Skunk Train – Pudding Creek – Monday – April 29 – Mendocino, CA.

Talk about nostalgic; this train will take you back to a time when Mendocino was best known for its logging and mills. The Pudding train is a 30-minute, 7 Mile ride along The Pudding Creek Express. It goes up the Creek for 30 minutes, and then the train reverses and you wind back where you started.

Step back in time for a magical ride through the redwoods on the world-famous Skunk Train. Since 1885 the historic Skunk has made its way through old-growth redwood groves, over scenic trestle bridges, through spectacular tunnels, and into the heart of the Noyo River Estuary. Today’s riders enjoy the same pristine views that have remained largely unchanged for well over a century.

Some History – An American Legacy:

In the early 1880s, lumbermen C.R. Johnson, Calvin Stewart, and James Hunter joined together to expand timber operations in Mendocino County. By 1885 the Fort Bragg Railroad was formed to make transporting lumber easier. This would form the foundation of what would eventually become the California Western Railroad, more commonly known as The Skunk.

The train played a vital role during this time in transporting families and workers who set up the various logging camps along the route and in doing so, became an entirely different type of line. It played an important part not only in the area’s industrial life, but also in its social and cultural activities. No other logging railroad in America has made the deep impression on American life that was created by the line from Fort Bragg – first by the natural beauty of its route and later, by the distinctiveness of its equipment.

A Train Called Skunk:

The nickname “Skunk” originated in 1925, when motorcars were introduced (today sometimes referred to as railbuses or railcruisers). These single unit, self-propelled motorcars had gasoline-powered engines for power and pot-bellied stoves burning crude oil to keep the passengers warm. The combination of the fumes created a very pungent odor, and the old timers living along the line said these motorcars were like skunks, “You could smell them before you could see them.” Although the smell is now much reduced, we still like to think of ourselves as that little Skunk running through the redwoods.

Caretakers in Time:

California Western Railroad was initially operated as a division of the Fort Bragg mill (Union Lumber Company, Boise-Cascade). In the mid-1960s, Arizona-based Kyle Railways began managing the railroad and purchased it in 1987. In August 1996, a group comprised entirely of local Mendocino Coast investors purchased California Western, marking the first time in its 111-year history that the line would be operated as an independent business. Today the Skunk Train is owned and operated by Mendocino Railway.

There were lots of fun tourists on the train enjoying the full experience like I was. The conductor had some very fun stories and facts; he roves around the train and talks to all of the passengers.
It truly a nice slice of history, and be sure to check out the museum which has the miniature train set, for sure a boyhood dream of many to own and run a authentic miniature train set. I would say do the Pudding creek train, its fast ad easy and is kind of a Disneyland for adults.

Skunk Train
100 West Laurel Street
Fort Bragg, California
The Historic Skunk Train runs both in Fort Bragg & Willits, California.

* Note Some Content Was Taken Off Of Their Website.

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Lunch – May 3, 2019 – Hopland Tap and Grill – Hopland, CA.

This, is what I would call a ‘real neighborhood bar’ that also offers food; so if you’re in the mood for Burgers, fries and a good draft beer, this is your place. They have live music on Saturday nights and from what I could tell, their line up is local and very fun with a bit of blues sprinkled in for good measure.

Here’s What I tried:

Burgers and Sandwiches:

Big ‘Ol Burger, 10 oz’s of fresh ground chuck with grilled onions. The grilled onions make all the difference in the world of a nice big burger.

Yanni’s Famous Beer Brat, pork bratwurst made with California Garlic and Lagunitas Beer. The brat is packed with garlic; so don’t kiss anyone after you eat this delicious Brat.

Salads and Soups:

Classic Caesar, with romaine, croutons, parmesan, and anchovy dressing; a nice healthy alternative.

Snacks and Fries:

Housemade French Fries, cut fresh daily and fried to a crispy golden brown; delicious.

Rocky Chicken Wings, tossed with their house buffalo sauce or salt and pepper. A bit spicy but tender and moist.

Chorizo and Cheese Nachos, tortilla chips with chorizo, cheese, salsa and jalapenos; just what the doctor ordered with a big draft beer.

Fabulous Pickles, fried pickle chips with chipotle ranch dipping sauce. A novel menu item, which is good none the less.


Saracino Unoaked Chardonnay: a great chardonnay, I would pair this with the salad.

Naughty Boy Chardonnay: another amazing Chardonnay, you can pair this wine with the nachos.

They were having a memorial for their General Manager, so the place was jam-packed. You got a feel for the people in the best way possible, in honoring the General Managers life with all of his friends, family and customers.

