Passion play (cont.)
Posted: Friday February 29, 2008 12:11PM; Updated: Friday February 29, 2008 1:24PM
First thing to do is get yourselves a map and get up to Mendocino. North from San Francisco and off of US 101 at Cloverdale, due west on US 128, through the curvy road and the old Moonie outpost of Booneville, pushing westward, still west, through the Anderson Valley wine country and the 12-mile redwood swamp, finally emerging full blown, high above the blue Pacific, where you will catch your breath and marvel at some of the most spectacular ocean scenery you've ever seen. And now you need a place to stay. Unfortunately you forgot to mention how much coin of the realm you expect to change hands.
There's the town of Elk and the Elk Cove Inn, also the Harbor House, both about six miles south along Coast Highway No. 1. Nice places, medium-priced. Farther north there's the Heritage House, fancy and high end. You pass Albion and Little River and cheaper places abound, and then you're into Mendocino itself and its rather antiquated hotel. A 10-mile stretch northward runs you up to Fort Bragg, and you can find plenty of cheap lodgings on the way up, not all of it on the ocean side. BUT, and here's the ultimate snapper, if you can afford $150 to $300 a night, check out Mendocino Coast Reservations on the Internet and get a house for the week or part of it. Rates vary, but you'll get a pretty good picture of what's available. It's what we do, and it's really not that hugely much more than individual lodgings.
RESTAURANTS: Booneville Hotel, when you go back to the Anderson Valley to check out the wineries. Odd, funky, interesting, creative. Libby's in Philo. Good solid Mexican food. A lot of wine growers hang out there. Get the carnitas. Queenie's in Elk on the Coast Highway. Terrific breakfasts. Ask for Queenie, whose real name is Lynn Derrick. Drop our name on her and see what happens. Harbor House is beautiful, closest to best there is. Albion River Inn is classy, too. Ledford House after that. Moosse Café in Mendocino is pretty good, despite the funky spelling. They'll all try to send you to the Café Beaujolais, also in town. Eh? Possibly, but you can do better. Egghead's in Fort Bragg is almost as good as Queenie's for breakfast. Check out Noyo Harbor in the same town for seafood. It's hit or miss. You might get lucky. After you've eaten all that food up, check back with me and I'll start on my list of second stringers.
WINERIES: Pacific Star north of Fort Bragg on the coast. Nice drive, wines are a bit heavy but solid. In the Valley, and I'll just do my real highlights, Navarro -- wonderful for the ultra sweet late harvest numbers, and you can taste everything they make in the place. Greenwood Ridge -- only if they're letting you taste the late harvest Riesling. Husch -- OK for late harvest sweet ones. Claudia Springs -- rich, high alcoholic. Try to develop the habit of spitting, rather than swallowing everything. Not kidding. You don't want to have a DUI hung on you. Scharffenberg -- pretty good sparkling wines. Roederer -- ditto, especially the Ermitage, which is really special. Breggo -- good Pinot Noir. More,too, but I'm running out of steam. Oh yes, avoid at all costs, Goldeneye. Expensive and awful.
If you're out there in mid-March and you decide to hook up with Mendocino Coast Reservations, get the number for Sea Arch and give the Redhead and us a call. We'll raise a few dead ones.
Patience, football fans, we'll get through all this wine and stuff pretty soon. Luke of Bloomfield, N.J., needs some low-budget wine. Check out Gary's wine stores around Bernardsville. They're always running good specials on stuff. Try to get hold of Gary himself. If you can go just a trifle higher than the tenner you mentioned, try the Pinot Noir or Syrah from Hahn Vineyards, any of three different Castle Rock Pinot Noirs, anything from Cline or the Cellar No. 8 Zinfandel.
NEWS FLASH: This just came in. Christy Wilson has left the Harbor House and is now cooking at the Elk Cove Inn. This is for you, Joshua, and Mrs. Joshua.
It wouldn't be Mailbag Day if there weren't a Hall of Fame question, and this week's vintage comes from Michael of Akron. Are some positions especially targeted? How about, say, special teamers? Yeah, the glamour positions are looked at first, unfortunately. A pure special teamer, such as Steve Tasker, never has made it. Nor a punter. The positions seem to come in cycles. Or in psychos. Hey, thanks for the nice words.
Rich of Chicago wants my take on the plan to reseed the playoffs. All they're trying to figure out is a way to squeeze more interest out of dead games. Leave 'em alone. Things are fine, everyone's making money, even guys like Danny Boy and King Arthur.