Me, Sher, and Ad

Me, Sher, and Ad
Bro Adam and sis Sher, my rocks!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Epicurean Vacation: Part I

The best vacations leave you with incredible memories. Usually those memories are of places and things seen. Vistas, views, people seen, artwork, shows, treasure found and bought, and evenings out make up the memories most often associated with a great holiday away! My trip in June with my sister Sheryl out to Arcata, California, to see my Dad and my stepmom Martha was no exception to that idea but with one major addition, the food!  My stomach growls as write this. It was truly a vacation of epicurean delights! 

We traveled out for my 41st birthday and I knew I would eat well. Martha is an incredibly accomplished cook, and a cookbook author in her own right!  She has cowritten a wonderful cookbook, Locally Delicious: Recipes and Resources for eating on the North Coast with 5 of her good friends. The ladies call themselves the Heirloom Tomatoes with each having tomato names reflective of their personalities. Martha is the Jersey Devil Tomato!  A link about the cookbook can be found here at Eureka Books, in Eureka, CA.

In no particular order, I enjoyed the following epicurean delights!

Northern California, specifically Humboldt County, California, prides itself on it's locally grown food products and well as the freshest seafood one can imagine! My trip included two meals at a well known Japanese restaurant in Eureka named Bayfront Restaurant which ironically is also known for serving some of the best Italian cuisine in the area!  Being on the West Coast right by the Pacific, I chose the sushi to get a sampling of some of the freshest available. My first lunch with Dad included probably the best Miso soup with tofu and seaweed that I have ever bad, dragon roll with shrimp tempura, and a luncheon plate of several sushi: BBQ eel, octopus, yellow tail tuna, red snapper, egg over sushi rice, shrimp, and salmon. We downed our meal with traditional green tea and Kirin Ichiban Japanese beer. My second lunch at Bayfront Restaurant was with Martha and Sheryl. We dined on more miso soup with tofu and seaweed, soft shell tempura, salted roasted edamame, gnocchi with salmon, and chicken teriyaki with sushi roll. Of course I just had to pair my meal with more Kirin Ichiban Japanese beer! That meal was just as good!

The day Sheryl arrived (we flew out on different days), we went to lunch to a favorite spot overlooking the coast in the small seaside town of Trinidad. I dined on fish-n-chips with freshly caught rock cod. The fish was so fresh, firm, flaky, with a mild flavor. Trinidad is located above the North Coast Harbor and has spectacular cliffs and beaches with rocky outcroppings perfect for long walks. Tidal pools are abundant from the crashing surf and tides.

That was not the only way I was able to enjoy the rock cod though! Martha sauteed up cod cheeks one evening for dinner. They were SO tender! She paired them with a red cabbage salad with crisped pancetta and currants dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Breakfasts were also epicurean delight!  Martha served up the simplest poached eggs with a gourmet hand. On the side was a homemade pear cranberry compote, rhubarb orange marmalade, and her own spiced pickled watermelon rind. I didn't not think I would like the watermelon but I was sold! On another mornings, she made Ebelskivers with honey glaze. These traditional Scandinavian breakfast treats have been described online as a combination of pancakes and popovers. They are so much more though. You could eat a dozen of them and they seemed fairly easy to make. One morning, Martha indulged us with an asparagus frittata with mixed fresh vegetables and Chevre on toasted pita.

Another morning, Martha made homemade mini pancakes from a recipe from Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkley, CA , a favorite spot of hers and my fathers. And still another, she whipped up Creme Brulee French toast!  So rich and so decadent. One of my favorite breakfasts was just having coffee and a croissant at the downtown Eureka at Old Town Coffee and Chocolates while Dad was in a meeting around the corner. I enjoyed writing my blog on the netbook and people watching out of the large cafe windows. The croissant wasn't the freshest, but the Italian roast coffee was so warming on a foggy morning.

Next up, an Epicurean Vacation: Part II .... dinners!

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