Hopland Tap House is a cozy home pub for the local community and passersby; with the goal to become a gathering spot for a delicious bite and or pint. This is a great place where people can meet and hopefully great friendships can be made. The previous owners had closed Hopland on December 31, 2017; but when the new owners took it over, it turned into what it is today, a sensational spot for both locals and tourists.

It is a fun place with all of the local action, so be sure to stop at Hopland Tap and Grill, it’s a great way to end a trip.

Hopland Tap and Grill
13351 Highway 101
Hopland, California 95449
(707) 510-9000


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Dinner – May 2, 2019 – Luna Trattoria – Mendocino, CA.

If you are craving authentic Italian cuisine in Mendocino Village then look no further, Luna is truly the only game in town. Luna Trattoria used to be in Fort Bragg, but since Mendocino Village is pretty upscale, Owner Massimo took a leap of faith by moving to the Village. The night I was there, there was a line to get in. It is a small dining room, with a nice upstairs for dining as well. There are so many fun little design nuances; you will want to check out every nook and cranny. But the real star here is the food, it is right up there with the best Italian food anywhere.

Enjoy their delicious Northern Italian cuisine from family recipes created in Italy years ago, which are now prepared here in Mendocino. Owner Massimo says “Come to see me in Mendocino, a trip to Italy without a passport.” He says some tourists come in 3 times in one week because the prices are very inexpensive compared to other Mendocino restaurants.

In 2004 Massimo met his wife Marisa Ann Rey, owner of a Bed and Breakfast in Italy. He brought her back to California where she had relatives in Dana Point. Massimo worked at many Italian restaurants including Dolce in Newport Beach. Marisa decided to move to Mendocino with Massimo and start their restaurant, first in Fort Bragg and then in Mendocino. There are no other Italian restaurants in the area, so it was a no-brainer. They opened their Mendocino location in the summer of 2014.

They have fun music piped in, reminiscent of the Italian rat pack, but they also play adult rock, and the Beatles. The bar has 8 seats, which is super cozy, so you can order a full dinner while conversing with the locals.

Here’s What I Tried:


Minestrone Fresh Vegetable Soup, I can always tell what all of the food will taste like just from tasting their soup, I am in for a great treat, because the soup was spot on.

Pasta and Fagioli, bean and pasta soup. Another great Italian staple, what your Nonna would make.

Antipasto Misto, a combination of Italian cured meats and Italian cheeses. A nice array of cured meats, and Italian cheeses. The perfect way to start my glorious meal.

Funghi Ripieni, stuffed champignon mushrooms with sautéed mushrooms in olive oil and garlic, pecorino cheese, breadcrumbs and a touch of parsley. I just loved these little darlings, packed with great mushroom flavour, I would order these every time.

Homemade Pasta from Romana:

Gnocchi, authentic potato dumpling served with meat sauce, and with cream-gorgonzola cheese sauce. This is a homemade pasta dish that does not disappoint; they did mine as a combo of two sauces.

Mushroom Ravioli, these are just the perfect ravioli, with amazing mushroom flavour, and home made pasta, what a terrific dish.


Mare and Terra, a combination of grilled 8 oz. flat iron steak, 3 grilled prawns and linguine pasta in a freshly chopped tomato sauce, with garlic, parsley, and olive oil. They give you 3 shrimp and a flat iron steak over simple pasta, just amazing.


Tiramisù, with layered savoidari cookie “lady finger” dipped in coffee and mascarpone cream cheese, sprinkled with dark cocoa. This Tiramisu is so smooth and creamy, save room, it is worth it.

Panna Cotta con Amaretti, with caramel flan, and an amaretto cookie. This is a super light desert, with nice caramel flavor. I just loved it.


Chardonnay, Husch, this is a fruity Chardonnay, not so much oak, you can pair this with the shrimp, it enhances the grilled flavors.

Chardonnay, Navarro, this wine paired well with the Italian cheeses.

Primitivo (Italian Zinfandel) Vigneti Reale, I would try this wine with the mushroom ravioli, it hits all the right notes.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Husch, of course you would want to try this wine with the flat iron steak.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Bliss by Brutacao, another bold Cabernet, pair this with the stuffed mushrooms.

They use the freshest ingredients and are always creating new and delicious entrees, so their specials change nightly. They make handmade pastas and sauces, fresh bread baked daily, and desserts, like Tiramisu that will tantalize your taste buds.

Luna Trattoria does catering and they can cater your next event. Their dining area and upstairs can accommodate small to large parties. Luna is the perfect place to host: Business Meetings, Showers, Birthdays, Rehearsal Dinners, Cocktail Parties, Weddings, and After Game Events.

What can I say, just a little slice of heaven on my wonderful trip to Mendocino. Over the moon Italian Cuisine.

