just returned from three days on the far north coast, mostly in the trinidad/arcata/blue lake area, and boy was it good. weather all over the map, from perfect northern California fall mild temps and purest blue skies on sunday and monday to gray, wet and chilly tuesday.
folks who have never been as far north as eureka and its neighborhood have no idea what they're missing. it's sort of a combination of most of the cool stuff to the south: mendocino's weather and determination to preserve its past; sonoma county's agrarian orientation (although that's becoming a touch strained), with its vintner/farmers, craft dairy industry (as in great cheesemaking), and small-town restaurant culture; and, last but not least, the redwoods and rivers, and all that goes with them.
we stayed in the emerald forest inn (trinidad) again, and enjoyed it just as thoroughly this time as last, although housekeeping seemed a little looser. dinner twice at the eatery (also trinidad), and it, too was again a win: fish and chips (fresh-caught local cod) and sobon estate's (amador county for those of you not familiar) old-vine zin, which was excellent and was a nice foil for the beer batter on the fish. also dined one evening at trinidad's other seaside restaurant, which shall, because my momma told me never to say anything if you can't say something nice, go unnamed. suffice it to say that this was our second attempt to find something to love there, but once more we were unsuccessful; in fact, we were bitterly disappointed: miserable wine list, poorly-conceived and equally-as-poorly-executed menu, and inattentive service (especially for 90 bucks) left us with a resolve never to return. with us it's two strikes, not three.
in closing, a note for you wine lovers: get out and find yourself some mc nab ridge. these are apparently the current effort of the parducci family, an old-line mendocino winemaking family who have had their ups and downs, as have we all, but who have seemingly figured it out again under the guiding hand of rich parducci, whom I have never met, and whose relationship to the patriarch, john parducci, a long-ago friend of mine, I'm not yet sure. what I can tell you right now is that the 2013 chardonnay and the 2012 old vines zin "family reserve" are both excellent, and are bargains to boot, at +- $16 and $25 respectively. their website is www.mcnabridge.com. money well spent, I assure you.
enough. more in a day or so. please feel free to share this site with friends who love good wine, good food, and the wonders of northern California.