Archive for the ‘Good Eats’ Category

Love the Art – Coffee Shop in Beaver, Utah

Love the Art – Coffee Shop in Beaver, Utah

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One of my favorite states to visit is by far Utah! Finding a great coffee shop however can be a little tricky. Driving along Interstate 15, heading towards Red Canyon, I pulled off at the town of Beaver hoping to find something beyond another cup of McDonald’s coffee (yes, it can come down to that). Wow, was I in for one of the best coffee experiences in my life! No Joke!

Love the Art at first glance looks like a gas station that has been re-made into a rock shop. Upon further investigation, I noticed the espresso and smoothie sign. It was almost like a mirage in this vast country of very few artisan coffee shops. It is indeed a rock shop and coffee shop, with some of the most spectacular stone pieces I have ever seen. Visiting with one of the owners, Tina, I learned that her family owned numerous quarries in the area. Her father, a master carver, had pieces on display that were world-class.

The coffee set-up is unlike anything I have experienced. She mentioned that she attended a coffee convention in Portland and had picked out her favorite coffee as well as smoothies (with the help of her sister and father).

They use three different types of brewing methods –

Syphon
Brews coffee using two chambers, where heating and cooling the lower vessel change the vapor pressure of water in the lower, first pushing the water up into the upper vessel, then allowing the water to fall back down into the lower vessel.
Pour Over
A method for brewing Coffee which involves pouring water over roasted, ground coffee beans contained in a filter. Water seeps through the coffee, absorbing its oils and essences, solely under gravity, then passes through the bottom of the filter.

Cold Brew
Cold brewed coffee naturally seems sweeter due to its lower acidity. Because the coffee beans in cold-press coffee never come into contact with heated water, the process of leaching flavor from the beans produces a different chemical profile than conventional brewing methods.

Sounds pretty straight forward, but check out the equipment!

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If you are driving anywhere near the area, stop on in. You will not be disappointed! Oh, I should mention, I still crave the cup of coffee I got there! First class coffee and art – what more could you ask for?

Mt. Baker Washington

Wow – I had no idea what to expect when I traveled up to Mt. Baker this summer. What a gem! Located in the northern part of the northwest, it’s just not an area I have spent much time in. I suppose unless you are headed across the border into Canada, it’s not exactly an along the way place to go. I have driven through the North Cascades National Park before, but for some reason, Mt. Baker hadn’t really stuck in my mind. This trip has completely changed how I view what this area has to offer and I cannot wait to head up north again soon.

I traveled up to Bellingham Washington and took route 542 up to the summit. At some point it meets up with hwy 9, but you continue on via 542. The drive is beautiful, taking you through agricultural communities. There seemed to be quite a few gas stations along the route. One of my favorite stops was at the Xtreme Bean Espresso shop in Everson. Not only do they have great coffee, but great food – and even better – great prices! They also have a drive through – which is a bonus when you just want to get to your destination. I was impressed enough to think it definitely deserved mentioning.

Xtreme Bean Espresso

Ok, so here’s my beef with Washington. What is up with the highway roundabouts? I have never seen anything like it, but it seems to be the new trend. Well, enough said. It’s such an amazing state that I’ll let it go.

Back to Mt. Baker – The drive along the Nooksack River is stunning. The water is that creamy aqua blue you see from glacial run off. There are multiple places to stop where you can hike down to the river bank. It reminded me a lot of the Hoh river in the Olympics. I kept expecting to see a herd of elk hanging out along the gravel bars. Nooksack Falls is worth a stop too.

Once you hit Mt. Baker, the road begins to climb. It takes you up to an alpine summit filled with mini rocky outcrops and tarns. There were still snow fields and this was the middle of August. There are multiple trails crisscrossing all over leaving you ample opportunities to take some pretty amazing pictures. The mountain summit didn’t clear the day I was there, but none-the-less, it was spectacular. I didn’t see any mountain goats or bears on this trip, but I’m sure others have been more lucky. It has that wild feel. There is a parking fee at the summit, so be prepared. There were also bathrooms.