Hours: Tue, Wed, Thurs & Sun: 5 PM – 9 PM
Friday & Saturday: 5 PM – 10 PM
Closed Mondays

Luna Trattoria
955 Ukiah Street
Mendocino, CA 95460
(707) 962-3093

* Note Some Content Was Taken Off Of Their Website.

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Little River Inn – May 1, 2019 – Dinner – Little River, CA.

This property is pristine and lush; it’s a very elegant place to stay. The restaurant has a fun bar – Ole’s Whale Watch Bar, that overlooks the ocean and there are 2 dining rooms. You can tell that their customers know food and want to try all of the delicacies that Little River Restaurant has to offer.

Their Lodging radiates Victorian elegance, The Little River Inn perches majestically overlooking the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by inspirational views, lush gardens and dramatic coastline. The Little River Inn has graciously greeted guests for five generations and is the only family owned and operated full destination resort on the Mendocino Coast. Little River Inn’s guest rooms all feature stunning ocean views, many have fireplaces, luxurious steam showers, Jacuzzi tubs, or individual hot tubs. Dramatic and ever-changing ocean views provide a breathtaking backdrop for your stay.

My reservation was made possible by Heather Noll a publicist that works with the Inn. She was very kind to book me in for this and a few other things on my trip.

Here’s What I Tried:


Oysters on the Half Shell, shucked to order with grapefruit chile mignonette. These are super fresh and really amazing oysters.

Soups and Salads:

Fresh Steamed Clam Chowder, a traditional chowder with fresh steamed clams, smoked bacon, potatoes, onion, celery and a touch of cream. They put fresh clams in with the soup, which makes all the difference. It is one of the best chowders I have ever had.

Iceberg “Wedge” Salad, with Roundman’s bacon, tomatoes and creamy bleu cheese dressing. This salad is super crisp, simple and elegant. I would order this every time.

Caesar Salad, with garlic croutons, capers, anchovies and shaved Parmesan cheese. Another luscious salad, super fresh and great dressing.

Chef’s Entrée Specialties:

Alaskan Halibut, pan seared over saffron cous cous with toasted coconut, peanuts, cherry tomatoes, green onions, raisins and mild curry sauce. This fish was meaty and thick; with the curry sauce, it was just the perfect main dish to order.

Bouillabaisse, saffron fish stew with scallops, shrimp, clams, bassa and green lip mussels in a light saffron vegetable broth with garlic croutons. A very fragrant bouillabaisse, with very rich broth, and the fresh fish was out of this world!


Parmesan Crusted Eggplant, served over zucchini pappardelle with basil coulis parmesan and marinara sauce. A smart, healthy option that is cooked to perfection.


Olallieberry Cobbler, Cora’s original recipe baked under a butter crust, served warm topped with vanilla ice cream. This dessert is so good; you are done with it before you even know it.


La Crema – Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, 2016. A great blending of oak and cream with a perfect balance, I would try this with the oysters.

Frank Family – Chardonnay, Carneros 2015, a nice pairing with the chowder.

Merry Edwards – Pinot Noire, Russian river 2015. This wine worked for me with the eggplant, it added to the overall tomato goodness.

Steele – Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County 2015. I really like this wine with the wedge salad, it is great with the blue cheese.

About Chef Marc Dym:

Five star Chef Marc Dym was named Executive Chef at Little River Inn in 2006, after Marc and Cally (fifth-generation Innkeeper) were married. Dym brings a modern twist to the classic American-regional cuisine of Little River Inn, garnering high Zagat ratings; including the Top Food Ranking for the entire country in 2012. Prior to moving to the Mendocino Coast in 1998, Dym toured the global restaurant scene from Texas and Pennsylvania to Antigua and Zurich. His last stop before the Mendocino Coast was the posh Ritz Restaurant in Newport Beach. A chance to escape the pressures of city living lured him to this secluded stretch of the northern California coastline, which he now calls home. For Chef Dym, Little River Inn offers the best of both worlds. On the dining room menu, Dym relies on his classical Culinary Institute of America training to create dishes that are both familiar and modern.

The food here is just outstanding, a rare find with gorgeous scenery and amazing culinary delights. It is a must try for your the next trip to Mendocino.

Little River Inn
7751 CA-1
Little River, CA 95456

* Note some content was taken off of their website.

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Massage at Inn at Schoolhouse Creek and Spa, May 1, 2019, Mendocino, CA.

My massage was discounted so I would write about it for my overall story, and I was very thankful for that. Gabi Fienburgh is the Spa at Schoolhouse Creek Manager, and did my massage. Gabi did great work on me, it was very relaxing. After my massage, I was able to use the hot tub and sauna which looks out over the ocean. What an amazing time; I highly recommend this whole experience!

