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Jul 12, 2005 02:32 PM

Trinidad report (N of Eureka)

  • p

Spent four days last week at one of our favorite places on the north coast. Arrived late afternoon on Monday, being a holiday didn't have high hopes for dining options. Checked out Larrupin Cafe just past our lodging on Patrick's Point Dr. They were very busy and we didn't have reservations but looking over the menu nothing really jumped out at us, also noticed it was quite a bit pricier than last time we were here (many years ago), Filet Mignon was $30, most other entrees in mid 20s.

Moonstone was closed until Thurs, so we took the advice of our host at the Trinidad Inn and went to the Sunset restaurant at the Cher-Ae Heights Casino around 8 PM. The place was nearly empty since the earlier crowd had departed to hit the fireworks displays in the area.

It's a huge L shaped room, very high beamed ceiling with a fireplace in the middle. Great views of Humboldt Bay to the south and the Trinidad harbor on the north, glass floor to ceiling.

Started with the Coconut Shrimp w/Thai peanut dipping sauce ($9), four shrimp were very tasty, would have liked a little more kick in the sauce.

Lady PB and I shared entrees as usual, she picked the Prawn Scampi ($18), garlic, mushrooms, tomatoes, white wine butter sauce and capers with rice pilaf, and I went with the Grilled Rib-Eye ($21) toped with Shiitake mushroom and Ginger cream sauce with mashed potato. As with the appetizer the prawns were very tasty, perfectly cooked in a nice sauce. The rib-eye was outstanding, rare as requested and with extra sauce, which really put it over the top. Worked very well with the flavorful beef.

The wine list is pretty decent and well thought out. About 10 BTG offerings as well as 8 half bottles. I went with a glass of Rock Rabbit 04 Sauvignon Blanc (4.50) and the Havens Napa Syrah (5.50), both good.

Ones by the bottle that caught my eye:

Chardonnay: 03 Taz (26), 00 Dehlinger (36), 03 Rombauer and 02 Stag's Leap (both 38)

Pinot Noir: 03 David Bruce (36), 01 Truchard (42) and 00 Dutton Goldfield (66)

Zinfandel: 01 Green & Red, 01 D-cubed (both 34), 00 Ridge Geyserville (40) and Neyers Pato Vineyard (47)

Syrah: 02 Turnbull (34), 00 Robert Craig (38)

Cab: 99 Caymus (94), 99 BV Georges Latour (99)

Bordeaux blends: 98 Pahlmeyer (105), Ridge Monte Bello (130)

There are approx. 10-15 selections for each varietal and one or two of each priced in the high teens to low twenties.

A Ketel One martini, app., two entrees and two glasses of wine came to just over $60 pre-tip (no tax).

Tuesday we popped into Murphy's Mkt, good selection of fresh fish so picked up some great Red Snapper, salad shrimp and a bottle of wine for a nice home cooked meal in our room.

Wed. went to the Trinidad Eatery mainly to check out the clam chowder that a hound had posted about. It didn't disappoint, thick and creamy with large very tender and tasty clams. Lady PB had the Dungeness Crab Louie, decent salad but not much flavor in the crab. I had the mussels (local black), generous serving in a nice spicy broth with some exotic spice that neither of us could identify. They were very busy even around 1:30 so didn't get around to getting any details. Special dessert of the day was Blackberry Cobbler (5.95), got one to go to split later, they packed a large scoop of vanilla ice cream separately for us take back. We thought at first it was a little pricey, but digging into it that night we each had a heaping bowl and still had another serving left. Great cobbler and excellent ice cream. Believe the total was just over $20.

Thursday lunch decided to check out Kahish's Catch, claim fresh local ingredients and to be the only vegetarian alternative in the area. The clam chowder was made with chicken broth, short on clams and came off more like a run of the mill potato soup. We both had the fish sands (snapper) that were generous portions but otherwise not especially noteworthy, onion rings that were ordered didn't materialize. Total including a $3.50 mini bottle of Lindemann's Chard came to around $23, which we thought a little too pricey for what we got.

Thurs. was our last night, checked the specials at Larrupin, salmon or snapper, no other description was forthcoming and as with our previous search they didn't seem to want to take time to answer questions.

The previous day on an excursion north we had tried to find Rolf's in Orrick with no luck, found it still listed in the phone book but no answer when we called. Armed with the address on the way north on Friday we were still unable to find it, apparently RIP.

Stopped by Moonstone south of town in the afternoon to check their menu, again nothing jumped out but caught the chef having a smoke outside the kitchen. The one special that evening would be two soft shelled crabs done in cornmeal. Prices seemed to be close to those of Larrupin's, perhaps a little lower.

Decided to forego the crabs and return to the Sunset, arrived at 7:30 and had a drink in the lounge since they were cleaning up after a large party. Were seated within 5 min. or so. Got the corner table, primo views both directions, not a cloud in the sky (after a couple of cool overcast days) so enjoyed a phenomenal sunset all through dinner.

