Welcome to Portland again, dear friends, as we explore and recap the third day of our trip. It’s a bit of doozy with the photos!
1) Stepping Stone Cafe
I will admit that the Stepping Stone Cafe did not initially make my itinerary. Jake and I watched an old episode of Man v. Food before our trip and Jake really wanted to go here. So I fit it in. Aren’t I a nice girlfriend? (Just nod and say yes.)
This is part of the episode! After rewatching it again I just realized we ordered both things featured in the video above… I didn’t remember the first item!
The decor here was amusing, like that zombie with a santa hat drawn on the chalkboard.
These were their Christmas ornaments! Rad.
We originally sat in a corner booth but ended up moving so a larger party could sit there. Our waiter gave us free coffee for the effort. It’s not a very large place. There was a little more room in the back in another area but the photo above shows the area when you first walk in.
Jake asked the waiter if it got busy and he said on the weekends there’s usually a long line out front. Lucky for us it was Friday morning and we hadn’t really run into crowds in Portland (yet).
Breakfast overview. Thank goodness I share with boys.
[smothered badass / $12]
Okay… this. This has to be like a once a year breakfast or something because it’s a little insane. It’s an omelet… smothered in gravy…
…with a chicken fried steak on the bottom. I personally though this was overkill but the boys convinced me it was the right choice. And well, the name of it is just amusing. Smothered Badass?! Okay, okay. We had to order it.
It ALSO has hash brown inside, but it’s more like those homestyle potato things that I don’t care for that much. Also the omelet covered the steak and it wasn’t mixed in (thankfully) and then smothered in gravy. Personally I’d rather have all of these items separated but it wasn’t that bad having gravy on my eggs. The chicken fried steak managed to stay crisp underneath the eggy layer. It was pretty good though. The elements were all okay but I still felt like it was overboard for breakfast. Definitely something to share!
[mancake / $3.50]
We ordered one Mancake to share. This thing really is as big as the whole plate!
Naturally we all had to pose with it. Obviously tourists.
The mancake… was… kind of meh. As we cut into it, the pancake seemed to come apart in the middle and separate into a top and a bottom with a really airy middle. It seemed overcooked and dried out. It wasn’t light or fluffy and started to just taste like bland pancakes. We didn’t think they were the bee’s knees after all, which was kind of a bummer.
We did get some toast and I spotted more marionberry jam on the table. Yessssss!
We also got a side of banana bread which was not bad. It was moist and decent and had some flavor to it. I like my homemade version better though.
I loved this no sales tax thing while we were in Oregon, too. Best thing ever!
Stepping Stone Cafe
2390 NW Quimby
2) Tillamook Forest and Tillamook Factory
After breakfast we headed out of town towards the coast to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory. We drove through the Tillamook Forest on our way. The two lane highway had trees on both sides and it spots it felt like the trees were closing in on us. I loved how beautiful it was and how crisp the air felt.
Along the way we saw tons of little mini waterfalls and noticed a river running along side the highway. Jake pulled over so I could take a few photos. It was stunning and peaceful.
After we made it out of the woods, we came down into this flat, green valley and went all the way to the coast.
At the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the tours are self guided. You go upstairs and into a viewing area where you can watch the workers on the factory line. I think the one station above is where they are cutting the cheese blocks.
The viewing area wraps around and there are two sides. Further down from this area they were doing packaging.
This area had boxes of the cheese running up the conveyer belt. It kind of reminded me of that area in line for Star Tours at Disneyland with all the baskets and conveyer belt’s moving this way and that way. Also on the tour there are displays which talk about the history of the company and even has some old items on display. It was really cool.
After the tour you head back downstairs for the best part: Cheese Samples!
They had six different samples out to try. The other awesome part was that there was hardly anyone there that day. We sampled the squeeky cheese curds, medium cheddar, vintage white sharp cheddar, colby, smoked medium cheddar, and smoked black pepper cheddar. The curds are only sold around here in Oregon since they’re very fresh and wouldn’t keep for long traveling to another place. They were indeed very squeaky! I prefer them uh, fried and battered, actually. On their own the taste is a bit “raw”. My favorite of the bunch was the Colby which I didn’t see in their store section. Bummer. Jake liked the smoked black pepper but I didn’t like it quite as much – it has a real “bite” to it from the black pepper pieces! I got some of that for my dad, though.
Look at all of this glorious cheeeeeeeese!
