best food (on the big road trip)

A summary of my family’s culinary adventures on our vacation out west.

Sensory overload and confusion trying to choose among the incredible Portland Food Carts — here’s what we tried (and loved):
Grilled cheese from The Grilled Cheese Grill
Pad Thai from E-San
Fishy Chips from Euro Trash

The real deal — clam chowder from the Chowder Bowl (Nye Beach (Newport))

The ultimate in down-home comfort food (German potatoes–Holy Cow!) from the Otis Cafe (Otis, OR)

Marino’s Pizza and Ravioli (Ukiah, CA). Live-saving goodness and hospitality after a really long day on the road.

Pahgre’s (Montrose, CO). Sofie and Emery declared it to be one of the best restaurants in the world.

Huckleberry ice cream at Tillamook Cheese. Sure it’s kind of weird that a cheese factory is a tourist destination, but the ice cream is amazing.

Smoked salmon at Fresh Seafood NW (across from Tillamook Cheese Factory). Potential for addiction were we closer.

La Providensia Taqueria in Tillamook. Oh yeah, that’s cooking. Get a carnitas burrito, it’ll make you happy.

Portland (from the big road trip)

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We really enjoyed our time in Portland. Aimee had been there before but it was the first time for Emery, Sofia and me. The Japanese Garden is wonderful. I was amused when looking for a picture of the “deer chaser” in the garden (I had somehow not taken a picture even though I enjoyed it so much) that a blogger had taken photos of almost identical vignettes (although his, I have to admit, were better). I’ve concluded that that is a tribute to the talented garden designer(s) who understand almost better than anyone how our eyes and mind work together to compose pictures. I’d bet there are a million nearly identical photographs of the beautiful crane sculptures.

We also just enjoyed the feeling of Portland. It’s cool without trying too hard and the scale is still human despite its standing as a world-class city. I think I could happily live there.

the coast (from the big road trip)

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We had five days on and in the water, rocks, sands and forests of the Oregon coast. It was incredible. I told Aimee that I want to begin figuring out how to spend more of my days there.

Here’s a list of our favorite spots on the coast — south to north (as we encountered them):

Harris Beach S.P.
Samuel A. Boardman S.P. (Indian Sands)
day use area (Oceanside Picnic Area) south of Cape Perpetua
Beverly Beach
Yaquina Head
Oswald West S.P.
Cape Lookout S.P.

We found that many of the best places were those that had 15-30 minute walks to get there. The walks themselves were incredible (Indian Sands, Oswald West S.P.) and we had the beaches/coast almost or entirely to ourselves when we got there. That may not be such a big deal to someone less antisocial or more used to sharing the beach than I am, but it sure impacted my experience.

redwoods (from the big road trip)


I’ll try to share a little bit of our vacation each day.

We had a wonderful day driving and walking among the redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park (Avenue of the Giants). It was misty and foggy and perfect. It does a person’s soul good to be reminded of your place–that you’re not God and that you’re not even a very impressive mortal compared to these grand, ancient, peaceful giants. My day as a Lilliputian did wonders–stripping away weeks of noise and stress.