HUMBOLDT: Firing Up Foodies
You think you’ve tasted Humboldt County? Clear your throat and try again. Humboldt’s farm-to-toke reputation overshadows its farm-to-fork roots — but behold grass-fed beef and grass-fed dairy; field-to-glass craft distilleries, cideries and breweries; single-origin drinking chocolates; and Humboldt Bay bivalves that account for 70 percent of California oysters. — Ed Murrieta
At $10 per gram, medical cannabis in Humboldt is a bargain and makes it easy to sample strains that will increase your appetite or quell any post-pigout queasiness. Humboldt Patients Resource Center in Arcata has the best selection of cannabis and the best customer service. Wonderland Nursery in Garberville has the best selection of edibles, including many made-in-Humboldt brands.
Pair Humboldt Cannabis with a delicious view of the Pacific Ocean at Moonstone Beach. North of Arcata, Fern Canyon is the greenest place in the county. Closer to town, Arcata’s Community Forest is where you’ll find Humboldt State University students holding en mass smoke seshes at halftime of home football games.
Yes, the local pot is potent, but you are not hallucinating. Downtown Arcata is starting to look and feel like Bernal Heights North. Lucky for foodies. Brunch: Make reservations at Harvest. Lunch: Pot pies, hand pies and cider at Bittersweet, a mashup of a local pie company and a local cider bar. Happy Hour: Oysters (and other seafood) at Salt. Dinner: Folie Douce blends locally sourced sustainable and organic ingredients with global flavors. Once a month, the restaurant prepares a prix fixe menu that benefits the region’s public schools. All-in-one Humboldt showcase eating experience: Taste, a cafe/bar operated by Humboldt Bay Tourism Center in Old Town Eureka, serves local oysters, local cured meats, local cheeses, local chocolates, and craft beverages brewed, fermented and distilled in Humboldt. If you rent lodging with a kitchen, you might want to make a meal. Grass-fed local steaks from Ferndale Meat Co. and oysters from Arcata’s Aqua-Rodeo farms are surf-and-turf terrific raw or grilled. Get a taste of Humboldt before you even hit the county line. Peg House in Leggett (northern Mendocino County) serves Humboldt oysters and Humboldt grass-fed burgers.
If you drink just one Humboldt beverage, make it drinking chocolate at Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate in downtown Eureka. The local chocolatier sources single-origin chocolates from around the world and crafts its bars using only cacao and sugar. Ground chocolate bars are combined with milk from local grass-fed cows to create the most haute of hot chocolates — something closer to a liquified chocolate bar. Eel River Brewing in Fortuna is America’s first certified organic brewery. Humboldt Regeneration grows its own wheat and hops and bills its tiny operation in McKinleyville as a “beer farm.” Its growlers to-go are pressure-filled so they’ll be fresh when you get home. Winery tasting rooms abound. Local cideries (Wrangletown in Arcata and Humboldt Cider in Eureka) and local distilleries (Humboldt Craft Spirits in Blue Lake and Humboldt Distillery in Fortuna) have tasting rooms too. End your afternoons at Eureka’s elegant Carson House Inn, which serves $2.50 martinis made with Humboldt Distillery’s (non-hemp) vodka during happy hour, 4-6 p.m. daily.
Combine outdoor recreation with food education and take a kayak tour of Humboldt Bay oyster beds. Sign up for tours at Humboldt Bay Tourism Center in Old Town Eureka and receive three free oysters.
Can’t resist a catered oyster barbecue on the sandy beach outside your cabin? Check into Oyster Beach Resort, rustic getaway tucked into a eucalyptus grove 10 minutes west of Eureka between Humboldt Bay and the Pacific Ocean, featuring three cabins with full kitchens. For a more urban experience, the Coat Shop Loft in Old Town Eureka is a full apartment with its own private entrance and roof-top access for smoking and views of Humboldt Bay.
Pick up a bag of ground drinking chocolate at Dick Taylor’s and a bag of cannabis trim at Humboldt Patients Resource Center. Since you’ve rented lodging with a stove and basic kitchen equipment, infuse Humboldt Creamery half and half or heavy cream with Humboldt cannabis. Proceed to making cannabis drinking chocolate. Consider infusing grassy-sweet Humboldt Creamery butter too. Spreads great on Arcata-baked Brio bread.
The Aficionados’ Treat
California’s most sophisticated city promises the Golden State’s most sophisticated cannabis travel experience. Chic dispensaries, high-quality cannabis, smoking and vaping lounges, pot-paired dinners, edibles cooking classes and ganja yoga all available to visitors with valid medical cannabis recommendations. Plus all the general tourist attractions — restaurants, museums, shopping, big-city energy — that make San Francisco a world-class travel destination without weed.
Retired Hippies’ Heaven
Never has the tie-dyed dream of traveling back roads in a vintage Volkswagen bus been more palpable than when turning off Highway 101 onto Highway 128 wending west, where the landscape turns to grapevines and farm houses. Yes, this is Mendocino County wine country, and as the axiom asserts — where wine grows, weed grows — it’s also cannabis country. Seeds of cannabis tourism have been planted here and will mature over time like wine.
Firing Up Foodies
You think you’ve tasted Humboldt County? Clear your throat and try again. Humboldt’s farm-to-toke reputation overshadows its farm-to-fork roots — but behold grass-fed beef and grass-fed dairy; field-to-glass craft distilleries, cideries and breweries; single-origin drinking chocolates; and Humboldt Bay bivalves that account for 70 percent of California oysters.
The Outdoorsman’s Oasis
You’re midway into a 590-nautical-mile run down the Pacific from Seattle to San Francisco aboard your Tayana 37 sloop. Before you tackle Cape Mendocino, pull into the safe harbor of Humboldt Bay. Not a sailor? Bring or rent toys for paddling, surfing, rafting, biking and hiking. Take a pack-mule trip. Heck, just find naked swimming holes in any of the county’s six rivers. Humboldt’s a bounty of adventure — especially if you stray into the wrong pot patch.
Girls’ Spa Weekend
Don’t let the lack of an actual cannabis spa in the Bay Area keep you and your BFFs from enjoying a cannabis spa weekend. DIY and BYO, girls. Load up on body-soothing edibles, topicals and frozen raw cannabis juice shots. Check into a four-star spa. Hike the Headlands. Soak up Sausalito. Book a private cannabis products demo for you and your besties.
For the Bros
If the Rat Pack (and not just Peter Lawford) had been stoners, it would be all buds and bros in Tahoe today. Wait — it is, bro. Grab your goggles and go for solar hits and back-country boarding; ganja-fueled gambling; Nevada dispensaries and brothels; and a free haircut if you’re lucky.
Perfect for The Parents
Sacramento is a political town, but even cannabis regulation and taxation take back seats to the interest in the Kings’ new downtown arena. The city’s culinary scene sizzles and beckons even San Francisco food critics. To spark your appetite for Sacramento’s farm-to-fork fare, or to quell the nauseating hype of the new arena, medical cannabis patients can smoke throughout the state capital’s walkable and bikeable downtown neighborhoods — even on the Capitol steps. Stick to the city core and you may not need a car.