As we drove up the coast of Oregon towards Cannon Beach last weekend, I pondered the joys that could lay ahead. My wife Marsha was taking me to Cannon Beach for my birthday present, for four days. I had no idea where we were staying, where we would dine, it was all a surprise and planned by her.
As I almost always make out plans, with some input from her, I was excited by the un-expected pleasures that await, even if they sucked. After all, I was spending a quiet four days, on the Oregon Coast, with my best friend and love of my life.
As we pulled up to the Surf sand Oceanfront Resort, that super sized smile formed on my face. Alas, this was one place we hadn’t stayed yet, but I had heard great things about. For the next four days, we enjoyed our balcony, the ocean, and our companion, Oliver, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, nor 8 months old. You see, Cannon beach is completely dog friendly, from the beach, hotels, stairs and most restaurants. Yep! one of the best dog towns I have ever visited.
But wait, the real story is where my surprise birthday dinner was. So, Saturday evening she tells me to dress nice, not formal, but nice for dinner. She drives into town, which took 40 seconds, and parks in front of a smaller building that had a sign that said something about being a kitchen store. