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

Nodoguro, Portland, OR., 10/14/17

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entrance

Nodoguro is a small place where Chef Ryan Roadhouse has served cuisine inspired by Japanese cooking for 3 years.  They changed locations about a year and a half ago.  It is a tasting menu only and reservations are by pre-purchase tickets.  They have a regular tasting menu as well as theme based tastings and a SupaHardcore menu, which we were lucky enough to snag reservations for, but each night there is just one tasting served.   The tasting menus change depending on what chef finds freshest and best to work with it, thus we were not surprised to meet some other diners who had been to the place numerous times.  The set up is a U-shaped wooden bar that seats about 16 with a prep table in the middle and a door adjoining to the major part of the kitchen.   Continue reading

Apizza Scholls, Portland, 10/14/17

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building

Apizza Scholls is a medium-sized place with bare wood tables and walls.  Tables are well spaced with one wall having a bench seat spanning several tables.  They also have some bar stools facing the kitchen.  It is expectedly casual with friendly helpful service.  Various pieces of art decorate the walls, some for sale.  This is pizza only spot at lunch and pies have a limit of 3 toppings overall and a 2 meat limit.  All pies are 11″ and are not available as a half and half.  There are a couple of salads available and one dessert, an ice cream sandwich.   The crusts are nicely raised on the edge with a good chew to the dough and while thin in the middle, they are able to stay crisp throughout.   Continue reading

Castagna, Portland, 10/13/17

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building
Castagna has been in business for 19 years with the kitchen under the control of Justin Woodward for the last 6 years, who has been nominated for numerous awards.  They offer 2 tastings with optional wine pairings or you can order from their reasonably priced wine list.  The tables are nicely spaced  with soft background music and fairly low lighting.  It is a pretty small place but located right next door is their sister restaurant offering more casual fare from the same kitchen. Service is terrific and super friendly and the food is wonderful and memorable for the lovely aftertaste of most of the courses.  Be prepared to have numerous courses not on the menu, but all small so portioning is not a problem even with the larger tasting. Continue reading

Coquine, Portland, Oregon, 10/13/17

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from the corner

Coquine is a tiny spot with about 9 bare wood tables.  Located on a street corner, two sides have windows to let in natural light but it’s a bright spot either way.  We were there at lunch when they offer a daily lunch special of soup, salad and choice of sandwich or for two people it includes a half bottle of wine and cookies, as well as offering an a la carte menu.  The special does get slightly smaller portions than ordering a la carte but it’s the right amount so you don’t leave hungry or stuffed.  The wine list is fairly limited at lunch but I understand it’s bigger at dinner.  It’s a friendly and casual spot but expect a wait.  They have a list when you enter and the tables turned over fairly often.  A large bar dominates the room but it is for service not seating.    Continue reading