We stuffed our luggage and left with no worries, no cares, just a spread of big smiles and carefree hearts!
After twenty-nine years married, of working hard and raising a family, seeing to everything and everyone else first, we were finally taking a vacation. Just me and hubby—my partner-in-crime to all things endeavored—on a 5-days adventure road trip to Oregon: sightseeing and eating, with the opportunity to reacquaint and rediscover us as a couple. And as humble Foodies we would sample, critique and overindulge, and together would willingly agree to sacrifice unnecessary weight gain for the ultimate purpose of savoring unique eats!
Our trip began late in the afternoon, from San Jose, California. Highly motivated with resolute purpose, we made our way, via congested traffic, expertly and cautiously weaving in-and-out of lanes, ultimately following a pre-mapped destination.
Our first stop was The Golden Bear in Sacramento, CA, a triple D’s recommended eats, as seen on the Food Network, “Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.” We sampled Pulled Pork Sliders (really good), Cuban sandwich with a rare strong taste of cumin (good, but after a while the cumin began to wear thin), and Sausage Pizza with Smoked Slaw (very good). We washed this down with Moose Drool Brown Ale (very yummy!).
Finally, fed and quenched, we drove on as far as Redding, CA. and found a comfortable hotel room to spend the night.
It was a good beginning to our first day.
In the morning we took advantage of the hotel’s complimentary breakfast. Nothing fancy, more like cattle feed, but it was food and it filled our bellies! Soon we were packed and on the road by 9:30 a.m. We traveled over 430 miles from Redding to Portland, Oregon. And what should have taken 6 hours of travel took 9, due to bad traffic. Scream!
However, the postcard picturesque scenery along the way more than made up for having to sit in on-again and off-again heavy traffic. The sights were impressive: manicured, undressed hills the color of gold, lush mountains landscaped with smallish to grand trees surrounded by rolling carpet of green in varying shades. And everything from mere bushes to barns were speckled and variegated in choice colors, as far as the eye could see. The openness was so vast, the air so clean and clear…and when Mt. Shasta came into view, majestic above all other mountains—its peak still mostly covered with snow—it simply took my breath away.
Absorbing absolutely everything in the panoramic view before me, I noticed a herd of cattle in the distance, and, feeling giddy with imagination, couldn’t resist saying, “Look, Honey…hamburgers grazing on the range. Mmm!”
“..Rib eye steaks on the hoof…” my hubby most readily replied, laughing. And this began a tasty discussion of future recipes and grilling for our next family gathering. Drooling!
And then not too many miles later we saw sheep, lots of them, also grazing, and continuing with the jesting, we shouted in unison, “LAMB CHOPS…YUMM!” [DITTO] and chuckled like mischievous children without a chaperon.
We finally arrived at our modest but comfortable hotel (at very affordable rates), and quickly settled into our room. The hotel concierge immediately saw to our every comfort, and after hearing a brief synopses for the reason of our vacation, suggested a perfect place for us to have dinner, “The Courtyard Restaurant”—a brew pub—in “McMenamin’s Kennedy School,” a renovated public school, now a resort. And as we were most assuredly starving, and parched for a drink, we promptly disappeared from the lobby. In no-time we were being seated at the restaurant and ordering from the menu.
The place was “jumping,” boisterous with people. There was chattering, laughing, and eyes probing with curiosity. And everyone was dressed according to their own individual taste and flair. People walked in-and-out of classrooms, according to how each room was uniquely labeled—a lounge, a theater, a music room, a cigar room. But even so, the place continued to have the feeling of really being back in school. Phew!
We found our “class room,” what was probably once a cafeteria, perhaps, and quickly found a seat in the bar lounge. We ordered Celtic Coffee martinis—smooth and refreshing. We sampled a cup of creamy clam chowder (which hubby and I shared), and it was probably the best we’ve ever had. It was so good, my hubby and I were practically fighting over the spoon. Note to self: Never share food with hubby when you both are starving! Appetizer was seared ahi tostadas with salsa and avocado (unbelievably delicious). And the main entrées were Pork Loin with a coffee spice rub, and Halibut Fish & Chips (light and not greasy). We paired our meals with a dark coffee stout.
Here’s where I wish I had two stomachs. I could have eaten a full second round, everything was that good!
Though we were exhausted from our day’s long travel, we were in heaven. We’d shared good conversation and indulged in a memorable meal. And our hotel’s king-size bed was like sleeping on a cloud. We were out the moment our heads fell on the pillows.
It was a most perfect finish to our second day.