Sunday, November 01, 2009

Roadtrip: SF to Oregon Border

Moylans Brewery
let’s go drinking! after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, our next stop was in Novato, California, about 30 miles north of SF, for a little beer tasting at Moylan’s Brewery (because beer makes me a better driver). honestly, Moylans is not my favorite brewery and i’m not sure if that’s because i hate its logo so much — which looks like it was drawn by a Dungeons & Dragons fanatic — or if the beer truly sucks.

Mo and the Moylans Menu
what’s on tap? it’s not that it sucks, it’s just that i’ve tasted better beer, which is no fault of Moylan’s. it’s more the result of living with a microbrew aficionado who knows where the best stuff is. still, Mo is partial to their Dragoons Dry Irish Stout, so we stopped to enjoy a beer sampler and a few finger foods before heading toward Tomales Bay.

JD and the Menu
braving the oyster: you may recall in the last installment of the roadtrip chronicles that Mo and i had an unpleasant encounter with a few unsavory raw oysters that decided to decimate our intestines and leave us bed-ridden for 24 hours. as sucky as that experience was — very, truly, unbelievable sucky — we decided to conquer our fear and continue with the original plan of having oysters for dinner, oysters that would be drenched in flour and DEEP FRIED, so we stopped at Tomales Bay Oyster Company on PCH to pick up a bag of 50 oysters for $48.

Coolest Guy in Tomales Bay
coolest guy in Tomales Bay: the oysters were heavy as hell, thrown together in a netted bag, and handed over to us by Mr. Cool with a few packages of ice, which were promptly triple bagged and thrown into the trunk of the car. then Mo, JD, Cesar and i proceeded to play the always fun “who wants to shuck first” game while driving to our next destination in Russian River.

Russian River Hideaway
shameless plug: we stayed at my friend Sharon’s incredible Russian River Hideaway, which sleeps six comfortably, has a full kitchen and features other great amenities, including wifi. you should stay there too! see site to make reservations.

JD Shucking Away
JD loses bet, shucks first: shucking oysters can actually be fun, especially once you get into a rhythm, but shucking 50? not so much. plus, there’s that pesky perpetual risk of slicing your hand open, which i’ve done before. also not fun, especially when your palm starts shooting blood all over your dinner and leaves you with a four-inch gash that renders your hand useless until it heals. but that’s a story for another time.

The Peacemaker Sandwich
two hours later: behold the delicious Peacemaker Sandwich! this is actually an Emeril recipe taken from one of Mo’s mom’s cookbooks and it’s fucking delicious, especially with tartar sauce. a thousand thank yous to Mo who made dinner for us that night and put all 50 oysters to good use in four satisfied bellies, none of which imploded the next day.

Redwood by Day
this land was made for you and me: i’m convinced that Russian River has more redwood trees than people — epic redwoods that block out the sky and remind you how powerless humans are in the natural order of Things in the Universe. throughout our one-night stay at the hideaway, i caught myself staring at them more times than i can count, with mouth ajar and head upturned, awestruck in the same way i was when i saw the San Andreas fault, compelled to give them hugs like a bonafide tree hugger. instead, i gave my hugs to Cesar and JD, who headed back to the city while Mo and i continued north.

Me and the Nature
fast forward four hours: i find myself reunited with The Nature again, this time at Van Damme State Park in Mendocino County, which had the most stunning fern canyon. there were plenty of “oohs” and “aahs” here, too, enough to make me question my self-proclaimed status as an urban snob — or at least make me consider buying a vacation home in Lake Arrowhead.

Me as Mountain Lion
i will eat your children: the park was filled with signs warning hikers of mountain lions, signs that looked like THIS and read, “keep children close, as mountain lions seem to be especially drawn to them.”

Anderson Valley Brewing
ESB for me: as Mo and i are especially drawn to beer, we made it a point to stop at Anderson Valley Brewing Company in Boonville, a podunk town with a population of 1,370 people. the brewery is truly in the middle of nowhere and near nothing of interest, a predicament that gives its brewers ample time to craft near perfect brews, because what else is there to do in such a small town besides drink? i prefer the ESB, Mo the oatmeal stout.

Lost Coast Brewery
fast forward again: the third brewery in two days, Lost Coast is in lovely Eureka, California, about 100 miles south of the Oregon border. it’s where we spent our final night in California, with dinner at the brewery, where i had a decent red ale. like Moylans, Lost Coast has a crappy logo and substandard beer — and their chicken salad was mediocre, too.

Mo at Lost Coast
doesn’t he look like Che Guevara here? i did, however, really like Eureka, which was much bigger and more diverse than i expected it to be. plus, it’s situated in my beloved Nature, amid an expansive redwood forest, which makes the entire city smell like pine, or maybe it was weed as Humboldt State is nearby.

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