Saturday, August 15, 2009

Down by the Oceanside

Which is it, the beach or the coast? I seem to switch off between the two terms even though, as a native Oregonian, I've heard that here in the West the word coast is preferred, beach being the noun of preference for those of a more easterly persuasion.

The haystacks off the coast at Oceanside.

So when friends invited us to spend a few days at the beach with them, I wasn't confused in the least. Plus, it sounded like a great place, a simple handbuilt house tucked up on the hill overlooking Oceanside, a little beach town near Tillamook. We'd be there for four days, making food, drinking wine and walking on the beach, interspersed with reading and a couple of field trips. What's not to like?

A sweet young berry vendor at the market.

One day, on a drive through Tillamook, we ran across the Tillamook Farmers' Market, a happy gathering of local farmers and craftspeople that, from the look of things, is well-supported by the community and frequented by summer tourists. So with a half flat of fat coastal blackberries in the back, we headed north to the docks in Garibaldi to get crab to crack for a late lunch (top) and fresh-off-the-boat tuna to grill for dinner.

Mexican train, the best game ever.

The one sour note of the trip was no one's fault, and occurred on the one night we had designated to go out for dinner. Now, this blog isn't about being negative since it is, after all, called Good Stuff NW. If a place isn't good or disappoints, I generally prefer not to write about it. But in the case of Roseanna's, practically the only restaurant in Oceanside and an institution of long standing, I have to make an exception.

It was bad, as in unbelievably mediocre. And expensive. From the overpriced, blah wine list to the overcooked halibut smeared with a green "aioli" that might as well have come out of a bottle and with two exhausted-looking golf ball-sized red potatoes alongside, you might as well throw your money in the door and leave without entering. Seriously.

Wanda's Cafe in Nehalem.

But that misstep was made up for when, on the drive back to Portland, we stopped in the hamlet of Nehalem, just outside Manzanita, to have lunch at Wanda's Cafe. A breakfast and lunch spot for locals and tourists passing through on their way to the various beach towns of the northern coast, it's a genuine throwback to small town cafes of yore.

A very good BLT and…those…chips!

And in this case yore indicates freshly made sandwiches on good bread, tasty homemade soup and, the best indicator of all, the chips that come with the sandwiches are none other than (the bane of my waistline) Kettle "krinkle-cut" salt and pepper chips. Fat and happy, we trundled our salty and sand-encrusted selves back to Chili and headed home.


Anonymous said...

Nice post on our coast! We, as you know, live in Manzanita and love eating at Wanda's! When you make it back this way, make sure and try "Bread and Ocean Bakery" in Manzanita. The sandwiches are so so good and the dinners are divine! A new restaurant in Wheeler recently opened called "The Rising Star Cafe" that serves breakfast and lunch and it is truly worth seeking out. The halibut benedict is nirvana. I have been hearing bad news about "Roseanne's" lately. Too bad, used to be great.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Thanks for the heads-up on two new places to try! And glad Wanda's is a fave of yours.

Thanks, too, for the confirmation about Roseanna's. I hate to say bad things based on one experience, but it was so off the charts that I figured a warning was in order.