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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Why Oregon Will Always Be Home

Isn't this picture gorgeous? This is somewhere around Tillamook. My mom said there was a really pretty beach with majestic rocks rising out of the water reminiscent of Ha Long Bay. So my cousins and I decided to just drive around looking for it. We found this little town overlooking the beach.

If I lived in this little cottage by the sea, I'd sit out in my garden every day to look at this view.

Oregon Coast 1

I used to go home to Oregon for Christmas. But now that all my siblings and I live in Southern California, it's just easier for my parents to come down. And though it's more convenient not to have to travel, there's just something about going home for the holidays that I miss. But really, the holidays are about spending time with your family.

Which reminds me of this past summer when my siblings and I decided we would all go home for a week. My daddy was so happy to have everyone together that he bought a family-sized tent and planned a camping trip at the beach.

My dad is an avid fisherman. Every weekend. And sometimes in the middle of the week if he can take off from work. When fishing season rolls around in the spring, he's giddy planning out trips to the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, Snake River.

I remember waking up at the crack of dawn so we can get to the coast before the tide comes in. Then with a homemade pipe and plunger, my dad would scoop out a long tube of sand. Little sand shrimp would crawl out and I'd scoop them into my bucket to use as bait.

I never did learn how to fish. Although, I did catch three eels when I was 8 years old. I tied the hook and fishing line to a stick I found on the beach, got someone else to put the bait on for me, and stuck my "fishing pole" into crevices between rocks. I just can't believe I managed to catch anything with that method, much less three eels. But hey, this method also works for catching crawfish.

Fishing wasn't just because my dad enjoyed it. Those first years in America were tough. We needed the fish to supplement our food supply. But those fishing trips also represented spending time with family.

So, of course, with all of us in Oregon for a week last summer, off to the coast we went.

Here we finally made it to the beach in question in Oceanside.

Oregon Coast 2

After flying a kite and playing frisbee we made our way to the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Oregon Coast 3

Yup, Tillamook, Oregon is home to Tillamook Cheese. You can get free samples with curds that are "squeaky" fresh. Tillamook ice cream made with huckleberries and marionberries. Eat ham and Tillamook cheese sandwiches in their cafe. Should I admit that we actually went to Tillamook Cheese twice that day? I went with my siblings and got cheese samples and ice cream and did the self-guided tour of the visitor's center. Then after my cousins joined us, we went back again for some more cheese samples and ice cream.

I also had the best oyster burger ever at Pacific Oyster, in Bay City, near Tillamook. The oysters were freshly shucked from the shell, lightly covered in panko bread crumbs, then fried. Sooo good. Juicy. Tender. Not fishy.

Oregon Coast 4

Pacific Oyster is a full oyster-shucking facility with a small retail store and cafe serving their seafood. So every oyster is fresh shucked before serving. The cafe also serves fish and chips, clam chowder, and other goodies. But really, the oysters are where it shines. Oyster shooter cocktails. Oysters on the half-shell. Little Kumamoto oysters. Mmm.

And if you get there when their boat comes in, you can also buy fresh tuna by the pound.

How many oysters does Pacific Oyster go through?

Take a look at these mounds. They're not snowdrifts.

Oregon Coast 5

That's pure oyster shells.

Oregon Coast 6

There were about half a dozen of these mounds. They'll later be crushed and used as fertilizer. That's a whole lotta oyster burgers.

Pacific Oyster
150 Oyster Bay Dr.
Bay City, OR 97107

Tillamook County Creamery Association
4175 Highway 101 North
P.O. Box 313
Tillamook, OR 97141


  1. oyster burgers!!??

    i must try them some day.

  2. Tania,

    You should have gone to Oregon with us then! :)

  3. I love this story! Thanks so much for sharing it. Among other things, it really makes me want to go visit Oregon.

  4. Hi Poopycat,
    You should. I'll give you pointers on where to go if you do.

  5. I found your site while looking for sinh to recipes and then found this post and it must be fate. I'm from Oregon and living in Vietnam. God bless Tillamook because I'll be having at least a half gallon of the brown cow kind when we get back there.

  6. Hi Teresa,

    Thanks for visiting! I checked out your site and what you and your kids are doing is amazing!

  7. Hey WC- I am posting from Portland Oregon as we speak. I have been looking at your website for the past hour and really enjoyed your energetic posts. I got here because I had a bowl of instant noodles from the asian grocer that were called Mi Canh Chua or sour fish soup (Mien Tay style, whatever that means). Although they suffered from the usual shortcoming of instant food, I was intrigued by the taste and searched under the dishes name. Alas I wound up at WC.

    My nephew is attending the Southern California Institute of Architechture and lives near by Little Tokyo. I will forward some of your reccomendations to him.

    I grew up over on the southern Oregon coast (Reedsport) so if you ever travel down there I wouold be happy to give you some pointers on food and sightseeing. Thanks again.


  8. Hi BB,
    Thanks for the nice words. Mien Tay means Mekong Delta since the rivers are like a hand (tay). The area is known for its seafood, so that's the style of noodles you bought.

    I'll be sure you keep you in mind if I'm ever down in Reedsport. Never actually been there. My family has only gone as south as Tillamook and all points up to the Washington coast.

  9. Hi WC!

    I'm so happy you shared your story on OR. In fact, I was planning my trip to OR right before I came across your page! Thanks for the info!

  10. Miki,
    I've got a whole slew of posts I have to get around to blogging about Oregon. When are you going?


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