MENDOCINO Co., 11/6/22 – The rainy season is officially here in Mendocino County. It’s a great time to gather with friends at local restaurants or to start putting the final touches on your family’s Thanksgiving menu. Here’s the latest food and dining news throughout the county.
Ukiah’s La Cocina celebrates its one-year anniversary
The hip Ukiah Mexican restaurant, La Cocina, celebrates its one year anniversary this week. It’s an art-filled modern restaurant with a large menu and a bar featuring Mexican beers, Micheladas, and sake-based margaritas served in traditional Mexican glassware.
La Cocina is a three-meal restaurant offering breakfast (get the french toast!), lunch and dinner. Outside breakfast, you’ll find three dishes that aren’t commonly found in Mexican restaurants in Mendocino County: octopus tacos, potato tacos, and a burrito chile relleno (an egg battered and fried cheese-filled pasilla pepper stuffed into a tortilla with rice, beans and salsa — a.k.a. a burrito with a fried pepper inside).
I recently visited La Cocina for lunch on a weekday, where local workers grabbed take-out and hospitality workers on their day off lounged drinking Micheladas. I indulged in the enchiladas rojas – three chicken enchiladas with homemade guajillo sauce, melted cheese, sour cream, rice and refried beans – one of the most popular menu items per the server. The shredded chicken enchiladas were flavorful, moist, dressed perfectly in salsa, and absolutely delicious. My lunch was served with complimentary chips and salsa and a glamorous side of Selena’s “La Caracha” on the stereo. To wrap it up, the restaurant was neat, tidy and the service was friendly and attentive. Open daily until 9 p.m., (707) 621-9122, 1212 Airport Blvd, Ukiah.
New restaurant coming to Willits
Brown’s Corner will become the new hot spot in Willits when a new restaurant and bar opens in early 2023: the Munchery. The soon-to-open establishment is described as “full-service casual and fine dining” where families are welcome and dog owners can enjoy their canine companion’s company on the patio.
While we’d love a sneak peak at the menu, the Munchery drops a few hints — dishes will feature seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients, and the offerings will include vegan and vegetarian options. And it’s not just the food we’re curious about – the Munchery will have a full liquor license paired with a craft cocktail program.
The news of the future opening created excitement on social media, where Willits residents rejoiced for a new, modern dining experience. Janet Rodriguez, owner of the Baechtel Creek Inn & Spa, which is located down the street from Brown’s Corner, shared on Facebook, “Great for our guests at the hotels and us locals alike!” The Munchery will be located at 1797 S. Main St., Willits.
Black Oak Coffee Roasters launches a new tea line
Black Oak isn’t just for coffee anymore! The Ukiah-based coffee company and shop has launched a new line of premium artisan teas from around the world. The line features seven loose leaf teas, including Earl Grey, chamomile lemongrass, green, matcha, and more. Many of the teas are sourced from a surprising place: Germany. Learn more here.
Tuesday family meals are back at this beloved Italian restaurant
For the first time since the pandemic pulled the plug on communal dining back in March 2020, Cucina Verona’s Tuesday family style dinner is back. Every Tuesday, the family-owned Italian restaurant offers a filling three-course meal. This week’s upcoming menu included minestrone soup and salad, spaghetti marinara, and short ribs with polenta and braised red chard. Cucina Verona also offers its regular menu. The family dinner is offered from 5-9 p.m. every Tuesday and is $22 per adult and $11 for children 12 and under. (707) 964-6844, 124 E. Laurel St., Fort Bragg.
Learn how to start your own food truck, November 9
Thinking about starting your own food truck? Or perhaps you’re curious about the world of food trucks? “Food Trucks: Taking it On the Road” will offer an insider restaurant owner’s take on how to start a food truck and make it a success. The online session is hosted by the West Business Development Center and will be presented by Julia Siderakis, a local business consultant with over 30 years of restaurant and culinary experience, and Stephanie Duncan, owner and operator of Slam Dunk Pizza. Free, 3-4 p.m., online Zoom webinar, learn more here.
Drive-through tri-tip dinner to support Willits High School Boosters, November 12
Tickets are on sale for a drive-through fundraiser to support the Willits High School Boosters. Each ticket includes a prepared hot meal for four comprising tri-tip by Smokin D’s & Big G’s BBQ, baked potatoes, a Caesar salad, cookies by Simple Desserts, bread by Emmendal, and flowers by Annette. Tickets required, $65, pickup between 4-6 p.m., Willits High School Ag Farm, Willits, Saturday, November 12. Contact [email protected] to buy tickets.
Volunteers needed for the 26th annual Community Thanksgiving Meal in Fort Bragg
The First Presbyterian Church of Fort Bragg is seeking volunteers to help with its annual free Thanksgiving meal distribution. The church is looking for volunteers to help with food preparation, cleanup, traffic control during meal pickup, and delivery drivers. Sign up here.
Small – but equally important – news bites
The Ledford House in Albion is open again after a fall break.
Silver’s at the Wharf, in Noyo Harbor, has new winter hours: Lunch daily 12-4 p.m., dinner Sunday-Thursday 5-8:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 5-9 p.m. Mariposa Market in Willits has new winter hours. The grocery is now open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m with the deli open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mariposa Market is open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the deli open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Leggett Valley Redwood Mercantile also launched its new winter hours. The store closes at 6 p.m. nightly. Paysanne in Boonville is open on Saturdays and Sundays with fresh baked bread available every Saturday at 11:30 a.m.
Have food or drink news you’d like me to consider for inclusion in my weekly news round-ups? Email me at [email protected].