Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Portland Day 4: Tillamook

Our 4th day began on Alberta Street.  I think I could live in a two block radius of the gourmet Tater-Tot truck and survive on intrigue alone.  We did not have Tater Tots for breakfast, but instead had biscuits with sausage-mushroom gravy.  Pine State Biscuits had a variety of options, you could have an egg on top, or you could have a full on sandwich with a chicken breast and bacon in the middle (in case you weren't planning on having a heart attack that morning, they can fix that).  Gregory also ordered a corn dog, because the canoe of gravy before us was simply insufficient.  I am pretty skeptical of corn dogs in general, but this was the best I have ever had.  The honey mustard was a combination of unground mustard seeds and honey with just a tiny hint of spice.  Perfection.

Across the street was the tea shop.  I ordered a bell-flower Earl Gray and a pumpkin-spice Chai for Gregory.  Both were lovely and we relaxed and let the grease of our breakfast glub through our veins.  We chatted with a local sitting next to us, sipping Mate which had been prepared in the traditional Argentinian way: fill the entire cup with Mate leaves and pour the hot water into it, then sip through a straw that has a little strainer at the end. Her name was Megan and she was very nice.  We chatted about stuff to do in Portland while we were here and she asked us about cameras.  I managed to keep myself from buying the entire tea store, but vowed loudly that I would return someday, and then you'll all be sorry!  Then vanished in a puff of smoke.

We met up with our Meagan and Beth an hour later to caravan to Tillamook.  Cheese was in our hearts and minds (and blood and love handles), but we decided to take our sweet time with a scenic drive, a stop at a cleverly redesigned barracks which used to house soldiers, but now operated as a hotel and spa.  Everything was painted, even the pipes and joints had fun faces.  The grounds were light and open, like a park, and was just beautiful.  We took a lot of pictures here.

Meagan and Beth also popped my notes-of-cherry by stopping at my first ever winery, where I got to sample several different whites and reds.  We bought a bottles of each and continued to cheese heaven.

The factory was a lot of fun and we could have spent hours creepily staring at the assembly line through the glass.  I'm sure our intensity of fascination was unsettling to the people just trying to make cheese, but we were transfixed on the giant blocks that whizzed by through the slicer to the weigher, to the packager and sealer and then passed QC and then gone, into the next room for us to only imagine giant piles of cheese getting boxed and crated, waiting for the stork to deliver all those baby loaves directly to us.  We stopped at one last fromagerie to check out the Blue Heron Brie.  It was deliciously creamy and we bought a few cheeses to keep us company through the next few days.

Meagan and Beth were continuing on to the coast from there, and we had to get back in time to catch amateur night at the strip club.  Did you know there are a TON of strip clubs here?  Amateur night was a lot more entertaining than it sounds.  We had a good time and went through several dollar bills.  Some were good and some...got an 'A' for effort, so entertaining nonetheless.  The adventure continues...

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