Restaurant Beck (re-visit), Depoe Bay, OR., 6/26/20

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reception area

Our third visit to Restaurant Beck we were a few minutes early and so had some time to explore old photos of the hotel, Whale Cove Inn, that has been its home for the 11 years it has been open.  The Inn has just 8 suites but all are spacious and have private balconies overlooking the Whale Cove.   We were lucky to secure one of the suites and that made it an even more fun experience to just walk down to dinner.  We were given a different table that changed the view slightly, but there is not a bad table in the place.  While looking over the menu and listening to the 70-80’s music in the background we got to talk with the wonderful server.  We wanted to do another 5 course tasting but wanted to make sure and have different things than we’d had the previous nights.   The previous night Stormee Wills had suggested another wine to try so we were not going to partake of the wine pairing options.  As with every night, portion control was on the generous side and pacing was well done – no lapses or rush. Continue reading

Ainslee’s, Depoe Bay, OR., 6/26/20

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exterior

Ainslee’s was started in 1947 in Depoe Bay, Oregon by Graham and Helen Ainslee as a salt water taffy kitchen.  They sold the business to Dale and Cindy Nelson in 1978.  It’s a large store where customers are led down an aisle that passes the large selection of salt water taffy and other candies.  Across from this line is the large machine that makes the taffy and wraps it.  You can also see the end of the machine from one of the windows in front.  They also have a large mixer going that makes the taffy that is poured into the machine for pulling and wrapping.  It is a nice diversion as you wait your turn for service.  Their caramel corn uses a normal air pop variety that produces a smaller piece.  They also have cheese popcorn and a combination called Riptide.  I’ve had combos before (often called Chicago popcorn) but theirs was different in that the cheese popcorn is secondarily coated with the caramel – so each piece has both flavors.  It was really good but a much greasier corn than sold down the street.  It was not as sweet, probably because of the addition of cheese but I was surprised how much I liked it and kept going back for another piece. Continue reading

Tidal Raves (re-visit), Depoe Bay, OR., 6/26/20

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old photos

 

We liked Tidal Raves enough to come back again the next day for lunch.  Once again the view was spectacular and we were seated on a different end of the place so it gave us another perspective, too.  This day was sunnier and the waiter pointed out some gray whales that were making water spouts in the water in our view.  I thought the service was good yesterday and today’s was even better.  He was kind enough to let us order leisurely and enjoy the food and wine while we took advantage of the view.  I should have taken his photo but in these times I’m not sure how much personal handling Frankie wants or people want to partake in.  Since the virus looks to be with us for some time to come, I’ll have to figure out delicately how to proceed with things I took for granted before.  Nevertheless we were equally delighted with our lunch and highly recommend this spot if you are ever anywhere near by.   Continue reading

Carmel Corn Connection, Depoe Bay, OR., 6/25/20

IMG_5613The original caramel corn shop in Depoe Bay, Oregon has been also named “J’s Caramel Corn” and the building has had various paint jobs, but all say it was established in 1940.  It’s a tiny shop that also sold salt water taffy, a few other candies, books and toys.  It’s a one woman shop that uses Kettle corn for their product.  They also sell plain and cheese corns but no mix.  This corn was well coated with caramel and very sweet.  It pops into really large pieces and I found very few hard, unpopped kernels in our bag.  It’s not greasy and your fingers will have more of a stickiness rather than glisten after eating.  The owner used to make the cheese caramel mix but found it too messy and didn’t sell as well.  Either way, it was a really good caramel corn and she was very friendly and offered samples.  Do note, it’s not a mis-spelling in the title here – it’s spelled without an ‘a’ in the middle. Continue reading

Tidal Raves, Depoe Bay, OR., 6/25/20

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building

Tidal Raves has been in business since 1990 on a beautiful spot on the central Oregon coast. Whales are a regular sight out the large windows that frame the good sized dining room.  They do have a tint on them that keeps the sun from being too intense but will also tint some of your outdoor photos.  It is primarily a seafood restaurant but a few meat choices are there for the those not in the mood.  The a la carte menu was supplemented by a fresh catch special that was on the chalkboard on both our visits.  The long room has well spaced large bare wood tables along the windows and another series of tables on a second level (separated from below by a plexiglass barrier)  that is just high enough to afford them a good view also.  Instrumental music was in the background, carpet was on the floor, ceiling fans helped to keep it a nice temperature, additional light fixtures add to the incredible day light and the friendly, efficient staff wore masks. Continue reading

Restaurant Beck, Depoe Bay, OR.,6/24/20

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entrance

Chef Justin Wills and his wife Stormee operate Restaurant Beck at the Whale Cove Inn on the coast of Oregon.  The restaurant, named for their son Becker, has been open 11 years.     Chef Wills has been a James Beard nominee twice and recognized in Food & Wine magazine and Best Chefs in America.  Stormee runs the front of the restaurant and manages the wine service.  Depoe Bay is about 2-3 hours from Portland but worth the trip for the beautiful scenery.  The boutique hotel, with just 8 rooms, sits above a small cove where whales (mostly gray) love to visit and the dining room has windows on 3 sides overlooking this magnificent view. White cloth covered tables were well spaced, music was in the background, the natural light was supplemented by candles, servers were friendly and wore masks and tables were disinfected and re-clothed between seatings.  The menu changes slightly each day based on what is fresh (Oregon, Washington and Idaho suppliers) with a la carte options as well as 3 and 5 ($95) course tastings.  Optional wine pairings ($35 for 5 course) are available but the wine list was interesting and well priced.  Cocktails and liquor are offered. We got the 5 course tasting and chose our own wine.  Portions are generous and pacing was at a good rate, but then Covid was mandating that they stop service by 10:00 pm. Continue reading

Gracie’s Sea Hag, Depoe Bay, OR., 6/24/20

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sign

Gracie’s Sea Hag opened in 1963 and promotes itself as having the finest and freshest sea fare on the Oregon coast.  Gracie Strom and her husband Dic started the place but he died a few years after it opened.  From the reviews I read, she sounded like quite a character – playing the bottles behind the bar to create tunes and greeting all guests like they were long time friends.  Sadly in 2006 she sold the place and I’m not sure it has the same fun vibe, however that is hard to judge in this time of Corona virus.  It is a large place with large tables, booths on one side of the room and tables on the other.  The booths were all separated by panels of stained glass windows of sea life above the stuffed benches and got extra lighting via a hanging stained glass light fixture.  The bare wood tables on the other side are set with unstuffed wood chairs.  The floor is a mix of carpet and tile, the ceiling is of wood with exposed duct work running down the middle of the long room.  A counter at the front of the room had menus, souvenirs and a person who greets you and takes you to a table.  The other end of the room is a service area that leads into the kitchen.   Continue reading