Overall, this is definitely an awesome day trip. I can’t imagine how great the skiing is during the winter. It’s a treat to be able to drive up to a place this high and have the opportunity to hike and explore all over. There are few places I have been where it feels like a big kids wonderland – I am adding this to that list (alongside Tuolumne Meadows, Devil’s Garden In Utah and Alabama Hills).

After an exhilarating day of exploring, it was time to head back down the mountain. Along the way, I stopped in at the North Fork Brewery. One again I am wowed! It was the perfect way to top off my trip to Mt. Baker. The caesar salad was epic and so was the pizza. But the beer – I have no words. I ordered the IPA and all I can say is that I wish I lived closer! It was the best IPA I have ever tasted! And that is saying a lot being that I live in the land of Ninkasi and Oakshire. I still think about that beer.

North Fork Brewery

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Overall this is an A+ road trip. Fun places to stop, great views and a lot to explore!

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Good Eats Oakridge, Oregon

Often while exploring the mid-Cascades area of Oregon, I find myself traveling through Oakridge. Sure, Dairy Queen often hits the spot – a hikers first choice after days of eating jerky and nuts. But, I have come to love the little Mexican restaurant Mazatlan located behind Dairy Queen. It’s nothing fancy, but the food is great and so are the drinks. I recommend ordering anything with “Carbon” which means cooked over charcoal. I personally liked their Tacos al Carbon. The atmosphere is great – unexpected for a little town like Oakridge. The staff is extremely friendly and welcoming.

Another fun stop is at the Brewery downtown Oakridge – yes, it’s a little off the highway. It’s called Brewers Union Local 180 and it’s full of character. The beer is great – and that’s what counts. The menu is pretty good – their artisan bread with a pint is fantastic! It took a bit to get served, but I think they were busier than expected. It’s a perfect place to relax after a day of outdoor exploring.

http://www.brewersunion.com/

Kula Lodge Maui

At 3,200 feet above sea level, Kula Lodge is a refreshing breath of air perched high above the beach towns of Maui. Initially it feels as if you are walking into an old west lodge where one might expect to find a bison’s head mounted over the fireplace. It takes a moment to register that you are in fact still in Maui. Smoke tantalized my senses from the wood fire pizza oven and though I did not order one, I wish I had after seeing a pizza delivered to the table nearby.

The lodge is located near the base of Mt. Haleakala, or rather part way up the mountain in the town of Kula. It is located near the turn off that takes you up the side of Haleakala Crater. A perfect place to grab a late lunch after visiting the National Park. There are windows outlining the entire dining area overlooking the island. You can see both sides of the island and by sunset, it may be one of the best views on Maui. The interior is a little rustic, but that is what I liked about the place. Below the restaurant is the Curtis Wilson Cost Gallery. It’s a little hobbitish climbing down the stairs into the gallery. It’s something not to be missed. The art is pretty impressive. I have never witnessed a purple tree until Maui – and they truly do exist – not just in the paintings.

The outdoor eating area is enchantingly whimsical. I loved the grounds and the plethora of plant varieties. When you pull into the lodge, you are treated to trumpet trees. The grounds are breathtaking.

The lodge does offer rooms, though I have not stayed here yet. It appears that they do not have TV’s or internet, so if you are looking for a quite escape, this might fit the bill. It appears that they will be remodeling soon and I’m hoping that they are able to maintain the charm. I should note that other reviews of the rooms are mixed. Having not stayed there myself, I can’t recommend one way or the other.

The food is great and reasonable, though the service was a tad slow. I have to remind myself that we are on island  time. This is truly one of Maui’s hidden gems and I highly recommend making a stop.

