Sunday, January 3, 2010

Creamy Chocolate Martini; New Year's Gumbo AND Anniversary Bed and Breakfast

Creamy Chocolate Martinis, Pomegranate Tequila drinks, seafood gumbo, peach crisp dessert, family and friends enjoying each other's company. . . what a great New Year's weekend to start out 2010! 2010, who can believe it? Growing up, the year 2000 sounded so far away, like one of those sci fi TV shows. You know, Buck Rogers and the 21st Century, or 2001, A Space Odyssey (sp?). I started posting pictures for this entry, yesterday, and there were so many pictures missing. The photo shots you wished you had taken. So much to learn; a photography class would be nice and maybe a digital camera attached to me. The best shots always seem to be the ones where no camera is in sight or the lighting is non-existent! Mom, Larry made this martini recipe for me and the best creamy chocolate martini is made with Chocolate Temptation liqueur but Washington state no longer sells it. No idea why because this stuff is delicious! The last bottles we bought were in Oregon ~ a little far to go for even this martini. Godiva works as a great chocolate replacement, just not as creamy.

Creamy Chocolate Martini
2 Jiggers Cask and Cream Chocolate Temptation or Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
1 Jigger Creme de Cocoa
1 Jigger Vanilla Vodka
Fill a cocktail shaker 1/3 way with ice, add all 3 ingredients, shake quickly and pour into your favorite martini glass. To me, the martini glass is just as fun as the martini.
We visited family over the New Year's weekend and had a relaxing time catching up on so much. Time always flies by while everyone is together and life seems to keep us intertwined in day-to-day rituals, with us allowing more time then we wish to slide away before getting together again. Larry and I were talking about this very topic on the way home, wishing there was an easy answer.
Seafood Gumbo is a New Year's tradition. We live near the water and could not imagine life without some kind of seafood in the house. Dungeness crab, king crab legs, lobster tails, salad shrimp, prawns, scallops, all types of fish (Costco is great for fresh tilipia and cod), clams, mussels, crayfish tails, squid ~ to name just a few.
The Seafood Gumbo includes Dungeness crab, prawns, scallops and 1 type of firm fish. This time around, cod filets were used.
Dinner was served on a beautiful setting with candles and family. What a great way to enjoy good food!

Seafood Gumbo
(adapted from Pirate's Pantry, treasured recipes of Southwest Louisiana, by The Junior League)
2/3 cup oil or bacon drippings (I use 1/2 cup bacon drippings and the rest vegetable oil)
1 cup flour
3 large onions, chopped
3 ribs celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 quarts water
3 bay leaves
Tabasco, Emeril's hot pepper sauce, or habanero hot sauce to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Worcestershire sauce to taste, I use several Tablespoons
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
(6) pre-cooked dungeness crabs, cleaned and shucked, keeping the crab claws to be added to gumbo
1 bunch green onions, chopped (I omit this ingredient sometimes)
1/3 cup chopped parsley
3 pounds raw prawns, medium size and cut in-half or a smaller size left whole (peeled and deveined)
1 pound small scallops
1 pound firm, boneless fish fillet (I use cod or halibut), cubed into bite-size pieces
**clams and mussels (in shells) can be tossed in but if the gumbo gets reheated, both of these will toughen in texture
Directions:
In skillet, make roux using oil (bacon grease) and flour. Cook until it is chocolate brown color. Add chopped vegetables and stir until wilted. Transfer to large gumbo pot (I use a large Dutch oven or stock pot). Add water and bring to a boil. Add seasonings and tomato sauce. Boil approximately 1 hour. Add prawns, scallops, green onion and parsley, continue boiling for about 15 minutes. Just before serving, add crab meat and crab claws.
Serve over hot, fluffy rice in bowls. This recipe is a great background for omitting seafood and adding chicken, turkey, duck, or any type of meat. Serves about 10 people.
Peach Crisp with vanilla ice cream dessert:
I thought adding our bed and breakfast anniversary would be a great finish. Just a feel good moment for myself to look back on and share a few new treasures we discovered along the way.

Sandlake Country Inn Bed and Breakfast, Pacific City, Oregon is Voted "Most Romantic Hideaway" by Inn Traveler Magazine & "Simply Sublime" by Best Places to Kiss in the NW; we enjoyed a romantic getaway with double jacuzzi tubs, a gas fireplace viewed from both sides (the bedroom on one side and the sitting room on the other), a private deck & a 4-course breakfast delivered to our door both mornings. We stayed in the Starlight Room and had the whole upper floor to ourselves. The Pacific Ocean was less then 5 minutes from the front door.
Below is a photo of the living room open for all as we entered the house. The atmosphere was cozy and the shelves were lined with movies and music, ready to be borrowed and enjoyed.

Since our anniversary is several weeks ahead of Christmas, we were able to relax before the holiday rush for Christmas season really set in. The drive was long, about 6 hours but we left early on a Friday morning, ready to enjoy every part of our getaway. So many beautiful ice sculptures to look at and a raging river with large pools of ice was usually to one side or the other of our drive.
The Sandlake bed and breakfast, as mentioned earlier, is close to the middle part of Oregon's coastline. The raw beauty is amazing to take in. Washington has a maze of mansions along the waterfronts and yet Oregon's coastline has so many open areas where vehicles are welcome to drive onto the beaches, small fires to keep warm by on chilly afternoons, open quiet spaces (many times not seeing another person) are all part of the scenario.

Every restaurant we visited overlooked the ocean. Romantic, delicious and breathtaking scenery. I truly love what the great Northwest has to offer. The variety and beauty can feel beyond words, leaving a person mesmerized and in awe.

The first restaurant we found in Pacific city, Or was the Pelican Pub & Brewery. My pictures are so dark but I hope you can get the jist of the location and surrounding scenes.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner and microbrews – all in a family restaurant with an amazing ocean view. We did not arrive here until after checking in at the B&B at 3 pm so night was setting in and my flash was not enough for a good picture. Below is a door that is used during the summer months for customers to sit on the patio and look out at Oregon's second Haystack Rock formation. Not very imaginative, if you ask me, to have a rock formation in Canon Beach, OR called Haystack Rock, then going further down the coastline to see another and have this rock formation called the exact same thing. There is not even a Sr, Jr, or I and II after the title. Strange.
Sitting in the restaurant, looking out a window, you get to look at the waves washing onto the beach and Haystack Rock (the air is chilly and no one was near the water at the time of this picture):
Pacific City, OR is tiny and recluse. Small sand dunes could be found across the street, in parking lots and driveways. The largest grocery store in Pacific City could be compared to a small Mom and Pop grocery store where I live in Port Orchard, WA.

We researched a few places before leaving and Barnacle Bill's Seafood Market kept coming up as the absolute must to try. The business is nothing to look at, in fact, we almost didn't stop as it appears to be nothing more than a tiny fish market. The reviews I read said they have been smoking salmon since the 40's or early 50's and offers the best smoked salmon people have ever tasted. Available in moist, medium and dry . . . we took the moist! You get the feeling they either catch it themselves or get it right off the boats each day. Definitely the best smoked salmon we have ever eaten! Here is the address and phone number: 2174 NE Highway 101, Lincoln City, OR 97367
541-994-3022

Another stop was at Wine 101. The wine shop is just across the street from the ocean front so you get a killer view plus Mary (the owner) was our server, offering artichoke dip and crackers, large wine selection to sample from, a small fireplace to sit by in overstuffed chairs. You are invited to relax and stay a while. Mary even gave us the must go to restaurants for our anniversary dinner Saturday night. Larry and I felt overwhelmed with Internet pictures and write-ups so Mary's suggestions were wonderful! She would know, the lady enjoys talking about food as much as we do.
Just a little shop but between the warm company and entertainment inside and the coastline view outside, definitely makes this a must-stop place anytime of the year. What a cold, rainy, windy day and all my pictures are so dark.
Mary suggested appetizers at Fathom's restaurant at the Inn at Spanish Head, located on the 10Th floor. Appetizers start at $1 to $2 and include seafood with a phenomenal view of the waterfront. Just Gorgeous! Unfortunately, winter time gets dark way to early and our view was hard to get a picture of too.
Mary said appetizers only here and for a romantic dinner, go to Tidal Rave Seafood Grill (279 U.S. 101, Depoe Bay, OR (541) 765-2995‎) and we would not be disappointed. You have no idea just how right she was! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous and the food was huge portions of melt in your mouth everything with a cocktail hostess with talents to match. The wine selection to match the menu - Perfect!
I took no food shots because we did not take my camera into the restaurant. Seafood fettuccine, seafood anything, looks and tastes delicious. The restaurant's food seems to get mixed reviews on the Internet but everything we had, including the seafood fettuccine and a fillet of salmon were perfectly cooked, over-sized portions and the dishes tasted delicious. If you can not quit thinking about how good the food was long after you have left the restaurant, then the restaurant is a keeper. Tidal Raves is just such a place.

Sandlake B&B caters to seclusion, romance, and comfort. A partial canopy bed, dark, soft colors and another partial picture (I know, I know):

Looking outside the bedroom is a full-sized dining room with a table large enough to seat 6 comfortably. We could not believe our eyes. A full, private dining room in your own suite! Unheard of. Every part of the suite was filled with lace and crocheted curtains, dining table clothe, decorations . . . romantic!

Another lovely partial picture, I kept forgetting to take pictures because of everything there was to take in. The house is a historical landmark, built out of timbers from a shipwrecked boat over 100 years ago. I believe our hostess said the timbers were over 6 inches thick and if a land owner could find a way to haul the wood back then, people were welcome to it. The whole house is built out of these timbers.

Okay, if I get nothing else right to share, showing the breakfast menus for Saturday and Sunday morning may make up for my lapse of pictures and you may even decide to go visit one day. Can you imagine going to a B&B and eating a multi-course breakfast privately in your own suite? Believe me when I say this is unheard of!

Brought in a basket both mornings to the doors was ~

Saturday:

Pineapple Orange Juice,

Fresh Fruit Romanoff,

Diane's Homemade Granola & Milk,

South of the Border Eggs

and Banana Muffins

Sunday:

Orange Strawberry Banana Juice,

Baked Pears,

Apple Oatmeal & Milk,

Sandlake Breakfast Pie

and Berry Bundles

Fresh coffee with real cream and sugar were also delivered on a seperate silver tray. We were so stuffed we could hardly squeak.


Driving home let me stop at a few place to take extra icecicle shots.

I had so much fun and everytime we see the coast of Oregon, we are mentally scheduling when we can come back. The ocean, slower pace of life, and natural beauty in nature forces us to appreciate the obvious around us.

3 comments:

Lynnylu said...

What a lovely start for the New Year! Great party and great anniversary at the Inn!

Anonymous said...

You have to express more your opinion to attract more readers, because just a video or plain text without any personal approach is not that valuable. But it is just form my point of view

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