Cornelia Sieber-Davis stands behind the curbside pickup booth, wearing a brown Lake County Farmers’ Finest t-shirt, her bright eyes framed by her bangs and the white mask covering the rest of her face. It’s Saturday in Kelseyville, and the Farmers’ Market is in full swing. “Many people choose to order online,” she says, bustling to move signs and boxes filled with produce. “And every week we’re getting more and more things to buy on the website. I get the orders and aggregate them all here.” She shuffles a box around and puts something else in it. It’s an adjustment to interesting times that seems to be working. The table is filled with boxes waiting to be picked up. While we’re chatting, a woman wanders over to the booth and pokes at a peach. “These are for curbside pickup,” Cornelia says brightly. “But, you can buy some just over there.” She points across the open area. “They’ve got plenty.” She chats for a while with the woman and shows her some of the olive oil on sale. It’s just one of the many items it’s possible to find at the market. You can find original paintings, jams and jellies, all different kinds of veggies, as well as honey, succulent starts, herbs, fruits, and cookies. It’s a cornucopia of Lake County’s finest.
It’s an unusually cool summer afternoon in Big Valley. Outside the Finley Country Market, rose bushes and lavender pop out of planters, framing the red, farmhouse-looking store. Several picnic tables, shaded by umbrellas, stretch across the courtyard. Finley Country Market’s been around twenty-five years and serves as a hub for the small community. They’ve got a good barbecue, offering grilled chicken, burgers, or tri-tip sandwiches depending on the day of the week. And they’re popular; it’s not uncommon for the market to receive twenty-five or thirty pre-orders on Fridays for their tri-tip sandwiches. And each Friday, another wonderful thing happens at the market. There, on the counter next to the register, sit Karen Shippley’s gluten-free muffins. Depending on Karen’s mood, you may find blueberry muffins, carrot cake or German chocolate cupcakes, all luscious and completely gluten-free.
“The first time I tasted a Malbec, it was like that movie Ratatouille,” Miguel says. “You know how that one bite took him back to his childhood?” Miguel poses the question. “The first smell of the Malbec took me back to when I was six or seven years old in Michoacán. We had to go up the mountain and plow the furrows for the corn by hand. And after a long, hot day of work, my father would pick the prickly fruit off the cactus. He would pick the spines off the fruit and hand it to me to eat. When I was a child, I was mad at having to do all that hard work, but the reward of the work was the taste of the fruit in my mouth.” He smiles, remembering that moment once more. “And that moment was in that glass of wine. Wine tasting is personal,” he continues. “You won’t have the same feeling or memory that I have when you taste something, but it’s that moment with certain wines, where you are taken back to a certain time or emotion. Then the wine becomes part of who you are. That makes wine special. Winemaking is memories.”
Recently, our family ran into a dilemma. We bake our bread at home and were running low on yeast. So I went online to get some more and saw that the price had not only doubled, but it wouldn’t come for a month. So, what were we to do? Not only was our homemade bread at stake, but also the evening’s long-awaited plans. Stir-crazy and stuck at home, our family had planned on making calzones, then having a family-only drive-in movie on the patio. But we were out of yeast for the dough. In my moment of despair, Juicy’s Pizza in Lakeport came through. Not only can you buy one of the best pizzas in the county there, but you can also pick up a few staples that you may be having difficulty purchasing. Right now, they are selling the following: Org. Beehive All Purpose Flour- $8.24/5 lb Org. Artisan Baker’s Craft Plus Wheat Flour (bread flour, used in our dough) $8.50/5 lb Org. Whole Wheat Fine Flour- $8.28/5 lb Fleischmann’s Instant Yeast- $5.50/1 lb C&H Cane Sugar- $2.80/1 lb After a quick stop, we came home with two pounds of yeast, enough to get us through not just our calzone night at home, but enough to keep us in bread for a while. That evening, Planet of The Apes splashed across the white bedsheet we had stretched over a rope. Kids curled up in blankets huddled in their chairs. And on each of our laps sat a calzone made with Juicy’s yeast. Call it a COVID miracle; it’s a great example of how the Lake County community has come together to help each other out during a tough time. If, like our family, you enjoy cooking and baking at home, having this resource is a great opportunity and one that supports a great local business as well. And, of course, Amy Hinson and Marinda Scott, owners of Juicy’s, still sell their amazing pizzas, complete with sourdough crust, artisan toppings, and homemade sauce. It would be foolish to go through the work to drive there only to pick up flour. Every pizza that Juicy’s offers is impressive; we try to get something different every time we go, and always are happy with our choice. Juicy’s pizza is located at 155 Park St, Lakeport, CA, and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 1-7 pm. You can reach them by calling (707) 413-3080, or by visiting their website at juicyspizza.com.
