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What's Good: Familiar Sandwiches, New Burritos 

click to enlarge A sweet and spicy, Chinese-inspired shrimp and mango burrito from El Fogón Costeño.

Photo by Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

A sweet and spicy, Chinese-inspired shrimp and mango burrito from El Fogón Costeño.

Sandwiches Past and Present at Grotto

You've likely had your last dollop of blue-green Chicago relish in Humboldt for a while, as Chicago Dog House has left the building — specifically the one formerly occupied by Deo's in Henderson Center (428 Grotto St., Eureka). But the spot didn't remain vacant long. Paula Harris has lately opened Grotto there, with a stacked list of sandwiches and wraps.

There are specialties of the house, like the hot roast beef and cheddar Cowboy with barbecue sauce on sourdough, with onion, lettuce and tomato, as well as basics like a BLT and a turkey club. Then there are nods to the shop's lineage, like Carrie's Italian sub, a version of the hefty salami, pepperoni, ham, capicola, prosciutto and provolone sandwich with pepperoncini, lettuce, tomato and oil that won a following at Chicago Dog House.

The Deo's throwbacks, like Deo's Poor Boy and Deo's Italian Hogie, are sentimental favorites for Harris, who worked at the counter back when it was shuttling sandwiches through the window to the bar at Dave's Place next door. Some things have a way of coming back. 

El Fogón Costeño's Bright Ideas, Big Flavors

Slow down on Myrtle Avenue, both in the name of safety and so you don't miss the little red El Fogón Costeño truck — decorated with a pastoral image of burrito-eating bears — tucked in the Chevron station (1679 Myrtle Ave.). Enrique Buenrostro, who originally hails from Acapulco, Mexico, has run his truck out of Fortuna for a couple of years and recently relocated to Eureka. (Not cool keeping this from the rest of the class, Fortuna.) Most of the menu falls under burrito, torta or burger, but the standouts are his maximalist specialties. 

The Cubana, Buenrostro's take on the classic kitchen-sink sandwich, stacks grilled hot dog, ham and pork grilled to a browned patty with pinto beans and chorizo, as well as lettuce, tomato, pickled jalapeño, American cheese and mozzarella, all bravely held together by a soft roll. The crisped patty is a nice touch and adds some interest even in a sandwich with so much going on.

The Acapulco vibe comes out in a pair of shrimp burritos of Buenrostro's devising: the Costeño and the mango habanero. In the creamy Costeño, smoky California and árbol chile oil adds heat to grilled shrimp, green bell peppers and onions, white rice, sour cream and a little mayo. The mango habanero shrimp burrito, which has a little honey in its mango sauce, is inspired by his love of Chinese food, and reminiscent of a spicy sweet and sour with green and red peppers and thick tiles of grilled bacon. The rice and soft flour tortilla make a valiant effort to soak up the sauce but watch your shirt. Unless you're a bear. Then do what you want, I guess.

Share your tips about What's Good with Jennifer Fumiko Cahill (she/her), arts and features editor at the Journal. Reach her at 442-1400, extension 320, or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @JFumikoCahill.

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About The Author

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the arts and features editor of the North Coast Journal. She won the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s 2020 Best Food Writing Award and the 2019 California News Publisher's Association award for Best Writing.

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