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Restaurants & Bars 6

Fort Bragg Idyll

Jennie Sheeks | Aug 19, 200212:58 PM

After complaining that I wasn’t going to get a vacation this summer, a friend offered her vacation home in Fort Bragg. I spent several blissful days reading, studying, walking on the beach and enjoying rare perfect weather on the Mendocino Coast. I ate most of my meals at the house, but did venture out into Fort Bragg for a few meals. I never even got down to Mendocino.

At the north end of town, Jenny’s Giant Burgers serves up greasy, salty cooked to order burgers in a tiny space with counter stools and booths. Nothing fancy, but they use red onions (you can get ‘em raw or grilled) and you can ask for extra cheese on your cheeseburger. The fries were the frozen kind – nothing to write home about. I didn’t try the shakes, but I think they’re from a machine, not made to order. The burgers come in two sizes, giant (about 1/3 pound before cooking) and regular. I couldn’t help it, I ate here twice.

At the end of Noyo Harbor is Sharon’s by the Sea, a funky but cute little shack with 8 tables and a deck on the water with another 8 or so tables. Everything is made from scratch, cooked to order. I ordered fish and chips and a bowl of clam chowder. The fish was fresh and firm and meaty, the batter a bit thin (I like it thicker), but just barely greasy (which I like). The tartar sauce was homemade with fresh dill. The chips were just that, slices of potato with skin still on that had just been fried. Delicious, but the clam chowder was the star. Creamy, salty but not too salty, viscous but not gluey or pasty, nice chunks of potato, morsels of clam, and pieces of bacon. I could have licked the bowl. Washed it all down with a glass of a localish Sauvignon Blanc blend. They do have a nice, short list of inexpensive Mendocino wines and beers. I probably would have eaten here every day if I hadn’t finally gotten down here on my last day. Ok, I can’t write about it anymore, or I’ll be really mad and frustrated because that chowder is nearly 3 hours away.

Downtown is Cowlicks, serving house made ice cream. It was hard to bypass the ginger, but I did in favor of a double scoop of Coffee and Black Forest. The latter was a deep chocolate perfumed with cherry liqueur and chunks of chocolate. The former was a nice creamy balance of coffee and sweet flavors. Just plain good ice cream.

For grocery shopping, Harvest Market in the Boatyard Shopping Center at the south end of town is the place to go. Beautiful meat and fish, amazing fresh, real tasting vegetables with a good selection of organic vegetables that look like someone who just had too much in their own garden came to the back door of the store and dumped them off.

I was curious about the Thai place in the crazy green shack near Safeway, but never got to it. My friend said it was just as well, because it’s “not fit to eat at”. She suggested that next time I to the Harbor Restaurant (right next to Sharon’s at the Noyo Harbor) for Thai, even though they don’t advertise as a Thai place. There was also an Indian place, Sanraat (near the crazy green shack) that I wanted to try but just never got to. Oh well, just an excuse to go back again soon!

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