The early April sun just warms the crisp air and flecks across Clear Lake. Clouds puff across the sky, touching Mt. Konocti and sliding their way across Mt. Hannah. Orchards, pastures, and horse corrals with white fences edge Highland Springs Road as it winds its way towards the Mayacamas Mountains. There, nestled between vineyards, stands the small tasting room of Olof Cellars. Cindi Olof, co-owner of the winery, stands inside, a mask and gloves on, filling up a case of wine. Right now, Olof is offering a special—a case of their wine for $100. “It’s an incredible deal,” Cindi says, adjusting her mask. “That’s $8 a bottle for a $35 a bottle of wine.” She pauses for a second, thinking. “Or $125 a bottle in Napa.”
Carl White, owner of Danny’s Roadside Kitchen, opens the heavy doors to his smoker. A white cloud envelops him, obscuring his red t-shirt and fogging his glasses. He pours a little water in the bottom, creating a billowing thunderhead. “Hang on just a second,” he says. You gotta wait for the steam to clear.” This article first appeared in The Bloom on November 15, 2019. However, during the Coronavirus lockdown, Danny’s Roadside Kitchen is still open and Carl is still serving his spectacular barbecue. Give it a try if you haven’t yet.
On most days, it’s possible to see Jimmy Tannous cooking outside, tongs in hand. In front of him, dozens of chicken thighs sit on a rack suspended above a bed of charcoal coals. Every few seconds, he pokes a thigh, then flips it; when cooked, he pulls it off and replaces it with a new piece of meat. Those thighs are full of flavor, unique, and designed to go with his spectacular sandwiches. When asked for the secret to their unique and decidedly wonderful taste, he points at his chest, and says, “It’s the guy who cooks it.” Jimmy’s Deli and Taqueria has been a Lake County institution for decades. The deli moved to its current location in Lakeport in 2008 and has been creating great food since then. It’s common, during regular times, to see a line stretching out of the door at lunchtimes. Everyone knows that it’s the place to go for high-quality, inexpensive food that not just fills, but satisfies. If you live in Lake County and haven’t visited, you’re in for a treat.
Jason Chavez, owner of Kelsey Creek Brewing Company, stands behind the bar, pulls on a tap, and begins filling a two-liter growler with a Mixed Berry Sour. Behind him, a sign sits on a shelf. “Don’t cry over spilled milk,” it says. “It could have been beer.” Over the speakers, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and The Highwaymen sing, “The road goes on forever, and the party never ends.” Jason chats about his beers as he pours, tilting the growler to the side as it fills. His long dark hair, pulled back in a ponytail, hides under a NY Mets hat backward on his head. A long, spiraling dragon tattoo winds down his arm. It’s been four years since Jason and his wife Caroline took over Kelsey Creek Brewing. Since then, Jason has used his creativity to craft unique, tasty beers that cover the spectrum of brewing tastes, from dark, malty stouts to ultra-light, crisp lagers.
If you live in Lake County and haven’t been to Castle Donuts yet, you’re seriously missing out. This shop creates donuts that fill people’s fantasies. It doesn’t matter which type you choose; you can’t go wrong. From bacon maple bars to custard-filled, chocolate-covered donuts, from old-fashioned to glazed, from apple fritters to bear claws, Castle Donuts makes them all spectacularly.