The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek on the beautiful Mendocino Coast provides a unique Northern California experience. Spread out over 9 acres of lush gardens, meadows and forest land, the inn offers the perfect setting to enjoy the Mendocino coast. The Inn at Schoolhouse Creek is the oldest and first historic resort on the Mendocino stretch of the Northern Coast. It’s opening coincided with the completion of the ‘Shoreline Highway’ in 1932, now Highway One.

The Spa at Schoolhouse Creek, Mendocino’s Premier Spa Experience

The Spa at Schoolhouse Creek is located in a beautiful Yurt adjacent to their ocean view hot tub. All massage and spa services include complimentary use of their hot tub and dry sauna — enjoy a relaxing soak or sauna before your treatment to warm and relax aching muscles!

Yurts have been used throughout the centuries and, based on the principles of sacred geometry; provide excellent energy and acoustics for bodywork. They pride themselves on bringing you only the highest quality, caring and professional massage therapists, who will skillfully attend to your relaxation. In all of their spa treatments, they use only the finest natural oils, herbal extracts, and natural ingredients. their products are custom blended and freshly mixed to ensure the highest potency and to eliminate the use of preservatives and stabilizers found in most commercial products.

Just an incredible experience, so peaceful, just the perfect day!

The Spa at Schoolhouse Creek
7051 North Highway 1
Mendocino, CA 95456

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Joshua Grindle Inn – Stay May 1, & May 2, 2019 – Mendocino, CA.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the 2 owners are best friends with one of my dear old friends and her husband from High school. Owners Ken and Kate Taylor moved from Groveland California back in January 2019 to re-open The Joshua Grindle Bed and Breakfast, a registered historic property. My dear friend Cindee Pieretti is good friends with the couple. When I found out where they moved from I asked if they knew Cindee and her husband. Ken and Kate were awestruck when they replied that they did, it is such a small world! What a super easy introduction to my fun stay.

Joshua Grindle History:

Kate and Ken Taylor purchased the inn in January 2019 after falling in love with Mendocino. They are former Pittsburgh (PA) residents, they have lived in California since 1994 and first-time inn owners. They have many years of experience in education, business and information technology. Before buying the Joshua Grindle Inn, Kate was a teacher/principal and currently oversees seven private elementary schools in California. Ken worked at IBM Storage Division prior to spending time at several Yosemite/Groveland area lodges.

The Joshua Grindle Inn is Mendocino’s first bed and breakfast (it opened for business in 1978). The original Victorian farmhouse was built by Joshua Grindle in 1879; after receiving the property as a gift from his new in-laws (who just happened to live on a farm directly adjacent).

Joshua Grindle Inn is situated on a knoll overlooking the town of Mendocino on California’s beautiful North Coast. Joshua Grindle Inn is 160 miles north of the Oakland Airport, 180 miles north of San Francisco International Airport, and 100 miles NW of Sonoma County Airport.

The Main House is the stately Victorian Farmhouse with a wrap around veranda featuring 5 guestrooms featuring antique furniture, each with it’s own upgraded modern bathroom. Also housed in the Main House are the Parlor (complete with historic photographs of Joshua and Alice Grindle) and a spacious dining area featuring a vintage pine table and chairs, where a delicious breakfast is served every morning.

The historic water tower is a 3-story replica of the original tower featuring 3 unique guestrooms and “widow’s walk” at it’s peak.

A “saltbox” Cypress Cottage offers two additional guestrooms shaded by giant Cypress; amidst a canapé of rhododendron.

They are within easy walking distance to the fine restaurants, shops and galleries of the historic village of Mendocino, as well as the breathtaking coastal Mendocino Headlands which makes the Joshua Grindle Inn the perfect portal for your exploration of the Mendocino Coast. Private parking lot on the premises. The inn has been through three sets of loving hands over the years and it has enjoyed an abundance of admiring guests who have felt it’s magic.

The property is so close to the town and the ocean, and my breakfast for both days was amazing. Ken makes the breakfasts, the first morning I had a great quiche; and the second day I had his famous French toast, both were simply delicious. It comes with sausage and potatoes and there is cereal and other goodies to help start your day. A real treat!

They showed me a few rooms, but I chose the Water Tower 1 room, because it was super easy to get to and you can park right outside the room. Water Tower 1 is designated as pet friendly. Light and airy with a redwood beam ceiling and lots of windows, this spacious, comfortable room rests on the first floor of the Water tower. Country pine furniture and a sitting area next to a Vermont Castings stove make this room a cozy haven. A peaceful view of cypress trees and gardens add to the feeling of complete privacy. King bed and private bath with a deep soak tub/shower.

