hook you up with almond clusters. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Judy Hartman, poised to hook you up with almond clusters.

Are you finally out of Halloween candy? It's going to be OK. The See's Candy once available next door to the American Cancer Society Discovery Shop in Henderson Center is back after a brief residency blocks away and it's got its own little candy house in the corner.

The kiosk, the exterior of which mimics a black and white See's Candy shop (and the interior of which is a 3D map of my id), is stocked with peanut brittle, assorted chocolate boxes, butterscotch lollipops and all manner of sweets. Proceeds go to the See's Community Fund and the Breast Health Project, as well as the American Cancer Society. Funds pay for patient transportation and lodging among other expenses associated with cancer treatment, right down to bras and wigs.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Uber Eats Comes to Eureka

Posted By on Tue, Oct 30, 2018 at 1:13 PM

From Uber Eats' how-to video. - YOUTUBE
  • YouTube
  • From Uber Eats' how-to video.
Prepare to be disrupted, Humboldt. Uber Eats, the app-driven food delivery service that aims to serve 70 percent of the U.S. by the end of the year, has come to Eureka. As of 7:30 a.m. today, folks in Lodi, Yuba City, Redding, Chico, Visalia and Eureka are able to order from participating restaurants. Depending on where you're at, the app shows a handful of local options: Tandoori Bites Indian Cuisine, Ultimate Yogurt Eureka and Arcata, Diver Bar and Grill, Humboldt Bay Provisions, Stars Hamburgers in Arcata and Savory Grill and Cafe among them. Delivery fees, again according to your location, add roughly $3.49-$6.99 to your bill. Uber's transportation services became available in Humboldt in March of 2017.
A milkshake delivered from Ultimate Yogurt to the Journal office via Uber Eats. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • A milkshake delivered from Ultimate Yogurt to the Journal office via Uber Eats.


We ordered a pumpkin spice milkshake from the Eureka Ultimate Yogurt (listen, I will not be shamed over that flavor because cinnamon, ginger and cloves are goddamn delicious, so stop pretending you're too cool for it) to try it out. It was delivered in 25 minutes and still plenty cold by Katie Bisson, a technician at Humboldt Medical Eye Associates who drives for Uber on her lunch and one of her days off. For her trouble, Uber paid her about $4 along with the in-app tip we tossed on. "I drive a Prius, so the mileage is good. Otherwise I might not do it," she said. Bisson's been driving people around Humboldt since March but this was her first milkshake transpo.

See Uber Eats' full press release and snappy how-to video below.

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Dulce Bistro Closed for Now

Posted By on Sun, Oct 28, 2018 at 3:25 PM

Dulce's closed doors. - PHOTO BY CASSIE CURATOLO
  • Photo by Cassie Curatolo
  • Dulce's closed doors.

If you swung by the closed Dulce Bistro in Eureka this week, you might be wondering if the restaurant, which opened July 31, is shutting down for good. Well, apparently not. While there's no sign in the window, no mention of the closure on Dulce's Facebook page and no answer at the phone number, manager Antonio Lopez assures us it's just temporary. In an email reply to the Journal, he stated only, "We are making some functionality changes inside. Not permanently closed." Lopez did not specify a timeline for reopening so don't plan on brunch too soon. 
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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Boat to Table

Posted By on Sat, Oct 27, 2018 at 9:24 AM

The Scrimshaw’s catch at Arcata Pizza and Deli. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • The Scrimshaw’s catch at Arcata Pizza and Deli.

Long have we enjoyed the hefty sandwiches and stacked, house-ground burgers at Arcata Pizza and Deli. They’re almost enough to hinder exploring the rest of chalkboard menu. And, OK, maybe rolling in late at night, a little worse for wear, you weren’t in the mood to experiment with the seafood.

Let your gaze drop to the “Hook & Line” board with the big fish on top. The owners of APD are also the captains of a pair of fishing boats, the Scrimshaw and the Markit 8, the fruits of which arrive weekly on the board and in fried fillets via little red, paper-lined baskets from the kitchen.

The local lingcod fish and chips ($16) came courtesy of the Scrimshaw this week. The delicately panko-crusted fillets break open to steamy, tender, white fish that is lovely with just a squeeze of lemon or one of the two accompanying sauces: a sweet, tangy citrus aioli or a traditional tartar sauce. U.K. natives will sigh over the lack of batter and wedge-cut potatoes, but given our refusal to follow your spelling conventions, isn’t this rather a small thing? Let yourself enjoy a haystack of skinny fries that are as close as you can get to fast food (in the best way) without that one friend making you watch a documentary on factory farming again. Trust us, this is better.
A modest cup of excellent clam chowder. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • A modest cup of excellent clam chowder.
If you still have room in your boat, the clam chowder ($3.80 cup, $7 bowl) will make you forget about the goopy business you can stand a spoon in. Instead, it’s none-too salty and full of skin-on potatoes and decidedly un-canny clams with a little white wine whisked into the cream.
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