Thursday, October 30, 2008


Traveling to Mendocino a few weeks ago to cook with friends (see our earlier post about this meal), we stopped on our way in Healdsburg and on the way home, first in the Anderson Valley in Philo and Booneville and, then, in the Napa Valley in St. Helena.

Mendocino Village is about 180 miles from our house and from San Francisco. Healdsburg is our halfway point. I love the downtown plaza and the shops that surround it.

Our first order of business was coffee at the Flying Goat.

Most tourists like to flock to the Downtown Creamery for their morning coffee and pastries. But, we prefer the Flying Goat which is more the hangout for the locals. Also, Flying Goat has lots of cozy seating indoors, whereas, Downtown Creamery just has a few outdoor benches.

Doesn't this Flying Goat Pumpkin Cinnamon Bun and my pot of tea, look tempting? If you love coffee, Flying Goat roasts their own and in addition to enjoying a hot cuppa here, you can take a bag of beans home with you.

After our pastries and drinks, we strolled around the Plaza. There is always a new shop to at least window shop in. And, it struck me as interesting that this small village supports two independent bookstores, Copperfield's and Levin & Company.

Of course, we peeked into the Downtown Creamery while we were here.

We arrived in Mendocino Village at about noon, just in time to meet A & J for lunch at Café Beaujolais.

It was not until we got to Highway 1, a few miles south of Mendocino, that we found ourselves in the fog. It was a bit surprising because October is usually a fog-free time on the Mendocino Coast. This fog was more what is typical summertime weather on the northern California coast.

Although no longer owned and operated by its founding chef, Margaret Fox, Café Beaujolais continues to be an excellent and charming choice for a meal.

Our lunch choices were Bacon, Wild Mushroom, and Gruyere Quiche for JD,

Beaujolais Eggs Benedict for me,

A Cheeseburger on a housemade bun for J,

and the Shang-Hi Chicken Salad for A

After lunch, we walked around the village, visiting some of our favorite art galleries and shops and simply enjoying the beauty of the town...the church steeple and the many watertowers are some of my favorite things in Mendocino.

J always makes a stop at Out of this World, a shop filled with Science toys, games, books and more. If you are in the market for a pair of high-quality binoculars, Out of This World is the place to find one.

Sallie Mac is a shop I always visit..sorry, I was so busy shopping here that I forgot to take a picture. Sallie's shop features gifts and treasures from France and Italy. Be sure to ask for their complimentary gift wrap on all the gifts you purchase.

Mendocino is a dog-friendly village where many shops and hotels/inns welcome dogs.

If you are looking for a Starbucks in Mendocino Village, forget it. No chain stores/businesses are allowed in town. When we wanted an afternoon break, we headed to the Mendocino Bakery for our coffee and cookies.

We also checked out some of our other favorite restaurants, which include the Mendocino Café and 955 Ukiah.

The next day, we left Mendocino midmorning. Our first stop was in Philo at the Philo Apple Farm. This is the height of the apple season and we found several apple varieties from which to choose.

We stashed our bags of apples in the car and drove a few more miles to Booneville, home of the Booneville Hotel and Restaurant. Our mission here was to check out the relatively new Farmhouse Mercantile, a general store packed with decorative and functional items for the home.

There is a family connection between the Apple Farm, the Booneville Hotel, and Farmhouse Mercantile. Sally and Don Schmidt and their daughter Karen Bates own and operate the Apple Farm. Karen gives weekend cooking classes at the Farm and the Farm has four guest cottages that provide accommodations to visitors to the Anderson Valley. The Schmidt's son John owns the Booneville Hotel and is the chef in its restaurant. And, Karen Bates is a partner in the Farmhouse Mercantile. If you forgot to buy some Apple Farm Chutney at the Farm, worry not, Farmhouse Mercantile is well stocked with jars of it. Other Schmidt/Bates family members are also involved in these and other businesses.

Our last stop was for lunch in St. Helena, in the heart of the Napa Valley.

We had Mexican food on our mind and had hoped to have lunch at Ana's Cantina, said to have the most authentic Mexican food in the Napa Valley. Unfortunately, the kitchen at Ana's was closed for renovation; just the bar was open. So we walked across the street to Armadillo's, an other Mexican place that we have noticed for years, but never tried.

This cheerful restaurant was packed with customers out for Sunday Lunch.

We joined them, ordering a Chimichunga and Fresh Grilled Fish Soft Tacos. The fresh fish was Opa...both meals were delicious.

I drove over 400 miles on this two-day jaunt. Ideally, we should have spent a day or two more in Mendocino to truly enjoy the area. But, it was fun to make these quick stops coming and going and we fully enjoyed our two-day getaway on one tank of gas.

1 comment:

mary ann said...

Great post! Mendocino is my favorite spot on earth, thanks for all the delightful photos and words.