Appetizers - crab cakes ($10), unbelievable, moist, full of tasty dungeness, both declared perhaps best we've ever had.

Entrees - she the Chicken Saltimboca ($18) breast stuffed with proscuitto, swiss cheese, Dijon cream sauce with rice pilaf. Juicy chicken, rich flavors and outstanding sauce. I opted for the Steak Diane ($22) since we don't seem to see it on many menus. Described as choice tenderloin medallions, porcini mushrooms, shallots, Dijon Demi Glace with mashed potato. The single filet was tender and cooked rare as requested but had been sliced in thirds horizontally (tenderloins???). The sauce was basically a homogenous deep brown gravy, couldn't pick out any shrooms or shallots, but had a good flavor. The half-bottle of 2002 Lang and Reed Cabernet Franc ($17) that I selected went perfectly with both dishes and was a highlight of the meal.

We finished dinner off by sharing a flourless chocolate cake served with sliced strawberries, whipped cream and a raspberry sauce that was pretty good. IIRC, the pre-tip total was around $80. All dinners are served with fresh bread, a nice warm foccacia and soup or salad. We had a couple of good soups during each visit but for some reason I'm blanking on what they were.

Friday, headed north to Crescent City taking the Redwood Highway (199) towards Grants Pass OR. Stopped in CC for lunch around 11:45 am. Checked out two recs from old posts on the board, Fisherman's Restaurant right on 101 on the south end of town (not a soul in the place, looked like a '50s dive diner) moved on a little more south to the Harbor View Grotto (big sign on top just says "Restaurant") half a block west of 101. Typical tourista vibes, we ended up sharing the Calamari steak, institutional fried patty and something else equally unremarkable, not bad but our final take is don't bother. There must be better food somewhere, perhaps in the downtown business district, but unfortunately we didn't have the time to sniff around.

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  1. Great report, PB! Hehe, I grew up during my teens in Humboldt Co. so am quite familiar w/ Trinidad. In fact, I worked at Indian Health Services near the casino over one summer. Tis a beautiful part of the coast. Laruppin's is an institution, and last time I was up there in Feb., we had reservations to go but then cancelled at the last min. I have parents who find it more of a chore than a treat to go out. Oh well...

    Glad to hear that the Sunset restaurant was a hit (twice!) for you guys. I'm shocked that they have a rather decent wine list. I've never been, but my parents have been for a work-related group dinner. They said they didn't like it as much as Larrupin's, but they may have had a preset menu. I don't always trust my parents' taste either since my mom is fat and dairy avoidant...hmmm, am I really her offspring?

    I know more about the food scene in Arcata and Eureka, but am losing touch over time. Since you're such a wine lover (I was impressed w/ your notes!), you'll have to check out Restaurant 301 in Eureka for fine food and wine (see link). Lovely boutique inn as well.

    And I def. can't help you w/ Crescent City. I have rather bleak associations w/ that town...


    4 Replies
    1. re: Carb Lover

      Thanks for the link to 301 Restaurant CL, wow! what a wine list they have, many of my rather obscure favorites. Had to chuckle noticing that they classify the wines from Paso Robles and Santa Ynez as being from "Southern CA". I recall checking it out years ago and something about it being a private or semi-private club. As we drove by on our way north this time we talked about needing to fit it into our dining schedule. Having driven from Nevada City however, we just couldn't muster the desire and energy to drive back down to Eureka even though it's just a little over 20 miles.

      1. re: PolarBear

        Cool to see that R301 was mentioned in your link above. I haven't eaten there in about 10 yrs. but have really fond memories of the food and atmos. They also have their own garden out back and give tours now and then. The Hotel Carter is a really nice boutique inn. Big enough that you don't feel intruded upon like at other B&B's; small enough that you get personalized service and can mingle w/ others if you choose. I hope that Y and I can stay there one day and eat at R301.

        I don't think R301 was ever private. You may be confusing it w/ the Ingomar Club in the old Carson Mansion (see link). This was a mens only club at one time, although I don't know the current status. I've never been inside since the place did have that exclusive sort of air.

        If you're in Arcata, I remember liking Crosswinds near the plaza for down-home but not greasy breakfasts. Also want to try a new BBQ place that has one location in Arcata and another in Eureka, Porter Street BBQ. Some nice markets w/ local products in Arcata as well.


        1. re: Carb Lover

          You nailed it CL, I had lumped the two names (Carter/Carson) together, good to hear. Thanks for the Arcata recs, can't wait to get back up there, esp. since the temp here is going to be triple digits for a while.

      2. re: Carb Lover

        Today's Santa Rosa Press Democrat has a short blurb (linked below) that mentions their wine pairing a rib-eye with Del Dotto cab, most impressive.