Besides being a publicist and a writer, I also have a degree in Interior Design, so when Ken asked me to give him advice about upgrading the interiors I gladly said yes and gave him some pointers. We are still contemplating my actual doing the design work to upgrade the rooms, we shall see!!!

“This a very old homestead which has been lovingly restored without destroying the charm of the old estate. The owners are the best host and hostess I have ever encountered in a B&B. They actually treat you better than family and are truly concerned about your comfort and happiness. From the wonderful freshly baked muffins and quiche every morning to the all day coffee and tea available. We are looking forward to returning and spending more time in this quaint little town and enjoying this wonderful B & B.” – OF Wood, Spring, Texas

Joshua Grindle Inn
44800 Little Lake Rd.
Mendocino, CA 95460
p 707-937-6022 or 844-567-4474
* Some content was taken off of their website

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Dinner – 5200 – Heritage House – April 30, 2019, Mendocino CA.

Food To Match The Views: where the Pacific Ocean views are as inspiring as the fresh, local, farm-to-fork cuisine, the best wines from Mendocino County and creative, garden-to-glass libations infused with local vegetables, fruits and herbs.

5200 is Northern California dining at its best, served with uninterrupted views of the Pacific Ocean and Mendocino coastline in a casual yet sophisticated ambiance.
Highlighting ingredients sourced from nearby fields and pastures, local farms, fisheries and wineries; their cuisine celebrates the rich bounty of Mendocino County. They feature a menu, which infuses classic American specialties with innovative French flair.

While the sights and sounds of The Lounge retain a timeless, cozy charm; the drinks showcase a modern, “garden-to-glass” sensibility with garnishes, fresh fruits and herbs plucked from local grounds. Nearby craft breweries are well represented and the extensive wine selection offers the opportunity. The Lounge menu favors comfort food favorites ranging from Spanish-Style Mussels and Truffle.

Here’s What I tried:


La Poire Peartini: Grey Goose La Poire Vodka, Disaronno, simple syrup, lemon juice, and blue cheese olive garnish.  A delicious refreshing cocktail, a nice way to start my experience.


Creole Seafood Stew: with jumbo lump crabmeat, fresh seafood, chopped veggies, Cajun spices and vegetable bouillon. It s a mini cioppino, a nice fresh stew.

Steamed Mussels Buerre Blanc: with white wine sauce, blistered cherry tomatoes, and fresh herbs. I ate the whole bowl, it is just that good.

Fritto Miso: flash fried calamari with zucchini, squash, banana peppers, and citrus remoulade. Many calamaris that I have tried have too much batter; this one is light and super tasty.


Heritage Salad: with goat cheese, mangos, Campari tomatoes, cucumber, golden raisins, cashews, and a vintage vinaigrette. I just loved this salad, it is sweet and glorious.


Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes: pan-seared jumbo lump crab cakes, with mach choux and shallot cream sauce. A very nice rendition of this staple.

Grilled Salmon: with lemon butter sauce, summer vegetables, and Yukon gold smashed potatoes. I would ask for it medium rare so it is not dry, mine was a bit dry, but it was still delicious.

Center Cut Filet: pan seared, with wild mushroom brandy reduction, grilled asparagus, and Yukon gold smashed potatoes. A delicious cut of meat with all the amazing side, a keeper.


California Shrimp Pizza: Jumbo shrimp, fontina, Gruyere, mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, pistachios, and basil pesto. The crust is just perfect with big fat shrimp to match, a slice of heaven.

Market Sides:

Brussels Sprout Romesco: nicely prepared, a great side dish.

Grilled Asparagus: cooked al dente, so you get to taste the real asparagus flavor.

Little Caesar: not so little, but a very good Caesar salad.


Witching Stick: 2017 Mendocino, Chardonnay. I loved this wine with the mussels; it is a no no-brainer pairing.

Greenwood Ridge: 2017 Mendocino, Sauvignon Blanc. This wine went great with the pizza, a nice citrus forward flavored wine.

Seebass: old vine 2013 Mendocino, Zinfandel. this is the wine to drink with the steak; big bold jammy flavores will enhance the meat.

Murder Ridge: 2016 Mendocino, Pinot Noir. You can also pair this wine with the steak.

The décor is very tasteful, with perfect picturesque views of the ocean. My server Peach made my experience extra special; she was the perfect guide to all of my culinary goodness.

There are so many lovely dining establishments to try in Mendocino, but this one is right up there with the finest.

Heritage House Resort & Spa
5200 Restaurant
5200 N Hwy 1 Little River, CA 95456
tel: 707.202.9000 I reservations: 707.202.9000


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Wine Tasting – Tuesday – April 30, 2019 – Andersen Valley, CA.

