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Secrets of SoHum 

Eating your way from Rio Dell to Shelter Cove

click to enlarge A Milanesa torta from the Patron Kitchen.

Photo by Amy Ogle

A Milanesa torta from the Patron Kitchen.

As someone who travels almost weekly between Northern and Southern Humboldt, I can tell you that, to the naked eye, it may seem like somewhat of a food desert. You leave the metropolis of Fortuna and slowly enter a redwood hallway with mysterious turnoffs and avenues. Always considering what the next snack will be, I take pride in knowing where to snag a quick bite. Coffee is also essential to my journey. Locally sourced produce is a huge plus.

So take a drive with me from Rio Dell to Shelter Cove. Take the scenic route and some suggested side trips, bring your appetite and enjoy the views. The trip is better suited for two people because two stomachs are better than one. Got Spotify? I've created a Secrets of SoHum playlist for your enjoyment.

Lety's Kitchen and Coffee (128 Wildwood Ave., Rio Dell)

A sweet little drive thru for breakfast and snacks. I haven't had the full menu but I do hear good things. This is my stop for a solid breakfast burrito when I'm in a hurry. Get the hot salsa.

The Patron Kitchen (70 B Wildwood Ave., Rio Dell)

You can access this place through the storefront, or while you're having a beverage next door at Mingo's Sports Bar. This is a place you go for tortas like the Milanesa. Save half for later by the river.

Side trip: Humboldt Redwood Co. Fisheries Exhibit at Scotia is a nice place to stop on the way back north. On a hot day, escape into the oasis and zone out for a bit in a nice, cool place to stretch your legs and see some Chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

Flood Plain Produce Farm Stand (30873-30901 Avenue of the Giants, Scotia)

At the peak of summer, this farm stand is a super must. The produce, the views, the blackberry popsicles! It feels like I'm handing you a real gem of information here. Find it off the avenue near Redcrest — the sweet farmers alone will keep you coming back.

Myers Flat Saloon (12939 Avenue of the Giants, Myers Flat)

This is an institution, a moment frozen in time. Affectionately referred to as Meager's Bar, Myers Flat Saloon is always a welcome stop. It's got a great juke box and friendly bartenders.

Side trip: Wander down to Block & Tackle Vintage while in Myers Flat. Big plans to expand lay ahead for this sweet little store.

Chimney Tree Grill (1111 Avenue of the Giants, Phillipsville)

Why does this place bring me so much joy? It could be the round building, the solid burger that you get to dress yourself and the historic Chimney Tree all in one place.

Plus there's often live music, right off the Avenue.

Lost Coast Market (867 Redwood Drive, Suite A, Garberville)

If you only go to one place in Garberville, go here. The main menu is solid but always keep an eye on the rotating specials board. Lotus root and rice bowl? Garlic ginger shrimp inari? Flavor dreams come true at Lost Coast Market. Pro tip: If the kitchen is out of fresh shawarma, you can grab one in the cold case at the gas station

Amillia's (443 Melville Road, Garberville)

Do not sleep on Amillia's. While there are many things to love about this place, the passion for sourcing local produce is why I eat here. Rotating menu, lots of grab and go and fresh pastries.

Cecil's Night at Benbow Historic Inn (445 Lake Benbow Drive, Garberville)

If you are staying in or around Benbow on a Tuesday, it's Cecil's Night, when chef Cecil Stanfill brings back the old-school flavors of his former New Orleans-style bistro in Garberville (RIP).

Home Cooking and Bloom (47 Briceland Thorn Road, Redway)

Home Cooking is Redway's answer for grab-and-go food. Locally sourcing much of its produce, the shop is known for take-and-bake pizza. I'm also a sucker for its sandwiches. Bloom is a summer pop-up at the location featuring raw and vegan treats. The spring rolls and raw cheesecake are my go-to summer on the road treats. Call ahead for quick pick-up. 

New Harris General Store (5720 Bell Springs Road, Garberville)

Operating now for more than 25 years, this quaint little general store provides its dwindling community with organic produce and witchy apothecary. It's highly regarded for its backyard barbecue to support the local volunteer fire department. 

Side trip: If you need to escape the heat while you're (way) out there, check out the pool at the historic Heartwood Institute. If you need to escape the cold, the sauna and hot tub are also available with a day pass ($20/day).

J Café (inside Whitethorn Construction, 545 Shelter Cove Road, Whitethorn)

At this point, you will probably need a pick-me-up. This surprise addition to the Whitethorn community has proven to be such an essential business. Excellent breakfast sandwiches, pastries (gluten free options, as well) and soup. Fogline Coffee sweetens the deal. Southern Humboldt loves its soup.

Delgada Pizza (205 Wave Drive, Whitethorn)

For people who live in Shelter Cove, this is our most reliable source for food. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., there's a little something for everyone. My menu hack is adding ricotta and jalapeño to the breadsticks, but I also get soup most weeks. A great option is grabbing a slice for lunch and heading down to Black Sands Beach. We love you, Delgada. 

Mi Mochima Restaurant (210 Wave Drive, Whitethorn/Shelter Cove)

In my opinion, Humboldt's best restaurant. Authentic Venezuelan food in a cute A-frame with ocean views, and family- and female run to boot. The empanadas (I'm in my shrimp era) are worth the trip alone. Try the pabellón, the national dish of Venezuela, and the yucca fries. (This restaurant has limited hours and closes for winter. Plan accordingly.)

Amy Ogle (she/her) is a local food enthusiast who splits her time between Blue Lake and Shelter Cove, where she invites you to end your SoHum adventure with a cocktail and the view from her bar, Mario's Marina Bar (533 Machi Road).

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