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Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

September 20th, 2018

The Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse, Lewes, Delaware, Tours, Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation, Delaware Breakwater, Walk in The Steps of The Lightkeeper, Delaware Beaches, Delaware Bay, Southern Delaware

In June of 2013 I got curious about the 2 lighthouses located between Lewes, Delaware and Cape May, New Jersey.  Writing a blog about the Delaware Beaches and beyond gives me so much information.  Information that I can pass on to you.  The Delaware Beaches are year round resorts and there is plenty to do if you choose to do so, or nothing at all if you just want to relax.  I went on a tour this summer with the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation.  This organization is dedicated to the preservation of the Harbor of Refuge Lighthouse.  When I first visited you could not step out off the boat and go inside the lighthouse.  We actually then went inside the East End Lightouse. More about that one in another post. Since then there has been a lot of restoration to the Harbor of Refuge, and this summer they opened it for tours.

The Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation can be contacted by calling 302-644-7046.  The website is http://www.delawarebaylights.org/

My friend, Sharon, who is a true local, and very proud of it, had never visited the lighthouses but always wanted to.  We arrived at the Cape-May Lewes Ferry Terminal in Lewes.  That’s is where we would be picked up.  Arriving a little early we decided to have something to eat at the outdoor bar/restaurant called On the Rocks.  Best view and great burgers, as well.

Finally, the boat arrived and Sharon and I were ready.

The Cape-May Lewes Ferry was just coming in but our main goal was to get to the historic and iconic Harbor of Refuge.

It was one of those beautiful days in Delmarva and Cape Henlopen looked awesome.

The keeper of this lonely offshore lighthouse.  It was hard work.  Storms were relentless and waves would reach all the way up the lighthouse.  We first passed the East End Lighthouse.  But, we had to continue to our destination.

 

The Delaware Breakwater along with the lighthouses are engineer marvels of the 19th century.  They were the first strucures of the kind built in the Western Hemisphere.  In 1976, the Delaware Breakwater, the East End Lighthouse and the Harbor of Refuge Light Station were inducted into the National Register of Historic Places as the Nation’s first offshore Historic District.

The imposing Harbor of Refuge was in front of us.  We got off the boat and climbed the stairs to the different levels where the Keeper lived.  Docents are able to give you all the information you need.  The most important thing is the feeling you get of what would be like to “walk in the steps of the Lightkeeper”.

The Harbor of Refuge’s dock has been restored.  So much work in raising funds to maintain this historic lighthouse.  The dock has been dedicated to Red Moulinier, President of the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation for his time and efforts.  The lighthouse still has more renovations on the way along with maintenance.  It has been painted and it looks beautiful.

From the top of the lighthouse the views are unbelievable as you can imagine.  At times, dolphins and mantas pass by.

By visiting the website above mentioned you will be able to see what tours they will have next year. Also check the sunset tours. You will not go inside the lighthouses but will circle around them for those Kodak moments.  Tours book quickly and, of course, it also depends on the weather.  This weekend they have tours on Saturday, but they are already sold out.  For more info. you may call Red at 302-226-3866.  There is also a button on the website for donations.  Every little bit helps.

If you would like to see my other posts on these lighthouses, with photos, please visit my website at http://www.aboutmybeaches.com.

Have a great time this weekend.  The beginning of Fall!!

By the way, lots of locals on this tour.  We had fun!!

 

 

July 23rd, 2018

Friendships, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Restaurants, The Back Porch, a(Muse), Downtown Rehoboth Beach, Summer 2018, Chicken Wings, Delaware Beaches, Southern Delaware, SODE, Sussex County

Many years ago when I first came to the Delaware Beaches, Bethany Beach became my home for a long time.  My first friendships were made there.  Over the years life happens.  Happyness, marriages, children, grandchildren, divorces, and yes, even death have impacted our lives.  New friends have been made but you always remember those first ones.  We were so young then.

Deveraux is one of those friends that then moved out of town.  We still text or call during our birthdays in March, but we have not been together much.  This week-end she came to Rehoboth Beach.  Oh yes, this rainy weekend, so no beach time for us but plenty of activity, eating and catching up did happen.

Friday was going to be the best day so she arrived by lunch time.  Arriving in Downtown Rehoboth Beach, we were hungry.  Something light is what we wanted.  We decided on The Back Porch.  This restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in Downtown Rehoboth Beach.  Liked by many and in competition with plenty of other restaurants in town.  I had not been there in quite a few years.

Deveraux had the Seared Day Scallops, Thai Red Curry, and Sesame Noodles.  She loved this dish.

I had the Burrata Salad, which was light and very good.  Would have loved to have had it topped with scallops or something else but there were no changes to be made at The Back Porch.  I can see if the restaurant was crowded but with only a couple of people having lunch at 2 p.m. what would have been the big deal?  Go figure.

Happy Hour at my house with Annie visiting from Bethany Beach.  Deveraux had made marinated Chicken Wings…Gluten Free.  Easy fixing.  First cook the wings in oil in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Then make a marinade of Whiskey, brown sugar and mustard.  You can mix different kinds of mustards.  Then marinade for at least 24 hours.  Put them in the oven at 400 degrees for about half hour or so.  Check them and if you like them well done then you know what you need to do.

Friday really was a perfect day.  Our next stop was going to be a(Muse), located on Baltimore Ave. in Downtown Rehoboth Beach.  This restaurant is great for foodies.  If you are one of those people that want quantity vs. quality, then this might not be an eatery for you.  All we wanted was to graze.  A little bit of this or a little bit of that.

Two different types of Rose for us.  One dryer than the other.  Perfect.

People stuff squash blossoms.  This is what they would look like.

We share the Smoked Salmon Squash Blossoms.  Dill, croutons, and heirloom tomatoes.  Love, Love!

We also ordered a salad of Baby Kale, boquerones, pine nuts, golden raisins, lemon vinaigrette dressing and parmesan cheese.  Boquerones are originally from Spain.  I think they are delicious. They are fresh anchovies, marinated in vinegar.

Our next shareable was the Middleneck Clams…they had country ham, tomatillo, and green tomato.  I had a problem with this dish.  It look so beautiful and appetizing.  But, it really was too spicy and you could not taste the steamed clams.  And yes, we did tell our server.  Usually you would have liked to dip bread in this sauce, but not this time.  Honestly said, hopefully they took the hint.

The pasta with Maryland Crab, heirloom tomato, celery and fennel was a dish we really ennjoyed and wished we would have ordered the whole portion instead of the half.  You could have this with a salad and be pretty content.

Our sweet ending of 3 scoops of our choice of ice cream was truly excellent.  Made in house.  They were delicious.  One was a Brie Ice Cream, a Vanilla, and I cannot remember the other.

We took off for the Bandstand to listen to the last of the music.

And last but not least…..Funland to play Whack a Mole.  This is a tradition and a must.  Sorry Deveraux, but I had to put you on the blog.

And so our weekend did continue.  Sometimes there is no friend like an old friend.  These types of friendships are the comfort food of our relationships.

Talk to you later.

 

June 2nd, 2018

Fenwick Island Eats, Our Harvest, Delaware, Small Plates, Shareables, Large Plates, Bar, Gluten Free, Vegan, Southern Delaware, Restaurant, Review, Relaxed Dining, Casual Atmosphere, Delaware Beaches, Good Food? Will Travel!!

 

When we share a meal with friends, it is so much more than food (really?)…and, when we share it with girlfriends, and for purposes of this post, like the Swirl Girls, then it is really priceless.  Some of us have known each other for years while others, are getting to know each other very fast.  Here we were trying to figure out which table would be the best one.  Right after Memorial week-end we had the place to ourselves since we arrived early.  We did not want a big table.  We like to be cozy in order to get that conversation going.  The group had just gone to watch the Book Club, if you get my drift.

The majority of us had not yet dined at Our Harvest.  This restaurant located at 1106 Coastal Hwy., Fenwick Island, DE 19944, opened last year.  Every day, at 5:00 p.m., you can come in and experience a way of eating that has become so popular in the U. S.  Telephone is 302-581-0377.  No reservations are accepted.  The website is http://www.ourharvestde.com.

As the season progresses please have in mind when you would like to eat.  You have to have a plan because it gets crowded at the Delaware Beaches.  If you arrive and there is a wait, you could have cocktails, relaxing in their bar or in any of the very comfortable leather sofas.

There is an open concept kitchen.  You really can see how the kitchen is running.  I have to tell you that I probably should have come to try Our Harvest last year.  I love their sister restaurant, Liquid Assets, in Ocean City, MD, and I did not want to like this one more.  Guess what?  They are completely different.

The menu was presented and our server knew the menu well.  She explained the concept of eating small plates and shareables.  At that moment all we wanted was some wine.  Having watched the Book Club, wine was very much consumed by the characters.  It was time to relax.  The wine that you see at the table was from South Africa.  A full bodied Merlot called Immortal Hero.

At first you are a bit overwhelmed because you, actually, do not know how much to order for the table.  And, we all have our likes and dislikes.  We managed to do a good job and we were all very pleased with how the evening was progressing.  Could not believe Jane Fonda looks that good at 81… I know, I know.

We all decided to have a small plate to start our dining experience.  Every time I see the offering of a Grilled Caesar Salad, I order it.  Years ago I had it at a restaurant in Hagerstown, Maryland.  Since then, a few have gotten close at how good that one tasted so I wanted to see how this one would be, more so because it had Boquerones which are white anchovies.  They are very mild and usually they are marinated in vinegar.  It gives the salad a kick.  I will have to say that this Caesar was excellent.

Others ordered the Salt Roasted Beets & Two Cheeses.  Served on a wooden plank it had whipped ricotta, Stracciatella, local greens, black pepper and beet vinaigrette. Stracciatella cheese is produced from Italian buffalo milk in the southern Italian region of Apulia.  They use a stretching and shredding technique.  This particular small plate could have been shared by two people.

We ordered the Spring Harvest Flatbread.  A crispy crust filled with local peas, ramps, morel mushrooms, local asparagus, ricotta, gruyere mornay, green garlic pesto and crispy capers.  Ramps are a special type of wild onion, found in eastern Canada and U.S.  And a Gruyere mornay is a bechamel sauce that has Gruyere cheese added to it.  It was delicious but to tell you the truth we probably ordered too much.  Not that we did not eat it, by the way.

“Friendship is a delicious meal to be shared off one large plate.”  So, we decided to order our large plates.  This particular dish I truly loved.  It was called the Vegan Feast.  It was a whole wood fire roasted head of cauliflower, benne cashew crumb, and a lemon garlic vegan aioli.  At first we thought it was cheese but it was the benne cashew crumb. Cashews are lower in fat than other nuts. You can find online a lot of recipes for this vegan seed.

A very popular dish at Our Harvest is a whole Amish air chilled chicken…Arnold Palmer brine, (sweet tea and lemonade brine chicken, I believe), wood fired with lemon and rosemary.  Liquid Assets has an amazing chicken, as well.  Both chickens are completely different and delicious in more ways than one. We ordered TWO.

Needless to say, no need for dessert.  We decided that definitely we would be back.  Thanks to our server and also to the hostess that so graciously explained to me how the restaurant worked.

And so I end my post with this quote from John Lanchester….”Hospitality is central to the restaurant business, yet it’s a hard idea to define precisely.  Most, it involves being nice to people and making them feel welcome.  You notice it when it’s there, and you particularly notice it when it isn’t.  A single significant lapse in this area can be your dominant impression of an entire meal.”

Until next time….

March 8th, 2018

Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Orchid Extravaganza until March 25h, Events, Flowers, Gardens, Day Tripping

Finally the sun has come out.  Buds are on the trees, weeping willows are getting greener.  Some signs and hints that Spring is around the corner.  Well, you know, we had a few nor’easters to take care of but, hopefully, we should almost be finished with winter.

My young second cousin, Natalia, stayed with me for some time after the devastation of two hurricanes in Puerto Rico.  Right before she lef Southern Delaware the weather in Southern Delaware was gray and miserable, so I took her to Longwood Gardens.  Their Orchid Extravaganza is going on and it is gorgeous.  If you get a chance, it is there until March 25th.  The address is 1001 Longwood Rd., Kennett Square, PAQ 19348.

When you think about it, it is very accessible, only a couple of hours away.  You can spend the day.  The area offers so much, plus a little bit of a change of scenery.

Flowers have a positive effect on humans.  I try to fill my vases with flowers as much as I can.  When I see them I have a different disposition altogether.  Longwood Gardens open year round.  Please check their website, https://www.longwoodgardens.org

It is that time of the year, so if you are ready to get into the spirit of Easter, make a visit to these beautiful gardens.

Discover your own backyard.  Have a great day!

October 5th, 2017

Air Boat Rides, Gatorhunt Airboat Rides, Summer and Winter, Okeechobee, Florida, Summer 2017 Travel, South Florida in the Summer

Looking for a change of scenery from the beautiful Maryland and Delaware Beaches…..oh yes, it was time to see what was happening in South Florida at this time of the year; Summer 2017.  As you know the State of Florida does not empty out in the summer against popular belief.  And guess what?  Those 9 days in Palm Beach County were cooler than home.  While Southern Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland were taking in 100 degree weather, we were enjoying low 90’s and upper 80’s.  Less traffic, restaurants were open without long lines….Yes, traveling during the summer to that part of Florida was certainly very enjoyable.

Did I tell you that we did not plan much?  Winging it and seeing what adventures we could experience on a daily basis was part of the fun.

I have experienced going on an airboat through the Everglades but traveling with Dennis Smith on Gatorhunt Airboat Rides took it to a different level.

An Airboat is a flat bottom boat propelled by an aircraft-type propeller and it is powered by either an auto engine or aircraft engine.  Perfect for traveling in marshy and/or shallow waters.  We actually found Dennis online.  He is located in Okeechobee and from Singer Island, Florida it took us about an hour.  You have to travel west.  His tours are very private and affordable; 2 to 6 people.  At that time of the year it was $25 and we did leave him a tip because he delivered a great airboat tour for us.  He does have a fun personality, as well.  His telephone number is 863-763-7433.  You can check his website http://www.gatorhuntairboatrides.com. 

As you can see from the photo the airboat was small.  But what a personality Dennis had!! The first he said that the previous days he had been out and had not seen and gator sightings!! Oh, that should be our luck not to see any.  It was so quiet traveling through the marshes and so beautiful.  The actual boat is noisy.  You could use the headgear provided or just get used to the noise.

 

Then all of a sudden a sighting….a big one!!

He was checking out a small male coming into his territory.  Dennis was amazed that so quickly we were able to see one.  When it is hot, and it was, at times it is hard for them to come to the surface.

We continue looking for more creatures and we did find more.

There are plenty of airboat tours taking you through the marshes of South Florida, but this particular one was not commercialized whatsoever.  Dennis has been doing this for so many years. The water was like glass.

This next scene had me mesmerized.  It was like out of Africa.  The cattle crossing the river.  I was worried that the alligators would get them, but Dennis said that alligators know that they are too big for them. I believe Florida runs 12th in the nation in beef cow.  There are about 18,433 beef cattle ranches.  It is one of the oldest and largest in the nation. After Texas, it is the South’s main source of beef.

We continued on our journey and Dennis was going to so fast, then would slow down to give us more insight on this beautiful place.

Our tour was almost over when we noticed a little something taking a ride with us.

Totally worth it and totally unexpected.  Thanks to Dennis for making our last day in South Florida a memorable one.

 

June 25th, 2017

Dewey Eats, Two Seas, Restaurant, Rooftop Dining, Parking, Dewey Beach, Delaware

“One of the nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”  pavarotti

And when we stop and enjoy dinner with friends, the experience is priceless!!

Dewey Beach was somewhat quiet last night, if you can imagine.  During the day the yearly event of the Running of The Bulls might have deterred some to even have dinner in town.  Not us.  My friends, Debbie, Amantha, and Sharon had a destination in mind…..Two Seas.  This restaurant has been in Dewey for over 30 years.  It is family owned and run.  On any single night all owners are there, greeting you at the door.  There is no rush to get you in and out.  Friendly conversation, more so when one of my friends is a true “native”.

Rooftop Dining…so glad we were able to get a table because the views are the ocean on one side and the bay on the other.  The night was comfortably warm, not much of a breeze, though.  Perfect for eating al fresco.  Two Seas is located at 1300 Coastal Highway.  It is at the corner of Van Dyke Ave. and Coastal Highway.  Tel. 302-227-2610.  There is parking underneath, which not many restaurants have in the area.

I usually try to avoid going out on the week-ends….it gets hectic at the beach.  This week-end, Friday and Saturday with friends was a lot of fun.

Let’s get to the topic at hand…eating.  The Delaware Beaches are a dining destination.  Chefs are outdoing themselves with so many innovative dishes.  Last night our choices are always on the Menu.  So many years of preparing these dishes…they truly have perfected them.

They do run specials and last night’s Spicy Tuna & Avocado Maki Roll is something we shared while having some wine.

I had not realized it but my choice of the Sweet Onion Crusted Red Snapper is the same dish that I ordered in 2010.  It is delicious, oven baked served with Madeira sauce and caramelized onions that added a sweet touch.  Amantha and I had the same dish and both of us loved it.  This is a signature dish.

Debbie’s entree was the Cedar Plank Scottish Organic Salmon with potatoes and fresh vegetables….she said “All done to perfection, no complaints.” It was broiled with a maple glaze.

Sharon decided on the Two Seas Angel Pasta.  It was tossed with their own marinara freshly made with vine ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, and toasted garlic.  Finished with parmesan.  This dish can be enjoyed by itself or you may top it with shrimp, scallops or chicken.

No dessert was necessary; we were completely satisfied.

Please note that there is no elevator and you do have to go up the stairs.

Relax, you are at the beach!!

September 29th, 2016

Rehoboth Beach Eats! Blackwall Hitch, Restaurant, Review, Bar, Sunday Brunch, Live Music, Inside The Glass Dinner Series, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, Delaware Beaches, Welcome to the Beaches

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It is the perfect time of the year to try one of Rehoboth Beach’s restaurants that opened this year. The summer crowds are gone. Locals come out and not having to pay for parking is a blessing.

So nice to get together with Debbie and Jody….birthday girl was Debbie.  Arriving early at Blackwall Hitch located at 52 Rehoboth Avenue in Downtown Rehoboth Beach.  Tel. 302-226-0550.  Website? http://www.theblackwallhitch.com/rehoboth

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Blackwall Hitch looks amazing inside.  Plenty of tables, comfortable enough that you are not on top of each other.  It is so well appointed, very chic indeed.

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The expansive bar is on the other side.  From Wednesdays through Sunday live music begins at 9:30 p.m. until 12:30 p.m.  For more info. on who is playing, please visit http://www.theblackwallhitch.com/rehoboth/live-music

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Starting with The Blackwall Salad of mixed field greens, grape tomatoes, cukes, red onion and carrots, tossed with their signature house vinaigrette.  A simple salad with flavor and big enough to share.  I could have had a different starter but after eating my way through Portland, it was best to keep it low cal, if you get my drift.

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The Chicken Lemongrass Soup was loved by Debbie and Jody…roasted chicken, lemongrass, celery and onions topped with a fried veggie dumpling.

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People are talking about their Fish Tacos and our taco connoisseur, Jody, was the one to try them.  She said they were amazing, full of flavor.  Blackened Cajun Mahi-Mahi served in soft taco shells with spicy slaw, roasted corn salsa, avocado, feta cheese, pico de gallo and avocado sour cream, served with a side of herb pearled couscous.

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My Striped Bass was delicious, as well.  It was pan seared served with a chayote squash salad and lime butter sauce.

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Debbie’s Salmon Kale Salad was colorful…Grilled Atlantic Salmon, basil oil and kale salad with roasted red beets, mango, and candied walnuts tossed in their poppyseed lemon vinaigrette.