Currently, the Saw Shop is offering meals for four people for $40. “We originally started the family dinners in February,” Weston said. “On Monday nights, we were doing a ‘dine and donate’ for local charities. Then, about three weeks ago we decided to do the family-style dinners daily. Now every night there’s a different family-style meal available. You get everything you need to take home and have a complete dinner.”
It doesn’t matter what you order at Wholly Bowl; you’ll get quality food made with fresh ingredients. Jenn doesn’t over-spice or over-sweeten her food. It’s meant to be balanced. “’Wholly’ means all-inclusive,” Jenn says, excitement in her eyes. “It’s all in one bowl.” She ticks off ingredients on her fingers: “The crisp of the veggies with the fat of the avocado, the hot rice, and the crunch of the cabbage and kale. The protein, the starch, the veggies and the sauce. It’s the layered ingredients with the multiple sauces; the synergy of them all combined creates something wholly new.”
On the last evening of 2019, a steady stream of loyal customers arrives at a cherished local eatery. They come not only to share a holiday celebration, but to give flowers, raise a bubbling glass and express heartfelt cheers to original proprietor, Marie Beery, who opened the beloved establishment in 2001.
To get to Six Sigma Ranch, you have to want to get there. It’s not the kind of place to swing by for a quick taste. No, once you turn off Spruce Grove Road, bump over the cattle grate, and see the sheep grazing in the vineyards, you enter a place that exists in a different timeline than the rest of the world.
Yellow lights string between the overarching trees, casting a glow across the graveled patio between The Blue Wing Saloon and the Tallman Hotel. A horse trough turned fountain bubbles to the left, with two child-sized chairs placed in front of it. Under the protection of the Tallman’s veranda, The Majide Trio smooths the night with […]
Shannon Scudder, Guest Services Manager, sits at a couch in front of the large windows of the Tallman Hotel, looking at a guest book dated from the turn of the 20th century. “Look at the handwriting on this one,” she says, her finger resting halfway down the page. “It’s lovely. I like to pull the […]
It’s the first Friday of July in Lakeport. My husband David and I settle in at a table on the balcony of Juicy’s Pizza. A giant redwood stretches its large arms over us, dropping a cone on the railing and providing some much-needed shade. Fellow patrons sit nearest the roofline, escaping the last rays of […]
Once the pavement ends, it’s like entering another world, peaceful, calm, filled with light and laughter. Massive valley oaks arch overhead, shading the fire pit and picnic area. Bamboo wind chimes clink in the soft breeze. Martin Pohl, owner of Beaver Creek, steps out to greet us. “Hello! Hello!” he smiles as he walks towards […]
“Where are you planning to go for dinner?” I was asked several times the day I visited Richmond Park Bar and Grill. “Oh, Richmond Park,” I’d reply. “I’m going to do a write-up on them.” And this is the part that amazed me. I got the same response three times. “Don’t order the Richmond Park […]
The Subaru winds its way through the oak trees. It’s spring, and Hoodoo Creek weaves through the bright green grass. A vineyard suddenly appears in front of us, filled with thick, gnarled grape vines. We step out of the car to look at them. Each vine curls around itself like a twisted fist, shooting off […]
When I stepped into the door of Buddha Thai in Middletown, I immediately noticed two different things. First, I saw the restaurant, tidy and clean with shiny brown tables and Thai artwork on the walls. It feels bright and happy—welcoming and inviting. Secondly, I heard country music coming through the speakers. Yep, Garth Brooks playing […]
This past weekend Fults Family Vineyards (FFV) announced the winner of their 2019 Wildfire wine Label contest. Twenty artists had submitted work, and for the past two months, customers have voted on their favorites. “It was close,” Kendall Fults said, “Only ten votes separated first, second and third.” Remy McCosker took first place in the […]