Oregon Trip: Day 4, Newport to Portland

Good morning! Hope you guys had a great weekend and are enjoying your Holiday celebrations. I am sure enjoying being able to sleep in a little longer than usual and getting some friends and family time. We had Christmas with Ryan’s grandma and family yesterday, which was really nice. And of course, I ate quite more than I needed, but whatever, it was delicious.

Coast Drive

Today, I’m going to keep recapping our Oregon trip, partly because I still need to do that and partly because I love reminiscing about the trip. For our fourth day we headed back inland to Portland, but first we hung out at the coast a little longer. We loved it so much that we really didn’t want to leave. So first up, we walked down the Bayfront area in Newport again. We wanted to be able to see it in the daylight. We got to see the sea lions, they don’t shut up, it’s amazing. The crabbers were also getting ready for the season, so I posed next to some crab pots and stinky bait tubs.

 Newport Bayfront

We had breakfast at The Coffee House. We had some fancy coffee and shared a delicious breakfast sandwich. We sat outside on their balcony looking over the bay and were joined by a grandfather and his two grandkids who were out crabbing and a couple, he is a commercial crabber and she worked for the conservation. Needless to say, we had some awesome conversations about crabbing in general and we would’ve stayed there forever talking to them. It was the most relaxing morning of the whole trip. Also, they did mention that sea lions never shut up, I had to ask.

Bayfront

Then we got back on the road. Instead of driving straight inland through Corvallis and Salem, we went back up on 101 to capitalize on our coast time. Then we headed inland when we got to Lincoln City. We stopped at a couple of overlooks just to take it all in one last time. Can you tell we wanted to stay there forever?

Coastal Views

Once we got to the Willamette Valley, our first stop was at the Eyrie Vineyards in McInville. Their actual vineyards are in the Dundee Hills, but they make their wine in town. They claim to be the first pinot noir of the valley and the first pinot gris in America. Ryan and I shared a flight of 8 wines. We tasted wines from chardonnay to pinot noir. By far the best one we tried was a Library wine from the 1960s. Wow, that wine was delicious and smooth and expensive. The bottle cost about $160, so we decided to take some of their lesser priced wines, which were still delicious, and save for a special occasion.

Eyrie Vineyards

Then we went to the Domaine Drouhin Vineyards. This time their location was right in the middle of their fields. The views of Mount Hood were outstanding that day. We had another flight of wines and my favorite was the Chardonnay. We drank our wines outside while enjoying the view and just taking it all in. We knew our trip was ending soon and we were kinda resenting that.

Domaine Drouhin

Once done, we headed back to Portland and checked in at the Holiday Inn again. We ended up having a late lunch/early dinner at McMenamins a tavern and pool hall. Their pizza was delicious. After that, we were pretty much beat so we went back to the hotel and did some relaxing while watching TV. Super exciting haha.

McMenamins

Thoughts from the trip:

  • can we go back to the coast? 
  • the wine was delicious, more time and a DD would have been awesome
  • day 4 in three words: relax, wine, scenery

Mt Hood

Matecaditos (Thumbprint Cookies)

Good morning! Hope you have a great Friday and an even better weekend ahead. I’ll be going to Ryan’s family Christmas this weekend and I’m quite excited about that. Also, my mom-in-law and I are going to be baking some cookies this weekend, since we weren’t able to when we originally planned.

Matecaditos

Speaking of cookies, today I have a fun recipe for you to try. It’s a thumbprint cookie, but the Puerto Rican version we call Mantecaditos. The name comes from ‘manteca’ which is the Spanish for shortening.

Mantecaditos Crisco

First up, you want to cream 1/2 cup of shortening (you have to go with the Crisco brand it’s the best) and 1/2 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature.

Mantecaditos cream

Then you add 1 cup of sugar, 2 egg yolks, 1 Tablespoon of rum, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and mix well. Finally, slowly add 2 1/2 cups of flour. By the end, the mix should be so thick that you need to finish mixing by hand. It’s kinda crumbly, which is OK.