Kula Lodge

Breakfast in Kaanapali – Castaway Cafe

My favorite spot for breakfast in Maui is The Castaway Cafe. The prices are great for touristic Maui and you are right on the water! It doesn’t get much better than this! Good food, reasonable prices and an ocean view. I’m a little surprised that it’s not a bit more expensive given the fantastic real estate – but hey- let’s not let them know that. You finish breakfast and walk right down to the beach. It’s fantastic!

http://www.castawaycafe.com/

Our Daily Bread Veneta, Oregon

After a day of canoeing the Fern Ridge Canoe Channels, I love to head over to Our Daily Bread in Veneta. They have amazing food, great wine and a unique atmosphere. The restaurant is in an old church. They have a small wine shop as well. My personal favorite is the Curried Chicken Salad. If you are lucky, you will be treated to excellent piano music furnished by a local who comes in to play. The hospitality is that of a quaint small town. This is truly one of those hidden gems!

Our Daily Bread Website

Luna Sea Fish House Yachats

My favorite place to get seafood on the Oregon Coast ~

In the mystical town of Yachats – and yes I did use the word mystical – you will find the Luna Sea Fish House. It’s located near the grocery store in downtown Yachats on the west side of Highway 101. It’s a little hole in the wall that is truly magical. I thought I had died and gone to heaven the first time I tried their Slumgullion (forget clam chowder – this takes the cake). It is probably the best thing I have ever tasted. On a cold winter’s day on the Oregon Coast – there is nothing I want more that a cup of coffee from the Green Salmon (across the road), and a bowl of Luna’s Slumgullion.

They also have great Halibut and other fish – you can even buy raw fish to take home to cook up later. The canned fish is awesome too! The owners are always friendly and welcoming. During the summer and weekends they get pretty busy – so be prepared to wait – it’s worth it though!

What I love the most is that it is owned and operated by a local fisherman! Please check out their website below. I was hesitant to even put them on here in fear that the little hole in the wall is “found”. It truly is that good!

Luna Sea Fish House

Green Salmon Coffee Yachats

By far my favorite coffee shop – this is a great stop along your coastal drive. Nestled in the quaint village of Yachats, you will find the Green Salmon Coffee Co. From their website:

“Green Salmon Coffee and Tea House is built on a firm foundation of conscious business practices, the  decades long passion of it’s owners  for wonderful coffee and fine teas; and their determination to share them with you!  Waking up to a cup of our custom roasted coffee or relaxing with one of our many superb teas comes with our assurance of an adventure in taste and aroma.  We take extreme pride in our ability to select the most flavorful Fair Trade, Organic coffee beans and the most distinctive teas that the world has to offer.”

They have the most unique drink options – including my favorite – a coconut mocha made with coconut milk! I also love their food – fresh, tasty and great portions. A trip through Yachats is not complete without a stop at the Green Salmon.

Check out their website at:

http://www.thegreensalmon.com

You will find the Green Salmon on the East side of Highway 101 going north – a bit after the bridge and across from the grocery store.

Kiva Koffeehouse

If you are trekking through southwest Utah on highway 12, plan to make a pit-stop at the Kiva Koffeehouse. With amazing canyon views, there is no coffee shop on earth quite like it. With a great selection of food and drinks, it’s the perfect place to take in the greatness of the Escalante Grand Staircase. They have a great selection of local info and hiking guides. Additionally, they have a few rooms to rent. Unfortunately, they do not take pets, so we have never stayed – though would have loved to. Check out their sight – it’s a stop not to be passed by!

http://www.kivakoffeehouse.com/

Drift Inn Yachats

I love Yachats and a new favorite on my list to add is the Drift Inn. I briefly wrote about the Drift Inn awhile ago, but feel that they need another blog visit.

What a great place to unwind from a day of hiking or beach combing. They have amazing food, fun decor and a great bar. The staff is pretty great too! I strongly recommend the Crab Quesadillas – they are amazing! Great hamburgers, salads and a fun list of coffee with liquor specials. Definitely worth the stop!