This past weekend our cooking group of three couples got together at Arlene & Jim's house in Mendocino for another of our marvelous home-cooked meals.
On the way up, Jim and I made our usual pit stop in Healdsburg. We went back to our favorite the Flying Goat Coffee for pastries and coffee.
While I occasionally take home a pastry or bread from the Downtown Bakery & Creamery in Healdsburg, I've never before stopped here for coffee and pastries on my way to Mendocino, mainly because there was no indoor seating and only benches outside. Well, when we peeked in as we were walking to Flying Goat, we discovered that there are several long communal tables inside and that the menu has expanded to include prepared egg dishes and other breakfast items...maybe next time.
We got to Mendocino in time to have lunch with Arlene & Jim at the Café Beaujolais
where Arlene & I had their version of Eggs Benedict
and the Jims had the Cheeseburger and the Salade Niçoise.
Everything was perfection, including the Beaujolais's homemade breads (the seeded one was our favorite).
There was time for us to wander about Mendocino Village and do a bit of browsing and shopping for last minute ingredients for our dinner.
As always, it was a wonderful evening with friends.
Jim and Frank look a bit rigid here standing in front of the fire, despite having beverages in their hands...it was a bit cold and they were warming by the fire.
Then, Jim modeled some jewelry that Arlene & Jim brought back from their recent trip to Africa.
Our meal started with Colesie's mixed vegetable salad...it was as delicious as it was colorful. She served it with some puff pastry crisps.
Arlene & Jim's main course was a Southwest Pork Stew accompanied by Corn Bread.
And, I completed the meal with Fresh Figs surrounding a mound of Ricotta, flavored with almonds, pistacchios and other tasty ingredients.
We slept well after this satisfying dinner.
The next morning, Jim and I headed out for a walk in Fort Bragg along the beach on the path that starts at Glass Beach. We walked about three of its nine miles and then turned around, hungry for lunch. This path follows what was once a railroad right of way. The newest addition to the path is the trestle bridge by Glass Beach, where we started out.
Lunch was at Noyo Harbor, just south of Fort Bragg at Heron's.
Heron's has a new name and new owners but their fresh fish tasted just as delicious as ever. It was warm enough to sit outdoors on their wind-sheltered patio.
Jim had the Grilled Rockfish Sandwich
and I had Grilled Rockfish Tacos prepared Southwest style.
That evening, we dined with Arlene & Jim at the Little River Inn.
Arlene had one of the evening's specials, Meatballs.
Jim D had the Filet of Sole, caught fresh at Noyo Harbor.
And, Jim M and I both had the Barbequed Ribs.
Again, another lovely meal. The only thing missing was Colesie and Frank who had to head home that day.
The next day, after a swim at the new recreation center in Fort Bragg, it was time for us to head home.
Driving through the Anderson Valley, we made a stop at Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in Philo so I could take a picture of vineyards where there leaves on the vines were turning autumn colors.
Jim and I had been talking about his photography class and he thought these trees behind Greenwood Ridge's tasting room, growing on a diagonal, were the kind of subject that his teacher said created a visually interesting composition. I snapped several pictures.
By the time we got to Booneville, we were famished. Not having dined in Boonville in awhile, we decided to try the Boonville Café and Bakery, mainly because it seemed to be where everyone in town was having lunch.
We were not disappointed...freshly food, dishes made to order, big portions. We both enjoyed one of the day's specials, a Turkey Melt on Foccacia with a side of Sweet Potato Fries.
Our next dinner is scheduled for February. The friendship and regularly cooking together has kept the six of us together and in touch for more than 30 years. It is special.