When I stared planning my trip I reached out to some of the local tour companies, but when I got a hold of Julie Apostolu of Julie’s Trips & Tours, she was immediately wanting to take care of me in my journey to discover Anderson Valley. Her Van is super comfortable and she offers personalized water bottles, along with a full medical kit in case a headache should arise from too much tasting, but above all she was very informative, and had a special personal touch that only comes from experience. You felt totally safe and confident in her wise hands. I could not have asked for a better guide, she has been a resident of Mendocino for many years and knows all the ins and outs of her county. She made a list and after speaking with my friend Greg Lamer at Roederer Estate, he said oh ‘let me help you with logistics and what wineries to go to’.

Julie picked me up at 11am, and off we went. First Stop Roederer Estates, with my kind host Greg La Mer I had met Greg before at a few wine events in Los Angeles, so I knew I would be in really great hands, He showed me the full process of how Roederer Estate does this French style Sparkling wine, and all of its history. I was able to see their assembly line behind the scenes from an observation area above; it was fascinating and very educational. I tried Brut, Brut Rosé, L’Ermitage, and L’Ermitage Rosé. Then he had a catering company prepare a delightful lunch for me, accompanied by a delicious glass of sparking wine, how lucky was I? The grounds are lush and gorgeous, what a way to start off my great wine tasting day.

Husch was right across the street, so we were off to their nice tasting room. It is the oldest vineyard in the valley and serves exquisite tastings inside a rose-covered cottage. Under the direction of 3rd generation family members, Husch produces 22 different wines of which six are distributed nationally. Small lots of special wines are available exclusively at their tasting room, a converted pony barn dating back to the late 1800s. It was a short but sweet tasting, and I got to try all of their glorious wines in their tasting room.

Next it was off to Phillip Hill Winery,, which is a very small producer, but their wines were amazing, and just the perfect way to taste a different selection of wines never been tasted. A native Californian and grandson of a grape grower, Toby Hill earned a BFA from the California College of the Arts – San Francisco. After honoring the Phillips side of the family with his artistic pursuits and profession in the visual arts, Toby found a new obsession within a new medium, Pinot Noir. In 1997, Toby Hill purchased land in the Mendocino Ridge appellation, overlooking the Anderson Valley. Trusting in his sense of balance and composition, and with support from local winemakers, he made his first wine using Pinot Noir grapes in 2002 grown on Oppenlander Vineyard, nearby in Mendocino’s Comptche.

Pilgrimages to Burgundy, France, have influenced Toby’s pursuit of a refinement and elegance in style. Here, he established collaborative relationships with Burgundian winemakers. Using old world winemaking practices from new world vineyards, he aspires towards terroir driven wines. Using native yeast, less intervention, and believing less is more, Toby’s intent is for each wine to be a genuine expression of the land.

Natacha Durandet brings a wealth of sommelier experience and market expertise to Phillips Hill. Originally from the stunning Loire Valley Region of France, her passion for tasting and collecting wines began at an early age. Natacha has had the opportunity to work at some of the finest resorts in the country, alongside esteemed master sommeliers. Versed in culinary arts, Natacha offers guests an elevated wine tasting experience at their new Tasting Room in Philo, seeking creative French-inspired pairings to accentuate the subtleties of the wines.

Next up was Golden Eye. It had just the most gorgeous grounds of the day. Their tasting was set-up already the same for everyone. You get to try quite a few wines, and they set-up the tasting at a sit-down table over looking their lush gardens and vineyards. Nice nuance, pleasant flavors, nice wines. They have many other labels, and you can sense that from walking into their tasting room. It is big and some what has a corporate feel compared to the others.

Last but not least was Handley, another beautiful winery, but unfortunately by this point my taste buds are fried, its is really hard to try that many wines in one day. They had some nice Pinots and a great Zinfandel.

(Not as part of this day but on Sunday April 28,) I went to Artevino/Maple Creek Winery, which was a favorite tasting of mine. Their wines are elegant and subtle. Owner Tom Rodrigues is also an artist, so I was able to see his many wine labels that he has created throughout the years. We journeyed up the road to view his Mangaleese or Mangalitsa pigs that were so sweet.

