One of the widest and most beautiful parts of the Mendocino Coast is Point Arena, home to the Point Arena Lighthouse. Originally constructed in 1870 and rebuilt after the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which was felt along the San Andreas fault all the way up into Mendocino, it remains one of the most picturesque spots on the Northern California coast.

In 1984, a nonprofit organization called the Point Arena Lighthouse Keepers acquired the light station as part of a 25 year land lease from the Coast Guard and the Department of Transportation. In November of 2000, the nonprofit group became the official owners of the property due to their diligent historic preservation and educational efforts. Daily visitation, gift store sales, memberships and the rental of the historic Keeper’s homes on the property as vacation houses, all provide desperately needed income for ongoing preservation, facility upgrades and educational endeavors.

As part of the effort to help preserve this historic beauty, a group of us recently staged a fun grazing and fund raising dinner at the lighthouse. All the foods were delicious and I was able to coax three recipes from those participating which I’m sharing here. Included are Congressman Mike Thompson’s Wild Mushroom Risotto, Los Angeles Times food writer Russ Parson’s Butterflied Leg of Lamb with Salsa Verde and my Asian Shrimp Cocktail. Enjoy!

For more information on the lighthouse go to

Watch for recipes in upcoming blog post.