Thursday, January 2, 2014
Man Can Not Live on Seafood Alone
1009 Chetco Ave.
Sometimes a traveling Suit just needs a big juicy burger.
You know what I mean?
Never mind the fact that Brookings is pressed right against the Oregon Coast just south of the spectacular Boardman Scenic Corridor, where delicacies of the sea beckon from the Pacific Ocean just a stone’s throw away.
I knew I should continue doing my suitly “when-in-Rome” duty.
But after four days of traveling the length of Oregon down the Pacific Coast Highway, I’d had enough razor clams, dungeness crab, oysters and halibut to single-handedly create a worldwide seafood depletion crisis.
Local seafood from the Oregon Coast is as spectacular as the scenery.
But today, I just needed a big hunk of red meat.
A typical small town local joint, everything at the Vista Pub is local and gourmet in true Oregonian fashion.
And I do mean everything -- from the hamburger buns to the beer.
My friendly and enthusiastic waitress recommended a beer freshly tapped called Raymond’s Big Head Red, an Imperial Red Ale brewed up the road at Chetco Brewing.
“It’s one of my favorites,” she said.
You’ve got to love a chick with good taste in beer.
Always looking for something just a bit different, I gladly took her advice.
Hoppy, but with a nice sweet malty backbone, the Big Head Red reminded me why I love traveling the Pacific Northwest.
I swear you could bar hop to every pub in the state of Oregon and not once get stuck settling for a Budweiser or Miller Lite.
Beer drinkers in this state LOVE their craft beer.
And I love them for it.
Just don’t get into a political discussion.
My burger was a typically Oregonian compilation of delicious locally sourced gourmet components.
Organic beef perfectly cooked to medium-rare juiciness.
Smoked mozzarella from a creamery down the street.
Homemade relish with a tangy remoulade sauce.
Sautéed onions and good thick-cut bacon.
All held together by a big squooshy bun -- baked that morning in a local bakery. Of course.
The result of all these local adjective-laden ingredients?
Each beefy bite yielded an appetizing trickle of pink juices.
The relish and sauce added a delicious tangy zip while the gourmet bun was sturdy enough to hold it all together.
I didn’t get much smoky flavor from the smoked mozzarella, the subtlety overwhelmed by all the other more assertive ingredients. But the gooey melted cheese and crisp bacon were nice additions nonetheless.
Instead of fries, I got a cup of Vista Pub’s homemade clam chowder.
From Portland to Brookings -- all 434 miles -- I hadn’t passed up a cup of clam chowder once.
Despite my overdose of West Coast seafood, I figured I had to try one last version of this Oregon specialty before I crossed the state line into California.
Vista Pub didn’t disappoint.
There are generally three components to Oregon clam chowder.
Potatoes. Bacon. Clams.
In Suit757’s book, the ratio of those three goes a long way to determining how good the chowder is.
I’ll give you a moment to contemplate which two ingredients Suit757 considers most important.
Yeah. That shouldn’t have taken too long.
As far as I’m concerned, you can leave the potatoes for the fries.
Vista’s chowder exceeded all my demands with massive quantities of big meaty clams and bacon.
You’d think I’d be full after all that. And I was.
But not too full to avoid the temptation of dessert.
You know in a place like this it’s going to be scratch made -- and good.
I mean, it would be a crime to say no to my waitress. Wouldn’t want to disappoint her.
The chocolate cake offered up forkfuls of sweet dense decadence -- a perfect cap to my 434 mile Oregon roadtrip.
And what a roadtrip it was.
Breathtaking vistas, windswept cliffs and spectacular fresh seafood plucked right out of the local waters.
But this week proved to me that man is not meant to live on ocean creatures alone.
Sometimes man just needs a big juicy hunk of meat and a slab of chocolate cake.
Thank you, Vista Pub.
Rating: Bought the Shirt!