Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip

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Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
2011/08/11 11:41:45
We returned from our trip and immediately became busy with work and home, so I haven't had a chance to write about our trip. But I really do want to chronicle it, because it was a great trip. So I'm going to try to gloss over the uninteresting bits in hopes of saving writing time and energy for the good bits. (Also: we took almost 1600 pictures on this trip. I'm definitely striving to winnow these down to just the reasonably good ones, but do feel invited to poke around in the flickr stream and ask about anything that catches your eye.)

The flight to Seattle was uninteresting. I'd hoped that the time zone change would help us be more morning-oriented than usual, but we landed around midnight Seattle time and got to our hotel room about 1:30am, so our schedules were reset right away.

The highlight of Saturday was visiting our friends Eli and Katy. Eli and Katy have two young babies, just recently released from the hospital. So we brought them food. We brought fish and chips from Spud Fish and Chips because it was Roadfood-listed, and cupcakes from Trophy Cupcakes because Katy had carefully sampled all the cupcake providers in Seattle (a city of many fine cupcakes), and selected Trophy Cupcakes as the only cupcakes to be served at her wedding.

We went to the Trophy Cupcakes in University Village.


Our lemon cupcake, though we ate it later:


These bins of umbrellas to borrow were definitely an "You know you're in Seattle..." thing.


Spud Fish and Chips turned out to be fairly close to Katy and Eli's house, so we could bring them food while it was still warm. The fish was crisp and greasy; the grease stains in the paper that wrapped it may be the best signs of what it was like.



We cooed over the babies, chatted with Katy and Eli, and took a tour of their house. They have strawberry plants in their garden. So we were able to pick strawberries at the point of perfect ripeness, bring them indoors and rinse them, and serve them five minutes after they were removed from the plant, still warm from the sun. This was a truly splendid way to eat strawberries, one of the great gustatory delights of our trip.

After bidding them farewell, we walked around Green Lake for a while. We got some lovely pictures, though I don't know that they're terribly dramatic. Here's a selection:
   

We didn't have a Roadfood-listed destination for dinner, so we turned to Urbanspoon. We discovered that Urbanspoon had a "Northwest" category, and narrowed our search to that, even though I couldn't say exactly what Northwest cuisine is. (Jane later told us, "a lot of seafood and blackberries".) Lori was entranced by the mention of crab mac and cheese in one restaurant review, so off we went to Jimmy's on Broadway in Capitol Hill. Once I realized it was a hotel restaurant, I was a bit wary - but, y'know, crab mac and cheese.


I had a local beer, Mac and Jack's African Amber. It was very good, with a complex, full flavor. And a fancy/wacky backlit photo:


Lori's crab mac and cheese was not everything we'd hoped it would be. It did have a clear flavor of mild, sweet, crab, but the crab mac and cheese of our fantasies had a much thicker, creamier sauce than the rather thin sauce we were served.


I ordered the fried oysters, described by the menu thus: "Local yearling oysters tossed in a cracker meal, deep fried to a golden brown..." (I assume that 'yearling' means the age of the oyster, though it might also be a variety.) The preparation of the oysters was extraordinary. They were very tender, crisp, and light; tender enough that you could bite through the oysters without fragmenting the breading, but sturdy enough that you could drag them through the tartar sauce without losing any breading. And they didn't taste greasy at all. It was really a phenomenal job of frying.
But - and it's a big but - the oysters themselves were not to my taste at all. They were briny and murky-flavored, and I kept thinking "this would do nothing to convince an oyster-hater that oysters were not the boogers of the sea." But the preparation was so good that it made me almost like the oysters. If you like your oysters so, ahem, full-flavored, then I think that you'd find the oysters at Jimmy's sublime.



kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/11 12:16:21
Looks great so far!!
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/11 12:19:42
I totally feel your pain about the abundance of pictures--but it's a nice problem to have after a trip like this.  Lovely lemon cupcake; you could practically reach out and touch it.  (And I'm with you on the oysters too.)  Can't wait for more!
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/11 12:28:23
Lovely report and pictures, Ralph.
 
I like that you write about the good, the bad and the ugly.
 
The crab mac and cheese looks meager.  Was that a huge plate?
 
I would have had to have a big dessert if served something not satisfying.
 
Did you like Capitol Hill?  I found it reminiscent of Berkeley in the seventies.  Fun place to walk.
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/11 12:45:13
I had to go look:  "Yearling" oysters is a trade name for partially-grown oysters that are about 3-inches in length.
Twinwillow
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/11 12:53:05
Delicious looking report. Thank you.
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/11 13:39:26
mar52
Lovely report and pictures, Ralph.

I like that you write about the good, the bad and the ugly.

I hardly know which of those categories the oysters fall into. I didn't like them myself, but I felt very aware that they were very well done and could reasonably be considered superb. I think this was the most equivocal meal of our trip.
 

The crab mac and cheese looks meager.  Was that a huge plate?

I would have had to have a big dessert if served something not satisfying.

Did you like Capitol Hill?  I found it reminiscent of Berkeley in the seventies.  Fun place to walk.

 
The crab mac and cheese was served in the center of a huge plate. It was plenty; we didn't finish it, though we kept eating long after hunger was gone.
 
Neither my notes nor my memory say anything about dessert that night. I think we tried to go to Top Pot Doughnuts, but we either found them closed or lost our enthusiasm before we arrived.
 
We didn't spend much time in Capitol Hill this year, since we'd spent a lot of time there on previous visits. It certainly was a fun place to walk around. My clearest memory from this trip is the dance patterns inlaid into the sidewalks, though we weren't able to do dances that matched the patterns.
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/11 13:40:12
MiamiDon

I had to go look:  "Yearling" oysters is a trade name for partially-grown oysters that are about 3-inches in length.

 
I'm now more informed. Thanks, MiamiDon!
ScreamingChicken
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/11 15:12:37
I sense the beginnings of a great report, Ralph!
 
I'm pretty sure Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings would not have won a Pulitzer Prize had The Yearling been a story about a boy who raises an orphaned oyster...
 
Brad
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/11 15:14:26
Ralph, I am so glad you decided to do a trip report after the sneak preview we got a few weeks back.  Looking forward to much more!
post edited by buffetbuster - 2011/08/11 15:21:06
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/11 16:00:38
I like that you and Lori are adventurous eaters, and always enjoy your pics and descriptions. Green Lake is lovely-and that lemon cupcake looks divine!
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/16 00:02:03
On Sunday, we met Sean and Jane and their kids for brunch at Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe, at their suggestion. I was a little wary of expecting gastronomic delights, because the Sterns' review on Roadfood is unusually tepid; it begins with "We were not charmed with most of the food at Mae's Phinney Ridge Cafe, but the place itself is hard to resist."
We've had some so-so meals from places the Sterns recommended more enthusiastically, so this poor recommendation seemed to bode ill. But our experience did not match theirs: all our food was very good.

