Jun 26, 2012

Take the Gallagher's experience
John Chiv/For the Times-Standard
Posted:   06/26/2012 02:37:07 AM PDT

Gallagher's Irish restaurant and pub, located at the Eagle House, 139 2nd St. in Eureka, opened its doors eight years ago. The family-friendly Irish pub has always made changes in an effort to reach out to customers who have yet to have the Gallagher's experience and to keep the regulars coming back.
Starting Wednesday, Gallagher's is introducing a late-night menu which will offer items under $5 and 50 cents off drinks from 9:30 p.m. to closing, Wednesday through Saturday. Classics such as the Gallagher burger and their fish and chips will be available for $10.
Another change is a recent website featuring all that Gallagher's has to offer.
This year marks the second annual private tasting events, a partnership with Myrtletown Liquors and John's Fine Cigars, which features three tastings a year with special menus. A tequila tasting is set for July. This idea was largely executive chef Schulyer Schoell's idea, according to owner Reed Paden. Schoell previously worked at the Josephine Room at the Gunhouse in Sonora.
”Irish pubs are known for their hospitality and good food,” said Manager and Event Coordinator Kelly Erben. “Patrons are drawn to our pub and its comfortable charm. These customers include loyal locals who eat lunch or dinner on a daily or weekly basis, overnight guests staying at the Eagle House Inn or tourists just passing through.”
Family-owned and operated, this is owner Reed Paden's first local restaurant. His initial venture into the food business was The Rock in Twain Harte. The Padens moved up to Humboldt County from the Bay Area because they wanted to raise their children here. Paden named The Rock after a famous landmark near the pub. Gallagher's is named in honor of his grandfather.
Open seven days a week, Gallagher's Irish pub and Irish restaurant's menu is periodically updated but always features fish and chips. On Irish Thursdays, a specific menu is offered just that day, and on Fridays and Saturdays, you can get prime rib. There is live music Wednesday through Saturday with rotating guests, among them local musician Seabury Gould. Gallagher's has always had one resident artist, Ron Thompson. Stop by for a beer and have your own personal Arts Alive experience since he is one of the regulars.
Gallagher's also caters events and parties. These can be at your home or you can reserve the Eagle House banquet facility, which accommodates from 80 to 100 people.
Visit http://gallaghers-irishpub.com or call 707-442-1177 for reservations or more information.

Jun 20, 2012

Comic relief at the City Council meeting

Forget Hulu, forget cable, I have all the free entertainment I need here by just attending the Board of Supervisor and City Council meetings.

Issues people feel compelled to comment on always amaze me. At last night's City Council meeting, the City Council budget had no public comment, but the ordinance updating regulations regarding beekeeeping took well over an hour.

Councilwoman Marian Brady had the best comment of the entire night. "Everything in Eureka is complaint driven!" 

Next time, I am bringing popcorn. 

At the Board of Supes meeting, we heard yet again from the Occupiers about the same ole same ole rhetoric that has been repeated since last October. It was like being stuck watching reruns of Groundhog Day. The irony is that after I just commented that I was heckled and harassed for speaking up by Occupiers and not conforming to their views, I walk out and it happens again.

Rational dialogue cannot occur with people in denial.

Jun 12, 2012

Puttin' on the Ritz in Old Town Eureka
John Chiv/for the Times-Standard
Posted:   06/12/2012 02:38:20 AM PDT

Jack Wu has a penchant for offering good fare, and thanks to him, the lights are on at the Ritz again. The historic Ritz at 240 F St. in Eureka's Old Town reopened quietly on June 1 with a tasting menu. With only word of mouth so far, they have had steady business.
On June 5, the restaurant unveiled its full menu. The Ritz offers modern cuisine featuring French-style plates with a range of Thai flavors. Chef Eric Nelson and Sous Chef Rudy Mujianto tempt your palate with tapas, small plates and savory selections such as Ritz eggplant chevre rolls on wood-fired pita bread, scallop and bay shrimp fritters with Ritz mild curry, grilled duck breast with spicy hoisin glaze, shrimp and crab pizza with lime thyme, tobiko and enoki mushrooms and sun-dried tomato and garlic cream and desserts such as banana bread pizza with strawberries and frozen nutmeg whipped cream.
Prices range from $6 to $18. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
How did they arrive at what kind of food to offer? Building owner Dan Olivier had a wood-fire oven put in a few months ago. Nelson's background is in French cooking, specifically Southern France. Wu wanted a Thai influence. The result is the Ritz's current French-Thai fusion with seasonal and local ingredients.
The Ritz is open seven days a week and currently offers beer and wine. A full bar will be available soon. Works by local artists Andrei Hedstrom and Jennifer Mackey adorn the walls.
Samuel Santangelo is the front-house manager who oversees a staff of 30 employees, many of whom will be familiar faces to regular patrons of Old Town. In the first week, many diners complimented Santangelo on his excellent recommendations and great customer service.
”The community and nearby businesses have been very supportive,” said Santangelo, “and we plan to be good neighbors and return that generosity and welcome.”
Customers in this first week have had a chance to give feedback on their favorite dishes. Like a painting in process, the Ritz menu will evolve and update.
”The Ritz is one of the best locations in town,” Wu said. “In my travels, I was inspired by some places I visited and wanted to offer a local option which was artistic, different, comfortable and fun. This business brings together my love for good food, support for the arts and to offer Old Town a chance to share in my dream becoming a reality.”
The Ritz has been a landmark of Old Town since 1947. Olivier purchased the building and restored it in 1978. The renovation and design took place over a 14-year period. The Ritz operated as a successful nightclub during that time and since then has been home to many an upscale establishment.
The Ritz's grand opening will be on Friday. Nelson said a couple of new dishes will be introduced that day and some specials. For reservations and more information, call 707-497-6294.

Jun 2, 2012

The Ritz is open!

The Ritz had a soft opening last night. I have been waiting to try the food and last night, I went back twice to sample the delightful fare by Chef Eric. From the time the doors opened until they closed, people kept coming in and this with no formal announcement, just word of mouth. I want to compliment Jack and his staff because they did a fantastic job accommodating the unanticipated rush.

A special shout out to Samuel for his recommendations which were all spot-on. Until next week, the Ritz is offering a tasting menu and asking for feedback. In a week the Ritz will be offering a full-menu.

I am hoping with Arts Alive today and personal recommendations from last night, the second night will be just what is needed to kick-off a successful launch of this new incarnation of the Ritz.

I enjoyed everything I tried but the must haves include the scallop and Bay shrimp Fritters, the duck Pot Stickers, the eggplant rolls with pita bread and for dessert, the banana bread pizza with strawberries and  nutmeg whipped cream. The chicken satay and the shrimp, crab and sundried pizza were good as well. There are different sauces and flavors for each dish. Hoping the curry lemon aioli I tried with the breadsticks is a staple.

For the last few months, on Arts Alive, people have been enjoying pizza made in the wood brick oven but you  have to sample this menu to really appreciate the flavor.

In addition to good food, what warmed me most was the support by the community. My fellow diners included several people I see frequently including Brian and Gailen from Oberon Grill, Gregg Foster from Redwood Capital Bank, Emily Jacobs from Fly Humboldt, and Michele from The Spa at Personal Choice. And a special mention to Laurel at the Speak Easy for reminding me of the opening.

I went out and took menus and told people about the Ritz. Although, this is now my living, last night was about supporting my favorite local businesses, investing in my community and good company.