Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese FactoryOne of the places we went on our trip to Oregon was the Tillamook Cheese Factory. You may not know this about me, but I freaking love cheese1!

When we first got to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, we could not believe how busy it was. The parking lot, which is huge, it was jam packed. When we got inside, we were overwhelmed by the number of people in this factory. The lineup for cheese tastings was probably a good 45 minutes to an hour wait, so we decided to skip the tasting the cheese and go right to buying the cheese, because pretty much every restaurant in Oregon uses Tillamook cheese, which they proudly note on their menus, so we had already tried lots of Tillamook cheese and we knew it was freaking delicious.

Well, before we actually bought the cheese, we checked out the inner workings of the factory, which is always cool for a food nerd like me:

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Then we went on to the purchasing! Jeff and Madeline decided to get some Tillamook ice cream, while Nancy, Thomas and I went for the cheese. Sadly, they were all out of cheese curds, which Nancy had been looking forward to all trip2! She couldn’t really buy cheese to bring back on the plane, so she stuck to buying less perishable items that she could bring back to Toronto as gifts. I, however, bought this:

Tillamook cheese

And this:

Tillamook cheese

I had some of the garlic chili cheddar last night after Bootcamp. It was to die for! I think I may need to make more trips to Tillamook!

As we were leaving, we noticed there was a wine tasting tent outside. Far be it from us to turn down a wine tasting, so we decided to check it out. And, would you believe, not only did they have wine for tasting, but they also had little cubes of Tillamook cheese! So all those suckers inside the factory lined up for hours for a cube of cheese be we got one after a 1 minute wait in the wine line up. Win!

  1. My friend Patrice affectionately refers to the two of us as “cheese monsters.” []
  2. Just an excuse to have to go back though, right? []

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The Last Two Days In Oregon

Yesterday we decided to spent on the coast, because the coast is so freaking beautiful. First, we drove out to the Tillamook Cheese Factory, where we got to see how cheese is made, then Jeff & Madeline enjoyed some delicious Tillamook ice cream and I bought my bodyweight in cheese. We were amazed by how many people there were there – we didn’t even bother to stand in the line up for the cheese tasting, because it was ridiculously long and since every restaurant in Oregon seems to use Tillamook cheese, we’d tried enough of it to know that it’s freaking delicious! Next we went for lunch at a lovely restaurant on the water – I can’t remember the name of it, but the food was good and the view was awesome. Then it was off to the beach so Madeline could dip her toe in the ocean. By which I mean she could run and jump in the freezing cold waves for about an hour. It was so freaking cold that I had to wrap myself in towels to keep warm, but she was happy as a clam running through the water! On our way back from the coast, we decided to stop in downtown Portland so that we could (a) get espresso at Powell’s Bookstore,since it was the best espresso we’d had on our entire trip, and (b) have more Voodoo Doughnuts. As we started to head out of town, the vents of our rental car started to spew smoke and the car started chugging, so we had to pull off the road and call the rental car company. So boo to the car itself – a Nissan Versa – but kudos to the rental car company – Hertz – who sent a cab to pick us up and take us to our hotel, and sent a tow truck to pick up the car, and then brought us a new car to our hotel right away. Not exactly how we wanted to spend our evening, but at least they managed to get us home safely in pretty short order.

Today’s adventures started with a trip to see Multnomah Falls where we not only got to see the cool waterfall1, but they also happened to be having a kids’ festival. They had stations set up where kids could learn about things like the salmon lifecycle, how long different things take to biodegrade, and what different animal tracks look like. Kids got a stamp for every station they went to and, once they collected all their stamps, they got a free ice cream cone! Madeline, of course, loved all the learning about nature and the ice cream, but my favourite part was watching the parents. There was one woman who walked up to the salmon lifecycle exhibit and proceeded to tell her kids, “This is the salmon eggs, this is when it is a tadpole, this is when its a minnow and this is when it’s a full grown salmon.” WTF? At another station, the kids had to reach into a box, feel what was inside and try to guess what the item inside was. When the box was opened, they could see what it was and there was also a sign inside that described a bit about it. One of the items was really hard to guess and when the person running the exhibit opened the box, which contained a very large vertebra but had a sign that said, “Box turtle shell,” this same mother from the previous booth exclaimed, “A box turtle shell!” Now, a vertebra looks *nothing* like a turtle shell. The person running the exhibit proceeded to show the kids the vertebra, explaining what a vertebra is, how the spinal cord runs through the centre of it, etc. About a minute after the exhibitor finished her spiel about the vertebra, the mother exclaimed, “That’s not a box turtle shell?” At least she was trying harder than the next mother who came along and proceeded to open all the boxes, revealing what was inside them, completing ignoring the protest of the women running the exhibit who kept saying, “Don’t open them! The kids are supposed to feel inside the boxes and guess what’s in them! No!” Le sigh.

After the falls, we headed in to the town of Hood River, where we had lunch at a brew pub and where I also took this epic planking photo:

planking

What’s so awesome, of course, is that even though I’m planking on the rock, there’s a funny perspective that makes it look like I’m falling into the water right in front of a sign that says not to go in the water! We then celebrated this with a delicious espresso from Doppio, which turned out to have espresso that rivalled the deliciousness of the espresso at Powell’s Bookstore.

Next, since we were already in the Columbia Gorge, we figured why not check out a couple of wineries? We tried to go to the Mount Hood Winery, but it was closed for a wedding, so instead did wine tastings at Viento and Wy’east. The wines at Viento were OK, but I didn’t love them and they were somewhat overpriced, given that I know wine prices in the  US are generally much cheaper than in BC. I liked the wines at Wy’east – which is the Native American name for Mount Hood, in case you were wondering2 – much better and even bought a bottle of their Syrah, which has a berry-ish taste to start and then a peppery taste to finish! Nancy & Jeff bought a bottle of their Cloud Cap Select, a port-like dessert wine which smelled terrible, tasted great and then tasted even more amazing when you drank it along with some chocolate! Because just think of the antioxidants you’ll get from drinking red wine and eating dark chocolate!

By this point, I was pretty drunk, because we’d done two wine tasting with six wines each – that’s *twelve* wines! Plus, all the wineries were now closed. So we headed back to the hotel, where Jeff & Madeline went swimming while Nancy & I did a quick workout. Then it was off to our favourite Mexican restaurant – a little place near our hotel called El Sombrero. So. Freaking. Delicious. After that, a little dip in the hot tub to end our day!

  1. I don’t have any photos to share at the moment, because my camera batteries died, my iPhone camera sucks and so all the photos are on Jeff’s good camera but he’s asleep and I forgot to get the photos off his camera before he went to sleep []
  2. We were wondering, so we asked! []