The Sterns were right about the exuberant cow theme, especially in the room where we were seated:


The blueberry coffee cake was moist and flavorful.


Sean ordered the green eggs and ham (tinted with pesto), though I didn't sample it:


I think the kids got the french toast. Again, I didn't taste it, but I'm impressed with how thick it is:


Lori's smoked salmon omelet was very good. The menu says the salmon was smoked on-site.


I chose the smoked salmon hash, and it was excellent (far better than my picture suggests--I think my better picture got eaten by a camera failure). The salmon had a clear, vivid smoke flavor, and the bright, tart flavor of the capers made it a really delightful entree. (The hash browns, though, were greasy and not at all crisp.)


After brunch, we went back to Green Lake, so that the adults could talk and the kids could run around. Another medley of Green Lake photos:


We went our separate ways for the afternoon. As we pulled away from Green Lake, we were captivated by this farm stand: 


We asked if they had a way to wash off the cherries, and the salesman showed us a faucet and a sieve he'd provided for the purpose. We bought half a pound of cherries and enjoyed them in the car; they were juicy and delectable.


We met with Sean and Jane for dinner (without the kids) at Charlie's on Broadway. (Occam's Razor argues against the conclusion that Jimmy and Charlie are brothers, and "'s on Broadway" is their surname.) The food was good, but memory hides the details--except that Jane's bacon-wrapped jalapeƱo poppers were hot enough that she had to disassemble them and remake them into a more pleasant form.


For dessert, we visited a favorite of Lori's from past visits: Dilettante Chocolates. Dilettante is a small chain in Seattle; this particular location added a level of fancy by including a mocha cafe and chocolate martini bar.


The four of us shared two desserts: the dark ephemere mousse and the coupe sundae with dark fudge and caramel. I hope Lori will chime in with a description of the desserts, because she loved the mousse.



After we split up, Lori expressed a desire to go to the top of the Space Needle, since we'd not done that in our previous visits. There was a brisk wind blowing that made it very cold. We got a nifty bonus view, though: some communities around had done their July 4 fireworks a day early, so we got to look down upon distant fireworks.




We also got a bonus once we had left the rooftop: a couple riding down in the elevator with us offered us their Citypasses (good for six Seattle attractions over the course of a week), since they were leaving town and had only visited the Space Needle. We cheerfully accepted.

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icecreamchick
Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/16 00:58:23
I have to be honest. Ralph is waaaaaay more adventurous of an eater than I am! :-)
 
Unless it's chocolate. I will try almost anything chocolate. 
icecreamchick
Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/16 01:10:27
Dilettante Chocolates is an amazing place if you love good chocolate. The interior is lush and romantic...all dark woods and plush seating. 
 
They make some of the best chocolates I've ever had. Everything is smooth and flavorful, especially their most excellent truffles. And a Seattle visit wouldn't be complete for me without some dried cherries covered in chocolate. 
 
But what I really love there is their desserts. Dilettante's desserts are big enough to warrant sharing, and rich enough to merit a warning label from the American Heart Association. They are sublime!
 
This visit, we had a dark, rich chocolate ephemere perfectly paired with a crown of whipped cream. The cream is only lightly sweetened, so it doesn't overpower the mousse. The chocolate mousse is thick and densely flavored with dark semi-sweet chocolate. It is one of my favorite desserts anywhere. 
 
We also tried one of the coupe sundaes. It was perfectly done, with excellent ice cream, toppings and whipped cream. It is able to hold its own with other fabulous sundaes from around the country. But, honestly, I recommend getting one of the cakes or the mousse to really taste what Dilettante's desserts are all about. 
 
Writing this makes me want to go to Seattle for more :-)
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/23 21:20:05
The chocolate martini bar would entertain Julie for a bit.  :)  Lovely pictures y'all!
leethebard
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/23 21:37:35
I enjoyed your report...oh to have that mousse!!
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/29 16:28:43
We would not consider a trip to Seattle complete without a visit to Pike Place Market. We had checked the Pike Place Market website and seen that it was open on July 4, so visiting then would work out well.


We arrived in time for lunch and went to Lowell's ("almost classy since 1957"). Lowell's has a somewhat complicated layout: the first floor serves takeout seafood, the second floor offers table service, and the third floor providers seating for people bringing food up from the first floor. We were lazy; we chose the second floor.


For an appetizer, we chose the salmon-potato croquettes, about which I remember little.


I ordered the Dungeness crab roll. I found this a significant contrast to the lobster rolls I had in New England last year. The New England lobster rolls were very simple, with just melted butter or a film of mayonnaise. This was much more fancy, in a West Coast way: the menu description of the crab roll was "Field greens, tomato, avocado, grainy mustard-mayo on fresh Le Panier baguette". It was delicious; I really liked the sweetness of the crab.


Lori ordered the rustic tuna melt ("White albacore tuna salad, mozzarella, tomato, red pepper aioli on grilled rosemary bread") and found it good but not outstanding.


From Pike Place Market, we strolled across to the Seattle Aquarium, to use our Citypasses. The Seattle Aquarium is a nice aquarium, with a focus on the ecology of Puget Sound and the local waters. But most of the aquariums that I've visited over the last several years have a similar ecological focus, so I'm not sure that I recognize the Seattle Aquarium as a must-visit museum. 



Outside the museum, we saw people carving a totem pole, with signs explaining that it was the first totem pole carved in Seattle in many years.


The other use we made of our unexpected CityPasses was to take the boat tour of the bay. This was very pleasant, and would be something I'd recommend to other visitors. We had beautiful weather, and saw a lot of sights of Seattle's downtown, islands in the bay, and the Port of Seattle. 


We were told that these giant globes were involved with missile defense, and that this globe's home was off the coast of Alaska.


I was very impressed by the sheer size of the cranes used for loading container ships. The folks operating those cranes are looking down through glass beneath their feet - which means that they're looking several stories down as they work.



For dinner, we got together with Sean, Jane, Rachel, and their kids at Hamburger Harry's, a burger joint in Edmonds. 


The major thing I recall about my blue cheese burger was that it was extremely messy--it took a stack of napkins to handle the mess. But I was paying more attention to the company than to the food.


