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Where to Eat Way Up North


marie-louise
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I'm headed up north in September. The county internet sites make things look grim-and the guidebooks I have don't offer much hope either. Since you offered hope to someone headed for Bakersfield, I'm hoping enough of you have been to this beautiful-but-desolate corner of California to make some recommendations. I'm not expecting Bay Area quality, but we are planning some strenuous hikes, including hiking to the top of Mt. Lassen, so I'd like to at least look forward to some calories at the end of the day that aren't an effort to choke down.

We're staying in Trinity Center (the Trinity Alps), Dorris (by the Lava Beds), McCloud, and Igo (by Redding.)

I have been to McCloud once before. We had a terrific burger in a place in the town of Mt. Shasta-I think it was called Michael's, and an absolutely terrible, inedible Italian meal in McCloud, in a place that I am hoping we will recognize BEFORE we sit down and order again.

The Dorris website has a listing for a place called Dysfunction Junction, specializing in "bad to the bone ribs." I may have to try that just because of the name.

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If you're in SF on a saturday morning, stop by the farmers market at the ferry station - the two guys wearing giant cowboy hats selling beef are ranchers up in Lassen. I suspect they can at a bare minimum point you in the direction of a good steak up there.

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  • 1 month later...

Bringing this to the top in the hopes that one of our new California members has actually been to the top part of our state. Our trip's about 3 weeks away. Melkor is right, lots of cows up there, so beef will be a safe bet wherever we go. (I'm not going to make it to the Ferry Plaza to find those farmers, although they sound cool.) I have read about a good drive-in in Mt. Shasta that is supposed to make great blackberry milkshakes. We're going to be there for Rosh Hashana-what's the chance they'll have round challah?

Our final destinations are Trinity Center, McCloud, and some as yet undetermined place near Lassen. I got an email from the B&B in Trinity Center telling me that there are no restaurants open one of the nights we're staying there, so it is either a deli sandwich back in the room or a jaunt down to Weaverville that night.

Thanks-

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I'm somewhat familiar with Trinity Lake & Weaverville. The scenery and hiking is great up there, but unfortunately, dining options are slim. The best we've found is Noelle's Garden Cafe in Weaverville. As I recall, Noelle is a former Bay Area chef. She does very good, basic California cuisine -- fresh and flavorful -- in a casual environment. The cafe is open for breakfast & lunch, plus dinner on Friday & Saturdays only. A couple of months ago we were passing through town, and Noelle's was full, so we tried La Grange Cafe (also in downtown Weaverville) . It's a relative newcomer that claims to offer fine dining. Um, no. The space is nice, so I guess it's considered fine by Weaverville standards, and the menu items are indeed upscale for that area, but the execution misses in just about every way. There's also a brew-pub in town, which we haven't tried, but I would assume they at least have burgers and sandwiches and other stuff that can't be screwed up too badly.

Have a great trip, and good luck with your dining adventures!

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... unfortunately, dining options are slim.  The best we've found is Noelle's Garden Cafe in Weaverville... we tried La Grange Cafe (also in downtown Weaverville) .  It's a relative newcomer that claims to offer fine dining.  Um, no.  The space is nice... the execution misses in just about every way.

I am coming to accept the fact that dining well is just not going to be something we do on this vacation. Darn-there is nothing more satisfying than eating a huge meal when you're starving after hiking for hours. The Black Bear Diner is the place with the blackberry milkshakes. This burger doesn't look bad-isn't the knife stabbed into the top a class touch? :laugh: They have grown to 17 locations in eight years-including Carmel of all places-so they must be cooking something right. Perhaps we should just eat burgers and fries all week, like that guy that ate one in every county in Kansas. Better that than overcooked fish with a bad sauce containing every flavor in the book to cover up the fact that it isn't fresh.

Our vacation is starting Sunday, so we'll miss Noelle's for dinner, but I'll stop in for lunch one day. Thanks for the tip on La Grange Cafe. They are one of the few spots with a website, and it looks like a pretty spot. Like you, I was just assuming the food would be good as well.

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I was just up there- we stayed at the Pitt River Lodge. Their food was good. We also had Chinese food in Burney that was good. There was also a decent Mexican restaurant in Fall River Mills.

It was so beautiful up there! The hiking and rafting was great.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm back from my road trip. It is incredibly beautiful up there, and I'm pleased to report that you can dine very well way up north. I'll summarize my recommendations here, then post the details when I get time.

Highly Recommended:

Trinity Cafe, on Mt. Shasta Blvd. north of downtown in the town of Mt. Shasta. The new chef was formerly the sous chef at Piatti and another place I didn't catch. Impeccably fresh seasonal ingredients, perfectly prepared. The restaurant is in a cute little converted house, and the staff is both professional and friendly. This place would be successful in the Bay Area.

