MENDOCINO Co., 2/9/23 – After a break in January, I’m excited to return with the first Mendocino Flavors column of 2023! While I did not make a New Year’s resolution, one of my goal’s this year is to eat and drink more delicious things from small businesses countywide. I hope you’ll join me in achieving that goal! Read on for the latest food and beverage news.
Los Gallitos, Artevino/Maple Creek Winery, Navarro and Husch win at fundraising competition
Mendocino Coast Clinics (MCC) annual Crab Cake Cook-Off & Wine Tasting Competition returned to Fort Bragg this past weekend. Hundreds of guests from throughout California, and as far as Colorado, chowed down on crab cakes and sipped fine wine from over 20 local restaurants and wineries.
However, the event wasn’t just a fundraiser for critical medical equipment for MCC, it was also a competition in which local chefs and winemakers battled it out for best crab cake and wine. The Professional Judges’ Choice Awards went to Big Jim for Artevino and Maple Creek Winery for best crab cakes and Navarro Vineyards for their Brut for best wine. The People’s Choice Award for Crab Cakes went to Los Gallitos Mexican Restaurant in Fort Bragg and the Husch Vineyards’ Sauvignon Blanc for best wine.
The award-winning Los Gallitos crab cakes were the brainchild of owner Margarita Valenzuela and executive chef Willy Real. The two combined their own recipes into what fundraiser attendee Jill Surdzial called “juicy and delicious.” The crab cakes were served on a bed of jicama mango slaw with a mango habanero sauce, jalapeño tartar, and finished with a light dusting of crushed Los Gallitos tortilla chips. “Crab cakes are not your regular Mexican food,” says Valenzuela, “but to live on the beautiful coast and serve fresh delicious crab cakes while incorporating traditional Mexican spices, chiles and fruits and win an award or two is fabulous!”
Pliny the Younger arrives in Mendocino County
Much to the surprise of local hopheads, bars and pubs throughout Mendocino County, from Willits to Hopland, tapped the 2023 Pliny the Younger on Wednesday, weeks before the official release at pubs owned by Russian River Brewing Company. The famous beer, produced by Russian River Brewing Company, was introduced in 2005 as the world’s first triple IPA. It’s guaranteed to sell out fast, so call your favorite pub to check (we know Hopland Tap and Shanachie Pub tapped it Wednesday) and grab yourself a glass.
Mouthwatering art on display at Lansing St. Gallery
The Lansing St. Gallery is celebrating the visual glory of food with its exhibition “Food…GLORIOUS FOOD!” The show features works by food photographer Lisa Keenan, ceramics by pastry chef turned artist Marienne Chapman, and paintings by artist and baker Melan Allen. Each artist brings her own distinct voice to the show, like a three-course dinner. Keenan’s photographs are modern, crisp, and bring out the most delicate details of eggs, tomatillos, fish and more. Chapman’s ceramic glazed donuts invoke a mouthwatering joy reminiscent of Claes Oldenburg’s soft food sculptures. Finally, for dessert, Allen’s pop art paintings of cakes, moonpies and pretzels remind us why we love to indulge. You’re guaranteed to leave hungry after you see this show. It runs now through February 26, Lansing St. Gallery, 10466 Lansing St., Mendocino, lansingstreetgallery.com.
New food truck rolls out in Anderson Valley
Anderson Valley Brewing Company recently hosted a new taco truck at the brewery’s beer park last week: BoonMex. It serves up tacos, tortas, burritos, quesadillas and quesabirria. BoonMex is based – you guessed it – in Boonville. We’ll update you when we get the scoop on this new mobile kitchen!
Early bird Thursdays returns to Cucina Verona Ristorante & Osteria
Cucina Verona relaunched its Thursday Night Early Bird Menu last week. Italian food fans can flock to the charming Fort Bragg restaurant for specially priced dinners, including prime rib with au jus, baked potato, and mashed carrots ($30), eggplant parmesan ($22), garlic roasted half chicken with thyme sherry cream, mashed potatoes, and broccoli ($22), and more. Each entree comes with a choice of salad. Reservations strongly recommended. The Thursday Night Early Bird Menu is every Thursday from 4:30-6 p.m. at Cucina Verona Ristorante & Osteria, 124 E. Laurel St., Fort Bragg, cucinaverona.com.
This is the craziest food in Mendocino County right now
Ukiah’s Antojitos Mary launched a new menu item this week: layers of grilled street corn (elotes) mixed with crushed Doritos and Hot Cheetos and cojita cheese. This new offering combines three taco truck cult foods into one spicy, savory, sweet, and possibly heartburn-inducing dish worth every calorie. You’ll find me at Antojitos Mary with this new elote dish, quesabirria, and no regrets. 676 S. Orchard Ave., Ukiah, (707) 391-2011, antojitosmary.com.
Learn how to make fire cider at the Ukiah Branch Library, February 10
Fire cider is an apple cider vinegar based folk remedy that is believed to boost one’s immune system and help with digestion. Despite selling for $15 or more dollars at local retailers across the county, it’s super easy to make — and the Ukiah Branch Library staff will teach you how to do it using famed herbalist Rosemary Gladstar’s original recipe. The library will provide the ingredients for you to make your own fire cider at home. Reservations required. (707) 463-4490, mendocinocounty.org.
Tickets on sale for Anderson Valley’s White Wine Weekend, February 18-19
Fans of white, sparkling, and rosé wine won’t want to miss Anderson Valley Wines’ annual White Wine Weekend. Attendees can journey from Yorkville to Navarro savoring handcrafted wine flights, library tastings, and food pairings from over 25 wineries. Tickets start at $85 per person, with designated driver tickets for $45 (includes food). avwines.com.
Small — but equally important — news bites
Lunch hours are back from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Friday and Saturday at Cultivo in Ukiah. Don’t miss the shrimp po’boy!
Have food or drink news you’d like me to consider for inclusion in my weekly news round-ups? Email me at [email protected].
Sarah Stierch covers food, beverage, culture and breaking news for The Mendocino Voice. Contact Stierch at [email protected]. The Voice maintains editorial control.