We then went off to watch Edmonds' fireworks. Parking was a challenge, and we ended up needing to walk several blocks to join our friends - but that's the normal way of fireworks.
I tried out the fireworks setting on our new camera, only to learn that shooting fireworks really wants a tripod. But the jiggly photos are kind of nifty in a nonrepresentational way.
   


CajunKing
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/29 17:51:06
Oh man hat hamburger at HH's looks awesome, I am starved right now and that burger and fries would fill the empty stomach i'm suffering
 
Keep up the great report
sk bob
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/29 20:23:18
nice report & great pictures.
getting that free citipass was a nice bonus.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/30 17:17:39
Maybe a prominent Alaska resident is trying to build the machine from 'Contact'?  
 
Ralph, did you guys not go to the Crumpet Shop in Pike Place Market?  Oh that's unfortunate.  ;)
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/30 17:52:04
We did not go to the Crumpet Shop on this trip. We did, however visit in 2010. My writeup of that visit:
 

Pike's Place Market has three Roadfood-listed sites, but we only ate at one of them: The Crumpet Shop. I had an impression that crumpets were much like English muffins, but these crumpets were not much like English muffins except in shape; they were very eggy and solid, with much smaller holes. Both our almond-butter-and-apricot jam crumpets and our salmon-cream-cheese-and-cucumber crumpets were good, but not something I'd eagerly seek out again.


Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/30 18:33:01
Maybe it's the maple butter and walnut one that's so good.  When I started to tell Julie about the chocolate shop in this thread she cut me off and said 'did they go to the Crumpet Shop?'  She has a strong sense memory about that one.  ;)
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/30 18:35:08
The one at the right: 
 

wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/30 18:52:42
Ralph
 
Glad you all made it to Spud's
 
Mac and Jack's didn't exist when I lived out in Seattle, although then again, I'm sure there were ales I enjoyed there that don't exist now. I  did have the opportunity to try a Mac and Jack's when I was out there in 2007- and I agree- it's everything a beer should be.
icecreamchick
Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/30 23:04:10
For what it's worth, I quite liked the Crumpet Shop. I would've insisted, but so many places, so little time! :-)
 
But for me, a trip to Seattle without a visit to Dilettante (the chocolate place) is like a pizza with no cheese. You can do it and it can work, but why bother? 
 
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/31 10:04:29
Well, we'll have to check out Dilettante the next time we're out there. ;)
zataar
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/08/31 15:12:57
What a great report! Very nice photos, too. In a few weeks, we will be staying 2 blocks from the Capitol Hill Dilettante, so we will be going there for sure. And of course the Crumpet Shop.
Your report makes me even more happy to be going to the Emerald City. :-)
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/06 11:09:50
July 5 provided a whole lot to write about. I hope you enjoy it; it was a good day for us.

For brunch, we went to Tacoma to go to Knapp's Family Restaurant, which has been in business since 1933. I started to describe Knapp's as a coffee shop, but that only really applies to the section that we sat in. Knapp's is divided into several rooms, presumably because of expansion over the years, so the restaurant progresses from coffee shop at one end, to dining room in the middle, to bar at the other end.


The roadfood.com review mentioned the butterhorn from the breakfast menu, and I'd never heard of a butterhorn, so we ordered one. I'd expected something more or less horn-shaped, but what we got was a flat spiral pastry, like a soft cinnamon roll without much cinnamon.


I had the kielbasa scramble, and it was excellent. I really loved the vigorous flavor of the sausage.


Lori got upsold by the waitress's banter to the waffle with strawberries and cream.



From Tacoma, we had to hustle to Portland. We had purchased advance tickets for an Epicurean Excursion from http://www.portlandwalkingtours.com that started at 2pm. I had calculated that we could get there about 1:30... but we lingered a few minutes extra at Knapp's, we had to stop at a rest stop in Washington, we hit a touch of traffic somewhere - so the net result was that at 2pm, I was driving through Portland trying to find the recommended parking garage, and Lori was on the phone with the tour folks trying to figure out whether there was a way for us to catch up to the tour.

We dashed to Cacao, a fancy chocolate and hot chocolate place that was the first stop, and were excited to see that there was a tour group there. But when we accosted the guide, he told us that this tour group was not our tour group; ours had gone on to the next stop. So we hustled down to the next stop without taking time to peruse the lovely chocolates, which made Lori very sad.

Fortunately, we did catch up to our tour group at the next stop, Benessere. (And the tour guide had even brought us sample's of Cacao's hot chocolate.) Benessere ( http://www.oilgoodness.com/ ) is a tasting bar for olive oils and balsamic vinegars. This was interesting to me, because I generally do not notice much variation in taste among olive oils, and I was glad to have some guidance there. I did think I identified the cut-grass notes that were mentioned in one of the olive oils. I also remember that the guide mentioned "pepper" as one of the qualities of one of the oils, and described it as a little prickle in the back of the throat. I've felt that prickle before, though I didn't in that particular oil, but that prickle doesn't match my expectations of what "peppery" would mean at all. Part of me finds this very cheering - it means that I am not alone in my struggles to find expressive food vocabulary.
As usual for me, I liked sampling the vinegars much more than the olive oils. I sampled a black cherry balsamic vinegar that was really wonderful. We were strongly tempted to buy some, but (a) it was early in our trip, and I was resisting adding packing hassles, and (b) we have a bad record of not using our special hard-to-replace souvenir foodstuffs. (We may still have some of the peach champagne vinegar we bought on our honeymoon.)


A random shot of a large-scale chess game that we passed on the tour. I'm not good enough at photo editing to make this clear, but one of the white knights is being played by an understudy of a white laundry basket.

At Flying Elephant Deli, we sampled the tomato soup. The secret ingredient turned out to be orange. Lori really enjoyed this.


The guide asked if anyone in the group was a teacher, and when Lori said she was, he declared that Teacher's Fountain was for her.


Portland has a thriving food cart scene, and the tour stopped at one food cart among a parking lot full of carts. We enjoyed the chance to chat with Ziba of Ziba's Pitas. The burek we sampled was not really a pita as I'm familiar with pitas; it was a delicious spiral of seasoned meat wrapped in flaky, crunchy pastry. It was delicious, one of my favorite foods from the tour.



At the Spice and Tea Exchange, we sampled five different salts. The only one that tasted clearly different from the others to me was the smoked salt, which was good enough that we bought a little to bring home.


