Friday, November 10, 2006

Pear, Walnut & Gorgonzola Panini

I don't often write about restaurants or other eating establishments I've been to, mostly because that's not what this blog is about and, secondly, because I'm not very good at it. Today, however, I'm making an exception because this panini and its maker deserve recognition.
A more accurate title for this post would be Melissa's "Out on a Limb" Panini. This beautiful and tasty sandwich was made especially for us at our local village coffee house, The Beachcomber Cafe; the village being Trinidad, population 354, located on the far north coast of California, where the redwoods meet the Pacific Ocean.
ith a gulp, "I'm going out on a limb!", she agreed and made us one of the best tasting paninis I've had this side of the Atlantic.


When Clay and I went into town to vote last Tuesday, we decided to stop at the Beachcomber to see what was being offered for lunch. Co-owner Melissa Zarp, her lovely face just visible to clientele from her food prep station in the back of the small kitchen, told us she was working on a special panini that wasn't yet on the menu. After hearing the list of ingredients she was thinking of sandwiching between slices of our favorite local artisan focaccia, we both volunteered on the spot to be her guinea pigs. Saying, w
First came the focaccia. Made fresh daily by local artisan bread company, Brio, it's an herb-y, yeasty, soft flat bread that Melissa cut into sandwich-sized pieces then sliced in half horizontally. Gorgonzola, bosc pear slices, chopped walnuts, finely minced red onion, a bit of mozzarella cheese and beet greens made up the filling in this sandwich, which was then toasted in a panini press. The result was heavenly. Melissa added turkey to mine which I thought was outstanding. The only thing I might suggest would be to use arugula instead of beet greens. To my mind, gorgonzola, pears and walnuts cry out for arugula. Still, this panini is a winner - beet greens and all!
Soup is made fresh daily and a wide selection of paninis are always on the menu. Hopefully, Melissa's "Out on a Limb" creation will soon follow.
Beachcomber Cafe co-owner Melissa Zarp, left, with staff person Sarah
The Beachcomber Cafe is an all-organic coffee house, located at 363 Trinity Street, across from the Trinidad School. The wide selection of organic coffees and teas, as well as the always smiling faces of the staff, make this a favorite gathering place for locals. The shelves of the glass display case, filled with delicious, locally made scones, muffins, cookies and cakes, are often bare by closing time, prompting customers to come in early to get their favorite picks.