Posts Tagged With: food

I Scream

Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos.  -Don Kardong

 

Perfect Bowl of Strawberry from Zinger’s Homemade Ice Cream

There’s barely been a day this summer that I’ve not enjoyed a scoop or two of the world’s finest culinary invention.  I’ve been on the road three months and my ice cream indulgence is going to catch up to me pretty soon.  In one shop in Klamath, CA the scooper asked if I was sure I wanted two scoops.  I just narrowed my eyelids and she understood to get her arm down in that barrel of cookies and cream and start digging.  Ice cream makes me happy.  Memories of my grandfather having a bowl of premium vanilla after supper every night come to mind.  My dad and I sneaking off to Carberry’s in Cocoa Beach, Florida for a scoop of one of his rotating favorites and always mint chocolate chip for me is another good one.  We’d scoff at generic Baskin Robbins across the street.  I’m an expert at finding the best in any town or village.  It’s all about the scoopers, the cones, the chalkboard out front, the aroma.  I just know.

Zinger’s Homemade Ice Cream in Seaside, Oregon definitely made the cut.  Two high school aged girls were manning the front (good sign) and

Mike Exinger with the perfect scoop.

Mike Exinger, CFO Cone Filling Officer, was backstage.  Mike and his wife are in their 12th season and make 40-50 gallons of homemade ice cream a week.  They stick to the mainstream crowd pleasing flavors.  Aztec chocolate is as “kinky” as they get.  They make a mean caramel cashew and sell more Oreo ice cream than any other.  Mike told me I was lazy for asking the most popular flavor I loved him immediately.

All Your Favorites

After working various jobs in radio and then as director of marketing research at a firm in Idaho, Mike and his wife wanted to change course and work for themselves.  They looked at what they really wanted at this stage in life and packed up for Seaside, Oregon, a place they’d vacationed many times.  Their research revealed ice cream is the #1 comfort food for men and women so they converted a shop on Broadway into Zinger’s Homemade Ice Cream.  They’re open 7 days a week, 8 months out of the year.  He does admit his waist expanded a little over the years-  an unavoidable consequence of the ice cream game. Their season is winding down and I suggest stopping by before it comes to an end on October 1st.

The thing that makes their ice cream so special is that it’s made fresh daily and has an 18% butter/fat content with no artificial flavors.  It rolls out of the tub with little effort but isn’t too soft.  It stays firmly on the cone and melts at the perfect pace.  You don’t have to race it to the edge of the cone.  A cone from Zinger’s is the perfect companion for watching the sun set on the Pacific.  Lick at your leisure.

Ice Cream: A Self Portrait

MIKE ZINGER’S RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS:

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO: Mike doesn’t really think of “work” and “happy” in the same sentence.  It makes him happy, though, that people come in and say they like his ice cream.  He likes seeing the same people year after year.  “Ice cream makes people happy.  It’s hard not to have fun with that.”

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT SEASIDE, OREGON: It’s a walkabout tourist town and always has been.  It’s an authentic town that hasn’t changed very much over the years.  Plus, the climate is unbeatable.  The weather is perfect.

WHAT WOULD MAKE YOU HAPPY: Always looking for the next passion and continuing to progress.

The Perfect Pacific Coast Sunset

**MY PICKS FOR DRIVING UP HIGHWAY 101 ALONG THE OREGON COAST**

*COOS BAY:  Hit the sand dunes, the beautiful beaches, do some crabbing, and take a surf lesson.

The Agatha Christie Room at Sylvia Beach Hotel

*NEWPORT: 90 miles to the north on 101.  I had fish tacos at Cafe Stephanie and definitely recommend this spot.  Don’t dally though, this is a spot to eat and move on.  Walk on the beach a little and definitely check out Sylvia Beach Hotel— a creatively designed inn with rooms dedicated to famous authors  The Hemingway RoomThe Agatha Christie RoomThe Tolkien Room.  Really fun.  Paradise for a nerd like me.

*LINCOLN CITY: Just 30 minutes up the road is a breathtakingly beautiful place, but my favorite thing about it is their Glass Floats.  World renowned glassblowers make hundreds of unique glass blown balls called “Floats” and from October to March “Float Ferries” hide them on Lincoln City’s shoreline for lucky people to find.  The Float Fairies’ identities are concealed and their floater  hiding  techniques are an artform all their own.

Lincoln City Glass Float

*TILLAMOOK: Keep heading north on 101 with a quick stop at Tillamook Cheese Factory.  Sample Tillamook cheese and ice cream to your heart’s content.  The crowds are thick during the height of the season but worth a stop.

*CANNON BEACH: About an hour north you’ll hit one of my favorite places in the world, Canon Beach.  Home of Hay Stack Rock, one of the largest monoliths in the world.  There’s always a guide there to tell you about Hay Stack and the tide pools surrounding its base.  Stick around for the night and build a little campfire on the beach.

*SEASIDE: End up in Seaside, a throwback of a beach town.  There’s a carousel, bumper cars, a tilt-a-whirl, and of course Zinger’s Homemade Ice Cream.  Make sure to hit one of my favorite book stores while you’re there, Beach Books.  Karen will help you find the perfect title for your visit.

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Categories: People on The Stretch | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Foul Tasting

Beautiful View

I was traveling up California’s beautiful coastline and wanted to have a nice dinner with a beautiful view.  I didn’t make a reservation because so far it’s been easy to slide in at the bar for dinner—it’s low maintenance, there are usually interesting people to chat with, and locals know the best things on the menu and have the inside scoop on the town.

I stopped at the first spot recommended— stunning.  Oceanside.  A gorgeous drive up.  Really pretty.  They had valet service which seemed a little over the top since the place is so small.  I just self parked and took the flights and flights of stairs up to the entrance.

I passed a couple about my parents’ age on the way up who were positively glowing.  They commented on the beautiful night, the amazing view, and their delicious meal.  They were carrying two paper bags which I assumed were full of pastries for breakfast.  He had on pants and a golf shirt and she had on capri pants with walking shoes.

After the long hike up, I made my way to the maitre d’s stand.  As I approached I watched her eyes start at my feet, work their way up my body, and back down again.

The outfit I was wearing could be described as bohemian chic— on a good day.  I was casual and had just come from a spa.   Skinny olive colored pants, black top, hooded sweater, open toe sandals, hair in a bun.  I suppose, to the untrained eye, my outfit could be interpreted as thrown together, haphazard, slightly wrinkled.  It’s fair to say that I’d not spent a ton of time primping for dinner.  But, the judgemental body scan I got from this maitre d woman, whose own ensemble was not far from thrown together, I did not deserve.

“Do you have room for one for dinner?” I asked, noticing my voice sounded less confident than I wished.

Maitre d glanced to someone to my left.   She paused.  I got the feeling she was summoning security.

“Let me show you the menu, first.”  She pulled the bi-fold paper out, splayed it in front of me, and pressed out the crease.  “The

There isn’t a bad view along CA Hwy 1.

dishes on the left are appetizers and they’re all $50.  On the right are our entrees and they’re $75.”

I tilted my head to the left, looked her in the eye, and waited to see what she would say next.  I think she was waiting for me to say something.  I was speechless.  I’ve never been shown a menu or  given the prices of the items before I was seated at my table.

Turns out, I’ve never known what it feels to be unwelcome.

Truth be told, I didn’t want to spend $125, or more, on dinner.  But, if I did I could.  Was I dressed to the nines?  No.  Did I look horrendously out of place?  No.

“Perhaps I can show you to our bar?”

“No, thank you.  I think I’ll try another place.”  Again, with the soft sounding voice.  Surprising mostly myself that I didn’t have much more to say to this woman.

“But, you’ve come all this way and you don’t even want to see it?”

“No, thank you.  I’ve seen enough.”

Here’s the thing…

1. People are treated like this all of the time.  It’s not at all fair, it’s an awful business model, and it’s life.  There was a time

Steve and Machelle

when I would have stayed to prove some mythical point.  But, had I done so I would’ve only been supporting a place that is undoubtedly unfair to people.  Plus, bitter tastes terrible.

2. If I’d stayed I wouldn’t have found Big Sur Bakery where I ordered the world’s best crab cake and roasted vegetable salad at a fraction of the cost.  Plus a perfect glass of Sauvignon Blanc AND a butterscotch ice cram pie.  You read that right— butterscotch ICE CREAM pie.

3. If I’d stayed I wouldn’t have met an academy award-winning actor, whom I admire,  and his lady friend.  He too was rocking a bohemian chic look.  So was she.  I wondered if they were also discouraged from the same restaurant.

4. If I’d stayed I never would have met Steve and Machelle who invited me to join them at their table.  Steve’s a cowboy and  businessman.  He asked if I could saddle a horse.  I said yes.  So, he invited me to his ranch in Kansas where he’ll introduce me to a bevy of cowboys.  To that I say, “Giddy up.”

Categories: People on The Stretch, Stays on The Strech | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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