Fans of the TV show Parks and Recreation will recognize this issue’s theme of “Treat Yo’self.” In the show, local government employees, Tom and Donna, take a day off to revel in the joys of retail therapy and personal indulgence. And while not all of us have either the means or the desire to follow Tom and Donna to the mall when we’re feeling depleted, there are all sorts of options available in Mendocino County when you’re looking for a little luxury to revive your spirits—and this issue is designed to provide just that.
Here at Word of Mouth, we do the hard work of scouring the region to highlight the truly wonderful producers, farmers, and chefs who can make your day delicious. We know it is tough, but we put in the time to treat ourselves in order to make the very best recommendations. If an exquisite meal strikes your fancy, head to Elk where Matt Kammerer and the Harbor House Inn have brought the first Michelin Star to the county. One meal created by Matt involved slow-smoking sliced squash over locally harvested seaweed. It may sound unusual, but the resulting rich umami flavor was transcendent, and it was all I could do not to lick the bowl.
Harbor House is not the only Mendocino County establishment where excellent food is paired with stellar hospitality. Check out “Eat Well, Sleep Well” (p 6) for an incomplete list of places like The Apple Farm (where you can help make the meals and learn new recipes and techniques in the process), Brewery Gulch Inn (where you get a light dinner buffet as well as breakfast table service), and Glendeven Inn (where breakfast shows up on your doorstep in a basket brimming with goodies).
Few things feel more indulgent than a glass of bubbles, and we’re lucky to have the award-winning Roederer Estate in Anderson Valley creating delicious and affordable sparkling wines. And if you want to explore the deep and varied world of wine-tasting, get some tips from local girl Laurel Livezey, who is currently studying to be a sommelier in NYC.
While treating yourself can feel frivolous, there’s real value in the practice of turning our attention to the aspects of life that comfort and delight us, that build us up and bring a sense of renewal. As I write this, I reflect on how many of us are dealing with pain and stress. I had to turn off the news this morning to take a personal break from the anxiety-inducing broadcast. Sometimes indulgence is taking a walk in nature, carving out a moment from work to take a yoga class, or scheduling a sleep-in snugglefest with the kids. Then I thought of my mom, who made sure to save enough for retirement so she could afford a monthly massage. Treating yourself is about prioritizing happiness. So I invite you to sneak out to see that movie you have been wanting to catch, raise a glass of Roederer to a recent accomplishment, or make a date with your sweetie to stargaze in your pajamas. Get creative and treat yo’self.