After our long day down the Oregon Coast we ended up in Eureka California.
It was a shame that it got dark so early because we had to drive through the Redwood forest but weren’t able to see too much.
The plan for Eureka was to check out a joint called Porter Street BBQ. There are apparently more than one location but regrettably by the time we rolled into town it was too late and the location we found was closed. We were tired and hungry and so we ended up at Denny’s.
Much like the hotel breakfast buffet, don’t be so quick to turn your nose up at the thought of the venerable chain, the place is clean, the food reliable, oh yeah and it was OPEN!! But to be honest, I don’t even really remember what I ate. A chicken and avocado sandwich perhaps? Whatever it was, it did the trick and I was refreshed enough to be on our way.
The goal for the next day was to visit the restaurant of a celebrity Chef.
It would all depend on which route we took.
If we took the route through the Napa Valley California, the plan was to stop at Food Networks celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello’s Bottega Restaurant.
Michael Chiarello has long been a staple on the food channels with his “easy Napa entertaining” style cooking show, but more recently was one of the finalists “The Next Iron Chef”.
The other route would take us through Santa Rosa California, where we would have TWO choices of restaurants from another Food Network celebrity Chef Guy Fieri, host of “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” and “Guy’s Big Bite”.
But first we had to drive a long a part of the highway called The Avenue of Giants where the trees are super tall.
Here is a glimpse, but believe me, the picture can’t capture just how crazy tall these trees are!!
A choice had to be made so we went with Santa Rosa and decided on Johnny Garlic’s. Mostly because it was the easiest to get to, just off the highway.
To be honest, it is in a sort of strip mall with a Sizzler across the street. I was kind of surprised at the “averageness” of the location. But this was Guy’s first restaurant opened 13 years ago before he was a celebrity Chef, so you have to start somewhere.
Equally average was the interior and decor. I’m not sure what I was expecting but the inside was as “strip mall” as the outside.
But we were greeted promptly and led to our seat and the host was very keen to know if we had been before and when we said we hadn’t he went into his spiel about the history of the place and Guy himself. But it was in a genuine way, not like he was paid to say it, but rather he was quite proud of letting us know. And we appreciated that.
The waitress was extremely knowledgable and confident and didn’t make us feel like she was just some student making some cash in between classes, she was very professional and steered us through the extensive menu.
What to eat? What to eat?
We started with a drink, I had their famous lemonade and the Chef had the ice tea. Very refreshing and neither too sweet nor too tart. And then the waitress brought some wonderful bread with olive oil and balsamic for dipping. We gobbled it down because it was so good, but were smart enough to refuse and second helping because we would spoil our lunch!
Spring Mix, Dried Cranberries, Honey Almonds, Stella Blue Cheese Crumbles + House Balsamic Dressing
Then the Chef ordered the:
French Pig Pizza
Brie, Pancetta, Green Apples, Leeks + Extra Virgin Olive Oil
And then I had the lunch special which was a half order of:
Cajun Chicken Penne
And some more of the Sonoma Salad cause it was so good! The Cajun Chicken pasta is a signature dish that has been a favorite at Johnny Garlic’s since it opened.
I can see why. It was delish!!
Obviously we didn’t have any room for dessert at this point and we still had a full afternoon of driving to stay awake for!
I’d say if you happen to be in the neighbourhood, whether you are a Guy Fieri or not, it was a very good lunch. So there.