Anyone heading up to the Eureka/Trinidad area should take the time to drive to Orick to eat at the Orick Valley Restaurant, the sign on the door still says Pine Valley Restaurant, and the overhead sign says "Restaurant." The owner/chef is Mahmoud Shaheen and the food is so good that the only thing I can say is; You know how you go to a restaurant and order something that's so good that you keep ordering the same thing everytime? Well, this isn't that place. You want to order something different everytime, and everyone sits around talking about the last time they went there and the first time they went there.
People sit around stuffed and keep talking about the food.
I"ve heard people talk about stopping by on a chance because Rolf's was closed or the Larrupin was busy. After paying the check, they spend the next 5 minutes talking with Mahmoud.
Mahmoud uses fresh local produce, fish and meat. He has cuisine specialty nights, such as Moroccan, Chinese, French, Italian, you name it. The desserts are killer.
His cooking balances flavors, spices, and temperatures. The menu is limited, but it lets him use the best in-season ingredients.
He works the kitchen by himself and there's a high school girl who works out front. She isn't a waiter exactly, but the food is so good that the waiter just seems like a family member helping out. She is friendly enough though.
Prices are pretty much in the $10-15 range. We had a group of 20, we cleaned out the refrigerator, had 5 bottles of wine, and the bill was $350 including tax and wine. I'm not sure how big the wine list is, but it seems to be sold at price without a corkage charge.
The Mediterranean plate will lay you out, homemade hummus. The strawberry shortcake will make you forget your grandmother's. The salmon in reduction sauce swirls around in your mouth like it's swimming upstream. Friends who are beef eaters tell me that the beef is the best they've ever had.
I could go on. Like for instance, the sweet potato, saffron bread he made for Thanksgiving.