They also had slices and those little single packages plus their other Tillamook products. Mostly the only thing I see here in San Diego are the small cheese blocks. After browsing around in the shop and gift area, we had a little bit of lunch.
[centennial tillamook grilled cheese sandwich]
Naturally I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich! The first one I picked was the Centennial Grilled Cheese Sandwich. It uses Tillamook’s Sharp Cheddar & Vintage White Medium Cheddar on thick sourdough. I loved the combination of cheeses used in this sandwich. It was buttery and creamy and I liked how melted the cheese was. It oozed out of the crunchy bread and had a good balance of flavor between the sharper cheese and the medium white cheddar. So flavorful!
[the grill’s delight sandwich]
Since there were three of us, I also got The Grill’s Delight Sandwich which had medium cheddar & ham on sourdough. I didn’t like this one as much because that pesky ham was in the way of the cheese, but I figured the boys would enjoy it (they did).
[tillamook mountain huckleberry ice cream]
T went and got himself an ice cream cone before I even ordered the sandwich and I didn’t get a shot of it (he got the Marionberry Pie which had little chunks of pie crust in it – very good). I got a cone, too, and I picked the Mountain Huckleberry. It was a bit similar to a blueberry-like flavor. I like how it had the big swirls of huckleberry paired with the vanilla ice cream. It was a nice sweet and creamy treat!
No visit to the factory is complete without some goofy pictures taken in the Loaf Van.
Tillamook Cheese Factory
4175 Hwy 101 N
Tillamook, OR 97141
3) Onto to Cannon Beach
At this point we ended up changing our plans. We were going to head back to Portland and check out a minor league baseball team stadium but we discussed it and instead decided on heading up to Astoria and to look for the filming spots for the Goonies! This view is from a little further north on the coast. There was a big lookout area so of course we had to stop and check out the pretty view.
We continued our trek up the coast and finally made it to Cannon Beach and was able to find a spot where we could see the rocks that Mikey spots at the beginning of the Goonies. This is from the Southern direction though so not the exact way he saw them.
We drove up and around through the Ecola State Park to get to another viewing area for the rocks and the beach. The forest in this area was very dense and the trees were so close that it felt much darker than this. The woods had this wonderful mossy smell that made me wish we could have stayed in there for hours.
We parked and walked down a little path to a lookout point which showed the rocks from another view. Can I tell you something? It was SO COLD standing right there with the wind beating down on us but it was so pretty that I wanted to stay. But as my hands started to get numb and the sun started heading further down it was time to get back on the road.
I included a still from the movie so you can compare!
While we were leaving, I could see the rocks a bit through the trees and I thought, “This looks just like the area where they rode their bikes!”
And it totally was. This is also where Brand goes flying off into the trees.
On the way over to Astoria, we saw elk! At least I think they’re elk. That’s what I heard someone else say. Hello, elk butt.
4) Astoria and the Goondocks
We headed further up the coast and into Astoria before the sunset. Woo!
You’re not allowed to drive up, but you can walk up. It’s a little steep.
Yes, Jake is doing the truffle shuffle. Heehee.
I saw on a website that Data’s house was nearby but I couldn’t remember it was the house next door (duh).
This is the view from the Goonies house.
5) Crossing the Astoria-Megler Bridge to Washington
Jake really wanted to cross the bridge and go to Washington just so he could say he’s also been to Washington. Heehee.
We paused for a few snapshots. It was quite gorgeous and we got to watch the sunset in Oregon and Washington!
Back to Portland!
6) Olympic Provisions in Portland
[fried almonds / $4]
We almost went to a hockey game instead, but I really wanted to dine here! We started with the fried almonds because… almonds are totally and completely yummy. And these were extra crunchy and nicely salted. Frying almonds is apparently an awesome idea.
Bread. I love it. I liked they used freshly ground pepper and good fancy salt with the olive oil. Details, man.
[french board / $18]
Particularly wanted I wanted to try were their sausages and cured meats, so I ordered us the French board with came with two French saucissons (the cured meat above), pork pistachio paté, pork rillettes, French garlic sausage, and Comté French cheese.
The thing that was most exciting to me is that they make all of their own meats and cured their own sausages and all of that lovely goodness: they butcher their own meat, hand craft and hand cure it all themselves and allow the cured meats to age naturally and over time. The result is this extremely flavorful, really high quality stuff that bursts with flavor the moment it touches your tongue. The French garlic sausage was so juicy, tender, and had a really porky flavor to it that we loved. My favorite of the whole bunch where the cured sausages. One was called Saucisson Sec, a French salami with garlic and black pepper and the other was the Saucisson D’Arles which is simply just cured pork and salt. Both were so incredibly flavorful that I ended up buying them both at a local market in Portland and really enjoying them after our trip.
