Let's set aside, for now, the flea market with its displays of quartz crystals and circa-1973 Pepsi glasses, the craft fairs, wrestling matches, roller derbies and cannabis fests. Redwood Acres, that bastion of endless entertainment, is also a hotbed of handcrafted delectables. A few mornings a week, head to the old racetrack these days to nab East Coast-style baked goods at Frankie's NY Bagels. And a few evenings a week, kick back with a pitcher of draft beer or a glass of wine and a plate of handcrafted charcuterie at The Boardroom, the tasting room for Ryan Creek Root Cellar.
Folks looking for a New York bagel fix line up early at Frankie's NY Bagels behind Redwood Acres' Turf Club building. "I'm hooked on the jalapeño cheddar," says an East Coast transplant waiting in line. "But they're all good. It's the texture."
Owner Frankie Baker is a creative genius, offering 19 bagel flavors, including all the classics, plus rotating specials, like spicy sriracha, beet and pickle ($1-$1.25). Custom cream cheese spreads range from a richly savory chive and garlic to vegan veggie ($2.50-$3.50). For a satisfying morning snack, I'd recommend an everything bagel with Baker's personal favorite spread: a combo of pickle and veggie spreads.
Other offerings include bagel dogs ($5) and his take on bialys ($4), the bagel's flatter cousin, stuffed with yummy fillings. Onion's a classic flavor but Baker also cooks up pepperoni pizza bialys, jalapeño poppers and eclectic one-offs. Baker recently tempted Facebook followers with a photo of Diane's Sweet Heat mango-habanero jam and ripe strawberries as a "sneak peek" at a special bialy.
Baker's an upstate New Yorker who moved to Los Angeles a decade ago and came north to attend Humboldt State University. While earning a degree in Critical Race, Gender and Sexuality Studies, he fell in love with the area. "The California dream — I'm living it," he says.
Yet he craved the authentic New York bagel. People ask him to describe this bagel so often that he's thinking of designing "The Anatomy of a Bagel" as an info-graphic. "The outer crust has to be crunchy," he says. "And when you bite in, it's soft and chewy. Ideally, fresh out of the oven." And Frankie's has it down.
You can buy Frankie's bagels at the Beachcomber in Trinidad (363 Trinidad St.), Northtown Coffee in Arcata (1603 G St.) and a handful of other places around the county. To get them fresh out of the oven, head for the shop behind Redwood Acres' Turf Club. There's a sign, but don't worry, you'll smell it.
Seeking something meatier? Walk in the main entrance of Redwood Acres and veer right. Duck in under the royal pig sign for drinks and charcuterie — everything from coppa to Canadian bacon to pork pâté — cured on the premises.
A corporate boardroom this ain't. The nomenclature refers to wooden cutting boards that arrive at your table with sliced meat, cheese, bread and accoutrements. This Boardroom's mergers involve small groups gathered around picnic tables, laughing over board games. Couples and singles share the bar, conversing amiably. Handwritten on chalkboards are eclectic wine and beer offerings that range from local to international.
Board № 1 boasts thinly sliced coppa, deep red and marbled, and zingy German-style summer sausage ($12). The meats come with slices of baguette, aged cheddar, edam, Marcona almonds and jardinière — house fermented veggies. This board pairs equally well with the $4 pitcher of Oly (yup, $4) or $25 pitcher of Chimay Grande Réserve.
More exotic Board № 3 features savory herbed salami and chicken mortadella, or finely hashed bits of chicken pressed with seasonings and savory pork, um, adipose tissue ($12). Mmm, salty fat. Try with the deep garnet-colored Montecillo Crianza Tempranillo ($7/glass). For delicious aesthetics, order a pickled egg plate with vivid purple and gold eggs ($9). Too gorgeous to eat? Nah.