Where do I begin? Was it the fact that the only flight available left at 6 am from an airport 35 miles away? Was it the maniacs on the road driving 90 miles an hour at 4 in the morning? Or was it the truck drivers who couldn’t stay in their lanes? Maybe it was the 300 year old DC9 with sealed up ashtrays that I don’t think were emptied before they were sealed.
I love air travel.
Since we had spent so much time hiking along the coast, it was only natural that we developed a craving for seafood. Our evening quest was to find a seafood restaurant that also provided a good sunset view. We found just the spot in Bandon, Oregon. We pulled into Bandon at the perfect sunset photo time. While hunting for the best seafood restaurant, I discovered a small pier that presented a great setting for pictures. We then found the Wheelhouse Restaurant where we had some yummy clam chowder and dungeness crab sautee.
After a wonderful breakfast at Hotel Carter (fresh herb frittata, fresh fruit), we continued our journey up the west coast to Floras Lake, Oregon. We checked in to the Floras Lake Guest House, a beautiful property right on Floras Lake which also provided convenient access to the ocean beaches. From here, we were able to travel to a number of hiking trails leading to fantastic coastal views. Our first hike was out to Blacklock Point for an elevated view of the ocean and Oregon shoreline. The view was great, but it was difficult standing upright – the wind was tremendously strong. I think the wind is as much an attraction in this area as the scenery. The owner of the guest house also runs a kite surfing shop and training facility at the lake where you can often see a number of kite surfers in action.
If you make it to this area, I would highly recommend staying at this guest house. The rooms are spacious and homey, the breakfasts are tasty and healthy (except for the sticky buns and french toast), and the hosts are gracious and fun to talk to. The grounds of the guest house are beautifully landscaped and the view of the lake is spectacular.
We reached our final destination for the day – Eureka – around 6pm and checked into the beautiful, Victorian-styled Hotel Carter. After a quick tour of the hotel, we dropped off our bags, made a dinner reservation for 8:30pm and started a walking tour of Eureka. 20 minutes later, we were back at the hotel – not much to see in Eureka once you’ve found the 6 restored Victorian homes and the old town shops that close at 5pm. Fortunately, we were able to move our dinner reservation up an hour. With dinner at Hotel Carter, we experienced the most pleasant surprise of the entire trip. The restaurant at this hotel is worth the trip to Eureka even though there isn’t much else to see. We took advantage of the chef’s tasting menu and wine pairing, which treated us to the best meal of the whole trip (so far). Since I know you’re going to ask, here’s the menu:
- Truffled Veloute of Summer White Corn with Avocado and Cilantro
- Sonoma Valley Foie Gras with Fruit Gelee, Toasted Brioche and Saba
- Country-Style Pork and Veal Pate – A Terrine of Pork, Veal, Pistachios, and Cognac with a Pickled Vegetable Relish
- Grouper with Israeli Melon Salsa (not on the menu, so the description isn’t as frou-frou as the other entries 🙂 ).
- Pickled Ginger and Scallop Mousse Stuffed Dover Sole with Yukon Gold Potato Cake, Baby Bok Choy and Lime, Ginger Beurre Blanc
- Brioche Ravioli with Dark Chocolate Filling and Brandy Mint Creme Sauce
While enjoying this delightful feast, we discovered that the owner of the hotel – Mark Carter – was dining with a friend at the table next to us. We heard a gasp of surprise from his friend and realized that Mr. Carter had brought out a 1966 Chateau Latour Pauillac (which goes for about $750 a bottle right now). We couldn’t help but watch the poor waiter (who works for Mr. Carter, of course) make a valiant effort to coax the cork out of this venerable bottle of wine. Even the finest sommelier would have been nervous with this task. Mr. Carter was very gracious in providing advice to the waiter and after a few tense minutes, the bottle was open and decanted. After we finished our dessert, Mr. Carter’s friend asked the waiter to pour a taste of the LaTour for us!! He said that since we had witnessed the fanfare of the uncorking, we ought to have a taste. Quite a generous treat and it lived up to all expectations. I have a feeling that we won’t be topping this experience during the rest of the vacation.