Hotlips Pizza is an anchor of the EcoTrust building, a former warehouse renovated to a high degree of eco-friendliness. We sampled their excellent housemade blackberry soda (made with local berries) and a good kale, red pepper, and onion pizza. I don't know that I would seek out kale on a pizza again, but it was pretty good. We were told that the owner of Hotlips Pizza has a number written in his office of the total mileage for every ingredient of his pizza to come to the restaurant, and he strives to reduce that number every year.




Though we sampled nothing at this bar, our guide told us that the tiled trough between bar and barstools had historical significance. The bar was built in the late 1800s, and at that time, women did not enter bars - so the male patrons used that trough as a place to, ahem, dispose of used beer without needing to step outside. I'm not sure whether this was true or not, but it was corroborated by a picture in a men's room I saw later on our trip.


I don't exactly remember the story behind this sculpture; perhaps one of my readers can clarify matters. As I recall the story, there was a Portland tradition of people riding down a hill on these teeny toy bikes, and this was erected both as a piece of public art and as a place to store the bikes so they wouldn't be scattered everywhere.


McMenamin's is a chain of microbreweries in the Portland area that is now up to 29 breweries serving 58 locations. All the locations are restored sites; this one was called the Crystal Ballroom, because it once hosted a taxi-dance hall on an upper floor.

We sampled their "ruby" beer made with raspberries, a lager, and the "Terminator Stout", none of which delighted me.


Our last stop on the Epicurean Excursion was Mio Gelato, where we sampled coconut gelato, chocolate hazelnut gelato (with local hazelnuts), and plum sorbetto, all very good.


That final stop left us very near Powell's Books. I didn't feel a great need for books; because we were flying, I was using the iPad to serve my reading needs for the trip. But I would have felt disloyal to my principles had we not gone in, and I bought a couple of books as a token gesture to thank them for being Powell's.
 


That evening, we joined esteemed Roadfooder mr chips and his wife Trudy. For dinner, we accepted their recommendation to eat at a seafood joint named Pal's Shanty.
I recall mr chips pointing out that all the seafood was fresh-caught, and there was not even a freezer on the premises.


We shared an enormous sampler platter. If I was trying to make the best trip report I could, I would have taken better notes about what was on the platter; our notes just say "fried platter o' seafood". I remember halibut fritters (on the left) and calamari (in the upper right), but I can't recall the other items. I particularly remember the calamari because it was very different from other calamari of my experience: it was finger-size pieces of fried squid that were extremely tender and tasty, quite unlike the rubbery rings I usually get as calamari.


I had the Crab Louis. This was a very fancy version, with artichoke hearts and hard-boiled eggs and other such goodies. I enjoyed it a lot.


After dinner, mr chips led us to a suburban location of Voodoo Donuts. I can emphatically and euphemistically state that Voodoo Donuts has an atmosphere all its own.

 

Also a flavor selection matched by few donut shops:


Voodoo Donuts offers wedding packages at a very reasonable price.


I was sufficiently intrigued by this young man and his bucket of donuts that I asked him whether he was a staff member. No, he was just a donut fan; we later saw him and a young woman sitting together cheerfully eating their way through the bucket.


We ordered the Mango Tango donut ("filled with mango jelly and topped with vanilla frosting and tang") and the Voodoo Doll; mr chips added the Bacon Maple Bar. Of these three, my favorite was the Voodoo Doll; it was a chocolate-covered donut filled with raspberry jelly, making it one of the tastier forms of symbolic cannibalism. The Mango Tango was too sweet for my taste, and I didn't feel that the flavors of the Bacon Maple Bar melded together into any whole, but just stayed as separate flavors.



From there, mr chips led us to Random Order Coffee for a second dessert of homemade pie.


Lori chose the chocolate cream pie; I got the Oregon cherry pie. Both were quite good.


We had a lovely evening with mr chips and Trudy, and really appreciate their hospitality. 

 
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/06 11:16:55
Halibut and a maple bacon bar in the same meal!  Insanity!
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/06 12:26:47
Portland (and the Oregon Coast) have wonderful food venues.  Dining with the Chips has to add to that pleasure.
 
Looks like you hit all great places.
 
Of all you went to I can only say that I've been to Powell's.
 
I like the way you eat!
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/06 22:19:47
It was a pleasure seeing Ralph and Laurie again in my beloved hometown. Pal"s Shanty may be the best seafood place in Portland and it is certainly one of my favorite places to eat. It has been around for 60 years and serves fresh reasonably priced stuff. my favorite dish is steamed clam with butter for dipping sauce. they also have a tasty fired oyster sandwich that is both inexpensive and tasty. I need to write a review but it is certainly roadfood worthy.
       The second Voodoo location is at 17th and Sandy, still very much in the central city. This location is an old fast food place so there is lots of parking and little of the downtown ambience. This is where the travel channel and Man Vs. Food filmed their segments. I love the place, it donuts are good, and it is almost never boring.
    Random order has the best pie in Portland. Wonderful spot.I love the organic banana cream but i have never had a bad slice of anything there.
   Lori and Ralph are great people and we truly enjoyed their company. Someday i hope we can visit them on their home turf someday.
catosaurus
Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/07 00:34:30
Wow.  Thanks for the fabulous photos (of the scenery, as well as the food).  I almost feel like I've taken a road trip!
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/08 01:12:06
Wednesday was a lesson in things that we should have asked the locals.

Our big plan for the day was that I would visit the company office in Vancouver, Washington to fraternize with my coworkers and get some work done. (I wouldn't recommend this for any other tourist, but it worked for me.) Lori would go into Portland and tour around on her own. I'd formed an impression that the Portland area had great mass transit, so we thought it would be no problem for Lori to get about on her own from a hotel in Vancouver.

My day at the office was nothing to write about, but my coworkers led me off to Hula Boy Grill for lunch. This was my second experience with Hawaiian food; my first had been a very nasty experience at a low-end restaurant in Cupertino. This was vastly better.


I chose a meal to maximize the number of dishes I didn't recognize: lau lau, kalua pork, and lomi lomi salmon.
Kalua pork is traditionally cooked in a fire pit buried in the sand, and this was probably not cooked in the traditional way - but it was extremely tasty, very tender and juicy, with a mild smoky flavor.
The lau lau was explained to me as a combination of pork, pork fat, and butterfish, wrapped in taro leaves and steamed. The meaty bits were tasty, but there was a whole lot of fat in the combo, and I left most of it uneaten.
The lomi lomi salmon is a bit tough to describe. I could say that it's like a fresh salsa, but instead of adding chiles to the tomatoes and onions, substitute raw salmon. But although this description is a reasonably accurate description of the recipe, it doesn't really capture the flavor - or perhaps this is in a poorly mapped area of my personal gustatory landscape. 


