Honeymoon: Eureka, CA – Carter House Inn

29 Jul

Our drive from Bend, OR to Eureka, CA was one of the longest on the road.  We drove through some beautiful country, however, including Crater Lake (where we saw a lot of wildlife and the absolutely stunning view before it got totally covered by fog), the Red Woods (Stout Grove is amazing and I hugged a whole lot of big trees), stopped at some wineries, and saw an entire herd of elk walk through an RV park!

We had decided to stay in Eureka because it’s the only major city on the map between Crater Lake and Northern California Wine Country/Mendocino (the next step).  We heard Eureka wasn’t much to look at, but I heard that there is a great B&B in town that is a collection of old Victorian houses near the beach, Carter House Inn.

Well… “not much to look at” translated to a city filled with very dirty, very obviously drugged out homeless people wandering the streets.  I think we came at the wrong time on the wrong day, but there was an abandoned building across from the inn where we saw a whole lot of people wander into right around sunset.  It was… concerning… but we tried to put on our NYC brave faces and just kept to the inn (which was absolutely lovely on the inside).

I don’t know if we missed the good part of the town, or if we came at a strange wrong time, or if it really is just that awful. But it was pretty awful.  I actually felt bad for the town. It looks like something that was beautiful at one point, but it just fell into a bad state.  If someone with a bit of money invested in it, I’m sure those old Victorians and the beach would be wonderful.  But that just isn’t the position that Eureka is in these days.

The only highly rated restaurant in Eureka was actually in the inn itself, and after hours on the road, we were perfectly happy to eat at their Restaurant 301.

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We had some decent local wine as we perused the menu. I was pretty surprised to see the prices, which seemed awfully high for this beat up town.

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And then out came an amuse, which was a puff pastry with mushrooms and caviar.

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Not bad.

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They had lovely salt on the table, including a nicely flavored pink salt.

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There were local oysters on the menu, and when we asked, we were told there were 5 left. So we ordered all of them. Unfortunately, there were 2 of us, and we are both very equitable people so we wound up with 1 left on the table and a stand-off. Our waiter advised we rock-paper-scissor for them and that seemed as equitable as anything, so I threw paper and Mike through rocks and I happily downed the final oyster.

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Mike chose the Porcini Fettuccine with Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper, Little River Farms Arugula, Rosemary Cream & Leek.  I couldn’t try it due to the peppers, but Mike said it was just okay.

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I went with the Crispy Duck Leg Confit (!) which came with Sweet Potato Ginger Gratin, Braised Napa Cabbage & Natural Jus. This was pretty good. The sweet potato and ginger gratin was actually the highlight.  It had really great flavor.  The confit wasn’t bad.  Decent flavor, but the skin was lacking in crispiness. Which is sad since they actually called it “crispy” in the description.

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We were given little truffles at the end which were pretty good.

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I don’t know… this meal was just okay.  It seemed like they had some really great ideas but were lacking a wee bit in the execution.  It was certainly overpriced for how good it tasted, though if they could fix the execution and make it as good as it could be, it could have worked. Sadly, it just didn’t this time around.

And the breakfast the next morning was okay.  Nothing overly special and certainly not the “foodie destination” we had read it was.  Not even good enough for me to take a picture of.  So my best advice… find somewhere else, anywhere else to stop besides Eureka, CA.

Total Nom Points: 5.5 out of 10

 

 

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