Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Will Travel For Food

The best way to experience a new place is through its local cuisine. I'm glad I married a guy who agrees. Husband and I just returned from a 5 day trip to Oregon. Here are some highlights:

First stop: Voodoo Doughnut! Walking around downtown Portland, you can't miss people carrying bright pink boxes written 'Good Things Come In Pink Boxes'.  After seeing this place on Food Network a number of times, I just had to know what the hype was all about. We ordered 4 different donuts after waiting in line for 20 mins or so. They all ended up having chocolate in some form -you can never have enough chocolate I guess. The donuts were good - my favorite was their Mexican hot chocolate cake batter donut sprinkled with cinnamon and chili. We went there a second time to get a better assortment of donuts which we enjoyed as well. Quite honestly though, I didn't find the donuts extraordinary. Two thumbs up for their wide selection and the overall experience. I was disappointed that the donuts were - well - just like any other donuts. Nevertheless, one place checked off my bucket list.

We headed to the quaint town of Tillamook the next day to visit a local cheese factory. I was as excited as a kid in a candy store on my first cheese factory visit. There was a self-guided tour of the cheese packaging assembly where large slabs of cheese were cut by one person and separated by another.The machines then packaged individual blocks at an impressive speed. The happy ending to this tour was the cheese sampling. Tillamook factory makes America's favorite cheeses including Cheddar and Jack. Their pepper jack and cheese curds were my favorite. When in cheese factory, one must eat grilled cheese sandwich! I ordered a Swiss cheese sandwich with roasted peppers, sauteed onion and pesto mayo at the cafe. Husband went for old fashioned cheddar cheese sandwich. Mine was fancy, but his was to die for. Their cheddar had just the right amount of sourness and the cheese literally melted in the mouth. All those calories were totally worth the taste!

All that food needs to be washed down with some drinks, and what better place than Oregon to do that? The state prides in having one of the highest number of breweries per person. Husband appreciates good beer and makes it a point to visit local breweries on every trip. We visited Alameda brewery in Portland and later Full Sail brewery in Hood River on our drive through Columbia river highway. The first one I liked more for the beer (the Stout especially was good), and the second for its setting looking right over the scenic Columbia river.

We had planned to drive on the Columbia river highway one day and loop around Mt. Hood the next. My hopes of seeing Mt. Hood were washed away by torrential downpour. As they say, 'There's no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing'. We made the best of our time by visiting various fruit farms on the Fruit Loop. Yes, it was colorful and very delicious :). The Fruit Loop is the road that connects Columbia river highway and the highway around Mt. Hood. It was a fun break journey visiting various fruit orchards, lavender farm and an Alpaca farm. Most of the orchards were just blooming, but we sampled lots of berry jams, sauces, ice-creams and other preserved fruit goodies at each of the locations. I will open the two jams and huckleberry scone mix I bought soon.

The funnest experience was a visit to some furry friends at the Alpaca farm. A place sitting on top of a hill accessible by a narrow unpaved road was a hidden gem. I got to pet and feed these fur balls of cuteness - aren't they adorable?! I bought enough Alpaca wool yarns to keep myself busy through this summer. Their wool is the softest I have ever touched, only second to the musk ox fur wool I saw in Alaska. Check out the picture of a local weaver who was making a scarf the old fashioned way - all hand made!

We concluded our trip with a fantastic lunch at Pok Pok, a mixed Asian restaurant suggested by a friend. We returned with great memories and happy tummies. 

How was your long weekend? What stories do you have to share?


Priyanka said...

Lovely post Snehal! Always a delight to read your travelogues. Oregon seems interesting.

Snehal said...

Thanks Priyanka! Oregon is beautiful!!! You should visit sometime during the non-rainy season and it's just breathtaking.


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