Unfortunately, we learned that when the Portland area was setting up mass transit, Vancouver didn't want to pay to join. So my going off to work had left Lori stranded in the hotel, and by early afternoon, she was bored and very hungry. We were willing compromise our Roadfooding standards for the sake of getting her fed quickly, but it happened that the first fast food restaurant we encountered was Burgerville, a Roadfood-listed chain with a focus on fresh, local food.


I remember little of Lori's Tillamook cheddar burger, but I do remember the massive Walla Walla onion rings, so large that an order only contained five.


After that, we went off to the International Rose Test Garden, which is first and foremost a laboratory for rose-breeders, and only secondarily a showcase of splendid roses. To be honest, it was somewhat wasted on me. I was very impressed by the climbing roses we saw first - but these aren't in the garden themselves, they're just adorning the tennis courts. 


The next dozen roses added to the splendor - but I could not honestly say that the hundred beautiful roses after that added much beyond the first dozen or so. We took a whole lot of pictures, though; if you like pictures of roses, I invite you to poke around in my Flickr stream.
  
  
  
  
  

If I thought that Lori had any chance of forgetting, I wouldn't mention that I suggested that she walk away in the gift shop so that I could buy something with a trace of discretion. But she started vibrating with anticipation like a plucked string when she thought about me writing about the rose gardens, so I'm sure she also keenly remembers that the saleslady told her that I had excellent taste in gifts.

The Rose Test Gardens are a fabulous tourist spot, and I would certainly recommend them.

We walked up to the Japanese Garden, but decided not to go in because it charged a fee and we were closing in on dinner time. We peered over the walls, but I wasn't willing to take pictures without paying the fee. These pictures are from the walk up to the garden.



Elsewhere in the same park, we stopped briefly at the Lewis and Clark memorial for a picture of the city:


For dinner, we met my friend and coworker Bill at Widmer Brothers Gasthaus and Brewery.


Lori's double-smoked kielbasa was very nice; unfortunately, I can't say the same about my sauerbraten.


For dessert, we all shared the Oregon berry cobbler. The berries were very nice, but I didn't care for the topping.
 

 
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/08 01:14:30
mr chips

It was a pleasure seeing Ralph and Laurie again in my beloved hometown. Pal"s Shanty may be the best seafood place in Portland and it is certainly one of my favorite places to eat. It has been around for 60 years and serves fresh reasonably priced stuff. my favorite dish is steamed clam with butter for dipping sauce. they also have a tasty fired oyster sandwich that is both inexpensive and tasty. I need to write a review but it is certainly roadfood worthy.
      The second Voodoo location is at 17th and Sandy, still very much in the central city. This location is an old fast food place so there is lots of parking and little of the downtown ambience. This is where the travel channel and Man Vs. Food filmed their segments. I love the place, it donuts are good, and it is almost never boring.
   Random order has the best pie in Portland. Wonderful spot.I love the organic banana cream but i have never had a bad slice of anything there.
  Lori and Ralph are great people and we truly enjoyed their company. Someday i hope we can visit them on their home turf someday.

 
We would be delighted to try to show y'all the same fine hospitality you showed us.
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/08 01:25:28
I love Widmer!  (also your rose pictures) I spent a lot of time at their 7th and Salmon location which might not even exist today.
 
Are they still serving pitchers of Heffewizen?  It's the place where I first learned about Heffewizen,
 
Me:  "What's that cloudy stuff they're drinking?"
 
I've been a Widmer devotee ever since.
 
Sorry about your sauerbraten.
Twinwillow
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/08 06:40:27
Thank you for one of the most beautiful and comprehensive roadfood reports I've seen in my 5-1/2 years as a Roadfood member. All of the pictures are true gems!
I envy your fabulous trip.
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/08 11:06:57
If I have any secrets for taking pictures that are gems, it's that we took so many pictures that we can skip over 80% of the not-so-good pictures. We took almost 1600 pictures on this trip.
 
Also, we got a new camera which is doing a good job with low-light pictures.
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/08 11:13:16
mar52, I didn't look hard at the beer menu, and I don't recall why. Perhaps it was just that I was planning to drive. But the website ( http://www.widmer.com ) mentions Hefeweizen, and pitchers are plausible to me.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/08 12:24:57
I will definitely be looking at your rose pictures--gorgeous selection.  So how did you like the food at Burgerville?
Ivyhouse
Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/08 12:34:21
Ralph,
 
Thanks very much for your posts.  Your pictures are wonderful, and your text is always interesting.
 
And Lori, I hear you about chocolate!  Dilettante looks great.
 
Karen
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/09 11:39:36
Nancypalooza

I will definitely be looking at your rose pictures--gorgeous selection.  So how did you like the food at Burgerville?

 
I don't have strong memories of the food, but I think it was pretty good, but not outstanding. I think I'd prefer it to Five Guys, because I find Five Guys too greasy for my taste, but I don't feel much craving to visit again.
josefinajoisey
Hamburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/09 14:54:46
I am a fan of roadfood in any way, shape or form, but I admit to an involuntary tremble at the thought of physically walking through the doors of Powells Books.  I am in awe. (and great trip report and pics of your meals, too!)
CajunKing
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/09 17:23:30
Holy cow that was a SEAFOOD PLATTER
The trip to voodoo donut is a must when out there.  I love the bucket of donuts.  I have eaten them from boxes, bags, plates, a frisbee, and a hubcap, but never a bucket.
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/09 18:04:27
Ralph, your trip brings back a lot of memories to me.  I have spent a huge amount of time in Oregon, Washington and the Pacific Northwest.  I have always enjoyed the Public Market in Seattle, Salty's in Portland and Vancouver.  Downtown Vancouver has a lot of offer if you have lotsa cash of a very good credit card.
 
Vancouver and the island west of there is certainly a diverse culture of people and food.
 
I also have traveled through Yakima many times and the diverse agriculture there is totally outstanding.  IN fact I enjoyed the entire state of Washington and Oregon.  Great fruit consisting of all types of grapes, apples, cherries, pears and about anything that grows.
 
I certainly enoyed your pics and all the food and roses.
 
Paul E. Smith
Knoxville, TN
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/09 18:44:57
mr chips, can you tell us the full list of what was on the seafood platter, please?
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/09 23:47:02
Thursday morning involved a rapid transition from the bottom of the Roadfood scale to the top.

