Sunday, July 31, 2011

Best Chinese Food in Vancouver

From the front of the the building in a quasi-industrial area, you would never guess that the House of Beijing was a 4 star restaurant, but the food is fresh and full of flavor!  We started with the Crab Puffs and Pot Stickers-not your usual dab of chicken and crab...very generous and not at all doughy!
The Lemon Chicken was the best I've ever had...very lemony and fresh! 
I'm not even a fan of Kung Pao, but the Kung Pao King, full of chicken, scallops, shrimp, and veggies, was fresh and amazing.
Don't let the location fool you-it's worth the trip!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cracked Pots Art Show at Mc Menamins Edgefield

I finally made it out to Mc Menamins for the Cracked Pots Art Show.  It's held every year, and features art made from recycled materials. There's also some plants and herbs for sale.  Mc Menamins Edgefield is a magical place, and I can't wait to go back out there to sketch and paint. The Mc Menamin Brothers are famous in the Portland area for taking run down and abandoned buildings and turning them into showpieces featuring restaurants, gardens, movies and often live entertainment. This property at Edgefield was once a Poor House. But, today it was a background to some amazing art.
 Art was displayed all around the property, so it was fun to just walk around the natural garden settings and imagine how a piece of art would work in your yard.  Believe me, there were several pieces that would have worked in mine, and I really was tempted at every turn!
 These charming glass flowers, Blooming Glass by Alex Hargrave, were made of metal and glass, and I regretted that I didn't circle back and purchase one. 
Chicken Coops are a big deal in our area, and there's often tours to show off abodes for these barnyard fowl. Wouldn't these cute chickens by HollyArt be perfect for coop decor?
 The ground at Edgefield provide tons of 'eye candy' for artists and gardeners.  This is the doorway to their herb gardens.  Of course the water tower in the center  of the property is a real focal point.
 I loved the sea of umbrellas that shielded diners from the rare Portland sunny day.  Each property has it's own unique style, and in the background you can barely see the cool painted decorative towers.
 Lovely little secret places to explore...note the decorative finials at the top of the stairs near the on-site brewery.
 Around the show were lots of great tips to reduce waste and raise recycling awareness.

  I had to take one of these fun metal fish home for my beach garden!
  Love these metal fruit sculptures
 Another view of the water tower and the art that was everywhere.  There was a lovely place set up for lunch outside where you could order things like Hawaiian pork, Cesar Salads, and burgers, but I was having too much fun chatting to take pictures.  You meet the nicest people at these shows and two lovely women, Leona and Dee, kindly let me share their table.  It was fun to talk crafts and favorite books.
There was so much to see, I spent an amazing three hours checking everything out.  If you want more information, check out this link:  I know I'll definitely be back next year.
This is the porch in front of the hotel. Back in my wedding photography days, this property was one of my favorite places to work. What a lovely place to relax and enjoy the view.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crusin' the Gut

Last weekend DH heard of a car show in Vancouver, WA. called Crusin' the Gut.  We rushed over to Vancouver thinking it would end in the early afternoon, and found that it continued well into the evening.  Unlike many car shows, this one actually had the cars cruising down Main St. rather than just sitting on the street for viewing. 
The cars had to be older than 1972 and I heard there were well over 1,500 cars exhibited.  It was a free event, and all people had to do to participate, was to donate a couple of cans of food for Share House, a local food bank.
I don't know much about 'muscle cars' except that I like to paint them in watercolor, but the hydraulics looked fascinating.  They could move side to side, up and down and they put on a good show.  It was a far cry from the 'hopped up' cars of the past.
I always love the decorative hood ornaments like this airplane above.
People lined the streets in lawn chairs, watching the day long parade of cars. Some bars and restaurants set up beer gardens on their patios, but mostly it was a family event that everyone enjoyed.
Fun car colors you never would have seen in the 50's, 60's, or 70's.
These signs were posted everywhere, but later in the evening
we saw a car roar down the street with flames shooting out the back- a real crowd pleaser.  
  At dusk things really fired up and it was fun to see these cars in action.  It was a beautiful summer night which has been rare in the NW the past couple of years.
It was fun to step back to time when life seemed much simplier.  The local Kiggins Theater, played American Graffiti throughout the day, and hamburger joints did a great business.  It reminded me of Crusin the Main (Main St. Walnut Creek, CA) back when I was in high school, when hanging out at the pizza joint after a football game was the highlight of the week.
Remember when 'car hops' brought your food out on trays that hooked to the door and you ate in your car?  My girlfriends and I would sit for hours drinking A & W Rootbeer, eating french fries, and talk for hours about the 'Big Hunks' at school!

Celebrating a time when Hot Rods ruled the day and crusin' was a way of life...Oh yeah, gas was 32 cents a gallon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Yummy Wine Bar and Bistro- A Great Discovery in Seaside

After a long weekend of gardening and spreading bark mulch, I was just getting ready to relax with a glass of wine and survey our hard work, when dear husband sheepishly asked if I would like to take a 40 minute drive up the coast to Home Depot to buy a sprinkler part.  Since it was already 7 PM, it was like "Hello, are you kidding me?"  However, he did sweeten the deal with the promise of a stop for dinner in Seaside.  For the unenlightened, Seaside, OR. is not known as a mecca of fine dining, so imagine my surprise, when we stopped at
Yummys and found a charming place with great food.
We each ordered an appetizer since at that hour, we didn't want heavy food.  DH had The Ahi Tuna, which was beautifully presented on a bed of fresh avocado, with a seaweed topping, and wassabi soy sauce.  I had the Crispy Pot stickers, which were light and flavorful, filled with chicken and vegetables and served with a lovely soy dipping sauce.
The restaurant is small, but beautifully decorated.  You can eat at a table or sit on the comfy couches and eat from TV trays.  Either way, it's a fun dining experience.
We both ordered a glass of wine from their extensive wine list, and enjoyed a bowl of their signature Seafood chowder.  The chowder is a creamy broth style, filled with fish, shrimp, and scallops, which was enhanced, by their 'secret ingredient'- cubes of yams, which added a delightful touch of sweetness to the soup.
The menu changes seasonally four times a year, so everything is fresh.  Here's another view of the inviting interior.  It's a very welcoming place. 
If you find yourself in Seaside at dinnertime, don't dispair, check out Yummy Wine Bar and Bistro.  You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Celebrating the 4th of July at Manzanita Beach

It's been over twenty years since we started coming to Manzanita for the 4th of July.  For me, it's always been the best place to be, even though our little town swells to over 8,000 people, everyone seems happy to be celebrating something!  This year having more than two consecutive days of sunshine since last November was cause enough for celebration!
The parade always starts with the Color Guard carrying the flags.
And, some cool cars
Some ingenious costumes..
Happy spectators..Hi Jaimie!
Cute pets..
Boat Floats...
And colorful characters...
Cart'M, the local Recycle Center, always does something very creative.  This year it was a gramophone
made out of recycled materials.
Of course, Rick aways looks forward to a chance to bring out his grandfather's 1943 Willy's Jeep
Great friends, Mark and Barb, check out the scrapbooks from years past.  When our kids were younger, we put together many floats for the parade. Hopefully, 'The Kids' will circle back to the beach when they have families of their own.
You always have to have the feast!  Can't go wrong with the traditional favorites-BBQ Ribs, potato salad, baked beads, corn on the cob and brownies!

What 4th of July would be complete without fireworks?
I captured these images from a hilltop near the beach.