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berkeley to mendocino, mendocino to fort bragg

annibananie | Jan 30, 200602:55 PM

Got helpful tips on our drive from Berkeley to Mendocino and our time in Mendocino and wanted to return the favor and report back.

Stopped en route at Healdsburg. Downtown Bakery, to die for. Fig newton (which we've had at the Ferry Bld and liked) was a whole other level of fabulous at the bakery itself. Lunch at the Jimtown Store disappointing over all. Chili and mushroom soup good--even very good--but not great. My husband's sandwich--prosciutto, fig jam, and blue cheese--had too many over-powering and competing tastes. And the service--we waited and waited. After a long while, the server motioned my husband to the cash register to pay (we were at that point kind of pacing about) and she asked him how our food was. He told her we were still waiting. It wasn't as if we'd ordered some complex and elaborate meal that would have taken ages to prepare and plate. And as much as the other tourists milling around us were raving about the little store, it was too cute for me. Cynical Berkeley-ite or East-coast-er or both.

Mendocino is not a great food town, imo. Ranges from escargot w/ fois gras garnish, topped with truffle oil to tempeh burgers. But it was the Wine and Crab Week, and we had a very good steamed crab and crab cakes and clam chowder at Sharon's in Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg (avoid all her elaborately cooked and sauced fish--someone should tell her to do more simple grilling--there's such a need for that up there). I like the natural food store in an old church in Mendocino w/ good natural food fare (bread,cheese, organic produce). Harvest Market in Fort Bragg is pretty upscale--but I was able to pick up some nice local products--local honey from blackberry bushes, Gowan's unsweetened Gravenstein Apple Sauce (a bit over-processed) from the orchard you pass on the drive up, mayhaw jelly with the Harvest Market label.

The chocolate shop on the main drag in Mendocino had good dark chocolate almond bark, a very pretty white chocolate over fresh raspberries slab, a neat and thin chocolate peanut butter bar. The jam store down the promenade, Menodocino Jams, had great boysenberry jam and loganberry jam.

And the cookbook to buy, available at the Mendocino bookstore, the natural food store, and the Scharffenberer Winery on 128 (for a couple bucks less than the bookstore, $12 rather than $14): a salsa book, bi-lingual, English and Spanish--written by Mexican-American women in Anderson Valley, enrolled in an English class, who brought into class as an assignment a salsa recipe in Spanish and English and a little information about themselves. Great project (there's also a video available) and great recipes!

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