Mantecaditos Mix

Next up, shape the dough into 1 inch balls, place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and press down with thumb, hence the thumbprint name.

Mantecaditos shape

Finally, top with sprinkles, jelly of guava paste (the PuertoRican way).

Mantecaditos tray

Bake in a 250 degree preheated oven until golden, about 12 minutes. You don’t want to let them actually get brown because they’ll harden once the cool.

Matecaditos bake

This are super good and addicting. The almond flavor in them makes them finger-licking good!

Mantecaditos bite

Have a good weekend!

Matecaditos ready

Mantecaditos

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Crisco
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp rum
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • sprinkles or garnish of choice

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter and Crisco.
  3. Add sugar, egg yolks, rum and almond extract. Mix until combined.
  4. Add flour and finish mixing by hand.
  5. Roll into 1 inch balls and place in baking sheets. Press with thumb and fill with garnish.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly golden. Let cool and enjoy!

 

Mantecaditos sprinkles

Breakfast Pizza

How you doing? I am fantabulous because today is the last day of work before the Christmas Break and I’m super excited. I’ll get to work on some gifts, home projects and get my baking on. Plus, I’ll be able to cuddle with Boone in the morning until he gets bored.

Breakfast this week was a no brainer thanks to some leftover Italian sausage. I made some breakfast pizza which lasted through a couple of days, which is alright in my book. It’s super easy and delicious. It’s also a great option for busy mornings because you can just pop it in the oven while multitasking somewhere else.

Breakfast Pizza with coffee

Here’s how it’s done. First, you need to make a crust. You can go the premade crust route, but Ryan and I prefer to make the just-add-water ones. We’ve tried Betty Crocker, which is good, but lately we’ve just been getting our local grocery store’s brand, HyVee, and it is just as good. Follow the packet directions to get a nice workable mix. Ryan is way better at this than I am, so I usually have him take care of the crust. His trick: put a plate upside down on the crust to create your border. Perfect pizza size and circle.

Breakfast Pizza mix

We use a pizza stone when we make pizzas. It’s actually pretty cheap and I highly recommend it for homemade pizzas. To keep the crust from sticking to it, I found that the best method is to cook in on top of parchment paper. This thing is really a glorious invention.

Breakfast Pizza crust

Once the crust is shaped, add a layer of melted Velveeta cheese, about 8 oz.

Breakfast Pizza  velveeta

Then, add about 1/2 cup of cooked Italian sausage (and/or bacon) and 2 scrambled eggs. To keep everything together, I usually top it off with a raw beaten egg (it’ll cook in the oven).

Breakfast Pizza  eggs

Add shredded cheese of choice. I went with a mix of mozzarella/provolone with a bit of cheddar. About 2 cups total. Top it off with salt and pepper.

Breakfast Pizza  cheese

Bake according to package directions.

Breakfast Pizza

Enjoy with a nice cup of coffee.

Breakfast Pizza  slice

Oregon Trip: Day 3, Manzanita to Newport

Hello guys! Hope you had a productive weekend! Mine was half and half. Ryan and I went to visit his grandpa at the hospital because he had emergency surgery on Friday. Everything went well and now he’s waiting on recovery. We visited for a while, then finished some Christmas shopping. Sunday, I checked some to-dos off my list and once nighttime came around all I did was lay on the couch and watch the Cowboys play. Good win! Now I’m ready for a short work week before the Holiday Break. Can’t wait!

Coastal Drive Landscapes

Back to Oregon. Our third day started with a very very damp morning. The clouds were clearing a bit, so visibility was a little better, but the air was wet. Literally, you could see water floating around. Weird. We had breakfast at Wanda’s Café & Bakery, a cute little diner on the side of the road in Nehalem. Must say, the service and food were pretty good. It was kinda nice to sit down for a bit before the drive. On our way to Tillamook, we drove by quaint coastal/bay towns. It was clear that their life revolved around water. It was quite a dreamy drive with the patches of fog here and there.

