Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Log Zone

Family style eating appears to be on the way in again. Several restaurants, such as Boulette's Larder in the Ferry Building and Della Fattoria in Petaluma have started setting communal tables as a way of encouraging client interaction. It never went out of fashion at the Samoa Cookhouse 'way up north near Eureka in Samoa, California - they've been serving family style since God was a child.

My Beloved and I stopped there for breakfast on a recent business/pleasure trip to Eureka/Arcata/Ferndale/Scotia and enjoyed a whopping great breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausages, huge planks of toast sliced from housemade loaves, home fries, juice and coffee. The juice and coffee came in pitchers - you pour as much as you want and refresh them as often as you like. The waitress stopped by a time or two to ask if we wanted more of anything - apparently, you can just sit there and eat until you're full, as did the lumberjacks of old.

Despite the friendly seating, our nearest neighbors were uncommunicative that morning, staring sleepily into their coffee cups and speaking to each other only in monosyllabic bursts. The genial host made up for their taciturnity with a bubbly invitation to explore each of the rooms in the restaurant where vintage photographs showed scenes from early settlers' lives.

The Samoa Cookhouse has been serving breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1890 and shows no signs of slowing down. The mismatched chairs and plastic-coated red checked table cloths provide a cheery note and the antique photographs of fishing and logging can teach quite a bit about how life was lived in the late Victorian era in far northern California, when men took great pride in felling giant trees and posing for the camera five or six abreast across the stumps.

I have heard that California is divided into three zones, south to north: The Smog Zone, The Fog Zone and the Log Zone. We enjoyed our trip to the Log Zone and we can attest to the fact that they eat heartily up there.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

We went up to Arcata twice when daughter number two was looking at Humbolt State. Loved the area.

Sunday, August 23, 2009  
Blogger dancingmorganmouse said...

Those places fill me with fear, I'm not good with strangers!

Monday, August 24, 2009  
Blogger Kailyn said...

I've been having nightmares about the Samoa Cookhouse since I was in high school. Because at least once a year, we stopped there on our way to Crescent City. They do make a nice strawberry rhubarb pie at dinner time.

Monday, August 24, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, yes, it's lovely and surprising.

Morgan, I know what you mean, but it turns out the natives were harmless.

Kailyn, nightmares? What was scary?

Monday, August 24, 2009  
Blogger Kailyn said...

The smell in the parking lot from the lumber processing place. Totally ruined my appetite.

Monday, August 24, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Kailyn, you'll be relieved to know that the log processing has stopped in that location so the air is fresh now.

Monday, August 24, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Was your puppy with you on this trip? Did she wait in the car while you ate? (fret, fret)
Sounds like you had a great adventure. Nice of YB to let you tag along.

Monday, August 24, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Cookiecrumb, yes, Cora went with us - she loves to go in the car and takes naps while we are inside. She doesn't seem to fret at all. We are careful to park her in the shade and with windows open a crack and I usually save the last bite of my meal to share with her, 'cause she's so good! If the restaurant has a patio and allows dogs, then we bring her with us to the table and she's good then, too. We marvel at how wonderful she is - we _really_ lucked out with this dog!

Monday, August 24, 2009  
Blogger Kailyn said...

Thank goodness. It was a horrid smell. Perhaps I need to give Samoa another try now. It was so bad that by my senior year, a group of us rebelled and went to McD's in Eureka. We insisted that the freshman could notgo with us. Because everyone has to experience the Samoa Cookhouse at least once in their lives. Foodwise dinner was fine but even if there had not been the smell, breakfast left a bit to be desired. But that was over 20 years ago and things may have changed. Ijust remember that the oj at breakfast tasted a lot like Tang.

Monday, August 24, 2009  

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