In the interests of time, we ate the breakfast at the hotel. The only reason it deserves any comment whatsoever is that it included this pancake-making machine. You could push one button, and in a minute it would extrude a completely ordinary and mediocre pancake. I can understand why a hotel might choose such a machine; there are many kids and not a few adults who cannot be entrusted with the responsibility of raw pancake batter. But as a general rule, fine cuisine and the word "extruded" don't fit well in the same sentence, and this is no exception to that rule.


As we were heading southward through Portland, I mentioned Saint Cupcake to Lori, and mentioned that the Roadfood.com review says "[Jane Stern] declared them to be the best cupcakes she has ever eaten, anywhere." Lori demanded a stop, and I'm glad she did.

The address we had for Saint Cupcake turned out to be permanently closed, but fortunately had a sign leading us to the new location.


They had a lot more things besides cupcakes; the variety was almost daunting. (I should apologize to the young woman behind the counter; she was very nice and very enthusiastic, and she didn't at all deserve such an unflattering picture.)


We asked about the Bunbunbonbon, and the nice saleswoman said "You have to try the Bunbunbonbon, because you don't know when you'll be back!" The Bunbunbonbon turns out to be a little sphere of brioche dough, rolled in butter and cinnamon sugar. I wasn't delighted by the Bunbunbonbon, but I think that was mostly because I expected it to be like a doughnut hole, and it was much denser than a nice doughnut hole - but I think that's not the right standard for the Bunbunbonbon, and I think I would have enjoyed the Bunbunbonbon much more if I were not judging it by an incorrect standard. (You know that effect where if you take a word like "foot" and repeat it over and over, it ends up seeming ridiculously funny? "Bunbunbonbon" hits that level of silliness much more quickly than "foot" does.)


We got a vanilla cupcake with cream cheese frosting, and a vanilla cupcake with strawberry frosting. Both were exceptional; Lori's notes about the cupcake with strawberry frosting say "really perfect". This really deserves more lavish description, but all I recall was the bright flavor of the first bite of the strawberry frosting.


My own tastes run to the pie side of the pie-cake spectrum, and Saint Cupcake had a perfect offering for pie guys seeking cuteness: the Tiny Pie. Even the name makes me squee like a teenage catgirl hopped up on Pocky; it's much cuter than "mini pie" or many other options. And this was a really phenomenal pie; the crust hit a perfect balance of tenderness and flakiness, and the strawberry filling was awesomely fruity and sumptuous. I might well nominate the Tiny Pie as my favorite food of the whole trip.


We were tempted by the Savory Buns, and Lori pointed out that they could be the basis for a quick lunch on the way to Crater Lake. Rationalization successful! These were brioche dough filled with ham, Swiss cheese, and mustard. These were very tasty, and extraordinarily convenient. Not only did the brioche contain the fillings well, but the dough was remarkably non-crumbly. This was by far the most tidy meal I've ever eaten while driving.

After the savory buns, we snacked on Saint Cupcake's alder-smoked chocolate chip cookies. These too were wonderful. They had all the smokiness and richness of bacon chocolate chip cookies, without the touches that make bacon a dubious cookie ingredient. They were wonderfully sumptuous and flavorful, among my top few chocolate chip cookies ever.

We loved Saint Cupcake, and we would make sure to seek it out on any return visit to Portland.

Another picture of bright roses, this time from a rest stop on I-5:


We had a lovely drive through Willamette on the way to Crater Lake.
  

Something I didn't expect from Crater Lake National Park: among the miles and miles of beautiful trees, we drove through this broad flat expanse. We learned later that it's called the Pumice Desert; this is the area that got the most pumice and ash dumped by the volcanic eruption that turned Mt. Mazama into the crater, and vegetation hasn't yet returned to the area.


We saw plenty of snow by the road. Crater Lake gets an average of 550 inches of snow a year. We saw an amazing three-minute film at the visitor's center about snow removal around Crater Lake; the process starts with bulldozers making multiple passes to get the snow bank low enough to clear with snow plows and workmen, and a hard days' work with heavy machinery clears only a quarter mile of snow per day.
I no longer remember whether Lori or I threw the first snowball, and it's possible that we only made threats and didn't follow through on them.
  

Our first good view of Crater Lake. It really is as intense a blue as everyone says it is.


More Crater Lake pictures (and again, there are more in the flickr stream):
  
  

This was a great spot to try out the panorama feature on our new camera. (It turns out that the iPad is amazing for viewing panorama photos; you can zoom in and pan smoothly across the image, which makes it a superb experience.)


Driving around the crater was pretty challenging, though; the road was fairly twisty, with steep drop-offs on one or both sides. I actually felt a bit relieved that the East Rim Drive was still closed by snow (yes, in July); had it been open, I'd have felt a need to drive along it, but by the time we'd finished the West Rim Drive, the challenge of driving was beginning to outweigh the beauty of the lake.

I'd been dithering about how far we should drive from Crater Lake before stopping for the night; making it to Roseburg would make the next day easier, but would mean driving further into the dark. This decision was made for us, though; we couldn't find a restaurant or motel that was open before Roseburg. (We might have found more if we'd not had a very poor 3G connection.) Scenery from the drive to Roseburg:
 

We made reservations at Hokanson's Guesthouse in Roseburg, which I will describe more in my next installment. By the time we arrived there and checked in, it was about 9pm, and we were pretty hungry. We found that downtown Roseburg has few restaurants that stay open that late, so we ended up at a McMenamin's, this one in a restored train station. (I'd forgotten my camera, so all these pictures were taken with my phone, which doesn't do so well with the very dark restaurant.)


We started with a plate of hummus and vegetables. Pretty good, but the peppers among the vegetables made their neighbors too spicy for Lori.


My salmon and vegetables had a very strong fishy taste, though the sides were good. Lori's chicken salad was tasty, but included spicy pecans that were too spicy for her, so we ended up trading meals. Everything we had was pretty good, but far short of great. It's a pity, really, because there's a whole lot to like about McMenamin's dedication to locally sourced food and preserving historic buildings; the only down side is the food and beer.
 

I did quite enjoy the Hammerhead pale ale. (And I remembered the flash on my phone for this picture.) My notes say that I enjoyed the amber, though I can't identify from this picture which beer the amber was.
I did read the other side of the mat because of the "Warning: Please do not read the other side..." The other side had several excerpts of a few paragraphs each from a dozen widely varied texts. There were one or two passages about brewing, but there was little to connect the other passages to the brewery or to each other.


For dessert, we shared a huckleberry cobbler. The berries were very nice, but the topping was kind of pasty and sad.


