Friday, March 2, 2018

A Mess of Ribs

Posted By on Fri, Mar 2, 2018 at 1:48 PM

Digging into a rack of ribs. - PHOTO BY SAM ARMANINO
  • Photo by Sam Armanino
  • Digging into a rack of ribs.

If fighting over politics isn't intense enough for you, may I suggest ribs? Even within the guidelines of competition judging, our personal and regional aesthetics make the whole business like drawing from a deck of wild cards. Still, the pros will generally tell you that for competition ribs, the meat should cling lightly to the bone, tender but not slipping off by itself.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sub Conscious

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 4:59 PM

Open your mind to pastrami on your Italian sub. - PHOTO BY AMY WALDRIP
  • Photo by Amy Waldrip
  • Open your mind to pastrami on your Italian sub.

Graduations, birthdays, christenings, communions and shotgun weddings — any event worth filling the yard with folding chairs in my hometown back east meant a 6-foot-sub. Laid out on a long table would be a seemingly endless loaf of Italian bread stuffed with layers of salami, ham, pepperoni, provolone and peppers doused in oil and red wine vinegar, with shredded iceberg lettuce cascading from the sides.

You'd carefully take a geode-layered slice, supporting your paper plate with one hand underneath, and make your way to a folding chair, trying to keep your heels from sinking in the lawn. The trick was to sit at the very edge of the lawn so you could get two bites in before somebody talked to you.

Is this a thing you can get here? Almost. From the tiny bar-adjacent storefront that is Deo's Sandwich Shop (428 Grotto St.) — a location that's been turning out sandwiches for some 45 years under a handful of owners — comes a monster of a classic Italian sub, roughly the size of your head ($10). But open your mind to relatively new owner Joe Sandoval's variation: salami, pastrami, provolone, sliced tomato, pepperoncini, fistfuls of shredded lettuce, seedy mustard, mayo and balsamic vinegar (because we're fancier on this coast). The warm, spicy, smoky pastrami works with the traditional Italian flavors and the bread is more substantial and crusty than those backyard wedges. To say seating is limited is an understatement; get your sandwich to go so you can be alone with it, get those bites in before anybody talks to you.



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Saturday, February 3, 2018

Morning, Porkchop

Posted By on Sat, Feb 3, 2018 at 3:44 PM

Free your mind with chicken fried pork. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Free your mind with chicken fried pork.

So if we're willing to blur the line between breakfast and lunch, we may as well luge down the slippery slope to dinner. We're really only an order of steak and eggs away. Abandon labels and be free.

Well, at least until Cafe Waterfront (102 F St., Eureka) stops serving breakfast around 11 a.m. We got a tip chicken fried pork chop was on the specials board ($13.95) and followed it up, though to be honest it could have been chicken fried hammers and we'd still have tried it once.

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Sunday, January 28, 2018

It's All Gravy

Posted By on Sun, Jan 28, 2018 at 11:22 AM

Biscuits and andouille sausage gravy, cher. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Biscuits and andouille sausage gravy, cher.

In the interest of transparency, I would like to confess that I have been closed minded about biscuits and gravy. Haunted by a decades-ago plate at a truck stop near the border of Texas and Arkansas with payphones in the dining booths, it was hard to accept any variation on the standard dusty-topped, fluffy biscuit all but drowned in peppery, white pork sausage gravy. Only recently have I opened my heart and its attending arteries to anything else.


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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Is Brunch Dead?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 10:56 AM

A breakfast club worth joining. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • A breakfast club worth joining.
A few weeks ago, iconic pop star and holder of Champagne flutes Mariah Carey declared brunch over. On some level, she may be right. We may be done waiting in line (Mimi would never) to pay through the nose for swanky, Instagram-ready cloud eggs and a pass to day drink. But old-fashioned brunch — the big breakfast that forgives your rolling out of bed just shy of noon and gives you a pass to day drink and possibly return to said bed — will never be over.


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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Sea Change

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2017 at 1:15 PM

Hot and cold at La Patria Mariscos and Grill. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Hot and cold at La Patria Mariscos and Grill.

The stretch of Eureka's Fourth Street between T and R streets is broad-daylight sketchy. And yet two restaurants have built cult followings there: Tandoori Bites, with its lunch buffet of curries, and La Patria Mariscos and Grill (1718 Fourth St.), just a samosa's throw across the street.

A couple of years ago, Adrian and Cici Ayala took over the latter (formerly La Patria Solis), changing up the menu to include more seafood than we've seen on a local Mexican menu, which is to say it's brimming with ceviche, octopus and lots of shrimp. This raises the question: How are we not eating more Mexican seafood? Look at Mexico, already. It's surrounded by water. Some would say big water. Ocean water.


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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Pie/Cake Truce

Posted By on Sat, Dec 9, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Lemon meringue cake: a unifying force. - PHOTO BY JILLIAN BUTOLPH
  • Photo by Jillian Butolph
  • Lemon meringue cake: a unifying force.

Let us not fall into the tribal factions and false dichotomy of pie vs. cake. Really, given the fact that Boston cream pie is really cake and cheesecake — with its graham cracker crust — is more of a pie, are we not already living in a post pie-vs.-cake society? (Drag me in the comments if you want. I said what I said.)


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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mole Feelings

Posted By on Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 5:06 PM

Enchiladas mole at Tuyas. - PHOTO BY JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Enchiladas mole at Tuyas.
There are those who roll their eyes at the mention of another Mexican restaurant opening in Humboldt. And fine, I just did a quick count of around 60. Whatever. The cuisine of Mexico  contains multitudes and we have merely scraped its surface here.

The vibe at Tuyas (553 Main St., Ferndale) is modern and a little swanky, with rough-hewn meta-beams suspended from the ceiling, Andrei Hedstrom's rainbow-jubilant paintings and a feast-ready redwood table and benches. Chef Gillermo Dominguez's take on mole enchiladas is good enough to steal your attention from all that ($14). On a recent rainy afternoon, we went with the adobada pork filling, which was juicy, charred here and there, and lightened with warm chunks of pineapple. The freshly made corn tortillas, fried to a crepe-like chewiness, were cloaked in smooth, nutty chocolate sauce and a scattering of queso fresco. The dark sauce is just warmed with chilis and more creamy than smoky or bitter. It's the kind of labor-intensive dish that makes one a little sentimental: It reminds you that someone stood at a stove and cooked for you for as long as it took.


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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Hotsy Totsy

Posted By on Wed, Nov 15, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Youth and Tater Tots are wasted on the young. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Youth and Tater Tots are wasted on the young.

School cafeteria lunches don't have their bad reputation for nothing. Those of a certain age remember when ketchup was declared a vegetable and meatless Fridays meant frozen fish sticks or pale, Styrofoam-y squares of pizza. Still, did you secretly revel in those fish sticks and their accompanying tartar sauce packets? Was there shameful pleasure to be had on Sloppy Joe day even as you groaned over your Melamine tray with your classmates? Perhaps. But one staple of the hairnet set inspires unabashed nostalgia and occasional TV-adjacent binging: the Tater Tot.

Essentially cork-sized hash browns, they are a perfect frozen finger food, crisp, savory and soft. To resist a hot pan of tots is to resist the joy within your grasp. If you don't have children whose plates you can prey upon, you might be missing out on the adult enjoyment of Tater Tots.


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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Don't Drive Hangry

Posted By on Tue, Nov 7, 2017 at 10:14 AM

Left to right: The shrimp and buche tacos from Tacos El Gallo. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Left to right: The shrimp and buche tacos from Tacos El Gallo.

You wouldn't think a slick, black truck edged with flames and emblazoned with a majestic rooster in profile would be hard to find. And yet, there I was, circling the Broadway Cinema parking lot, cursing the person who'd recommended the Tacos El Gallo truck (a film reviewer who shall remain nameless and who, it turns out, drove around hangry at the coworkers who'd recommended it to him the first time he tried the tacos).


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