Food connects people all over the world. Our visit to Hillside Supperclub in San Francisco was a prime example of that as it was only a couple of months earlier that I met Tony and Austin Ferrari at the communal table of Oaxen Krog** in Stockholm while on a business trip. Continue reading “Around the World – Hillside Supperclub, San Francisco (Aug 2017)”
Heading to San Francisco today. A 170-mile / 275-kilometer trip via Highway 20 and back on the US-101. As we were meeting up in SF and would be staying in Napa Valley for a couple of days as well, we didn’t have anything planned along the way.
Pomo Bluffs Park
Chantal’s early run around Pomo Bluffs Park was mainly a misty episode.
We skipped breakfast at the hotel and we headed to The Harvest Market across the street to stock up on some fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, snacks, sushi (and wines).
As soon as we hit Highway 20 the mist disappeared and luckily the 30 miles of road to the US-101 was a lot less windy than the first part of Highway 1 the day before. The road to San Francisco was sunny but changed dramatically in just a couple of miles when approaching the city from Sausalito. We had zero visibility near and on Golden Gate Bridge but luckily it was back to beautiful weather at the Presidio.
After checking in into our hotel, The Galleria Park on 191 Sutter St, and lunch – the sushi and some slices of leftover pizza – we did a short walk in the neighborhood: Chinatown, Jackson Square, and the Financial District. We mainly heard French and Italian tourists, but for the first time in a week and a half, we also heard other people speaking Dutch again. After a week of encountering relative few people, let alone tourists, this was a bit of a readjustment for us 😉
We also did a short stop on Maiden Lane to see the peculiar Frank Lloyd Wright’s V.C. Morris Gift Shop building. Back in San Francisco after 16 years and it took only a few moments to fall in love with this city again!
The next post will be about that night’s dinner!
Leaving Oregon and entering California today: a 135-mile / 220-kilometer trip to Eureka. Continue reading “Around the World – Pacific Northwest USA (part 6) – Gold Beach, Oregon to Eureka, California”
Continuing southbound on the US-101 in Oregon. Today a 180-mile /280-kilometer drive from Newport to Gold Beach. Continue reading “Around the World – Pacific Northwest USA (part 5) – Oregon: Newport to Gold Beach”
Starting off with some great shots that Chantal took during her morning run on the Astoria Walkway:
On the 6th day of our holidays, we had a relatively short drive of 140 miles / 220km today, continuing southbound on the US-101, which is aptly called the Oregon Coast Highway.
After a quick inventory of the breakfast buffet (we are not big fans) at the hotel, we decided to skip it and stop at an already identified crèperie in Cannon Beach, a relaxed coastal town in its seasonal prime, our first stop along the way.
After our breakfast, we headed down the beach to look at the Haystack Rock, a 235-foot (72m) monolith. At low tide, you can walk all the way to the rock and be amazed by the small creatures in the tide pools. For the movie buffs, also the Haystack Rock features in The Goonies. Today’s stretch of coastal road was clearly one of the most impressive ones we have ever driven and just littered with vista points that have absolutely amazing views. Just posting a few here: The right ones are from Otter Crest and the bottom left is from Neahkahnie Mountain.
Due to our late breakfast, we just had a quick stop in Tillamook, the cheese capital of the Pacific North West. We decided to head over to Blue Heron French Cheese Company (2001 Blue Heron Rd), which turned out to offer much more than just their Brie specialties. It also had wine tastings, a deli section (with a great selection of soups, sandwiches and salads; as you can see, they weren’t skimpy with the quantity of cheeses on our sandwiches!) and a souvenir/gourmet food/cooking shop, with a very nice assortment of truffles and artisanal chocolate (the potato chip one was our favorite).
After our beautiful drive, we checked into our hotel, the La Quinta Inn & Suites Newport, and headed to the Oregon Coast Aquarium (2820 SE Ferry Slip Road), which was only a couple minutes away. It is not a huge aquarium but has very educational exhibits focusing on the local wildlife with a sea-bird aviary with various penguins, auks, guillemots, and puffins as well as lookouts onto one of Oregon’s largest estuaries.
Drinks and dinner were down the road from the Aquarium at the HQ of Rogue Nation (2320 OSU Drive) with their brewery and brewpub located just under the Yaquina Bay Bridge. There are 3 other tasting rooms in downtown Newport and a few in Astoria and Portland as well.
Rogue Nation Ales and Spirits is their full name and is the most inventive all-in concept we encountered on our travels. They operate their own farms growing rye, hops, barley, vegetables, fruits, honey and nuts that either end up in their beer, sodas, ciders, spirits or in the pub grub. The bulk of the cheeses are from Rogue Creamery, which actually is an independent company that has been working with them for a long time.
Also in their brewing and distilling, they don’t shy away from experiments: besides the roster of 40 different beers, they also use some pretty unexpected ingredients like soba wheat, chocolate, pumpkins and chipotle. Not without success either as their beers and spirits are raking in awards all over the world. Besides the tasting board, we also tried the and Pendleton Pale Ale, The Hot Tub Scholarship Lager and the Good Chit Pilsner. The hoppiness of their IPAs can be pretty extreme, but their pilsners, hefeweizen, and regular ales were delicious.
Already for the design of the bottle alone, we took home a bottle of the Sriracha Hot Stout, but it must be pretty good too as it got a Gold Award in the 2015 World Beer Championships. One to keep for fall/winter!
After making our choice of 7 beers for our tasting board, we ordered the fried cheese curds as a sharing starter and we got a big plate of fresh cheese curds dipped in Mom Hefewiezen beer batter and served with jalapeño jelly. The fried cheese curds were absolutely delicious due to one the best beer batters we had on our entire trip and the jalapeño jelly nicely cut through the richness of the cheese.
I couldn’t decide for mains and therefore went for 2 starters: Rogue Poutine and Kobe Blue Balls. It was a first for me to have poutine due to the unavailability of the cheese curd concept in the Netherlands. Short ribs stew – slowly simmered in Shakespeare Stout – with cheese curds, served over a generous helping of Rogue Farms’ Hopsalt Idaho fries. The picture may not be all that, but I assure you that this dish was pretty darn good!
The Kobe Blue Balls consisted of 3 Snake River Farms Kobe beef meatballs stuffed with – and topped with – Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, which was very pungent, but tasty and paired nicely with the darker ales. Too bad that the balls themselves were a bit dry.
When offering the kids the choice of the 4-cheese Mac ‘n Cheese (Rogue Creamery White Cheddar and Blue Cheeses, Gruyère, and smoked mozzarella) from the menu or the plain one from the kids’ menu, they choose the latter due to the lack of blue cheese. Alas, to their disappointment and our amusement, this was the only time that the kid’s size portion was just that.
The 5th day of our holiday was the first actual day of our road trip, with the first trek of about 200 miles / 325 kilometers to Astoria, Oregon. Continue reading “Around the World – Pacific Northwest USA – Part 3: Seattle, WA to Astoria, OR”
Seattle – Day 3 and 4: Culture and Animals
Our summer vacation this year was an extensive road trip through the Pacific Northwest of the USA.