Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Nevada City bon temps

Saturday mornings in Nevada City these days center around the new weekly farmers' market on Union Street from 8 a.m. to noon (until the end of October), which brings in scores of locals for a block-long happening that has a festival atmosphere. There's usually a folk, bluegrass or jazz band playing, drawn from this area's large community of musicians. (When you're in the vicinity tune your radio to KVMR, 89.5 FM, the local community radio station with its fun, quirky programming, including the Tibetan Radio Hour, the Patchouli Haze and lots of world music).

Last Saturday, over the long Fourth of July weekend when hazy, smoke-filled skies from wildfires cast a bit of a pall over festivities, local produce vendors displayed a bounty of fruit and vegetables. Flour Garden, a local bakery, sold some delicious organic breads. After wandering and sampling a bit, I headed to my favorite breakfast spot in town, Ike's Quarter Cafe, up the hill a couple of blocks on Commercial Street. The shady patio, enclosed by a white picket fence, was full on this warm summer morning but a table soon freed up. Ike and Adrienne, the owners, are not from Louisiana but they were inspired by New Orleans to create a restaurant with creole and cajun influences while using naturally raised meats, organic eggs, grains, flour and vegetables. All breads are made in house and, whenever possible, the produce is local. The menu is almost overwhelming, with a large selection of frittatas, egg scrambles, potato boats, flapjacks and biscuits and gravy. There's also something called "gasserhousers" that were new to me: pieces of toast with eggs that are nestled inside two holes and topped with peppers, onions, sausages or a variety of other options. I settled on the roasted corn flaps, flapjacks with roasted corn inside with a side of bacon and got two nicely done pancakes oozing with corn. My traveling companion ordered cornmeal crusted oysters topped with a delicious mild green salsa sauce. The spirit of the place is friendly and fun. As it says on the menu "Laissez le bon temps rouler."
There seems to be no shortage of that attitude in Nevada City, which has a calendar full of events (Wednesday evening Summer Nights Festival of music is one) this summer and beyond.

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