Everything we had was pretty good, but far short of great. It's a pity, really, because there's a whole lot to like about McMenamin's dedication to locally sourced food and preserving historic buildings; the only thing keeping them from being splendid is the food and beer.
quijote
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/10 00:36:25
An enjoyable, mouth-watering report. It was great to see those bureks--they look like the bureks I got from a German deli as a kid growing up in California. I haven't found anything quite like it in the states outside of the west coast, though I'm certainly not complaining about the Serbian-style bureks found here in the midwest. I miss the cigarette-shaped ones, though.
 
I've been intrigued by Voodoo Donuts, but maybe more for the style and attitude than for the donuts themselves. They seem "fun" and creative, but it doesn't sound like they were really satisfying.
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/10 00:59:10
Ralph, I'm glad you tried those smoky chocolate chip cookies, because I was just reading about them online and was fascinated.  Seems they send the batch of cookie flour out to an actual smokehouse to be smoked.  Also, loved your Crater Lake photos!
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/10 01:31:15
The Crater Lake photos are wonderful. Crater Lake is Platonic blue and always worth a visit.
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/13 23:09:04
Hokanson's Guesthouse in Roseburg was described as a Victorian bed and breakfast, but what this really meant was that it had an immense number of porcelain knickknacks, so many that Lori (who is far more fond of knickknacks than I am) felt that it was too much.
Pros:
- the room was very spacious despite the knickknacks, so much so that we put our luggage on the double bed and slept in the king bed.
- the Hokansons were extremely welcoming and convivial, and we enjoyed chatting with them.
Cons:
- the room was advertised as having a claw foot tub. We didn't realize that this meant that there was no shower head. Kneeling in the tub to put her head under the faucet left Lori's knees hurting for hours afterward.


Breakfast was attractively presented, but not as tasty as had hoped.
  

As we were preparing to leave, the other guests mentioned that classic cars were gathering for Graffiti Nights, a weekend celebration of classic cars in Roseburg. We took a brief stroll to admire the cars. (More pictures in the flickr album).
  
  
  
  

I asked the wrong question at the information booth, and got a sweet story. I meant to ask "What's the junkiest model of car that someone brings to these events?" Does someone spend hours carefully buffing their Yugo? Is there a club for dedicated Lada restorers? Does someone show off their gleaming Ford Pinto and orate about how the gas tanks didn't actually explode that often? (I don't know cars all that well, so if there are better examples of models of cars that are pure junkers, please do let me know.)
But instead, I asked "What's the junkiest car someone brings to these events?" The gentleman I was chatting with put a finger to his lips, gave a significant look towards the volunteer next to him, came out from the booth, and led us to this car. "He doesn't have a pot to piss in," he told us, "but he'd give you the shirt off his back, he shows up for all the events, and he works his tail off for the handicapped." I'm glad I got to know a little more about him from my wrong question.


The backroads drive from Roseburg to Bandon was a very pretty drive, though it was hard to take good pictures.
   

In Bandon, we stopped for lunch at La Fiesta, a cramped Mexican restaurant that I suspected of having a nautical theme in a former life. The food was good, and mild enough for Lori to eat cheerfully, but not distinctively memorable.
  

After lunch, we strolled around Bandon a bit. 
 

Acting on mar52's recommendation, we stopped in Cranberry Sweets to buy some cranberry jellies. The cranberry jellies were excellent; the cheddar cheese fudge was not such a winner.
 

We stopped in a chocolate boutique named Coastal Mist (named after an early ship to bring cacao beans to Europe, according to the website), and had an amazing experience.
 

I was dazzled by the variety of drinking chocolates and drinking caramels they offered. Unfortunately, our camera failed to save the picture correctly, but I'm still going to show you what I can of the drink menu.


I ordered the hot caramel, and it was amazing. It had smooth, warm, liquid caramel over a large amount of very thick whipped cream; it was like a caramel ice cream sundae, but warm and light. And to my surprise, it was not cloying at all. This was an outstanding delight, one of my favorite items of our whole trip.
Lori was equally delighted by her chocolate bombe, which included superb chocolate cake, chocolate mousse, and chocolate ganache. She praised it for hours after we left Bandon.


There was a twist in our Coastal Mist experience, though. As I was waiting for our food while Lori went to the restroom, a customer struck up a conversation with me. It was ordinary enough at first; he asked if we were from out of town, and offered some recommendations of sights to see.
But about the time Lori joined us, the conversation got increasingly weird, so that as Lori was trying to enjoy her delicious chocolate, he was ranting disjointedly about corporate malfeasance, the government neglect that allowed such malfeasance, and plans to sabotage Dairy Queen by framing them for a major safety violation. I might have expected such incoherent rambling from a stranger in a whiskey-soaked bar, but not in an elegant chocolate shop.

But we assume that the incoherent rambler is not typical of the Coastal Mist experience, and therefore we would recommend Coastal Mist very strongly.


A little way out of Bandon, we got our first view of the ocean.


I had bought a kite in Bandon, and we took some time to fly it for a few minutes. Honestly, the breeze was so strong that we could have tied a tail to a brick and gotten it airborne, but we had fun.


It's hard to select the best pictures from our drive down the Oregon coast.
   

At mr chips' recommendation, we stopped at Prehistoric Gardens, a little roadside attraction of thirty dinosaur statues in a little piece of Oregon's coastal rain forest. We enjoyed the place for a half hour, but we felt that the ticket price was a bit steep for a half hour's entertainment. I decided that the extra cost was subsidizing the existence of quirky roadside attractions like this for those who don't visit, and that made me feel a bit better about the price.
  

   
  

We stopped for dinner at the Nautical Inn, just across the California border.


We were thrilled by the chance to watch the sun set on the ocean while we waited for our dinner.


Lori got fried halibut and chips, good but not extraordinary.


I got lingcod in a citrus butter sauce, which was really quite good.
 

 
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/14 08:12:26
quijote

An enjoyable, mouth-watering report. It was great to see those bureks--they look like the bureks I got from a German deli as a kid growing up in California. I haven't found anything quite like it in the states outside of the west coast, though I'm certainly not complaining about the Serbian-style bureks found here in the midwest. I miss the cigarette-shaped ones, though.

 
What distinguishes a Serbian-style burek from other types? And what type was the cigarette-shaped type?
 
Our burek was shaped like a spiral instead of a cigarette, but I don't know whether that was a Bosnian thing or just Ziba's thing.
 

