Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

My Mendocino: 7 Travel Tips From Starbelly Chef Adam Timney

Mendocino Travel Tips

Notable San Franciscans dish on their favorite destinations in a seven-part series.
One doesn’t have to hunt wild boar in order to savor its porky goodness, but Adam Timney, chef/partner at the Castro’s Starbelly, goes whole hog. With shotgun in tow, the great outdoorsman travels to Mendocino “as often as humanly possible”—not just for the pigs, but also for foraging mushrooms, hiking, fishing, and harvesting grapes (the man also makes his own wine). Here’s Timney guide to the wild side of NorCal.

The spot that really captures Mendocino's energy is . . .
Hopland, a small town on the west bank of the Russian River. A great day starts with a morning hike, followed by a cool dunk. To me, Hopland is where Northern California really starts.

I always leave full and happy at . . .
Blue Bird Café (707-744-1622), a fantastic diner in Hopland dating back to 1930. I order the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and country gravy. It’s super classic comfort fare.  

Among locals, it’s a faux pas to . . .
Drive too fast through a farm. I'm not sure what the real issue is—if it kicks up too much dust or what. But be warned: Don't do it!

A hidden gem in Mendocino is . . .
Ukiah Brewing Company, or “UBC” among locals, for great beers and live music. They bill themselves as America's first organic brewpub, and the second certified organic restaurant in the country.  

In my bag, I always pack . . .
A shotgun. There's always some tasty critters around! In addition to pigs, you can hunt wild turkeys when they're in season, and there's a bounty of rabbits. When I was up for the Starbelly job, I did a tasting for the owners, which included rabbit sugo made with a rabbit I hunted in Hopland.

I want to buy everything whenever I go to . . .
Terra Savia's tasting room. My friend Jim Milone is a fourth generation winemaker. His great-grandfather was the first winemaker in Hopland until Prohibition. They produce a great brut rouge and a blanc de blanc using the champenoise process [a traditional French method of making sparkling wine]. They also make olive oil with a beautiful Italian press.  

The perfect way to end the night is . . .
Around the campfire with a couple of cold beers or a glass of local wine.