MENDOCINO Co., 4/20/23 – After a miserable winter it’s so exciting to see spring in full effect across Mendocino County. I recently enjoyed a sunny 70 degree afternoon in Ukiah with a friend, where we enjoyed lunch at Super Chavez Market (1420 S. State St., (707) 468-1625). Sitting in the sun at picnic tables out front of the market’s taqueria, located in an old pool hall, we chowed down on carnitas and carne asada on handmade tacos topped with spicy salsa verde and rich guacamole. Exceptional is the only way I can describe the tacos, truly crafted with love and the best I’ve had in the county thus far.
Next, we headed over to Ukiah Valley Golf Course (599 Park Blvd., (707) 467-2832) where we ordered drinks and relaxed on the patio watching golfers tee up at the first hole. The course’s Clubhouse Café, which is open to the public, has a full bar and also serves beer, wine and nonalcoholic beverages. But we weren’t there for the golf or the cocktails, we were there for one of the best kept secrets in town: the meatballs. The menu has sandwiches, soups, hot dogs, chili and its signature meatballs. While you can order the meatballs as a sub, I like them a la carte. A small order has six meatballs in marinara. As we tucked into a bowl of meatballs to the yells of “fore!” in the distance, I was transported to my Italian-American grandma’s meatballs: like hers, the Café’s medium-sized meatballs were perfectly seasoned and cooked, the marinara was smooth and garlicky, and the dried oregano on top added an herbaceous touch. A truly delicious, spring day of dining in Ukiah.
The Inn at Newport Ranch brings Patrick Meany on as executive chef
The Inn at Newport Ranch, a luxury resort just north of Fort Bragg on Highway 1, hired Patrick Meany as its new executive chef. Meany owned and operated Stone and Embers at the Madrones in Anderson Valley, which showcased Meany’s preferred cooking technique: open fire. After closing Stone and Embers, Meany worked at the Michelin-starred Harbor House in Elk for three years, where he furthered his skills through the restaurant’s sea-to-table ethos. His resume also includes Thomas Keller’s Michelin-starred Per Se in New York and Bouchon in Yountville.
Meany is introducing a new culinary program to the Ranch, which currently only offers breakfast and happy hour to its guests. The program will focus on live fire cooking, foraged ingredients, and fermented foods sourced from the Ranch’s gardens and local farms. The over 2,200-acre Ranch is home to a herd of sustainably raised cattle. Meany will use his open fire techniques to serve Ranch-raised beef and locally sourced seafood during family-style suppers and via a tasting menu starting in May. There is one caveat: you’ll have to pony up for a night’s stay, as Meany’s offerings are only available to Ranch guests. theinnatnewportranch.com.
Sage House Restaurant opens at Coyote Valley Casino
Coyote Valley Casino’s Sage House Restaurant opens this weekend. Sage House offers a more elevated experience than Angelina’s Grill, the casino’s three-meal casual restaurant; Sage House specializes in USDA Prime steaks and casual American cuisine. Highlights on the Sage House menu include the chicken apple walnut salad with feta cheese ($16.95), BBQ St. Louis pork ribs ($21.95/$31.95), pan-seared salmon with a green salad, mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables ($28.95), 14 oz. boneless rib eye ($34.95), 12 oz. New York strip ($32.95) and the casino’s new signature Coyote Burger, a 6 oz. beef patty served on a Schat’s Bakery brioche bun with all the fixings ($15.95). Local wines are also offered. Sage House Restaurant is open Friday and Saturday 5 to 9 p.m., Coyote Valley Casino, 77 Coyote Valley Blvd., Redwood Valley, (707) 485-0700, coyotevalleycasino.com.
Anderson Valley featured in the San Francisco Chronicle
Nine articles were published in the San Francisco Chronicle this week about Anderson Valley, centered around the valley’s 40th anniversary as an American Viticultural Area. Writer Jess Lander calls the area an “undiscovered wine region [that is an] affordable alternative to Napa Valley.” Lander hopes the articles “will provide a comprehensive snapshot of the charming, yet complicated, Anderson Valley wine country.” One of the articles covers the complex relationship that Anderson Valley residents have with tourism. Other articles include the Chronicle’s favorite wineries, Pennyroyal Farm, the decline of Riesling and Gewurztraminer in the valley, Boonville Barn Collective, Allan Green’s canned wine collection, Disco Ranch, Wendling Vineyard’s all-female vineyard crew, and the Boontling language. Find the articles here.