Sengthong, on the main street of Dunsmuir (same side of the street, down the hill from the movie theatre.) This place used to be way off the beaten track in the Trinity Alps, but moved over by I-5 a while back. Worth a stop for anyone heading up to Ashland (they are open for lunch, too.) Her food was once written up in Bon Appetit-she is Vietnamese, but also lived in Laos and Thailand. Her food is an interesting mix of the three cuisines.

Breakfasts at The Carville Inn. I've stayed in a lot of B&Bs over the years, but this is up there w/ the best of them. The setting is beautiful, as you can see by the link. I often find the breakfasts at B&Bs a barely tolerable experience- the fellow guests are usually far too perky before coffee (which IMHO, is a worse sin than a too-chatty airline seatmate), the muffins mediocre at best, and who can eat that much food first thing in the morning anyway? Well, it is a completely different experience here. The owner has baskets of Martha Stewart Livings around and has the resources at her disposal to cook Martha's recipes as they were intended, and yes, that's a good thing: she keeps chickens, makes applesauce and jams from her own fruit, and is an incredibly good cook.

Anything with beef. Melkor was right. We had incredible beef everywhere we went-beef that is far better than what we get locally in the Bay Area. I'm guessing that Lassen beef at the SF Farmer's Market is one tasty cow.

Recommended with Caveats:

Michael's: Right downtown on Mt. Shasta Blvd., Mt. Shasta. One of the best hamburgers ever, but I've never tried anything else on the menu, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the rest of the menu might not be as good. But I don't know.

Piemont: (yes, that's the correct spelling) Someone named Jim on Chowhound raved about this place. It's south of town on Mt. Shasta Blvd. While the food is similar to those family-style Italian places in Occidental, it wasn't nearly as good. The restaurant is on Historic 99, has been there since 1940, and was a fun, small-town experience where the people next to you chat with you during the meal.

Avoid at all Costs:

Cafe Maddalena This restaurant used to get rave reviews for it's Sardinian food, but it has changed hands. The new owner is the former owner of the Trinity Cafe. The best way to summarize how terrible this meal was is to tell you that they offered to comp our entire meal (we declined, since we did manage to eat it and the waitress did bring it...75 minutes after we ordered it.) The food was terrible, the wait inexcusable, and the restaurant so hot sweat was rolling off my face. Best of all- the locals get preferential treatment-only the tourists appeared to have to wait to get fed.

Black Bear Diner: Despite the cute website, the food is inedible.

(edited to add more details)

First, the breakfasts at Carville Inn. Day One was light-as-air pancakes, served w/ maple syrup and her homemade applesauce; assorted fresh fruit; fruit juice; a scone that was better than any I've ever tasted; some really good bacon and baked eggs with cheese. Day Two was Biscuits, served with Sausage Gravy that was to die for and several of her homemade jams; perfectly cooked eggs over easy; juice and a fruit plate, and last but not least, warm blackberry cobbler, made from blackberries on the property. She also provides a complimentary snack in the afternoon, including wine. We spent the time between breakfast and dinner hiking in the Trinity Alps, so we were glad to have all these calories on board. The downside of staying here is that it is in the middle of nowhere-the nearest real restaurants are 45 minutes away in Weaverville-but she has a refrigerator for the guests (stocked with complimentary beer, water, and soda). After checking with her, we brought up an assortment of food from the Pasta Shop, and a bottle of our own wine to stash in the fridge for our dinners. There are several places to picnic on the property, but we just set up a picnic on their wonderful verandah and ate and drank while we watched the mountains change color as the sun went down. Next time urban life gets to be a little much, head for this place to unwind for a few days. Bring your own food, plan to head down to Weaverville one night to check out Noelle's Garden Cafe that lmschwartz recommended but we didn't get a chance to try, bring a selection of books to read on the verhandah or in the hammock, and I promise you will be as mellow beyond belief after three or four days.

Edited by marie-louise (log)
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  • 1 year later...

This thread hasn't been posted to for a while. I'm probably going to be visiting some friends in Mt. Shasta this August, and I'd love to treat them to a nice meal somewhere. They're both vegetarians (no, seafood, though they might be ovo-lacto); I'm an omnivore but have nothing against good food, whether it's vegetarian or not. Would any of you like to comment on the places marie-louise recommended in 2003, or add your own recommendations?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 10 months later...

Save me - I'm going to Hayfork!

Any suggestions for food (or lodging) in the Hayfork/Weaverville area?

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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