Use this magazine to stake out a sidewalk table at Cafe Brio (791 G St., Arcata), then line up inside to place your order at the counter. Think you know what you want? Your time peering at the sweet options in the pastry case will test your resolve. The quiche is old-school bistro richness with Emmental and Gruyère cheeses, and it does sell out ($5.85). Not to worry — nothing here will let you down, least of all the Blue Bottle coffee dripped by the cup ($2.75). Saturday mornings are busy with the farmers market right out front, so get comfortable and do a little people watching.
The lure of delicately battered fish and chips might keep one from trying the mashed potato cone ($5) at the Lighthouse Grill (355 Main St., Trinidad, closed Wednesday). There you are on the patio, salty sea air — can you really order a land-locked menu item? Yes. Yes, you can. This is not some state fair gimmick. It's a freshly rolled cornmeal-and-herb waffle cone, filled with a hot dollop of creamy mashed potato, falling-apart brisket in gravy, melting cheddar cheese and pieces of smoky bacon. You can also go vegetarian with veggie gravy and cheese ($4).
The Belle Epoque interior of Café Waterfront in Old Town Eureka (102 F St.) is enough of a draw. Get a seat by the window for a view of the bay while you sample plump Pacific oysters so recently harvested from its waters. Order them au naturale or with a bacon mignonette and slivers of Parmesan ($13.95). Double down on the seafood with the Cajun spiced fresh Pacific snapper with clam chowder and salad ($23.95).
Walk another block toward the water to Living the Dream Ice Cream (1 F St., Eureka) for a fresh-from-the-griddle waffle cone (unless you have some weird one-waffle-cone-a-day rule) with a couple of scoops of fanciful flavored gelato ($5.25). We went with peach habanero, swirled with Diane's Sweet Heat jelly (a cult favorite) and green tea. Take it with you for an evening boardwalk stroll. •