FUELRZ CAFÉ: A Review by Hairy Putter

22 09 2014

Where healthy food is delicious

DSC00547_5187Among the abundance of dining establishments in and around the metropolitan hub of Silverdale in North Kitsap County, WA is the gem of a new business that offers a smorgasbord of culinary treats that are nutritious, imaginative and extremely tasty. Fuelrz Café, which uses only the finest of natural and organic ingredients, is a much needed and welcome addition to the food scene.

Fuelrz Café is the brainchild of owner and head chef, Marilyn (Misty) Eubanks, who has been involved in the health, nutrition and fitness industry for many years. She got her start as a chef at home, wanting to offset the barrage of unhealthy food temptations by adding more nutritious and healthy components to her family’s diet. Through experimentation, Misty recreated her family’s favorite food items, especially desserts, using organic, unrefined and heart healthy ingredients. The results were so good that her family did not realize their diet had changed for the better.

We all know how difficult it can be to find and get uprights and canines alike to eat food that is healthy, especially when so much can be less than flavorful. My uprights sneak carrots, peas and sweet potatoes into my food, and guess what? When they are mixed with pumpkin and chicken I devour them with zeal.

After changing her family’s diet and honing her skills, Misty began sharing her baked goods with friends, neighbors and fitness clients. As a personal trainer, she was aware that diet was a big part of the success and failure of many of her clients but became concerned when she began to notice an increase in the number who suffered from food allergies and diseases related to food. She began researching clients’ particular food issues and started creating items that accommodated each individual’s special needs. Overwhelming enthusiasm and gratitude resulted.DadAndI

Misty’ s cottage industry grew too large for her home so she decided a year ago to expand and offer to a wider public the opportunity to find out firsthand the benefits that come from eating her delicious and heathy food. The word is out and Fuelrz Café is fueling an increasing number of bodies and minds.

Fuelrz Café specializes in gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan delights, but meat and poultry are NOT excluded. Everything is natural, sustainable and organic. “Oh, then it must be expensive” is the refrain often heard when those characteristics are mentioned, but the costs of Misty’s food and drinks are very competitive. If you think of the money you can save by getting and staying healthy, it is well worth the initial investment to see for yourself how eating better can change your life. You don’t have to suffer from celiac disease, diabetes or other food-associated illness to glean the benefits from eating at Fuelrz Café. Dine in or take out, Fuelrz Café makes it easy and affordable to add food and beverages you can trust to your and your family’s diet.

As well as bringing a great assortment of delicious muffins home, take a box of muffins or Fuelrz Café’s delicious bite-size protein poppers to your next business, club or association meeting as a special surprise and watch the reactions of satisfaction. With muffin flavors like Lemon, Banana Nut, Blueberry, Chocolate Almond, Peanut Butter with Chocolate frosting and Pineapple Coconut, how could you fail to impress? To make your purchase even more special, Fuelrz has several beautiful presentation boxes and ribbons to select from as well.

mistyLunch items at Fuelrz Café may include turkey and mushroom burgers, organic broccoli soup, hummus sandwiches and salad. The lunch menu changes daily as Fuelrz only uses fresh, local, seasonal and organic ingredients. Monday is always vegan lunch day. A large selection of coffee drinks and smoothies are also offered, and Fuelrz is constantly expanding its menu.

Outside seating lets you chill with your favorite four-footed companion while you enjoy the Fuelrz experience, and hey, if a crumb or two should end up our way, no problem with tasty food this heathy. For those of you who need to stay in touch with the pack, Fuelrz Café also has free Wi-Fi.

Fuelrz Café (www.fuelrz.vpweb.com) is located in Silverdale, WA at 2841 NW Kitsap Place, Suite A (behind Columbia Bank and Michaels). Open Mon-Sat 8am to 5pm. Telephone orders (360-337-1313) are welcome.

Farm’s Reach Café: A Review by Hairy Putter

1 07 2014

Farm’s Reach Café opened several years ago, the realization of dreams held by a young, local entrepreneurial couple. April and Jesse Ryan wanted to create a farm to table café experience that would showcase their cooking and baking talents while using the abundant local bounty from the farms that are the heart of this beautiful and fertile pastoral part of Jefferson County. They succeeded, and Farm’s Reach Café has become a popular gathering hub for locals and visitors to enjoy fresh local organic produce, tantalizing baked goods and delicious freshly roasted coffee.

Sign Following a brief change in ownership, Jesse and April returned to the helm and brought the spirit and integrity of the café back to life, winning an unprecedented six categories in The Leader’s Best of Awards for 2013. Farm’s Reach Cafe earned first place in the Best Dessert, Best Healthy/Organic/Local, Best Pie, Best Sandwich, Best Service and Best Soup categories. The cafe tied with Mean Bean Coffee Co. for first place in Best Coffee.

