Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Lumberjack Breakfast for a Lumberjill

On a quiet Tuesday morning, Humboldt County sent me off to the Bay Area with a spirit of adventure and a hearty breakfast. A visit to the Samoa Cookhouse outside Eureka, CA threw me back to days of being in a logging camp during western expansion. This unique restaurant is the last of its kind- the last surviving cookhouse in the west dating from 1890.

Once walking through the doors, I was seated at one of the banquet tables covered in a classic, red-checkered tablecloth. The beauty of this restaurant is the lack of menus and sharing plates of food with others at your table like a German beer hall. A large coffeepot was plunked beside me and my dad and I prepared to dive into a full-breakfast, dished up family-style. Our friendly waitress, Pam, put down platters of biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, and pancakes with sausage. In the logging camp tradition, the plates are never ending. If you haven't eaten in days, this is the perfect restaurant.

The restaurant houses a logging museum filled with treasures from the cookhouse and lumber history. Photographs, old chainsaws, logging helmets, and antique kitchen tools. The mix of the kitchen and pioneering worlds made me feel right at home. Pam and I swapped stories between her lightening sweeps of other tables. I asked when the maritime museum next door opened and she didn't know, but suggested going down to the docks to "see the weathered fishermen, who are a museum themselves, honey."

I imagine one can get a better vibe on weekends when the joint is in full swing. All they need is to ring the dinner bell and holler "Come and get it!" to send me running back for seconds.

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