In April of 1964 my buddies and I went to Ocean Shores for Spring Break from Clover Park High School in Lakewood. The rumor was that there were girls all over the place at the beach just looking to meet upstanding fellows like us. As rumors go, it went. It must have been some other beach.
With time on our hands, we illegally dug clams and sold them . . . drank beer . . . had a disagreement with our friend who had the only car and he abandoned us . . . attended a big bonfire party with guys from Stadium High School . . . borrowed someone's car during the party and drove up and down the beach doing god knows what with several cases of beer in the back seat . . . made friends with the locals and played basketball at a school gym . . . had the opportunity to talk to what might have been a county sheriff . . . and then blew all our money for a fancy dinner in the Ginny Simms Restaurant at the Ocean Shores Inn. Ginny Simms was not there, or if she was, she didn't seek us out. Our friend with the car returned the next morning and we all came back home.
Everything considered my trip this April with Peg was less hectic, but more relaxing . . . and yet . . . more exciting.
This trip started off on the wrong foot, however. Our plans were to have lunch on the way at Clarks Restaurant in Cosmopolis. We drove through Cosmopolis three times and couldn't find the place. Cosmopolis is not very big. We later led The Search for the Fabulous Lost Restaurant of Cosmopolis and found it in Arctic, Washington.
We were hungry so we stopped at Duffy's in Aberdeen. We've driven by Duffy's signs for decades, but this was or first time for stopping. The service was excellent. The clam chowder was right up there with the best chowders we had on our trip. I ordered the Razor clam fritter and Peg ordered smelt. In the Pacific Northwest you can never been sure if your favorite foods will always be available, so you grab them when you can. This is not always a good policy. The clam fritter was bland and unexciting. Peg's smelt was hit and miss. I think they were frozen and then fried up. The big ones tasted watery, but the small ones were good. We won't eat again at Duffy's for decades.
The second day in town we met client Eddie Lewis at the Quinault Beach Resort and Casino. Again we had excellent chowder, but the service was lacking, which is strange because we stayed there before and dined there numerous times and always had good service. I had eaten half my French dip sandwich before realizing that there was no horseradish on or with the sandwich. After I called attention to the miss-step a small bowl of horseradish was brought out for me, but I was out half a sandwich. They should have brought me another half.
Eddie's company is providing the dump boxes for demolition and construction clean up and recycling. It looks like the casino is building a new parking lot and expanding the casino, but perhaps, not the hotel.
We usually catch a movie while in town. During the afternoon we can watch a first run film with four or five other people. This time around we saw "Boss Baby" after an inexpensive Vietnamese lunch at Viet Hoa and then drove approximately two minutes to the theater. Many locals recommend Viet Hoa for Asian food and fresh vegetables.
We usually dine at least once at the Home Port when we visit Ocean Shores for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Competition is rough in Ocean Shores. If you don't make a good clam chowder, then perhaps you shouldn't be offering it. Home Port had the best on this trip. Here is how five dining establishments compared in our voting for best chowder. Please, note that ALL were good:
#1 - Home Port
#2 - Duffy's
#3 - Emily's
#4 - Galway Bay
#5 - Green Lantern
Home Port was #1, so it's ironic that the Home Port also produced the only dish we sent back. I ordered the razor clams for lunch. When they were served the coating was gooey. Gooey is not good, unless you're a duck in the Pacific Northwest. The clams had been grilled. It's my experience that a grill doesn't get hot enough to produce crispy hash browns, so I think it probably was not hot enough to crisp up the coating on the razor clams. Personally, I would use a frying pan on a gas stove with the flame turned way up to give enough heat to crisp the coating on both sides without over-cooking the razor clams, which can become tough and chewy. The Home Port replaced my razor clams with the same results as the first time. A shame. We'll certainly go back, but not for razor clams.
I saw the bakery sign and did a U-turn. This place is kitty-corner from the Shilo Inn . . . and a good place to visit
It was a slow day and so the baker left early, but wrapped items could be purchased with the cashier that oversees both the bakery and the consignment shop. Peg bought a combination scarf and hoody knitted with a multi-colored yarn.
We also bought a small loaf of banana bread. We ate about half the loaf while we were in Ocean Shores and the other half back in Tacoma over a few days. It stayed fresh and tasty all that while. It was a great bargain.
Also in the shop are photographs of the ocean/beach, eagles, and other natural sights.
I took time to read the lunch and breakfast menu from the bakery as well.
The bakery opens at eight in the morning. I was there. I ordered the biscuits and gravy with two sausage patties. I was surprised. I enjoyed the texture of the biscuit, which is unusual. I'm very picky. Doman family members bake great biscuits.
The sausage gravy was excellent. As I read the morning paper (Seattle Times), did the cross word puzzle, laughed at the comics and the editorials, and scowled at the latest executive orders, I finished off all traces for gravy, biscuit, sausage . . . leaving only an orange peel behind.
I took a biscuit back to the condo for Peg. Just sitting around for an hour reduced the biscuit to a state of stale bread. A good biscuit should hold up for days . . . just add a little more butter to it.
The weather constantly changes in Ocean Shores. It will even change from the time you leave your condo, walk across the dunes and set foot on the beach. We always bring along a jacket or two. We also recommend visiting the Anchor Avenue Thrift Store, just off the main road on Anchor Avenue.
We went to the thrift store three times resulting in: six shirts for me, four shirts for Peg, a soft business/casual jacket along with a straw hat to keep the occasional sun off her head for Peg . . . plus a Cabela's hoody and a pile of books. Some of the shirts were only .80 each. I'm always surprised to find any shirts in my size and to find them for "Unpriced Items Eight a Ten Dollars" is a miracle. You can't beat the prices.
I wish there was a corner bakery in Tacoma, so I really appreciate the little bakery in Ocean Shores. I wanted to try the jalapeņo/cheese bread, but Peg can't stand the heat and the loaf was too much for me. The did have cookies and cinnamon rolls, too.
We went there for lunch one day and tried the split pea soup, but it was disappointing. There was no ham in it, which turned me off immediately. The other cook mentioned that she had just put another pot on. It took some extra time to get to our table and then we found it hot on top and cold in the middle. Microwave, again.
Friday afternoon Peg and I drove to Copalis where we met The Green Lantern and Moby Dic. The Green Lantern is a pub and Moby Dic was a white 1937 Buick Roadmaster. The food was so good I returned by myself for my last breakfast before leaving for Tacoma.
Friday night was our visitation to Galway Bay for traditional Irish food with traditional Irish music by Oliver Mulholland. Oliver performs mostly at the Irish pubs and bars in the Greater Seattle area. He is from County Derry and has an off-hand kind of humor. We liked him. Any trip to Ocean Shores means a visit to Galway Bay.