A welcome addition to the mix of college eateries surrounding Humboldt State University in the town of Arcata, just north of Eureka. Here, Folie Deuce presents a hearty menu focusing on sustainable and organic ingredients. Think locally sourced American staples complemented with global flavors—wasabi steak with jasmine rice and Asian greens and Israeli-spiced black cod with roasted faro. Once a month, the restaurant prepares a gourmet prix fixe menu that benefits the region’s public schools.
For dinner in an especially romantic coastal setting, venture north of Mendocino to the tiny village of Albion, and the deceptively simple Ledford House Restaurant. This is the kind of place you’ll probably want to hang out in for hours, watching the sun go down over the ocean as you sip local wines and dine on Provencal-style dishes. There’s plenty to keep you warm and well-fueled—nothing much better than digging into a packed-full seafood stew or a rich cassoulet after a long hike along the ocean bluffs or in a redwood forest.
Romance finds a home in this idyllic coastal region, where ocean fog rolls in from the ocean to blanket hushed redwood forests, and whales spout offshore. Along the coast, artists set up their easels to paint scenes of crashing surf and whitewashed cottages wrapped in rose-filled gardens.
Each year, December through May, look to the sea to witness roughly 15,000 gray whales swimming south for the summer.
It’s also a place where a new generation of farmers and winemakers focus on preserving the land as well as producing amazing food and wine. Favorite escapes include the romantic hamlet of Mendocino, roughly a 3-hour drive up the coast from San Francisco, and Eureka, a former logging town 2 hours further north, and the gateway to breathtaking Redwoods National and State Parks.
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