Now let’s talk food and bacon. Farm’s Reach Café’s menu features favorites like biscuits and gravy, breakfast burritos, traditional breakfasts and breakfast sandwiches, along with a selection of freshly made sandwiches and wraps, grilled Panini, soups and quiche de jour—just to name a few of the choices. As for the baked goods department, let me just make your mouth water with a sample of the offerings that have an especially appealing bent for me: bear paws and maple bacon turnovers. (Maple and bacon together! Am I in doggie dining heaven or what?) An assortment of in-house made pies, cakes and cookies will have you coming back repeatedly so that you can try everything.

FarmFreshMy uprights have dined at Farm’s Reach Café a few times, and it was on a perfect sunny Sunday morning that my dads decided to see if I could finally get to experience the place for myself. In response to their inquiry about whether I was welcome on the patio, my dads were told “Absolutely!”  Once I was settled comfortably in my chair, my dads took turns to go inside and view all the enticing offerings on display and to check out the daily menu items on the boards, which list breakfast selections, soup, quiche de jour, daily pie specials, vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and more. Those items and ingredients not grown on site are supplied by Red Dog Farm, Dharma Ridge Farm, Short’s Family Farm, Pan d’Amore, Stumpton Coffee Roasters, SpringRain Farm & Orchard and Dragonfly Chai.

Farm’s Reach Café has counter service so you order and pay for your items, which are then brought to your table. Certain beverages, tableware and condiments are located at self-serve stations in the café. Bussing your own tables is encouraged; this helps keep the cost of the food affordable for a broader range of diners and adds to one’s feeling like a part of the place.

FarmReachWhile our order was being prepared we bathed in an outdoor ambiance created by the fresh flowers from the café’s garden that graced our table, live music, the fluttering of newspaper pages being turned, birds chirping, neighboring conversations and interesting smells. (Is that bacon I smell?)  Soon a smiling young lady approached and set down our plates and, yes, there it was—a side of bacon. The Rueben sandwich was accompanied by a side salad of farm fresh greens, edible flowers, candied pecans, dried cranberries, crumbled local Mystery Boy goat cheese and a house-made balsamic vinaigrette.  Next a plate with fluffy scrambled eggs, potatoes, toast and (yes!) more bacon was placed in front of my other dad.

In previous visits my dads have enjoyed the ham and brie Panini; the quiche; a ham, cheese and egg breakfast sandwich; and a couple of desserts. (But I’m not supposed to talk of that—the permanent diet thing I suspect.) As with the other visits, my dads were delighted with their meals. And the bacon is delicious! Fur pawed visitors also get a special complimentary treat, and it, too, is pawlicious.

After recently welcoming a son, Kai, to their family, Jessie and April decided to devote more of their time to raising their newborn. They handed over the reins of the café to longtime friends and employees Arianna Abramczyk and “BG” William Patterson, who are eager to grow and expand the offerings and services of the café.  They will soon be introducing a larger range of gluten-free items, including breakfast breads, muffins, biscotti, pies and cakes.

Ari and BG are bringing their creative passion, enthusiasm and energy to the development and growth of not only the café but also the Big Squeeze Juice Bar located in the adjacent building. Future plans include developing and increasing outside catering along with increasing the to-go service.

With the green thumbs of resident gardeners Chas Hillyard and Eric Black, they are expanding the garden so they can grow more ingredients. They also intend to expand the inside and outdoor patio seating where we flat-pawed guests can share in the joyful experience of nature’s bounty, grown locally and used to create delicious and nutritious taste sensations.

Farm’s Reach Cafe is a Y-Generation business where the love of the land, hard work, patience, appreciation for the environment (the café even uses compostable products) and nurturing a sense of community come in delicious morsels, lovingly prepared by a group of young people who enjoy what they are doing and love that you do too. Locals make up 70% of the customer base, and they and the staff know each other by name.

Farm’s Reach Café, which offers free Wi-Fi, is open seven days a week, 7am to 3pm in the Spring & Summer and 7am to 2pm in the Fall & Winter. It is located at 8972 Beaver Valley Rd, Chimacum, WA 98325. Telephone:  (360)732-4200. Cash and Credit Cards accepted.