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No dessert was necessary even though there was plenty of temptation like Sminth Island Cake, Chilled Key Lime Panna Cotta, Monkey Bread, Chocolate Flourless Torte, Pineapple Upside Down Skillet Cake, Chocolate Truffles and more.  But we were so good.  Only coffee and tea, please.

Our server was attentive, more than attentive if I should say so.  It is feast or famine, some don’t care and others care too much.

Every Sunday there is brunch beginning at 10 a.m.  For more info. please visit http://www.theblackwallhitch.com/rehoboth/sunday-brunch

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Wednesday, October 5th Blackwall Hitch Presents – Inside The Glass.  This is their inaugural event of Dinner Series.  These dinners will take place the first Wednesday of the month and will feature a specially crafted chef’s dinner.  Multi-course dinners will be paired with drinks.  4 p.m. until 10 p.m.  Reservations are recommended.  This first dinner will feature a 4-course craft beer dinner menu.  Please check their Facebook Page for more information.

Blackwall Hitch offers other menus as well:  Gluten Free Menu, Kids Menu, Happy Hour Menu, Late Night Menu…just check their website above mentioned and click Menu.

So what can I say about our dining experience?  We loved the atmosphere, and the food was very good.  I had been told that it was pricey, but we found that it was a la par to all other restaurants in Rehoboth Beach at that level.

Dinner is even better when we eat together, catching up is always priceless with Jody and Debbie.

September 27th, 2016

Travel 2016, Portland, Oregon, Ram’s Head Bar, Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood, A National Historic Place

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This has been my year for traveling.  But you know what?  “Do me a favor…Stand up, walk to wherever the nearest window is, and just look outside.  You may not know this, but there’s an entire planet-worth of summers, friends, sunsets, street lamps, songs, late nights, great films, and night skies waiting for you.  Your life is as amazing as you want it to be, but first, you have to let it be that way.”  chad sugg

I took off for Portland, Oregon, to visit a friend that I had not seen since 1973.  We had so much fun.  The weather was pretty good in Portland.  I had no idea that it does not snow.  Maybe once or twice through the years.  What they do have for a winter is a day like we have had today at the Delaware Beaches…..grey and wet.  They don’t even get thunderstorms.  It is a drizzle.  That is probably why their soil is fertile and the wine is delish.

Arriving in Portland the first thing that caught my eye from the airplane was Mt. Hood. Towards the end of my stay we decided to go up to the mountain to check out Timberline Lodge.  The lodge was built in 1937.  Some of the scenes of the movie The Shining were filmed here.  They used aerial shots of the Timberline Lodge as part of its opening scene and also some other shots outside of the fictional Overlook Hotel.

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The inspiration for the Lodge was the mountain.  The architects used 3 themes to illustrate the regional heritage: hand-hewn timbers and hand-crafted furnishings to pay tribute to early pioneers, carved wood and wrought  iron designs to capture the Indian spirit, and carvings of animals and paintings of wildflowers to represent wildlife native to Mt. Hood.

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The timbers used were huge.  The lodge had the fire going.  It was rainy and cold.  Plenty of hikers last week.  We were hungry and thirsty so we decided to try the Ram’s Head Bar which is uniquely located on the second floor circular balcony.

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We ordered some drinks.  I decided to try Grady’s Spill…It is the short glass on the photo.  “It’s advocaat sir, it does tend to stain. I’ll just set my Bourbon and Advocaat down…right here”…from Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Shining” Eastside Distilling egg nog advocaat liqueur, Jack Daniels, angostura bitters; served on the rocks with nutmeg, cinnamon and hazelnuts.  It really tasted like an egg nog.  It was good!!

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And speaking of hazelnuts, Oregon is the largest producer of hazelnuts.  We ordered Smoked Hazelnuts and Charcuterie.

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A delicious Puree of Mushroom Soup with smoked hazelnuts, and green onions, and a Fire Roasted Tomato Soup with a rosemary crouton, and olive oil garnish.

The weather was conducive for a warm and comforting soup.  But this was just a tasting.  A dinner reservation was waiting in Portland where chefs are preparing some amazing dishes.  Talk to you later.

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