Jim Hughes, Brick and Fire Bistro

Sitting down at the Brick and Fire Bistro and looking at the menu is like sitting in my kitchen and imagining what I’m going to make for dinner.  Using fresh veggies from the garden or the farmers market rules the majority of “what’s for dinner” at my house — and it is also true at Brick and Fire Bistro.

The first time I went to that location, when it was in one of the many incarnations before it became the rock-solid Brick and Fire — I couldn’t believe there was a restaurant in that part of town.  I’m used to finding restaurants next to shops in the most dense commercial spaces of the city (any city, not just Eureka) — but Brick and Fire is a neighborhood bistro.  A place within walking distance of many residences — and short driving distance for the rest of us.  And — they have a brick oven!

You can check out the menu of Brick and Fire on their website, and listen to the 2-part interviews with owner Jim Hughes. Part 1     Part 2

Cafe Phoenix, Conny Pena and Breon Hole

I know this is going to seem strange, but I rarely go out to eat.  Sure, I shop local, I grow a lot of food, I process local food for long-term storage so I can eat local all year long — but I just don’t go out to restaurants much.

Mostly the problem with eating out is expense – Living simply just doesn’t allow for a lot of expensive habits…and the other part of that is, I’ve found that we can cook great food at home for a much more affordable price.

So, now that I’ve said that — I have a group of former co-workers (from the Public Health Department at the County — we call ourselves Pubbies) and we meet for lunch once a month.  Hallelujah! someone recommended we eat at Cafe Phoenix and I had been wanting to try it out because, while I don’t normally interview restaurant owners, Conny Pena and Breon Hole have created a farm to table menu and are working hard to source local.

I can honestly say I have never seen such lovely works of food art as that which was delivered to our table. Check them out below!  To listen  Cafe Phoenix

To go to their Facebook Page

Cafe Phoenix (7) Cafe Phoenix (5) Cafe Phoenix (4) Cafe Phoenix (3)  Cafe Phoenix (1)

Cris Hollen, Folie Douce

Folie Douce — translated by some to be Magnificent Obsession — is a restaurant that has not only been using local produce in the menu, but has been describing them in great detail…even before the word locavore was commonly used in every day conversations.  Cris has a passion for gardening and farming so you know that she cares about where the food comes from.

How do I know Folie Douce?  well…in my previous life I had a job in Arcata and would walk by the restaurant.  You can see the kitchen from the window on the street, lovely balls of dough proof in the warmth of the day right before your very eyes — waiting to make the pizza upon which I gauge all of my home-made pizzas.  The kind where the crust is not just holding up the ingredients but is a taste treat itself — and the ingredients are highlighted in their own way — never the gooey mozzarella that hangs in sheets and would stretch to the door and back.  Always a fine display of excellent quality ingredients that each have their own intense and beautiful flavors to be enjoyed on their own.   Gad, can you tell I haven’t had lunch yet today?  And I do love a well made pizza!

With all restaurants that serve locally sourced food, compliment them on that when you order — otherwise how would they know you care?  Check out their website or Listen here!


Joe and Lorrena Filgas, Cafe Nooner

With a name like Cafe Nooner, you have to expect a wink wink, nudge nudge — but talking to Joe and Lorrena Filgas we find that this next generation has no idea what we are talking about — both with the idea of a “nooner” and what the heck wink wink, nudge nudge means.  When they bought the restaurant they had full intentions of changing the name — but as it turns out, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.  And so Cafe Nooner soon spawned a Cafe Nooner 2 down in Hendersen Center — and when Food Network star Guy Fieri returned to his home town to record a local version of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, one of his stops was right here at Cafe Nooner.

I can personally vouch for many of the items on the menu — however my favorite are the burgers.  Be sure to stop in and let them know…there are still those of us who know what a “nooner” is…!