An unexpected Nordic adventure for my first Pacific Northwest Review: By Hairy Putter

1 05 2014

Recently my dads had some errands to do in and around downtown Poulsbo; a charming Norwegian founded and inspired village located on Liberty Bay, a picturesque inlet on Puget Sound in Washington State, not far from my new home.  Poulsbo was founded by Norwegian immigrant Jorgen Eliason in the 1880’s and was a melting pot for a large number of Scandinavian settlers, particularly from Norway and Finland who gravitated to this area for its geographic similarities to their homeland.  Poulsbo still maintains a strong Nordic identity; the streets of the village have many buildings that reflect the architectural facets and distinctive features of Scandinavia. The village is full of bakeries, delicatessens, restaurants, antique stores, art galleries, boutiques and shops offering  some tantalizing delicacies and traditional Scandinavian wares. A fusion of cultures merges seamlessly along Main Street and the marina which helps make Poulsbo a very popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Ancestral history and traditions are revisited and maintained for future generations with the annual Viking Festival and with streets names such as Viking Way is a constant reminder to the visitor of the heritage of this delightful coastal village.

Poulsbo Marina

Poulsbo Marina

The sun was shining and the temperature was registering 70 degrees and lunch was very much on my mind when my dads pulled into the parking lot at the marina. Spotting a restaurant with outside dining and plenty of uprights soaking up the rays and feasting, discussion ensued, windows got cranked down, the sun roof was retracted and water was poured into my travel bowl and my dads got out of the car to go explore, but “Hey!!!  Did they forget something (ME!)?”  Good job I had a great view of the marina and all the activity going on in the waterfront park to distract me, like other four legged pals being walked, various sized uprights exploring the park and marina and those pesky seabirds scavenging for a crumb or two from the forgotten morsels of picnics.  Soon I was contemplating having a nap when the car door opened and my leash was secured to my harness and those words I love to hear so much, “Come on Hairy, you get to come” were uttered. You did not need to tell me twice, with a quick stop to pick up some pee mail I was escorted onto the deck of J.J.’s Fish House to the delight of not only myself but other upright diners.

J.J.'s Fish House

J.J.’s Fish House

It seemed from what I could pick up from my uprights as I settled into my seat, that before I joined them when they were looking over the menu, there was discussion about whether one of my dads should order two or three pieces of fish and one dad suggested three, so they could take one back to the car for me.  A manager overheard this discussion and said “You don’t have to leave your dog in the car, we are pet friendly you are very welcome to bring your pet onto the outside deck to share the fun in the sun.” So viola, off one of them went to fetch me. Upon my arrival an individual bowl of cool water was placed in front of me and I took a much appreciated drink.  That done it was time to concentrate on the important task: ordering.  J.J.’s Fish House motto is ‘Fun Funky Fabulous Food’  taking pride in using whole fresh caught fish and filleting in house to order, creating their own soups, sauces and dressings from scratch and using heart-healthy canola oil for frying.

Nice cool water at the table

Nice cool water at the table

You will find many familiar favorites like Manila Clams and sweet Mussel Steamers, J.J.’s award winning clam chowder, Alaskan True Cod and Pacifica Halibut Tempura, battered fish & chips, sandwiches like J.J.’s Classic Burger or Sesame Crusted Chicken Sandwich along with assorted seafood and vegetarian pastas and mouthwatering entrees such as Cioppino, Grilled Fresh Local King Salmon, Dungeness Crab Cakes, Pan Fried Yearling Oysters, Baked Stuffed Shrimp and many more tantalizing choices. Our server, Zac, was very kind to bring a sample of the featured Porter beer for my dads to try and they liked it so much they both ordered one each.  Even though the restaurant was very busy inside and out, Zac took the time to explain several items that my dads inquired about in detail. Taking into account Zac’s descriptions and recommendations on this visit, my dads ordered the 3 piece Alaskan True Cod fish and chips and the Cioppino.  A basket of warm bread and butter was promptly bought to the table along with the beers by our fun and attentive server and shortly thereafter our food arrived.   The cod encased in a fine crisp tempura batter was firm, sweet tasting and succulent, accompanied with a side of perfectly balanced coated lemon poppy seed coleslaw, crisp seasoned fries and delicious housemade tartar sauce. The Cioppino was a delicious generous portion, chock full of flavorful local King salmon, fresh cod , Manila clams and sweet mussels in a fresh tomato broth infused with  onions, celery and fresh basil, a balanced and seasoned example of this delicious fish stew.  As we ate contentedly, several people stopped by to say “Hi” and inquire about me.  They were so thrilled to find out what I do and if I was going to be reviewing J.J.s.  Well, I had not expected to be on assignment, but I am so glad that I got the opportunity to tell you about J.J.’s Fish House.

I know we will be going back and after reading this review maybe I will see more four-legged pals having fun in the sun on the deck overlooking the beautiful marina at Poulsbo Village.

For full menus, hours of operations, directions and more please visit www.jjsfishhouse.com. For more information on Poulsbo, you might find these websites of interest:  www.poulsbohistory.comwww.cityofpoulsbo.com, and www.poulsbo.net/heritage/.

If you visit, don’t forget to tell them that Hairy Putter, ’canine gourmet diner extraordinaire’, sent you.

