Del Norte County / Crescent City

Del Norte County lies along the Oregon border, and has some great views of the Pacific Ocean. We visited there on Memorial Day weekend, and altered hours meant we missed out on assembling a BBQ oyster and fresh crab picnic at Crescent Seafood or Melanie Wong’s suggestion of Vita Cucina. We still managed to find some good eats, most on the 101.

  • Wild Rivers Market in Crescent City had a great selection of gourmet and natural food items for picnics/hiking.

  • Perlita’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant in Crescent City makes their flour tortillas from scratch, and their corn tortillas by hand, from maseca. The flour tortillas had toasty aromas and a lovely combo of crisp and chewy textures and was a great foil for the chicken mole. The vegetable huarache was huge, and loaded with lots of great nopales, cheese, and other veggies. It was browned on the bottom and cushiony.
  • Raliberto’s Taco Shop in Crescent City : carne asada was under seasoned and overcooked, no browning whatsoever.


  • Lolita’s Taqueria in Smith River was next door to a Mexican grocery store, and filled with families watching soccer. Chile relleno was the best I’ve had in years, light coating, fresh chile. The sopito with adobada was good— a pillowy sope topped with what tasted like grilled al pastor.
  • Good Harvest Cafe in Crescent City was our breakfast spot two days in a row. Diner classics, with higher quality ingredients and homemade stuff. Huevos rancheros were great, and were topped with sunny side up eggs just how I like them-- runny yolks and brown bottoms. Whole grain bread tastes like Dave’s Killer bread. I also enjoyed the buckwheat pancakes. Oatmeal had a honey option, which was a good pick— the little bowl of honey had some crystallized bits, which added a nice grainy texture to the oatmeal.
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On our second triple Del Norte county, over 4th of July weekend, we stayed in Klamath. The stunning coastal views of our first trip transitioned to walks among the giant redwoods. It is more than a 5 hour drive from San Francisco, and the remoteness of this area made it possible to get a motel reservation and a spot for dinner at the a Requa Inn with only a few days lead time.

The Requa Inn serves $35 family-style meals which you share with other visitors. You need to book the 7pm reservation with at least 24 hours. The main dishes at dinner change from night to night, but some of the side dishes stay the same, at least for a short time – – the seasonal menu is sourced from a farm 30 miles north of the hotel.

The food was well executed, interesting, and each communal vessel was filled with more food than the table could eat. My favorite bite of the charcuterie plate was a wild mushroom spread, whose earthiness got emphasized when I bit into the vinegary beads of whole grain mustard that topped it. The two salads, a green salad and a farro and vegetable salad, showcased the quality of their produce and a northern bean purée was a creamy, savory addition to the main, pork tenderloin. A vegetarian at the table was served quiche, and it looked similar to the one Melanie Wong spotted at an event catered by the Requa Inn’s chef (her review prompted me to eat here and has good background info).

The other guests we spoke to were staying at the inn, and they raved about the breakfasts. I didn’t ask whether those were available to people not staying at the hotel, but it would be worth checking with them if you’re passing through the area.

http://www.requainn.com

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Garlic emulsion? Molecular gastronomy?

That did strike me as odd— on the one hand, saying “emulsion” instead of “salad dressing” doesn’t jibe with their otherwise unpretentious style. Likewise, the meal emphasized natural ingredients rather than flourishes. so I wouldn’t expect them to use xantham gum or something that’s not food to stabilize the salad dressing.

Conversing with strangers at the Requa Inn was fun on our first night, but after a long hike on our second day, a quick hearty meal was in order. The Steelhead Lodge in Klamath was a good fit, and had giant portions.

Our entrees came with a big bowl of salad for the table (iceberg lettuce, carrots shreds, red cabbage; refills were offered), a baked potato (sides of sour cream and dried chives), a roll, and a skewer of mushrooms and canned pineapples that I didn’t get the appeal of. The catch of the day, ling cod from Eureka, was very good. Steaks at other tables looked good, and might be the way to go if you don’t want fish— the BBQ ribs didn’t have much seasoning or any smoke flavor, and the outside crust was sometimes tough, but the meat was tender.

http://thesteelheadlodge.com/restaurant/menu/

Snack Shack in Orick has a decent veggie burger. It’s made from smashed chickpeas and flavored with rosemary. Not a lot of structural integrity, but homemade and tasty. I’d recommend it over the elk burger, which was an overcooked puck. Another customer was not satisfied when her BLT was served on a cold hamburger bun.

Shakes are made from Cascade Glacier ice cream and are generously portioned for the price. The neon colored strawberry led us to get the chocolate, which was good. It’s thick and required a straw.

Requa Inn killed it again. Our Saturday dinner was similar to our previous visit— talking to other guests. it seems that Steelhead is served on Friday nights. Awesome dessert— a almond butter cake with honey whipped cream and blackberry sauce

Dinner at Good Harvest Cafe was mixed. Burger was overformed and not very tasty. A vegetarian pasta, kind of a summer linguini primavera topped with shredded cheese, was very flavorful, a real winner.

Thanks for the report and follow-ups, much appreciated. Will have to put Requa on the list when we go through that area again (still hoping to put together another PNW driving trip, sigh). That photo of ling cod had me salivating. One so seldom sees it down here in the Bay Area any longer, or at least in the EBay.

And steelhead - oh, one of our favorites!

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold