Change – It’s What’s For Dinner. Unless Nathan Blayz Is Cookin’!

When’s the last time you enjoyed a gourmet meal with people you love prepared by a private chef in your own home? Never? Me neither, but Mr. Standish and I were invited to experience such a rare treat in the Architectural-Digest-worthy home of new Tehama County Planning Commissioner Robert Halpin and his talented artist wife, Mary. You can check out Mary and Bob’s creations at https://bit.ly/HalpinArt. But back to the dinner.

Mary and Bob Halpin

Our buddy Chef Nathan Blayz (yes THAT Nathan Blayz), who is also a comedian, started a side gig cooking for small parties – pretty much anything you want à la Blayz. I shared his Facebook post announcing he was taking reservations and the Halpins got in touch with him and were generous enough to invite us to join them. Let this be a lesson to us all – always share your friends’ home-based businesses. You might just get a 5-star dinner out of it. At the very least you’ll be helping a friend.

Chef Nathan Blayz

Now, pardon me while I shift into Menu Mode. We started with a creamy roasted red pepper bisque drizzled with sour cream and served with French Bread. Next came pan-seared endive (pronounced AHN-deeve, you barbarians) with a raspberry-balsamic reduction and feta cheese, and sous vide rack of lamb with an edamame and mint puree, along with honey-mustard glazed slender whole carrots, and a loaded baked potato. Are you drooling yet?


Endive, dahlink!



We washed it all down with some fantastic wines from Manton’s Alger Vineyards. The meal was spectacular and the company even better. If you would like to experience Chef Nathan’s imaginative culinary artistry, contact him at reddingbelike@gmail.com. He’ll even clean up afterwards.

That was Tuesday evening. Wednesday morning I headed down the hill to do the Costco-WinCo stock-up for the big storm. When I got to CostCo, I got a message from a family member who has been diagnosed with a very serious illness. No, you don’t know the person, but I was and am a wreck after hearing the news. I probably won’t be very involved in the day to day care of this person, at least for now, but since then my priorities have shifted. Brace yourself. This column is not going to be focused on Tehama County politics and government anymore.

The actual writing part is only a few hours per week. It’s the attending and listening to meetings of the Board of Supervisors, Groundwater Commission, and Flood Control Water Conservation District that takes a lot of time. Pouring over agendas, documents, budgets, etc…big ol’ time suck.

Over the past 2 ½ years of writing this column for the Red Bluff Daily News and a shorter time here at ANC, I have learned that people are very interested in what local government is doing for and to them, but the fact that almost all meetings take place during the day when folks are working makes it difficult to keep up with everything.

We started paying attention when our 11 cannabis plants were abated in 2017. Tehama’s ridiculous cannabis ordinance cum land grab scheme was just the tip of the iceberg. Everywhere we looked, there was inefficiency, waste, deception, classism, racism, shell game finance, misappropriation, and downright meanness.

Tehama County Board Chambers – photo courtesy costaengineers.com

But look how far we’ve come. Every supervisor (except the good one – Candy Carlson) has been replaced since 2017. Burt Bundy retired, followed by Steve Chamblin. Then, incredibly, Dennis Garton and Bob Williams were voted out this past June. For long time incumbents to go down in flames like that – well, it was nothing short of amazing. Throw former CAO Bill Goodwin, former Planning and Interim Building Director Kristen Maze, and former County Counsel Richard Stout on that pile, and you’re looking at a fairly clean house. You stepped up, Tehama. You did it.

Is everything perfect? Far from it, but with the current board, progress can be made. If we stop digging, maybe we can climb out of this gaping hole previous administrations used a backhoe to create. The 5 members we have now couldn’t be more varied in style and temperament, but they will do what they believe is right for all of us. They have integrity.

So, for my own emotional health and positive mindset, I’m just going to write for fun now. Maybe it will be like a Daily Show that you have to read. Hah. I have to read The Daily Show anyway because my hearing is so bad. Closed captions are our friends, aren’t they? Goddess forbid there’s an accent involved – fahgeddaboudit. Not exactly sure what this column will look like going forward, but hunting for the funny in local and national news stories appeals to me.

Maybe someone else will step forward to report on the goings on at 727 Oak. Jenny Alexander and/or Martha Kleykamp would be my personal choices, so maybe we can gently twist their arms.

Once in a while there will be a big story from the Supes Chambers, and I’m sure I’ll have some wise-assed comments about it. But as a rule, this space will be about having a chuckle or two.

As I finish this up Friday morning, there is over a foot of snow on the ground in Manton and it’s still coming down hard. I’m seeing lots of photos of snow in Redding and Red Bluff, too. You flatlanders need to slow down out there – don’t be driving around on those banana peels you call tires.

No, it’s fine – we have AWD!


Hope you all stay safe, warm, and dry. Throw a pot of chili on the stove and count your blessings. Life is good.

If you appreciate Liz Merry’s reporting and commentary, please consider contributing to A News Cafe. Thank you!

Liz Merry

Liz Merry was born in Brooklyn, raised in the Bronx, then transplanted to the Jersey Shore. She moved to Chico in 1984 and married her comedy partner, Aaron Standish, in 1990. They have lived in Manton since 1994.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments