Saturday, October 20, 2007

Places to eat in Mendocino

I finally have some time to write a bit today. I've been wanting to list some of the great places my husband and I ate at a couple of weekends ago in Mendocino County.
Obviously from my last post you can see we had dinner at the Ledford House and found it to be a great place to eat. If I get the chance, I will definitely eat there again. The next morning we found a little restaurant in the town of Mendocino called Bayview Cafe'. It was upstairs on Main Street and has a great view of the bay, just as the name implies. The menu wasn't fancy, but the eggs florentine I had was excellent. John had eggs benedict and really enjoyed them. I never got a chance to get a bite of his food, so I'll have to take his word for it. Mendocino, being a tourist town, provided some great people watching while we ate, when it was possible to take your eyes off of the view outside. It's such a pretty little town. (if you go to Bayview Cafe' be aware that they do not take credit or debit cards. Cash or check only)

After lunch we went out to Point Cabrillo Light house and walked breakfast off. We enjoyed checking out the historical light keepers house and were surprised to see that it was possible to stay in one of the restored houses. They are in the process of restoring a third building which will probably be available for lodging in the future. After that we headed north to Fort Bragg to explore. On our way we ran on to the little town of Casper celebrating their Abalone Festival. The urge to stop dissipated as we drove through and saw the lack of parking and the masses of people. We also knew that only "judges" were allowed to eat the abalone. I really didn't feel like going to an abalone festival where I can't eat abalone. So we continued on to Fort Bragg.

John drove around scoping out all of the taqueria's in town so he'll be able to try them out next time he's in town for work. Hopefully I'll get to try a few out too. We ended up driving down to Noyo Harbor and checked out the local color. We decided to go to Silvers at the Warf and have a couple of cocktails. We ended up ordering fried calamari and oysters on the half shell. Yum! The calamari was great, but the oysters were amazing. They were so fresh, they tasted like the ocean smells on a clear breezy day on the Pacific Northwest. They didn't need a sauce, but the one provided was delicious. It was sweet, but with a heat that showed up a few seconds after swallowing the oyster. It had an Asian flavor to it, and would be great with shrimp. I definitely want to come back to Silvers for dinner. Oh, and the bartender makes a great bloody mary.

By evening John was feeling bloated and not so hot after so much rich food. We ended up eating at the Mendocino Hotel in Mendocino. We just had soup and starters, but I very much enjoyed my dinner. I had a french onion soup and John had the clam chowder. He enjoyed it, in spite of not feeling all that well. He ordered a ceasar salad, but didn't feel well enough to eat it. Next I had the Napoleon of Ahi Tuna Tartare which was chopped and mixed with a sweet sauce and served on top of crisp won ton's with cucumbers and a siracha emulsion. Nicely presented and very good. I also ordered their California Artisanal Cheese Plate. I wasn't too impressed with this. First of all no one told me what kind of cheese I was being served. I figured out that one was a Chevre, and the other some type of blue cheese. There was a hard cheese with peppercorns in it. I think it was a sheep cheese and it resembled a mild parmesan. These were served in two very large triangles, which seemed odd. There were basic water crackers, chutney, and fruit on the plate as well. I would have preferred crisp baguette with the soft cheeses. I was too full to eat much, and decided it was good enough to take back to our room for a midnight snack. What most impressed me about the Mendocino Hotel was the craftsman style decor. A very pretty place and the food and service is good enough that I would be happy to come back and try a full dinner, but I'll skip the cheese plate next time.

The next morning before heading home, we had to try one more place. We went back to Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg and found a tiny little restaurant, right on the water called Chapter and Moon. We were greeted (if you can call it that) by a grumpy looking old man, who looked like he was tired out from busting knee caps for the mob the night before. He handed us a one page menu with 3 items on it. Egg's cooked any way you like with your choice of meat, which included bacon, sausage and ham. There was also French toast, and Omelet of the day. Uncle Guido informed us that the omelet of the day was, "a sausage omelet with some other stuff in it. You know, like peppers and things." Well all righty then! He did get around to asking us if we would like coffee, which we were pleasantly surprised to be served a very strong, dark and delicious cup of joe. I assume other beverages were available because I saw customers drinking tea, orange juice and other juices. They also appeared to have a bar of some kind. Well, we went for the sausage and stuff omelet and were not disappointed. The eggs were light and fluffy. Cooked perfectly. The sausage tasted like it was home made and I liked that the omelet wasn't loaded down with a ton of cheese. There were no peppers in it, but there were carmelized onions and tomatoes. The hash browns were unusual and very good. They were more like tiny little fries, cooked to a perfect crisp and they were light and crunchy in your mouth. Other than Uncle Guido, who actually added to the charm of the place in his disturbing demeanor, the service was excellent. It turns out that the chef is locally very well known from working in several of the great restaurants in the area and decided to start her own restaurant. She bakes all of her own bread for the meals, and the sourdough toast we had with breakfast was yummy. I would loved to come back to this place and try one of the pulled pork sandwiches I saw on the lunch menu. I highly recommend this place. Especially to people who have a hard time deciding what to have for breakfast. Your options are limited, so it's easy to decide, and you can bet whatever you order is going to be good.

So there you have it. A fun and food filled weekend. And I actually managed to not gain a single pound through it all! Woo Hoo!

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