Wednesday, June 25, 2008

On Being a Foodie

Somebody once called me a Foodie, and initially I took offense to that. It wasn't until this last vacation trip that I realized perhaps I prefer being called a Foodie and not a Food Snob.

We took off on a recent Sunday, drove up 280, thru SF and made it to Fortuna, CA in time for lunch at the Eel River Brewery. Their table menu credo stated that their objective is to cook all food to order and deliver it fresh and delicious to your table, and that if you are not satisfied bla bla bla... The beers were really good, Paul ordered the Triple X and many of the servers were wearing logo shirts that said Climaxxx and Drink Naked - I think they thought they were being risque.

Anyhow, the food was mediocre, basic fish and chips, standard issue sausage sandwich and sides, not bad pub fare, but no "wow" factor. My inner food snob was taking notes.

Next stop, Brookings Oregon - we checked in to the Best Western on the beach front, with jacuzzi tub and a view (of the Army Corps of Engineers dredging boat dumping sand) and settled in with all our stuff. Paul wanted pizza after the long day of driving and found a place right there in the harbor or another just up the road claiming to also be a brewery. The joint in the harbor specialized in pizza by the slice and we immediately dismissed that and headed to the brew parlor.

Excited to have a fresh pizza pie made to order, I asked for "pepperoni, wine salami, sausage, tomatoes, and roasted green chilies". Yeah! The fact that I said salami tripped up the order taker, as it's listed under "W" for "Wine Salami" as shown on the menu board, so that's my fault for shortening it (still, don't all pizza places have salami and call it such?).

Now, as you all know, a pizza takes no less than 20 minutes, usually more like 35 on average, and yes, we did wait for a bit on the bartender to get us beers...but still. I had drunk not more than a few sips of a pint and our order was up. Huh. Paul fetched our to-go box, brought it back to our table, we swigged a few more gulps then took our pie to go (we had a bottle of SeaSmoke waiting for us back at the BW). Before leaving I peeked in the box and was sadly disappointed with the pie but too hungry to fuss with it - there was pepperoni, and sausage, and salami, and even fresh tomatoes on top...the roasted green chilies however were instead chopped fresh bell pepper. (granted they are both green, but big difference between roasted and raw, me thinks).

The SeaSmoke was the highlight of dinner.

Next day took us back on the road for lunch and shopping in Florence, OR. Last year our lunch in Florence was it's own hilarious story of mishaps so we tried a different location even though the previous was clearly under new ownership and had tried to reinvent itself (really, I ordered hot tea but the server didn't notice that the water was cold...).

We started off for Mo's, they claim to be nationally famous for their clam chowder, and they looked interesting enough to try. The hostess thought it would be about 20 minutes for a table so we scooted across the street instead, no sense waiting when there are other choices. As we exited Mo's, Paul tells me, "I'm kind of glad we didn't eat there, it smells like fried ketchup".

Lunch across the street was good though I was disappointed that the old ladies that came in behind us ordered the last of the special crab melt - I settled for a shrimp melt and I can assure you that it was "just ok". The oyster shooters were huge, too huge to be considered a shooter but they were excellent, but then again, it's hard to screw up anything raw.

A quick trip through the ice cream parlor and off we went to our vacation rental in Newport. The Embarcadero claims to be a resort on Yaquina Bay in the historic waterfront district of Newport. We stayed there last year and liked the view and affordability of having our own fully equipped apartment for a week. I think they use the term "resort" loosely.

We found the Fred Meyer and Safeway in town and walked to the fishermans dock almost daily in search of fresh local seafood. Paul made us cioppino one night and I baked fresh bread to go with it.

On one of our ventures outside of Newport for the day, we ended up in Lincoln City and saw a sign to another Mo's (there are 5 or so in the area) and I had mentioned to Paul that I would definitely enjoy a bowl of clam chowder at least once on the trip. So he scouted out some other options, drove to the end of town and headed back -- side bar: drives me nuts when Paul does this, but he's a Libra and he has to know all of the options to weigh, it's what he does.

This Mo's is huge, compared to the one in Florence, at least it seems to be. It's late for lunchtime and they are busy but the hostess is able to get us a table immediately. Mo's is a large rectangle of a space, with gifty stuff in the front, kitchen in the middle of it all, and open seating much like a school cafeteria. They have Rogue beer on tap, clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl for $7.95 and fried onion rings (we had already planned out our junk food lunch well in advance of being seated). And we sat, ever so patiently, for someone, anyone in all the hustle and bustle. Servers came and went to all the other Paul gets up, takes my hand and says come on, I saw another place just up the road.

We got in to Capn' Rons, they have 20 tables, it was comfortably quiet (no kids - mo's was crawling with the little critters) and our server brought our beer before we could even think about what to have for lunch. She did such a good job of upselling the large bowls of clam chowder and grilled bread to us that she forgot all about our fried onion rings, which was fine because we were both stuffed. I did have one silly comment though about Capn' Rons, our server brought the soup right away and apologized profusely for not having the bread yet "as it comes from the kitchen". Great, where did the chowder come from, the powder room? Just sayin'...

Mostly I'm just funnin' on folks and poking at differences between what I'm accustomed to. Nothing was horrible, and the people who served us have value and I certainly appreciated them all, even if they were "off" a little.

Paul on the other hand tried to kill us one night with flaming vegetables of death, but that's another story for another day.

Please enjoy the photos from Oregon, they are linked here:

I didn't put captions, they're mostly self explanatory.


1 comment:

tspyder said...

It's too bad the norm for customer service these days is just "OK". Seems like most teens/young adults (even some older folks) don't really take a personal interest in their job; it's just a paycheck. And being a Libra myself, I can certainly empathize with Paul.

The best clam chowder I've had was at the Pike Place Market in Seattle ... although Pier 39 in SF is a close 2nd.