Coastal drive

Our first stop was the Tillamook Cheese Factory, where some very famous cheddar is made. It had a self-guided tour where you looked into the cheese factory and saw their weighing, cutting and packaging techniques. At the end, you were also able to have some cheese samples. If you know me, you know I love cheese. It’s soo good, and this one wasn’t an exception. We walked through the gift shop and topped it off with some ice-cream from the creamery. Marionberry cheesecake for me, orange sherbet for Ryan. Yep, it was delicious.

Tillamook Cheese Factory

A short drive South, we stopped at the Blue Heron French Cheese Company. This was a completely different experience. It’s actually more of a gift shop, not the actual factory, where you get to try some of their cheeses and wines. Their Smoked Brie, WOW! Best cheese I’ve ever had, ever. Really really good. Then, Ryan and I split a flight of wines. We tried a variety of Oregon wines including a very very good Port, which we bought a bottle for us, and some good Chardonnay. We also talked a lot with the bartender. She’s a local, but lived in Utah for a while. So we chatted about our future travel plans and her input on local spots to hit. With our bellies full, we hit the road again.

Blue Heron French Cheese Company

Instead of continuing on 101, we took a detour through 131 to the coast and up a little to Cape Meares State Park. Here we got to see one of the Oregon Coast lighthouses and some more awesome views. On our way back to the car there was a trail leading to the Octopus Tree. I hadn’t heard anything about it and didn’t even know it was there. After some hesitation we finally decided to go take a look at it, plus it was only like a half mile trek. I’m sure glad we did. This tree was huge! It’s around 300 years old, 105  feet tall and 45 feet wide. It’s quite the sight. And the slugs, huge!

Cape Meares

We kept driving the smaller roads to stay as close to the coast as possible. It was quite the peaceful drive. I loved looking at all the small little towns and how the landscape changed. All of a sudden we were surrounded by sand dunes. Sweet! We finally made a stop in Pacific City to eat lunch at the Pelican Pub and Brewery. We shared a clam chowder bowl and fish and chips. Again, so good. Of course we had some beer with our meal and took some pictures of the coast.

Pelican Pub

We hopped back on the main 101 Highway, only to take another little detour and see the Devil’s Punch Bowl. By this time, the weather was getting gloomier so we didn’t stay too long. We finally reached our last stop for the day, Newport.

Devils Punch Bowl

We stayed at the Hallmark Resort. Before we got settled, we went to the Bayfront to walk down the strip and along the marina. The smell of fish was quite noticeable, but we didn’t care because we were surrounded by crab pots and only getting excited about dinner. It was interesting to see the crabbing operations first hand (they were getting ready for the season which started in a couple of days). Plus, sea lions. They are noisy! We popped in and out of shops until finally deciding it was time to eat.

Newport at Night

We had dinner at Local Ocean. It’s a restaurant specializing in seafood, with an attached fish market, which we sat next to. After sipping on some beer, we shared a Tuna appetizer from the special menu. Yep, that’s a good way to start, which only got us more excited about our dinner. Ryan had the whole dungeness crab and he was as giddy as a little kid on Christmas morning.

Local Ocean

I opted for the Fishwives Stew, a mix of crab, shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams and fin fish in a garlic herb tomato broth. Umm, when they said crab, they meant it. My stew came with a whole crab claw sticking out of it. It was the best soup I’ve ever ever had. The seafood was outstanding, the broth was bursting with flavor (kinda reminded me of a stew we make back home) and the mix was just perfect. If I ever take an impromptu one day trip to go eat anywhere and come back, this would be the place.

Local Ocean food

For after dinner, we stopped at the Rogue Ales Bayfront Public House. After a beer, which was quite delicious by the way. we went back to the hotel. Our bellies and spirits were pretty satisfied so we decided to walk along the beach. It was super dark and looked really wet, but it was actually not sloppy when you walked on it. The tide was super low, so the sand was just saturated with water. It was actually quite fun and a pretty cool sight. After a quick dip in the hot tub, we were ready to call it a night.