I've been intrigued by Voodoo Donuts, but maybe more for the style and attitude than for the donuts themselves. They seem "fun" and creative, but it doesn't sound like they were really satisfying.

 
I'm not a great donut connoisseur, but it seemed like a pretty good donut. I wanted to try the maple bacon bar because I'd read a lot of praise for it. I won't add much too the praise, but I wouldn't say that those who've praised it were wrong. I'm sure that if I took enough time to sample my way through the menu, I'd find something that hit the spot.
icecreamchick
Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/17 14:45:02
I wanted to chime in about Voodoo Donuts. We definitely stopped by to see it over anything else, but I thought the donuts were quite good. I only had a few bites because I was saving room for a slice of pie at Random Order, which I loved. But the orange "tang" donut was really very good. 
icecreamchick
Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/17 14:49:29
Oh, and my chocolate bombe at Coastal Mist in Bandon, OR, was the kind of thing I later dream about. It was sooooo good! Rich ganache, light chocolate cake and mousse inside. It would have been even better without "Crazy Guy," as we affectionately call him. I plan to figure out how to make a Hot Caramel like we had there as soon as our Pittsburgh weather cools down a little more...should only be another few weeks until I'm craving "hot everything!" 
Twinwillow
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/17 15:02:58
Again, a most awesome trip!
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/17 15:20:30
Your pictures have me wishing we were hitting the road again soon!  So lovely!
MiamiDon
Filet Mignon
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/17 15:48:49
Great photos and descriptions, Ralph!
 
I love that pancake machine.
CajunKing
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/17 21:38:09
Pancakes on demand...... I wonder if they make a home version?
 
Ralph Melton
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/19 15:32:58
Morning in Crescent City came with a thick layer of fog, the first non-sunny weather we'd had on our trip.

Yelp pointed us to the Continental Bakery, where we were served by a very gracious man with a pink mohawk. My pictures didn't come out well, but we had an excellent pesto cheese roll and a cranberry orange muffin, and we were so pleased that we went back for an apple strudel bar and an espresso chocolate chip muffin.
 

We poked around the Crescent City lighthouse a little, but didn't pay for the tour.
 

We drove down south through redwoods and other forests. The Redwood National and State Parks are a little complicated to map: they are a mixture of one national park and three state parks, and the national park is not all contiguous. The fog continued through the morning; at one scenic outlook, I quipped, "the view has been turned off due to budget cuts." 
   

We stopped at a turnoff with access to a grey sandy beach. Lori said, "You know what I'm going to do?" I said, "You're going to go wade in the ocean and squeal at how cold the water is." My prophecy was correct, but Lori said afterward, "It was so worth it."


We stopped at Trees of Mystery out of idle curiosity, but we didn't pay the admission fee; the Skytrail gondola ride through the canopy would have been either magnificent or harrowing, and we weren't quite sure which.
Paul Bunyan was equipped with a speaker voiced by a hidden staff member; it was fun to see kids' eyes bug out when he would say something like "You in the blue shirt! Would you lace up my boots, please?"
As we were looking at these statues, we noticed something about Babe of the "what has been seen cannot be unseen" variety. I believe that my readership would be fine with a simple explanation, but I'm going to resort to euphemism out of a mischievous glee at the way an awkward situation can be made even more awkward through the use of euphemism:
Babe the Blue Ox in this representation would more accurately be named Babe the Blue Bull.
Babe is as anatomically incorrect as a Ken doll, in the exact opposite way.


We took the scenic byway through the redwoods, and stopped at the visitor's center for a brief walk through the redwoods. It was actually hard to get good pictures of the redwoods, because there was so much light and dark. Some of the best pictures I got were from my iPhone, because it did HDR.
These were taken with the Fujifilm:
 
  

This was taken with an iPhone:
 

As we left the Redwood Parks, we were delayed by a small herd of elk lazily crossing the road:
 

We saw a billboard advertising the Victorian village of Ferndale and turned off to see that. It was much farther away from US-101 than we thought, and we might not have turned off had we known how far it would be.
 
 

The old time general store had a quasi-museum upstairs.
  

We ate dinner at the Hotel Ivanhoe in Ferndale. (We had meant to stop some place for lunch, but we didn't find anything of much note until we reached a place in Eugene at 4pm, only to find that they opened at 5. I aimed for another place in Eugene, but I took a wrong turn and we were out of Eugene before we reached it.)
 

Lori ordered the minestrone, and I ordered a salad, both pretty good. 
 

For an entree, Lori ordered the pesto ravioli (good but not outstanding). I ordered the pasta del mar. It was undeniably good, but here's the thing: I don't actually love seafood all that much. I like seafood well enough (much more than Lori does), but I've found that even in a seafood town, I'm likely to enjoy chicken as much as seafood, at 75% of the price. But on this trip, I'd eaten seafood every day for a week, because it was a local specialty everywhere - and I was getting tired of it.


For dessert, chocolate mousse. You wouldn't think that a restaurant that presented dessert so elegantly would have an article in the men's restroom explaining the conveniences of the tiled trough before the bar.


Photos from the car from the post-dinner drive:
 

I had hoped to stop in Sonoma to visit a sausage shop we'd enjoyed on our honeymoon, but it was long after dark when we were nearby, so clearly out of the question.

We arrived at Eric and Patricia's house in San Francisco well after midnight. Charlotte had left a key for us under the mat, but she had not left us the code for the security system. So the alarm went off to our great chagrin. The neighbors came out and told us the code, and reassured us that they had been awake anyway. (I hope that they had been told that we were arriving, instead of being that hospitable and welcoming to any stranger who sets off the alarm.) Unfortunately, we weren't quite quick enough at entering the alarm, and the security company alerted Eric. On the plus side, if you're going to get a phone call at 1am Pacific time, it's much more pleasant to be in Barcelona when you receive the call. Somehow this worked out that one of the neighbors answered the house phone, asked for Ralph and handed it to me, and Eric told me the password, which I relayed to Lori who was talking on her cell phone with the security company. We were embarrassed, but it all worked out. 

 
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/19 16:07:03
Ralph, I'm glad you liked the cranberry jellies.  Wish I could get them here.
 
I used to own a small parcel of land in Cannon Beach with a limited view of Haystack.  I haven't been in years and it's nice seeing a picture.
 
The food and scenery of the Pacific Northwest is wonderful.  I want to make that drive again.
ann peeples
Sirloin
Re:Ralph and Lori's West Coast Roadtrip 2011/09/19 16:34:24
I absolutely love that you include, besides food pictures, area surroundings. Makes me feel like I am with you two........
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