Cheese, Seafood and Coasties (Joyeux Anniversaire!)

Hello Southern Belly readers!

This week, I was out of town enjoying some time off with my wife Hannah.

It was our 3-year anniversary so we decided to take a trip to the Oregon Coast. One of the things I love about living in Portland, Oregon is our ability to change scenery. We can travel an hour in any direction and things can be drastically different. An hour south and we’re in wine country — west and we’re at some of the country’s most beautiful beaches.

I can’t say the food is that great on the coast. It’s usually pretty expensive and of lower quality than what we get in Portland. Well, there are a lot of seafood joints that cook ‘okay’ seafood, at least in my experience with eating it in Oregon. And let’s be honest, good seafood should be expensive, especially if it’s done right. (Oh Portland, you have us so, so spoiled.)

But, regardless, the best way my wife and I celebrate is through eating.

Coasties are interesting. They are an entirely different breed. As I watch kids walk home from school in a town that is mostly catering to tourists, I wonder what life is like. Your parents might own an Italian joint that suffers eight months out of the year, but makes a ton of money for those crucial four months. They are proud though. Proud of their home, even when it is invaded by the inevitable.

The night of our anniversary, we grabbed a bite at a local spot in Seaside, OR that offered a pretty wide range of items. We usually stray away from restaurants that serve too much. Such as dishes ranging from spaghetti, pizza, and teriyaki chicken to burgers, crabs and steak. (But this place had good reviews, so we were down. Just make sure you eat before 7pm on the coast or you’ll be at the Wendy’s drive-thru. Places close early on the coast. Especially during the off season.)

In any place, you should probably order what is popular because it will most likely always be fresh. I ordered a half chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and broccolini and it was actually REALLY good. I’m such a sucker for roast chicken. It might be becoming a problem. Plus, you can’t really fake a roast chicken. Either it’s just been roasted, or you don’t serve it. At least that’s how my brain works.

My wife ordered a big ole’ King Crab. They made her pick it out of the tank, though we didn’t know that rule. All of a sudden the chef comes walking out with an old Kikkoman soy sauce bucket and grabs the crab my wife wants. This was of course after the table next to us yelled, “HEY! HE’S WAITIN’ ON YOU TO PICK YER’ CRAB!” I giggled the whole time. Time to meet your maker, Mr. Crab.

My chicken was excellent. Hannah’s crab was lovely. We’re getting better at this whole coastie thing.

We also stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Holy smokes. I love stuff like that. It reminds me of going on field trips. I felt a little weird watching the cheese assembly line. Doing one thing over and over and over again. Not sure if I could manage that. Though I suppose for some people, it works. I really like Tillamook. They do good stuff. And at the end of the tour, you can buy specially aged cheese and sample curds and what not. The look on my wife’s face as she approached the ‘squeaky’ cheese curds was hilarious. Never have I met someone who goes nuts for cheese curds. But, I do love that about her.

She’s awfully cute, ya know.

As a place where I generally come to talk about food, I will from time to time dive in my life with the person I live with. The person I get to feed most of the time and who cares deeply, the way food is made and consumed. If it wasn’t for her, I probably wouldn’t have gotten into cooking.

They say food is the best way to a woman’s heart…but I’ll take it a step further and say food is the way to anyone’s heart.

Happy Anniversary, love.

Always thankful to have two plates on our table.

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