Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bless My Sole!

It's been a long time since I did a "Good Food Report". So here's a "Great Food Report!
First, my wife and I hardly ever eat out at restaurants. When we do, we mostly go out on VERY special occasions. So, I’m not to familiar with the dinner fair around Garberville. We eat lunch out fairly often. The Calico’s restaurant has one of the best “salmon Burgers” that I’ve ever eaten. The Eel River café has a “big bird” that is to die for. The Eel river also has better cheeseburgers than the top rated place in Eureka. (I won’t say where in Eureka, because there cheeseburgers are also good!) I like the “Turkey Dip” sandwich at the Water Wheel. The Paradise Grill has great cheese burgers, as does the House Of Burgess. Home Cookin’ has great take and bake pizza. And Sicilito’s has great hot pizza. At Cecil's I can't seem to get past the catfish, my wife usually has a fillet. I know that I’m leaving some great places out, but I’m getting full. Maybe some of you have some good recommendations of other places.

But, to get around to what this is all about. My wife and I found ourselves in Eureka last Wednesday evening, and it was too late to come home to eat. It was Janis’ turn to choose a restaurant, and she chose the Bless My Soul Café, on 5th street. I was surprised that she chose that café because she doesn’t like spicy food. Myself? I love spicy, so I didn’t argue. I should have known that there would be “sissy food” on the menu.

We were greeted at the door by “Sweet Daughter Desiree”. She told us to sit anywhere, so we chose a table by the front window. Desiree came to take our order. Janis knew exactly the red wine she wanted, but I wanted a beer. I don’t like the heavily hopped flavored bitter beers. I prefer something more mildly flavored. I didn’t see any thing that I liked on the menu, so I asked Desiree what she had that was like a certain “well known beer”. She told me that they didn’t have that beer because it was bought out by a major brewery, and she preferred to stock private label beers. I liked that, I like to see the small guy have a chance. She recommended a German wheat beer that was drop-dead delicious. My evening was off to a great start.

The menu came and Desiree told us about their specials and said that they shopped for, and prepared their food daily. I noticed that the restaurant was neat and clean. The table that we sat at had a full view of the neat clean, well ordered kitchen. I also Liked that.

The menu had so many great choices that I turned into a girl, and couldn’t make up my mind. Desiree was very helpful in recommending things that she thought that I would like. She was right all the way. I ordered the batter fried jerk-chicken breast. She warned me that it was spicy, I did notice that it had a two pepper rating after the menu listing. Quite a few listings had one pepper, and the hot sausage dishes had a three pepper rating. I wanted to order the sausage, but that third pepper scared me off.

We had a few choices like soup or salad and two side dishes. I had potato zucchini soup, with the appropriate other ingredients. It was delicious. The meal also came with a corn muffin. The two sides that I ordered was Creole Corn, and Sautéed Cabbage.

My wife stared reading down the menu until she got to the garlic beef. She decided instantly what she wanted she made me look more like an indecisive little girl when she ordered instantly. She ordered a side order of batter fried dill pickles. She had then when she was in Louisiana and wanted me to try them. The first one is great. The second one is interesting, the third one you eat because there are so darn many and you don’t want to be wasteful. So we took the rest home.

I was encouraged by Janis’ side order, so I ordered Crab Cakes. Any one of the dishes would have filled me up, so I also took one of the crab cakes home. I tried to guess the ingredients, but Desiree just grinned at me. It seems that the recipes around there are top secret. But, you can buy most of Sweet Mama Janisse’s secret sauces.

The jerked chicken was delicious, it was topped with caramelized bananas, a very interesting combination of sweet and spicy.

As we were waiting for our meal, Sweet Mama Janisse herself came out to our table and talked to us. It seems that we have many friends in common. I always have too many questions for interesting people, and I was able to ferret most of her life story out of her, which she shared with us graciously.

She knows Taj Mahal, and of course he recommends her café, and sings her praises. He is quoted as saying “The best food in the world”. He would know, he’s been everywhere.

If you watch the bottom video she talks about Oysters Rockefeller. She says that she doesn’t know what the bed of rock salt is for, but to follow the recipe anyway. I could have told her!!! The salt keeps the shells from rocking and turning over. She should have asked me. Oh well… Maybe she reads my Blog!

My jerked chicken was outstanding, but I told Desiree that it didn’t seem like it was a full two peppers hot, and she said that she was considering lowering the rating to one and a half.

Try it you will like it.

Oh, on a side note. You know that squeally baby that follows me around where ever I eat. Yep, you guessed it. There was an early shift baby and a late shift baby. They were seated far enough away that they were not a bother. My wife and I got a big kick out of the crying baby, it fit right in. They had some really great Guitar Blues playing over the speaker system. It came out: “My baby done left me” Waaaaaaa “My baby done left me”. Waaaaaaaa…. Somehow it just fit in, and it seemed like part of the fun.
If you go there, tell Desiree that I sent you. She might not remember my first name but she will remember “Branscomb”. She has a friend that owns property there. She connected my name to the town and asked the de-rigur Question, “Are you related to the town”? I told yes, and I even know where all the bodies are buried. I thought that would fit right in with the “Voodoo Pudding”. That’s a highly chocolate dessert that Janis had.


Anonymous said...

I love Bless My Soul.The last time Kristabel and I ate there I believe I had the homemade manicotti stuffed with sausage,with sides of cajuncorn and collard greens,and think that she had the same chicken dish with carmelized bananas that you had.Skipped the frog legs though that time.Great ambiance,with great music playing,nice waitresses and Mama always having some nice conversation with.Anyways,she told me that Taj Mahal lived in a studio attached to her house in Los Angeles.

mark said...

above comment was mine.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Mark, I knew that was you. I'd bet you even know how. Thanks for commenting!

Anonymous said...

I see they shot that SOB over in Fort Bragg.

Ernie Branscomb said...

When I was at the cafe, I remarked how much I was enjoying the food. Janisse asked me if I would say something on "Yelp". I went to the yelp site and it asked me to register. I've never had a good experience after "registering", so I quickly backed away. Later I found out that if I had put a review on Yelp (facebook) they would have sent a message to all my facebook friends with my comments.

Wow, Insidious!

C2c said...

St. Joseph Hospital
Lunch Room
Best Burger and Fries around!
Best Meat Loaf in county!

spyrock said...

"Though Aaron Bassler seemed normal growing up — he played baseball and had a circle of friends — by the mid-1990s he had changed, James Bassler said.
“He didn’t have any empathy,” his father said. “He just sort of flat-lined.”
He destroyed a vegetable garden while trying to kill gophers, his father said. He drew aliens on the wall. He stole sugar and liquor from his father. Distrustful of his gas stove, he began cooking outside.
Though James Bassler does not believe his son has ever gotten a diagnosis or been medicated — because of privacy laws, he has not been able to find out — he believes such behavior indicates mental illness.
A string of arrests dating to the mid-1990s — many of them for minor, nonviolent crimes, his father said — includes one bizarre incident in February 2009: Mr. Bassler was arrested after throwing a bag containing a black jumpsuit with red stars over a wall of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, according to a complaint filed in Federal District Court there.
At the news conference, Sheriff Allman said revelations that Mr. Bassler could be mentally ill had not changed law enforcement’s approach to the manhunt."
here you have a 30 year local of ft bragg, someone who shaves his head like a gang person, and obviously hates gophers enough to buy an ak47 to protect his poppies. i tried to plant some poppies this year, the california yellow gold ones and i think the gophers got them. so i sort of know how he must have felt. "but by the mid 90's, he changed. he flatlined, no longer had any empathy." well, i remember that time very well. that's when all these youngin's his age started doing crank and the main sign is a loss of empathy, schzophrenic paranoia, and thinking the aliens, the cia, and if he watches the fox channel, the democrats are all out to get him. the parents are always in denial because there is no smell like pot smoke to indicate that their son is on drugs. instead, he is on
real bad toxic drugs and nobody knows it. most of the kids i knew from those days are dead or in jail and very few of the ones that are still alive are in good shape. i still know a few and all of them could be diagnosed as mentally ill if they ever sought help. but the drug crank makes you think that you are right and everyone else is wrong. and after awhile, everyone else doesn't exist.
you are too busy with your war on pot to deal with these people.
but where i live, where there is no pot, these people are a lot easier to spot. they sort of look like a zombie from the night of the living dead or a human who has been inhabited by a blood sucking alien. when one of them is your step kid you try your best to exorcize the demon. but this demon has destroyed many families.
nobody does anything about it because its a cheap $5 a hit drug. there's no money in it. so everyone tries to blame it on reagan for getting rid of mental health and keeps on with their billion dollar war on marijuana. i sort of feel like cory feldman in the lost boys. am i the only one who can see these vampires?