MENDOCINO Co., 3/2/23 – This month is National Noodle Month. I know there is a special day or month for everything at this point, but noodles are pretty special. It’s appropriate that noodles have a place on the non-official calendar to celebrate them, especially in a day and age of low-carb diets that try to convince us that “zoodles” (zucchinis cut into long noodle shapes) really are as satisfying as the real thing. (Sorry zoodles, you lose!) Noodles are one of the best comfort foods, whether served up in a bowl of chicken noodle soup when you’re under the weather or part of a hot bowl of pho garnished with fresh bean sprouts, cilantro and scallions.
When craving a big bowl of comfort noodles, one of my favorite spots in Mendocino County is D’Aurelios & Sons in Fort Bragg. It’s a casual, family-owned strip mall pizzeria where I recently tucked into a giant plate of rotini noodles topped with shrimp sauteed in garlic and herbs and finished with white wine and tossed in sharp and salty Romano cheese. Paired with D’Aurelios’ famous bread, a side salad with house Italian, and a glass of Navarro Vineyards Pinot Noir, I was a happy girl on a rainy, cold winter night. While I did not clean my plate that night, the next morning the leftover pasta made for a savory breakfast. Overnight the pasta and shrimp absorbed the garlicky sauce and tasted absolutely delicious. D’Aurelios & Sons is located at 438 S. Franklin St., Fort Bragg, (707) 964-4227.
Do you have a favorite noodle dish whether made at home or at a local restaurant in Mendocino County? Leave a comment below!
New restaurant open in Fort Bragg: Dijon Seafood & Grill
Downtown Fort Bragg gained a new casual, full-service restaurant last month: Dijon Seafood & Grill. The restaurant is located upstairs at the Company Store building where the Bistro used to be located. Diners can enjoy fresh seafood, Spanish-style tapas, salads, steaks and vegan entrees while overlooking State Route 1 and historic Fort Bragg through large glass windows.
While I’ve yet to dine at Dijon, reviews are positive from Fort Bragg foodies on social media. Raves are coming in about the filling seafood chowder, perfectly battered fish and chips, juicy John Ford Ranch beef burgers, crispy calamari strips and tender Spanish octopus. Dijon serves beer and wine and also offers a nice selection of non-alcoholic drinks by posh beverage brands Fentimans, Bundaberg, and Dry. Dijon Seafood & Grill is open Mon-Sat 12-8 p.m. upstairs at the Company Store. The restaurant has an elevator for accessibility. 300 CA-1, Fort Bragg, (707) 409-5062.
Vinny’s or Bear’s Pizza? Here’s the deal on the name.
In other Fort Bragg food news, pizza enthusiasts may have noticed that Vinny’s Pizza is now Bear’s Pizza. Or is it vice versa? The name has been a state of confusion for local pizza lovers. A Google search for “Bear’s Pizza Fort Bragg” brings up vinnyspizzafortbragg.com, a Yelp page for Vinny’s, a Google Reviews page for Vinny’s, even the locally operated Fort Bragg Restaurants website reports it’s Vinny’s Pizza. Suffice to say…even I’m confused now.
To clear up the situation, Bear’s Pizza owner Eric Poos posted in Ron’s Restaurant Reviews this week, a Facebook group where foodies post their thoughts about local restaurants. According to Poos, he and his wife, Christina, purchased Vinny’s Pizza four years ago and recently changed the name to better reflect the restaurant’s new ownership and rebranding. The new name also helps differentiate the pizzeria from others with similar names. To no surprise, there are other pizzerias in the country called Vinny’s. As a result, the Fort Bragg Vinny’s frequently received orders from Lake Tahoe, El Segundo, and yes, even Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Another reason to change the name? “I really do get tired of everyone assuming my name is Vinny,” wrote Poos.
Bear’s Pizza offers Vinny’s same menu of pizzas, wings, pastas, and a pizza and salad buffet for those who like a little bit of everything at meal time. Bear’s is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, including dine-in, take out, and delivery. 111C Boatyard Dr., Fort Bragg, (707) 961-0580.
Do you own an air fryer? It might be recalled for starting fires.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, the federal regulator of consumer safety, issued a recall for Cosori Air Fryers because a wire connection in the air fryers can overheat and start fires. According to the commission, over 200 Cosori Air Fryers across the United States and Canada have caught on fire and burned, melted, overheated and smoked. The air fryer meltdowns caused 10 minor injuries and 23 reports of property damage. It’s likely you may have a Cosori Air Fryer, given it’s one of the top rated air fryers in the country. Even the New York Times has praised the Cosori, naming it one of the best air fryers on the market.
If you own a Cosori Air Fryer, visit this link to check the model number and see if it has been recalled. If so, you are eligible for a free replacement air fryer or other product from Cosori, no proof of purchase needed. I actually bought one on Amazon two years ago and received an email that the product was eligible for replacement, so Amazon buyers check your inbox.
New prix-fixe menu at Stock Farm in Hopland
Stock Farm, the hip family-friendly farm-to-table restaurant in Hopland, offers two menus, including a seasonal menu of salads, appetizers and wood-fired pizzas, and a prix-fixe menu that changes regularly. The restaurant just launched its new four-course prix-fixe menu. First course is a crispy polenta with creamy gorgonzola and apple slices; second course is a lemon orzo salad; third course is pork marsala with roasted asparagus and potato puree; and dessert is a blood orange panna cotta. The menu is $65 per person or $85 with a Campovida wine pairing. 13441 US-101, Hopland, (707) 744-1977, stockfarmhopland.com.
St. Patrick’s Day raffle benefits food bank in Laytonville
Harwood Park is sponsoring a St. Patrick’s Day raffle with all proceeds benefiting the Laytonville Food Bank. Winners score $500, $250 and $100 Visa gift cards, Guinness beer and Jameson whiskey. Tickets are available at Harwood Memorial Park, Park N Take It Liquors, and Friends Coffee Shop.
Mariposa Market supports the Willits Center for the Arts with its March register round-ups
For the month of March, shoppers at Mariposa Market in Willits can round-up their purchases at the register to support the Willits Center for the Arts. The round-up amount will be donated to the nonprofit art center. 500 S. Main St, Willits, (707) 459-9630, mariposamarket.com.
Tickets on sale for 3rd annual Battle of the Bloody Marys in Little River, March 12
Bloody Mary fans will not want to miss the Battle of the Bloody Marys at the Little River Inn. The event pits amateur and professional mixologists against each other with the hopes of their cocktail winning Best Bloody Mary in Mendocino County. Attendees taste their way through each cocktail and vote for their favorite. Proceeds from the event benefit MendoParks. Tickets are $75. 21 and over. Learn more and buy tickets here.
Small — but equally important — news bites
Ft. Bragg’s Los Gallitos celebrates its 27th anniversary this week. Happy Anniversary! U Top It, the popular frozen yogurt shop in Ukiah, is offering self-serve froyo again! Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s taproom is now open seven days a week. Additionally, Moonberry Mendocino in Fort Bragg has expanded its hours and is now open at 8:30 a.m. for breakfast Monday through Friday. The cafe offers fresh brewed coffee, smoothies, bagels, avocado toast, and other morsels to get your day started.
Colombi’s Market in Fort Bragg is closed for building repairs. Owners anticipate reopening by mid-March, if not sooner. The laundromat remains open. The Ledford House is on break and will reopen March 15.
Have food or drink news you’d like me to consider for inclusion in my weekly news round-ups? Email me at [email protected].
Note: Sarah Stierch covers food, beverage, culture, weather and breaking news for The Mendocino Voice. Contact Stierch at [email protected]. The Voice maintains editorial control.