Highway 101

Ever since Steve and I moved here, we’ve been super pumped to check out the coast. We had heard from various people that if you can manage to catch a clear, sunny day on the coast to just drop everything and head out!

And that’s what we did.

Now, I’m not sure if it’s the summer air, or the West coast mentality creeping into our brains, but lately we’ve taken to exploring with no directions, and no plan. It’s amazing the things you can randomly run into!

We spent the whole day slowly making our way north on Highway 101, stopping at scenic overlooks, checking out beaches, and just taking in the beauty of the coastline.

As we drove higher we couldn’t get over some of the incredible views!

We finally made our way to Cannon Beach – an adorable little town with lots of little shops, restaurants, and galleries. The beach itself was incredible – long stretches of sand and a skyline that was dominated by a huge, mossy rock formation.

Of course we couldn’t resist taking about a million pictures – the light was incredible.

We made our way up to Seaside where we ate at this tiny restaurant called “Maggie’s on the Prom“. Maggie’s was one of the few oceanside restaurants in town, and we later discovered that the Executive chef, Jason Alldrin, was an Iron Chef winner. Score! Needless to say, the food was amazing and it was a perfect end to our Sunday drive up the coast!

Restaurant Review: “The Owl House”

Friday nights have inadvertently become our ‘eat out’ night.

I say ‘inadvertently’ because usually we go through the week with really great intentions of creating well planned, healthy dinners. However, Friday rolls around and we both return from an extremely long day of work, so hungry that we are googly-eyed and unable to form a sentence and any intention of cooking at home goes straight out the window.

So, in order to make ourselves feel better, we decided to just go with it and make it an official date night. And we’ve run across some pretty great restaurants in the process!

Last Friday we finally took a trip to a place that I’ve been dying to try called “The Owl House“. Located at 75 Marshall Street in Rochester NY,  “The Owl House” is known for it’s New American cuisine and it’s creative use of locally grown ingredients. It also specializes in vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes (which, I have to say, are still a bit hard to come by in Rochester, NY).

Since the weather was nice, Steve and I opted to sit outside and enjoy the breeze. The outdoor dining space was definitely more informal than the indoor seating – your typical cast iron umbrella tables and chairs. The whole area was fenced in and edged with the beginnings a beautiful flower and herb garden (love seeing home-grown herbs at a restaurant!).

Steve and I started with some of their ‘snacks’ and drinks. I ordered a glass of Reisling and some of their house made pickles, while Steve ordered a Strawberry Lager and their smoked Moroccan Jerky. We also opted to split an order of their Rosemary and Cracked Pepper Fries. 

One thing that we noticed almost immediately was how fresh everything was. And I mean everything. Even the ketchup served with the french fries was distinctly homemade. The pickles (an assortment of pickled vegetables) were crunchy with just a little kick. And the jerky was definitely not your typical packaged leather, but rather bite-sized pieces of smoky, salty meat that was still tender.

Steve and I cheerfully inhaled everything, and then looked up in surprise as the waitress brought out our sandwiches that we had apparently ordered before we became engrossed in our appetizers.

My sandwich selection was the “Matty’s Mustache”, which consisted of warm brie melted over apple, pear,  red onion, and baby arugula, sandwiched between two pieces of lightly grilled sourdough bread spread with a house made dijon.

I usually find myself disappointed in sandwiches – the bread is too hard, or too soggy. The cheese is rubbery from being reheated, the greens are limp and wilted. (My mom tells me that packing my school lunches was a nightmare!) But THIS sandwich was the exception in every way. It was light, incredibly fresh, and each ingredient was able to shine through on it’s own. The whole grain mustard in the dijon gave a nice little kick to the otherwise mellow brie.

All in all: sandwich success!!

The waitress returned to check in and I immediately asked for the dessert menu. Steve, still struggling to finish his order, looked up at me with his classic “I can’t believe you are still eating” face. You’d think after three years he’d realize that not having dessert is simply not an option.

Since the whole meal was on the lighter side of things, I went with their Coconut Strawberry Jam Bar, which was a delicate shortbread crust topped with generously spread strawberry jam, toasted coconut, and a dollop of mint whipped cream. 

This dessert definitely reminded me of one of those ‘made from scratch bars’ that you would find at your grandmother’s house. Simple goodness that was made a little more exciting by the mint in the whipped cream.

Overall, definitely one of the best meals I’ve had in a looong time!

If you haven’t yet been there, I highly recommend making a trip out to The Owl House your number one priority this week!