Handcrafted, artfully made, award winning Mendocino County wines. Artevino – Maple Creek Winery has 18 acres of estate varietals including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Flora and Symphony. These grapes thrive in the hot days and cool nights of the Yorkville Highland AVA growing in hillside clay, loam, and rocky soils. They compliment their estate grapes with Mendocino County Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon from long standing relationships with other local vineyards. These varietals burst with flavor as a result of the right varietal growing conditions, including the vineyards sustainable practices. The proximity of their vineyards to their onsite processing and storage facility ensures they control the process up until harvesting the final bottling. This is how Maple Creek creates these wonderfully rich and complex flavors of their boutique, low production, Maple Creek Wines located on Highway 128 between Yorkville and Boonville. Tom has quite the set-up, and I would highly recommend going to his winery as well.

Just have to give a quick shout out to Julie for showing us just the best time in Anderson Valley possible, thanks Julie!!!

(I also went to her Farmers Market in Fort Bragg the next day, and got to meet a whole bunch of their lovely purveyors of fine Mendocino food and other products!)

Julies Trips and Tours

* Note some content was taken off of their websites.

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Wild Fish – Little River, CA. – Dinner – April 29, 2019

This is the best fish restaurant you will ever experience, everything is line caught, with such fresh fish you just can’t go wrong.

Wild Fish is where a stunning view meets organic fare. Where quality, collaboration and community come into focus. For either lunch or dinner, owners Liz and Kelvin Jacobs generate a warm and inviting atmosphere.

By working closely with only local purveyors and harvesting provisions from right outside their door, it’s become a personal mission to procure and serve only the finest, sustainable ingredients. It’s about being resourceful and taking in the bounty of the earth, a healthy rebellion against the reign of processed food.

The Jacobs’ know that California is a prime spot for resources, and acting on tradition, nothing goes to waste. They are constantly pushing artistic boundaries, satisfying appetites and intriguing the senses. The key is employing new seasonal ingredients and implementing new elements. Their dishes incorporate piquant flavors, exceptional techniques and impeccable pairings.

Liz Jacobs, a tenured food writer, believes that food transforms people. Her husband, Kelvin, is an award-winning chef. They relocated from Devon, England, where the couple previously owned and operated a restaurant and inn. Wild Fish opened on Thanksgiving Day 2011.

Wild Fish offers only the finest organic provisions, purchased directly from local purveyors with exclusive plates crafted by our premier chef. From the headland where they sit, there’s a view of waves combing the crags of Little River Cove, with a stunning sunset beyond. Where delectable fresh dishes meet a wistful atmosphere, Wild Fish makes every meal a spectacular dining experience.

Here’s What I Tried:


Fresh Oysters on the Half Shell, Marin Miyagi Oysters, delicious, fragrant and so fresh, a great starter.

Wild Fish house smoked sable fish sample, such a delicacy, wow.


Cauliflower Florets – tarragon cream and sumac.
Forbidden Coconut Black Rice – fresh mint and basil.
Roasted Root Vegetables – spiced brown butter, fresh turmeric, fennel seeds, and chilis. Each side dish was impeccable, with different textures and flavors; you know everything was just picked.


Bouillabaisse – wild caught local fish, mussels, simmered in tomato-saffron broth, with rouille and crostini. A very lovely light broth, coupled with terrific fresh caught fish, jam-packed with mussels a very nice rendition of this popular staple.


Sticky Toffee Pudding – Date and brown sugar sponge cake in hot toffee sauce, with house made vanilla ice cream, toasted pecans. This is sticky and chalk full of toffee nuances, just a big huge thumbs up.

Sun-Thu 5:00pm – Late; Kitchen closes 9pm
Fri-Sat 5:00pm – Late; Kitchen closes 9:30pm

Wild Fish
7750 N. Highway 1
Little River, California 95456

Their other location is:
545 Lighthouse Avenue
Pacific Grove, California 93950

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Dinner – Trillium Café – April 28, 2019 – Mendocino, CA.

The village of Mendocino is like something out of a movie with all Victorian buildings, everything is so elegant. Trillium is in an old Victorian house; it is one of the newer restaurants and boosts amazing food and views. It’s an inn with a 20-table locavore café.

Trillium Cafe is located right in the middle of Mendocino village. Mendocino was settled in the 1850s as a logging community and it is now on the National Register of Historic Places. This town, of 900, will transport you to a bygone era.

The restaurant is beautiful and cozy with a fireplace and ocean views. When the weather permits, they have their outside deck open. It has ocean views of Big River Bay and their beautiful flower garden filled with culinary herbs, summer veggies, and endless flowers. They serve the best Mendocino has to offer in organic, high quality ingredients and they try to use their local farmers as much as possible. Trillium Cafe & Inn is close to all the local shopping, Main Street, and is just a short walk to the beach and the Mendocino Headlands State Park. Located in the heart of Mendocino, Trillium Café offers ocean views and inspired California cuisine in a cozy, relaxed environment. Long-time visitors to Mendocino will recognize this as the location of the Moose Café. Trillium continues in its proud Mendocino tradition, while offering an updated feel and menu. Chef Daniel Martin-Dzul prides himself on sourcing produce, meats and seafood from the Mendocino County coast.

Although not the cheapest option in Mendocino, it is far from the priciest, and offers a wonderful value for quality ingredients and dishes. The setting is excellent as well, and you can sit either inside in a pleasant farmhouse-style setting, or on their beautiful deck overlooking their gardens with a view of Mendocino Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

The menu is relatively contemporary for Mendocino, with a nod towards classic California farmhouse cuisine.

Here’s What I Tried:


Soup of the Day, with purée parsnip, leak and potato. This is a very delicate soup, with rich parsnip flavor, simply delicious.

Local Seared Albacore Tuna, with tamari reduction, micro greens, pickled ginger, and chili glaze. The combination of the sweet and sour really sets my taste buds on fire, not in the literal sense, but just so wonderful.

Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, with arugula, olive oil, and balsamic. The onion is sweet and the local goat cheese is tangy, it melts in your mouth. I took half home and ate is for breakfast the next morning.


Cured Salmon Salad, with lemon and herb cream, radish, cucumber, arugula, jicama, red wine vinaigrette, and sesame croutons. The vegetables are so fresh, it is like they were picked right before serving, and the salmon was salty, but smooth, a great salad option.

Carrot and Snap Pea Salad, with arugula, radishes, croutons, citrus vinaigrette. The snap peas did exactly that – snapped in your mouth, another amazing salad.

Main Courses:

Wild Caught Local Fresh Fish, with Cod and roasted fingerling potatoes, broccolini, pumpkin seeds, preserved lemon caper relish, lemon herb butter. This fish came right out of the local waters; you can taste the ocean in every bite.

Prawns and Mushroom Risotto with leeks, tomatoes, spinach, cream, wild mushrooms. This was another favorite, with the super plump prawns and the backdrop of mushroom risotto, how could you go wrong?

Grilled T-Bone Lamb Chops, with a coffee and chili rub, grilled fennel, fingerling potatoes, asparagus mint/cilantro pesto, romesco. The lamb was cooked medium rare and there was not a lot of seasoning on it so you could really gets its essence, a super nice balance of flavor.


Grilled Asparagus, with roasted red pepper Romesco, and Laura Chenel goat cheese. Correctly cooked asparagus at a restaurant is super hard to find, they nailed it.


Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake, with raspberry, chocolate chip ice cream, and raspberry sauce. A perfect way to end my meal, with all of this chocolate goodness.

Vanilla Cheese Cake, almond flour crust, and strawberry balsamic sauce. This was my server’s choice and she called it. One of the best cheesecakes ever.


Meyer Family Cellars Chardonnay “Donnelly Creek” Anderson Valley 2016. I liked this wine with the Cod; it is creamy and was a nice addition to the super fresh cod.

Skylark “Pink Belly” Rose Anderson Valley 2017, a truly wonderful wine, went great with the sweet and sour Albacore tuna.

Hendry Zinfandel Blocks 7 and 22 Napa Valley 2015. This is the best wine with the lamb; it is bold and strong and will stand up to the lamb flavors.

Enkidu Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2017, I really enjoyed this wine with the Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, it really sets off the sweet onions.

They also have lodging at Trillium. Upstairs from the restaurant, they offer three guest rooms, two of which have ocean and garden views. Their third room has views of Mendocino Village and its own private bath. In 2014 they renovated and redecorated the entire building, giving each of their rooms new carpet, paint, beds, furniture, and linens.

Trillium has been featured in many magazines: Marin Magazine, Travel and Leisure Magazine, Zagat Magazine, Yankee Magazine, New York Magazine, Expedia Travel Recommendations, 7 x 7 Magazine, Afar Magazine, Wallstreet Journal, Los Angeles Magazine, and Sunset Magazine.

“Great eats, historic inns, stunning views. The only thing you won’t find in this NorCal seaside town is cell service. And that’s the point…. at Trillium Cafe, the menu might include grilled wild-mushroom flatbread, local albacore, and a creamy Meyer lemon tart.”
Sunset Magazine

Trillium will be open all year until next December, when they close for their annual break.

Delicate and delightful, would be my full description. All done with pristine elegance, just the perfect combination of sustainable, farm to table. Do not miss this restaurant when you are visiting Mendocino.


Lunch: Daily from 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Dinner: 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm Sunday through Thursday
Dinner: 5:30 pm – 9 pm Fridays & Saturdays

Trillium Cafe & Inn
10390 Kasten Street,
Mendocino, CA 95460
707 937-3200

• Note some content was taken off of their website

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