I also discovered you can buy the cured sausages here in town at Venissimo Cheese! Guess who’s going to go there soon…
[pork rilletes hand pies / $5]
We came in for dinner and I was really incredibly sad to see they didn’t offer the Pork Rilletes Hand Pies on the dinner menu – it was only for lunch and happy hour!
BUT… Jake asked the waitress for me (he does this kind of thing for me a lot) if they happened to have any left or if they could make some of the pies for us. She checked and they had TWO left and I immediately asked for both.
Pork Rilletes is a pate that is chopped pork shoulder slow cooked in pork fat with spices like ginger and thyme. And then… they put that into a pie crust. And then they bake it. And hoo boy, it is rich but it is quite tasty. The pie shell was tender and flaky and there’s ONLY meat in this sucker.
There was a table of folks sitting across from us – we were in this little alcove that only housed two tables with bench seats on two sides and a chair on the end. The guy asked what kind of special item we ordered and I told him about the happy hour hand pies. They looked a bit jealous, heehee. We started chatting with them and Jake and the gentlemen started talking about baseball and you could tell they were both excited to talk about it, haha. We also told them about the other places we had tried and they gave us some suggestions on other things to try while we were still in Portland. It was great fun chatting with some locals (hi MikeintheCouv)!
[roasted winter vegetables with cilantro pistachio pesto / $10]
We two other items to round out our dinner: the roasted winter vegetables. I can’t remember all that was in here but I do know their was artichoke because Jake pretty much spit it out. I think there was squash and potatoes and… other tasty things. What made it extra tasty was the cilantro pistachio pesto!
[spaetzle / $13]
We also got the spaetzle which was served Hungarian goulash style with sour cream and scallions. I didn’t quite care for the sauce on this one but I liked the spaetzle itself!
107 SE Washington St
Portland, OR 97214
7) Salt and Straw
Visiting Salt and Straw was our first “taste” of crowds and lines in Portland. The line snaked all the way through the store and almost out the door!
The lady at the counter was really nice and helpful and let us sample a bunch of different flavors.
[salt and straw tasting flight / $9]
We ended up getting a tasting flight so we could sample a few different flavors!
[double fold vanilla ice cream]
Our first flavor was the Double Fold Vanilla. I know it sounds a little boring but this is a really well made and very creamy vanilla ice cream.
Why “Double Fold”? Here it is right from their website: “This ice cream is called ‘double fold’ because our friends at Singing Dog Vanilla in Eugene, Oregon use twice as many vanilla beans when making it!”
So there you go.
I used this vanilla as my go between when I was switching from one flavor to another. It was like a palate cleanser that helped me to switch gears on the ice cream flavors.
[cinnamon snickerdoodle ice cream]
Jake’s favorite cookies are snickerdoodles so of course we had to get this for him. The snickerdoodles are baked in house and folded into the creamy cinnamon ice cream you get that extra bit of cinnamon plus little chunks of cookies!
[coconut with petunia’s salted caramel bars ice cream]
This is the one of the vegan gluten-free ice creams that they have. They use toasted coconut cream as the base for the ice cream instead of milk and it was really almost as creamy at their other ice cream. The salted caramel bars are from a local bakery called Petunia’s Pies and Pastries which is a gluten free and vegan baking business in Portland. I was surprised by how much I liked it but I did find that it got to be too sweet after awhile. The salted caramel bars (made with a bit of banana, almond flour, and vegan caramel) were a little too sweet for me in the end.
[pear & blue cheese ice cream]
I know this one will make the blue cheese haters cringe but it turned out to be my favorite of the whole bunch. The creamy pear ice cream is sweet but not overly sweet and there are little bits of Rogue Creamery’s Crater Lake Blue Cheese folded into the mix. The blue cheese bits are small and when you get a taste of it, you get this salty creamy little bit of goodness in your ice cream. Mind you, I really like blue cheese, so I loved this combination. It wasn’t a harsh blue cheese, but a little towards the softer, “gorgonzola” side of blue cheeses. I’d never had an ice cream mix like this one and I truly loved it!
Salt & Straw
3345 Southeast Division St.
Portland, OR 97202
It was a great third day of our trip and we only had most of Saturday left to go!