Food Runners celebrates its five-year anniversary with free delivery
Fort Bragg’s homegrown food delivery company, Food Runners, is celebrating its five-year anniversary this month. To celebrate, it’s offering users free delivery on all orders through April 30. “We want to sincerely thank all our customers for the love and support shown throughout the years,” the company shared on Facebook, “five years of serving our local community means the world to us, and we can’t wait to see what the next five hold.” Visit foodrunners.net to learn more.
Pasta dinner and sauce competition to benefit school field trips for Point Arena youth, April 21
Point Arena’s Pacific Community Charter School is hosting a fundraiser dinner on Friday Apr. 21 to raise money for spring field trips of high school and K-8 students. The school is serving pasta, bread and salad topped with locally made sauces as part of a competition for the best pasta sauce. Anyone can enter the competition. Pasta sauces must be homemade; vegetarian or meat sauce; tomato-, cream- or pesto-based; and a half-gallon minimum must be made. Sauce submissions must be brought to the school the night before in a slow cooker. Sauce contestants can register here. Dinner is $10 for children and $20 for adults. Desserts and beverages will be available for a donation. It’s free to enter the contest. Contact Jen Ketring at [email protected] or (707) 353-0143 for more information.
Meet adoptable animals and drink local wine in Redwood Valley, April 22
BARRA of Mendocino is teaming up with the Humane Society of Inland Mendocino County for Wags & Wine. The family-friendly event offers guests a chance to meet adoptable cats and dogs, taste organically farmed BARRA wines, and enjoy pizza and salads from Slam Dunk Pizza. Guests that make a donation to the Humane Society will receive a seedling plant in honor of Earth Day. Saturday, April 22, All ages, 12 to 3 p.m., 7051 N. State St., Redwood Valley, (707) 485-0322, barraofmendocino.com.
Caspar Fourth Sunday Breakfast, April 23
Chef Heather King will prepare an organic, locally sourced breakfast with proceeds benefiting the Caspar Community Center. This month’s menu includes frittata Florentine ($15); asparagus with poached egg and lemon hollandaise ($15); biscuits and gravy ($14); a brown rice bowl with veggies and ginger tofu ($15); ricotta waffles with lemon curd ($11); greek yogurt parfaits ($11) and more. Sunday, April 23, 9 to 11 a.m., Caspar Community Center, 15051 Caspar Rd., Caspar, (707) 964-4997, casparcommons.org.
Tickets on sale for 25th annual Boonville Beer Festival, April 29
Over 80 breweries and cideries will serve liquid gold to thousands of festival-goers with the goal of raising money for local nonprofits. There will also be live music, food vendors and local craft and art vendors. Learn more here.
Tickets on sale for 24th annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival, May 19-21
Anderson Valley Wines hosts its annual weekend of all things Anderson Valley pinot noir. The weekend features over 50 wineries from Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties that craft pinot noir, sparkling wine, and rosé made with Anderson Valley fruit. The weekend includes a grand tasting; winery open houses; tasting seminars with winemakers; barbecue party; silent auction; food pairings and more. Tickets range from $75 to $150. Learn more here.
April register round-ups support the Willits Kids Club and Community Care
For the month of March, shoppers at Mariposa Market in Willits can round-up their purchases at the register to support the Willits Kids Club, an afterschool program that provides a “safe place for the children of Willits to play, learn and grow.” 500 S. Main St, Willits, (707) 459-9630, mariposamarket.com.
Shoppers at Ukiah Natural Foods in Ukiah can round-up their purchase at the register to support Community Care, which provides “affordable, competent help to enable people with disabilities or illnesses continue to live independently at home.” 721 S. State St., Ukiah, (707) 462-4778, ukiahcoop.com.
Small but equally important updates
Rhody’s Garden Café at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is open for the season. The café sources from the Botanical Gardens’ onsite organic vegetable garden and offers soups, salads, sandwiches, desserts, daily specials, drinks, and Cowlick’s Ice Cream. Gluten-free and vegetarian options available. The café is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 18220 N. Hwy 1., Fort Bragg, (707) 964-4352 x 20, gardenbythesea.org.
The Bird Cafe & Supper club in Point Arena is open for Taco Tuesdays and Oyster Wednesdays each week from 4 to 8 p.m. Dine-in and take-out is available, including at the Sign of the Whale Bar. No reservations allowed. 190 Main St., Point Arena, (707) 882-1600, restaurantji.com.
The Rollerville Cafe (22900 Hwy 1, Point Arena, (707) 882-2077) reopens on Fri. April 21 after a three-week break. Sweet Lucy’s Cakes in Ukiah is closed for vacation through April 24. They are taking orders for June at sweetlucyscakes.com.
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.