Rogue and beach

Thoughts from the trip:

  • wished we had more time in Newport (story of the trip and every location we went to)
  • have to come back during crabbing season and get out there
  • rain or shine, Oregon is beautiful
  • day 3 in three words: food, beer, crab!

Hallmark Resort View

Oregon Trip: Day 2, Portland to Manzanita

Happy Friday everyone. Today I’m keeping it simple with a recap of our second day of the Portland trip Ryan and I took during Thanksgiving week.

If you missed Day 1: here it is

Seaside Views

So, Day 2 started with breakfast at the hotel and hitting the road to the coast. I was actually impressed with how big the metro area is. The Portland suburbs go forever! Once we got out of the suburbs, we knew we were in for a treat because the vegetation that surrounded us was nothing like what we’ve seen before. The spruce trees were ginormous and it was so wet and foggy. Kinda eerie actually. Then the understory had a ton of ferns and trees were covered in moss. Like a cold forest. I’m used to the tropical forests, so this was a sight to see.

Drive to Coast

Our first stop was Seaside. This town is pretty tourist oriented with a main street full of little shops and attractions. We went offseason and on a Monday, so it was pretty low key, which was really good. It’s definitely got a kitschy charm. The beach is gorgeous and I can’t imagine what it looks like on a clear sunny day. We walked along the prom and to the ocean. I finally reached the Pacific! We also got some salt water taffy for the road, delish!

Seaside

From there, we started driving South and took a trip to Ecola State Park. What a sight! Just a short walk from the parking lot at Ecola Point you can get magnificent views of the coastline with the sea stack formations. (side note: many were formed from volcanic action and/or ocean erosion over time) We also met a lovely Canadian couple. She was sketching on her journal which I thought was a brilliant idea.

Ecola State Park

A little ways North is Indian Beach. It is a small beach area where two creeks meet the ocean. Half of the beach is covered with beach pebbles smoothed over time. Quite peaceful.

Indian Beach

We got back on the road and stopped at Cannon Beach for lunch. This is the one spot I wanted to visit on this trip. It’s a small coastal town, more resident oriented and quiet. It’s also known for Haystack Rock. Yep, the Goonies rock. It was, again, gorgeous. The beach houses looked adorable and the beach was just breathtaking, even with the fog and mist.

Cannon Beach

We had lunch at the Wayfarer Restaurant and sat on a table right by the window overlooking the beach. Ryan had a rockfish sandwich (a local fish) and I had a crab sandwich. WOW! Delicious! I would definitely make this trip again just for the food. Once our bellies were happy, we walked around the town for a bit and got a Marionberry turnover at the bakery. Again, another locally known fruit. Delicious as well. This would be a town we would have loved to stay a little longer, but we kinda said that about every single town we stopped at.

Wayfarer

We kept driving South on the 101 Highway and took a side trip to Smuggler’s Cove/Short Sand Beach. We just walked the trail to the overlook, but you could have walked all the way down to the beach. We were just running out of sunlight. Once again, the trail and views did not disappoint.

Smugglers Cove

Then we reached our final destination: Manzanita. A really really small town, but that’s part of the reason we decided to stay there. We checked into our hotel, the Sunset Surf Motel. We got a great deal on a great room. It had three walls with views to the coast. Unfortunately, it was quite foggy and dark, so the views were limited. It was still amazing though.

Sunset Surf Motel

We had dinner at the San Dune Pub. Bar food? Yes, please! I had fish tacos, which tasted as fresh as ever. The homemade coleslaw was sooo good. Ryan had an oyster basket. The fried oysters were actually impressively good. Both were suggestions from our waiter and we were definitely not disappointed. Then it was time for bed.

San Dune Pub

Thoughts from the trip:

  • we would love to stay at any of the locations visited for a longer period of time
  • ask the locals, they know their stuff
  • we’re in love with the Oregon Coast and would love to visit again when it’s warmer, but still try to ditch the summer crowds
  • when we retire we want to take a whole month to do this whole West Coast trip again
  • happy we went without a time schedule, just drove and took our time at places
  • day 2 in three words: fascinating, calming, enchanting