J.J.’s Fish House
18881 Front St NE
Poulsbo, WA 98370
(360) 779-6609

Review: Elk Cove Inn (Part 2) by Hairy Putter

7 08 2013

The Elk Cove Inn’s Wave Watch Suite is pet luxury
on the Mendocino Coast redefined.

 Attention pampered pooches and those that desire to be! Pet lodging on the Mendocino Coast just got a lot more luxurious. The romantic and super friendly Elk Cove Inn has just raised the bar on Pet Friendly lodging with the opening of the Wave Watch Ocean Suite, and I recently got to experience a stay so I could bring you a first paw account.


Hoppy and I enjoying the sun, beach, and quiet times

 It wasn’t so long ago that Elaine, the owner of Elk Cove Inn, invited me to christen the inn’s first pet friendly accommodation, the Hideaway. Well, I must be doing a hell of a job because a couple of months later I was invited back to give my expert opinion on an additional pet friendly suite. My fur-pawed brethren, what a treat you are in for (and the uprights, too, of course). For this stay I also had the company of Hoppy, and as you can tell from some of the pictures that accompany this review, we both loved living the high life.

 Uprights, you know that we give you all our unconditional love, so when it comes time to give us some loving back, consider indulging us and yourselves with a front-row view of one of the most beautiful and dramatic ocean scenes on the Mendocino Coast. The Elk Cove Inn’s Wave Watch Suite has been designed to offer the guest a sumptuous blend of modern amenities and comfort, enveloped in the opulent esthetics of a historic Arts and Crafts building.

 No detail has been overlooked to give both fur-pawed and upright guests a magical and restful experience. A stay here is an indulgence one could get used to—I know for sure my dads and I did. Upon check-in my dads were given a bag of complimentary house-made pet cookie treats for my culinary pleasure, and from the moment I walked into the suite I realized I was in for something special: Waiting for me and most welcome after a car ride, were two metal bowls on a place mat, one full of fresh water.


Spectacular views in sun, fog, or thunderstorms

A couple of small steps lead you from the suite’s entry into the main room where the full impact of the majestic and picturesque Elk Cove Inn’s Victorian Gazebo is framed majestically against the dramatic ocean backdrop. A collection of cover sheets and towels especially for me were waiting so that the furniture can be protected from my sandy paws and I can be dried if need be after a romp on the nearby beach. Two oversized swivel armchairs in the bay window allow one to sit in comfort and contemplate the movement of the waves. But for me the best view was from the king-sized bed where, sunk in lushness with my front paws stretched out and my chin resting on them, I could look out the window as birds flew by and wonder, How do they do that and why can’t I?

 A compact and well-stocked kitchen and wet bar is perfect for keeping my food and treats fresh. Other amenities include a small refrigerator/freezer, coffee & tea maker, ice bucket, chopping board, knives, plates, silverware, stemware, wine opener, iron and ironing board, travel-case rack and microwave, to name a few.

 Some of us can be a little skittish when it comes to the room that the uprights lovingly refer to as the bathroom—you know, the room that has something to do with water, shampoo, wet fur and enclosed space that just seems to make one’s fur stand on end. But sometimes we can’t help but roll in something unpleasant, or we decide to splash in some mud while traversing the grounds or have some other outdoor adventure that calls for a bath, so let me reassure you that the Wave Watch Suite has a bathroom like no other I have experienced. It did not scare me one bit! With its open floor plan, privacy walled commode and plenty of space and ample lighting, you will never feel claustrophobic.


I would have preferred the shower

 In the first area there is a large ultra-modern two-sink vanity and free-standing jet tub with hand shower that is big enough for a Great Dane to recline in, as you can see from the accompanying picture. If a tub is not your thing, just walk around the corner into the largest walk-in shower this Cairn terrier has ever encountered, where you will all be in for the treat of your lives. A sleek chrome cylinder, which goes from floor to ceiling, has three different height settings that can be used to direct the jets of water to our particular height, as well as a hand wand attachment that will leave no grain of sand in one’s fur. No amount of wet fur shaking is going to leave this enormous space, and a bonus is that the uprights will get clean in high contemporary style too. The bathroom has several wall heaters plus hair dryers to get that perfect blow-dried look, and don’t forget the pet towels provided exclusively for our use. Soft plush robes will keep the uprights snug and cozy.

 For those times when a little privacy is needed, the large picture windows have a clever blind system that allows for screening all of the window or just the top, middle or lower portions, so one can be lying in bed gazing at the awesome view but be totally invisible from the outside.


Catching the rays on the deck

 One doesn’t have to spend all ones time inside, as you can see from this photo. The outside deck is a great space to soak up some rays, do a little reading or simply sit and contemplate the wing speed of hummingbirds as they drink a flower’s nectar or marvel at the configuration of color on a butterfly’s wings. Or maybe just lie down at your uprights’ feet and take a little nap with the sun warming your fur as nature’s music plays all around you.