Cafe Nooner Website

Part 1 Interview

Part 2 Interview

Requa Inn, Thomas Wortman

When I travel, I try really hard to eat food that is produced in that place.  I want my experience traveling to involve all of my senses including taste — and Thomas Wortman agrees.  As a member of the Yurok tribe and Chef at the Requa Inn, Thomas is working hard to give people a taste of the foods that people have eaten in this region since time essentially began for them.  Yurok people are river people, the salmon has been essential to survival — but there are also other food you might not be as familiar with.  Acorns, seaweed, greens, tubers — the real terroir of Requa, the place where the Klamath River met the ocean.  Enjoy the regional foods in the comfort and cozyness of the Requa Inn!  To hear Thomas talk about the passion of cooking, listen here.

Lighthouse Cafe and Humboldt Homemade

I have definitely watched enough of the Foodnetwork to have swooned at the sight of Humboldt Homemade on the Arcata Plaza last summer at the Farmers Market.  The sight of Humboldtians slowly consuming a simple pleasure that would have proudly appeared on the national network — a savory cone (rosemary I found out later), stuffed with mashed potatoes, beef brisket, and topped with gravy.  Really?  Seriously?  Heavenly?  YES!

I finally had the chance to visit the restaurant owned by Sherry and Chuck Vanderpool — the Lighthouse Cafe.  I had been to the site many times over the past 10 years, but it had been many restaurants during that time.

It is located in the parking area in front of the grocery store in Trinidad — you know the one.  And I found that they had expanded the dining area since I’d last been there.  Nice!  I was a little worried since I went up there for a field trip with Engineer Jessica Eden…and it was sort of drizzly outside…so when I pulled up was happy to see that there was a larger dining area (last time I’d been there, the indoor dining was 2 small tables for two).

My “cone” arrived in a sweet little metal stand that held it upright while I devoured it — ah yes, if you get it at the Lighthouse Cafe you can get bacon on it too…which I did…surprise surprise!

So here is the deal so you don’t get confused.  Sherry and Chuck own the Lighthouse Cafe, as well as Humboldt Homemade (which sells homecooked meals which are frozen and delivered to your home) — and when you see the booth at the Farmers Market in Arcata — that is also Humboldt Homemade.  Have I confused you? — Then I guess you will have to take a field trip too.

Listen to the interview or check out the website for Humboldt Homemade Meals and if you are a Facebook fan — check out Lighthouse Cafe Trinidad.

Nature’s Serving: World Food Fast

Food trucks are all the rage — spend any time watching the Food Network and you will see that every kind of gourmet food is served up from within the confines of a moveable feast — literally on wheels.  In Humboldt County there are food trucks — however most of them don’t really move — I know, the irony of it all.  Well, Leira Satloff, owner of Nature’s Serving: World Food Fast is doing it up right — right here in Humboldt.

Leira is offering Mediterranean inspired food, locally sourced, and located wherever she parks.  She even has plans to grow a lot of the food on her own property, especially the greens which — if you can’t grow greens year-round in Humboldt, you should give up your shovel.  Listen to the interview with Leira, or check out her website.

La Trattoria, Patricia Cambianica and Jim Becker

Patricia and Jim own and operate LaTrattoria in Sunnybrae — they feature lots of locally produced food with seasonal menus that follow the supply of local produce.  Northern Italian in the winter and Southern Italian in the Summer — and always as much as possible from Humboldt County farmers!

Click here to listen to an interview, or check out their website!

Beachcomber Cafes

Jackie Keegan, Alice Vasterling, and Melissa Zarp are the owners of Beachcomber 1 (in Trinidad) and Beachcomber 2 (formerly Hank’s in SunnyBrae.  The three are dedicated to running  sustainable coffee shops which have a No-Paper Cup policy — to hear more about how they started their business and why their T-shirts say “I was incredibly inconvenienced at the Beachcomber Cafe…and I Loved it” listen here!

Bless My Soul Cafe

Marie Janisse Wilkins, owner of Bless My Soul Cafe, talks about her start in the catering business following a movie career in which she was a dancer — appearing in movies and TV.  We are happy that she settled in Humboldt County and is still preparing her delicious fusion meals for us in both her cafe and through her catering business.  To listen to the interview, click here.

To find out more about Bless My Soul cafe, go to the website.

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