What’s for dinner?

The chef's signature pork chop at the Pacific Way Café and Bakery is super juicy and delicious.

I was joking around with a friend how I live to eat out.

“We don’t take vacations. We don’t have a boat. We don’t play golf,” I said. “Food is our recreation.”

Most nights I like to wind down after a hard day by cooking Mr. Sax and myself a nice dinner. After 30 years of marriage I like to say my husband married me for my cooking and I’m not lying when I say my culinary creations are as good as almost anything we could eat out. I love playing with local ingredients, including fresh seafood, which is abundant and very good in these parts.

We like to go out for dinner about once a week. On occasion, instead of going out, I take a break from cooking by getting take out. Right now my favorite meal to have at home that I didn’t have to cook is from Avenue Q Pizza in Seaside. Thanks to The Mouth, the food writer whose discoveries and thumbs up or thumbs down appear in Coast Weekend, quite a few of my friends have become fans of this spot. In my humble opinion, Avenue Q has the best thin crust pizza on the North Coast. The crust is so amazing, I would just eat the crust. Angelina’s does a good thick crust pizza, and I’ve only heard good things about the deep-dish pizza they’re doing in Cannon Beach at Surfcrest Market in Tolovana Park, but right now Avenue Q Pizza is rockin’ it for me. Luckily, it’s close to home.

In my immediate neighborhood, the Osprey Café is pretty much everything a person could want in a local eatery. Open for breakfast and lunch now seven days a week, they don’t do dinner. The portions are large and the food hearty with a distinctly geographically eclectic menu featuring traditional South American fare like huevos rancheros and arepas, as well as East Asia dishes like Nasi Goreng, an Indonesian rice dish made with vegetables, wild caught shrimp, and chicken, topped off with a sunny side up egg. There are the more expected breakfast/lunch/brunch options including salads, omelettes and pancakes, and they do a big, juicy Koji burger and a pork belly banh mi. I am personally partial to the Hungarian mushroom soup and the house made granola. The Osprey has a full liquor license and they make a mean cocktail. The bacon Bloody Mary is practically a meal in itself. I had one with their signature avocado toast last Friday; it was a great, if boozy way, to kick off the weekend.

For an abbreviated meal, I love the clams steamed in their own broth at the U Street Pub, which also has a great selection of craft beer on tap. We also love the oyster shooters at Screw and Brew in Cannon Beach.

When we’re in the mood for finer dining, i.e. a white tablecloth experience, our go-to place is the Pacific Way Café and Bakery in Gearhart. They’ve got a new chef and he’s got a way with meat, which is good news for carnivores. The chef’s signature pork chop brought me to my knees. Old favorites like Dungeness crab ravioli remain on the menu, as does the cioppino, but there’s a new halibut risotto I’d like to try, as well as a new salmon dish glazed with cranberries. The bakery makes all the restaurant’s bread. If you haven’t had the molasses bread you haven’t really lived. Should you be lucky enough to get there early when the bakery side is open, as you’re oohing over the perfection of your apple turnover or your almond croissant, you may be treated to the glorious aroma of roasting garlic wafting over from the kitchen as the chef gets the soup on.

I may not get to Mexico or Hawaii this year, but I can still treat my palate with the sensational local fare.

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