 If the weather does its usual dance variations, the Wave Watch Suite is the perfect place to witness the spectacle of dramatic thunderstorms or the kaleidoscopic magic of sunset. If by chance the panoramic view becomes hidden by the sexy shroud of fog, the cozy armchairs are perfect to sit beside and indulge in a little mental contemplation while the uprights enjoy a good book or share the guilty pleasure of a favorite movie on the large flat screen television placed above the fireplace mantel. (And don’t let them forget to microwave the complimentary popcorn.)

 Start up the gas fire to keep everyone toasty while the flickering flames glow seductively throughout the room. This could be the perfect time for the uprights to break open the goodies from their complimentary gift basket, to pour a glass of wine and tuck into the homemade cookies or to sip a glass of delicious complimentary port from the in-room decanter and savor the delicious heart chocolates that await just such a moment of indulgence.

 The Wave Watch Suite is an Architectural Digest photograph-worthy accommodation, designed with us in mind and equipped to make any upright smile in delight at the clever touches and thoughtful amenities. The next time your uprights are contemplating a little bit of romantic indulgence, paw them in the direction of the Wave Watch Suite at the delightful and hospitable Elk Cove Inn.

 (P.S. For more on the inn see my previous review where I tell you all about my second favorite pastime in the world next to being the best companion I can be to my uprights: the delicious breakfasts.)

Elk Cove Inn
6300 Highway 1
Elk, California 95432
(707) 877-3321

Review: Uncorked Wine Bistro by Hairy Putter

17 07 2013

A small plate experience to fill the largest of appetites

My tail is wagging up a storm, my tongue is hanging out and I’m tugging excitedly on my leash to tell you all about Uncorked Wine Bistro, a welcome taste of Europe that delivers a unique and totally satisfying dining experience. This fabulous new restaurant in Ukiah not only has a Continental aesthetic in ambiance and cuisine, but also understands that there is always room at, by or under the table for diners of the four-legged variety. At Uncorked, located on what is fast becoming restaurant row in Historic Downtown Ukiah, Kerri Barnett and team have created an ultra-stylish environment: a space of casual elegance that complements perfectly the outstanding array of creative culinary delicacies that I experience as morsels of nirvana.


Dining room inside

Uncorked offers three separate spaces for their guests to gather and share the true pleasure and meaning of the dining experience. Even though I have not been inside the main dining room, my uprights have, and they say that Kerri has created an inviting space by using a subtle mixture of earth tones and textures that doesn’t overpower the true star of the restaurant, the food. A private dining room is available and perfect for celebrations. The pet friendly part of the restaurant includes an outdoor/indoor space with fans and outdoor heaters that make this area suitable for year round dining. Soon a fourth, and for me the best, dining option will be a section in front of the restaurant that will resemble a European street café.


Owner, Kerri – oh, great back rub

Kerri, like me, loves food and people and how well the two go together. Uncorked makes just about everything in house, and Kerri works with her staff to come up with delicious mouthwatering items that not only work individually but also produce layers of contrasting flavors, textures and taste sensations that give the guest an experience similar to other moments of sensual enjoyment. Everything is presented on white china to showcase the food in its entire splendor. In this world of mass produced, boring and unimaginative food, it is a refreshing pleasure to dine in an establishment that so obviously cares about both the food they serve and all that goes into creating and presenting a dish. The subtle balancing and pairing of flavors is a true culinary art, and Kerri and crew are masters.


“Vacation in a glass”

Uncorked also creates imaginative, refreshing and tasty beverages. On one visit my dad ordered the “Vacation in a Glass” specialty of the day, which was Sangria and perfect for the warm late spring afternoon. Previously he had savored one of Kerri’s blackberry liquor champagne cocktails, which he was reluctant to share. (Hmm, I wonder why. Could it be that he was enjoying it too much?) My other dad sampled wines recommended for pairing with the items he ordered. Uncorked has a fine selection of wines by the glass and bottle and also offers beer and soft drinks.

By the way, fellow canines, fresh water is usually waiting, but if not, just have your uprights ask and a cool delicious bowl of water will gladly be brought to you.

Mezze Platter

Mezze Platter

Are you salivating yet? Well, let’s talk food. But first, readers, please take note that when my dads order food and I am dining with them, they tailor their choices to accommodate me as much as possible (as well they should). We started with the Mezze Platter, a wonderful sampling of Mediterranean tapas: sweet and sour eggplant spread, tzatziki (cucumber and yogurt dip)—yum, I love that, and my favorite, Greek-style feta cheese with house-made flatbread. Next up was an amazing Olive Medley with citrus marinated black olives, herb and garlic green olives, Nicoise olives and, to round out the balance of flavors, pickled cauliflower. Being a canine, I was not too keen on the latter, but you have to let the uprights have their way sometimes. (It makes them feel special.) What arrived next, however, was right up my alley. They had gone for the meat and ordered the Slider Sampler: two delicious grilled buns, one filled with ground beef, onion marmalade and white cheddar and the other filled with ground lamb topped with herb goat cheese. There was French potato salad too. Then, lo and behold, out came the Gypsy Girl Sausage Plate, and my nose did a twitching like you would not believe. Imagine three juicy and flavorful artisan sausages—a riveting rose, a provincial pig and a gypsy brat—nestled among sizzling sweet grilled onions and accompanied by onion marmalade and sweet & spicy mustard. Yes, Uncorked even makes its very own mustards. (Note: Onions are not good for us fur pawed diners so none of those for me, but they sure did smell good.)

Slider Sampler - YUMMM!

Slider Sampler – YUMMM!

Other offerings that we could have chosen included broiled salmon with a Dijon mustard and white wine glaze, fresh dill sauce and veggies and a spicy hummus quesadilla with zucchini, jack and goat cheese, along with a side of white bean salsa. Salad choices included a Nicoise composed of braised fennel, potatoes, green beans, egg and tomatoes, to which you can add chicken or salmon for a very reasonable additional charge, and the Bistro Wedge with crisp iceberg lettuce, candied bacon, Pt. Reyes blue cheese and green beans. There is also a Two Cheese Panini Sandwich and poached Scrimshaw Shrimp with spicy lemon sauce, not to mention other mouthwatering delights.

Menu items change regularly and daily specials are always a tempting addition to the regular menu. Dinner offers the guest many more tasty small plate creations, and the desserts are as creative and delicious as everything else at Uncorked. Want even more reasons to come and check out what Kerri and crew are inventing to tempt and impress? How about Flatbread Friday’s pizza specialties or Southern Saturday’s shrimp ’n’ grits with tomato-bacon gravy and orange rolls? Don’t miss the chance to catch the sounds of live entertainment on Thursday and Saturday evenings.

The ambiance of Uncorked is perfect for conversation, and the service is friendly, unpretentious and efficient. The style may be casual but the attention to detail is apparent in every bite. You will savor flavors that linger far longer in your mind than the kaleidoscope of taste sensations hang around on the palate, and that’s a great thing so, trust me, you will want to keep going back. Please don’t be put off by the words “Small Plates”; the concept behind small plates means variety and plenty of it, and Uncorked Wine Bistro delivers it all in delicious abundance.

I urge Ukiah locals and visitors to the area to come alone or with friends and pop in for a quick bite or linger till the stars come out.  Maybe I will get to see your tail wagging too, next time I’m at Uncorked.

Hairy Putter
Uncorked Wine Bistro
110 W. Standley Street
Ukiah, CA 95482
Wed. – Thur. 11am – 9pm
Fri. – Sat. 11am – 10pm

Review: Queenie’s Roadhouse Cafe by Hairy Putter

26 06 2013

 Operating with Pride in Elk since 2001

Queenies FlagAs many of my readers already know, my dads are always on the lookout for places where we can dine together. Luckily for all the fur legged children who get to experience Mendocino County; many such places do exist. Feeling welcome is the key to hospitality and in the picturesque postcard town of Elk, population around 250, there is a place that is especially welcoming for another great reason and it has to do with a very colorful and significant flag that flies proudly every day letting people know that Queenie’s Roadhouse Café is open. This flag is a big bold Rainbow Flag.

Uprights the world over know that for us fur pawed companions love is unconditional and we are blind to the individual who receives our love and affection. We judge and trust you all equally and unequivocally.  All we see and care about is that you love us and we love you.  It is with my own sense of pride being lucky enough to have two upright dads and lots of friends from all over the world that with June being the month that the members of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered communities of the world celebrate, I get to tell you about a very special lady and her wonderful café.  One definition of the word Pride is “a pleasant, sometimes exhilarating, emotion that results from a positive self-evaluation” —  that just about sums up how one feels after a dining experience at this intimate café that draws people together both near (locals) and far (visitors) who come to enjoy the family hospitality and excellent cooking of Lynn Derrick and her team.



Lynn Derrick is a San Francisco native who came to the Mendocino Coast in 1982 to visit a friend and never left.  After being a part owner and operating a very popular café in Fort Bragg, California for several years she took a break from the hectic life of a restaurateur. However, when the opportunity presented itself, Lynn jumped at the chance to continue a legacy of business operation in an endeared historical local building in Elk.  The Matson Family have been a fixture of the area since the 1890’s and over the decades have owned and operated several business in Elk including the garage that is still operating today. Attached to the garage is a building that has been many things including a livery stable, Studebaker showroom, ice cream parlor, traditional roadhouse and now since 2001, Queenie’s Roadhouse Café.  June 26th also happens to be Lynn’s birthday and one of the ways that Lynn liked to celebrate was to attend the Pride Festivities in San Francisco. Like many self-employed people working on your birthday takes precedence over time off, so Lynn decided she would mark her special day and the community that she belongs to and placed the Rainbow Flag outside — that was 2001 and it has never come down because for Lynn, every day is something to be proud of living.

QueeniesHairyLynn, Sis, Zoe and crew deliver service with a genuine smile and create food that fills you with comfort and joy. Open five days a week serving breakfast and lunch (closed Tuesday & Wednesday) Queenies is a local treasure that has over the last decade created a loyal local, national and international following. Like Lynn herself, the food at Queenies is unpretentious and honest. Lynn and Sis cook with love and use seasonal, fresh and organic ingredients. They make as much as they can in-house; this includes the delicious pastries and exquisite pies that just scream “Grandma”, even the salad dressings are made from scratch. Every dish is made to order and meticulously prepared and presented. Love, care and thought come shining through as you savor every morsel. Let’s start with the meal of champions, breakfast.  Choices include tantalizing fare such as wild rice and pecan waffles, buttermilk hotcakes, several omelet and scramble choices like the Earhart omelet (Portobello mushroom, roasted red pepper, spinach and cheddar cheese), smoked pork chops, old fashioned corned beef hash, huevos rancheros and my favorite, bacon with everything or with nothing; although I do have to say a nibble of chicken apple sausage is always a pleasure. Be sure to check the boards as specials are offered every day. Lunch choices include mouthwatering burgers, large crisp fresh salads like nicoise, curried chicken, melt in your mouth sandwiches like an authentic Ruben, tuna melt and B.L.T to name a few. Queenies serves beer, wine and a comprehensive selection of coffee and soft drink beverages. Queenies also has two outdoor patio tables so we can join you.  But if the weather is not cooperating, don’t let your uprights miss the opportunity to experience Queenies. The temperature in Elk will always be conducive for you  to be comfortable in the car and wait for them to return with a nibble of something delicious. If the sun is shining and a table is available, you too can sit under the continuing waving rainbow flag and know that you, like all, are welcome and appreciated at this out and proud local café that in its quite unassuming way makes the breaking of bread still the best way to unite each other.

As to why Lynn named her cafe Queenies, I am going to leave that up to you to discover when you visit. Let’s just say the décor will leave you in no doubt the affection that her clientele feel towards this courageous and prideful independent woman. The tight community of Elk has embraced and revered Lynn and she gives of herself to the community constantly as a volunteer firefighter along with her generosity to and for local events county wide.

Pride of product, pride of business, pride of self and pride in her unique style of hospitality makes Lynn and Queenies Roadhouse Café a very special place to exercise one’s own pride. For more information, please visit www.queeniesroadhousecafe.com. Business hours are Thursday through Monday 8am to 3pm.

Queenies Roadhouse Café
6061 Highway 1
Elk, California 95432
(707) 877-3285

Review: Contemplating the flight of birds at The Griffin House Inn by Hairy Putter

11 06 2013

One of the things that makes my job as Director of Barketing for Mendocino County such fun is how fortunate I am to get to try many different lodging and dining experiences. Then in turn, I get the enviable task of sharing these tail-wagging adventures with you in the hope that you will get the opportunity to bring along the uprights and enjoy a play day or two with us in Mendocino County. Each property I review offers a unique experience for furry guests. For my latest review I got to stay once again in one of my favorite towns, Elk, as it is known in present day; to the locals of days past, Greenwood is the name that still resonates.


Great view from the bed!

Elk/Greenwood has a rich and varied history celebrated and honored by The Griffin House Inn. The Inn is a colorful and intricate part of the Elk/Greenwood community and has hosted everyone from hippies to yuppies (If anyone is familiar with the 60s musical group ‘Cat’s Meow’, they were frequent guests). I don’t particularly care for felines, but I am very curious about the group’s name and on my visit I did see a couple of the four legged variety patrolling the grounds. Each of the eight well-appointed and cozy cottages is named after a prominent historical individual or family that have (and still) contribute to the development and lively history of the town. The three ocean view cottages offer guests an intimate encounter with the dramatic splendor of the Elk Coast. Perched on what I can only describe as the ‘edge of the earth’ our cottage, The Matson, has an unobstructed view of the naturally carved arches that have formed over the centuries into the giant rock formations that lie just off the private cove below. Remnants of the wooden trestles that carried the trains full of lumber precariously out onto the giant rocks and then on to the waiting schooners off shore are still visible.

From the moment you step inside the cottage and feast your eyes on the vista before you and step out onto the deck, real time will cease to matter. Relaxation, contemplation and quality time with each other, individually and/or with your furry friend(s) immediately begins. As my dads continued unloading the car and getting us settled into the cottage, I stayed out on the deck and jumped up and made immediate use of the Adirondack chairs to get some rays and enjoy the feel of the ocean breeze blowing through my fur.

With no in-room TV or phone to distract, the only sounds that fill the air is the comforting rhythm of the waves marking their arrival on land and the occasional call of birds. Wood-slatted privacy screens separate the cottages but do not obstruct the views. The comfortable Adirondack chairs with their footstools are perfect for lounging and contemplating the beauty before you. A variety of books and games have been thoughtfully supplied inside the cottage and heat comes from a faux wood gas fire in the main space and a portable radiator located in the bathroom. Wi-Fi is available in the cottages and Bridget Dolan’s Pub, which is part of The Griffin House Inn, serves, according to my dads, some good and tasty pub fare. There are a couple of tables for alfresco dining, weather permitting, but alas even though we had sun and clear blue skies, by the time the uprights where ready for dinner it was too cool to eat outside. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to tell you about a meal experience at Bridget Dolan’s in the not too distant future.


Yummmm, bacon!!!

Upon check-in at the Griffin House Inn you will be asked if you have any dietary restrictions and if you prefer coffee, tea or hot chocolate in the morning and you are given a choice of times for breakfast delivery. The next morning about 30 minutes after the beverages were delivered a delicious homemade breakfast was brought to our room. Cranberry juice, fresh fruit along with two corn tortillas topped with fried eggs, sour cream, pico de gallo, avocado and my all-time favorite – BACON. After breakfast my dad took me for a walk. We walked to the Greenwood State Beach Museum and Visitors Center then followed the headlands north; I stopped plenty of times as there were lots of interesting smells. My dad did not seem to mind the interruptions as he was intent on photographing the stunning vistas and wild flowers that blanketed the headlands. We soon arrived at the Greenwood State Beach and traversed the path down to the beach. At the top of the path are picnic tables, restroom facilities and recycling/garbage cans. The path to the beach is wide and slopes gradually but it does cover some steep terrain. You surely will get your exercise coming back up. On the beach itself there are picnic tables and BBQ pits. Someone had made a wooden shelter from driftwood; I went inside, as it was cool and shady. Make sure your uprights bring some fresh water and a bowl to drink out of as the walk, the sea air and sunshine can make us thirsty. Also, don’t forget the poop bags for disposal, as there are none provided.


Sunset from the deck

Since the weather was so beautiful my dads decided to pick up a picnic lunch from the Elk Store on our way back from the beach to enjoy on the deck at our cottage. At the Elk Store you can pick up a nice selection of everyday staples. They have everything you might need for a great picnic as well; a great selection of cheeses, deli meats, vegetables, homemade desserts, snacks and chips along with local wines, beers and sodas and they make delicious made to order sandwiches. They also carry some wonderful products made in Mendocino County, souvenirs and postcards.

For those who love history, Elk/Greenwood has an amazing, colorful and varied story to tell. Several books are available for purchase at The Elk Store and Greenwood State Beach Museum and Visitors Center that vividly recall the origins of the town back when the town had around 3500 residents in and around the area along with 10 hotels, 15 saloons, several dance halls, three general stores and several popular brothels.

After my walk and our satisfying lunch we all settled in for the afternoon basking in the feeling of tranquility that only true relaxation brings as we watched and listened to the gentle sounds of the ocean. My uprights read books, sipped wine and we all simply let the outside world fade into distant memory. We observed the birds as they passed so low and close to the cliff that we got a bird’s eye view of them for a change. I know that if my uprights had let me, I could have caught one; I just know it. Soon the afternoon faded to evening and the sky began its amazing kaleidoscope of color changes and we all watched transfixed. I was snugly wrapped up in my blanket curled contently in my upright’s lap watching a wonderful sunset on the edge of the world surrounded by love.

If your uprights are like mine, do you ever hear them lament how they wish they could stop the world and grasp a moment of silence? Sometimes all the noise of the world can drive one crazy, when all you can seem to hear is the cacophony of the instruments of 21st century life – that invasion of the senses that emits continually from every kind of electronic device – stop it in its tracks! Stay at the Griffin House Inn cottages, where you can finally switch it all off and hear only the symphony of the ocean and the a cappella choral sounds of sea birds as they glide by while you relax and, like me, contemplate the flight of birds.

Please visit www.griffininn.com for further information.

Griffin House Inn
5910 South Highway 1
P O Box 190
Elk, California 95432
(707) 877-3422


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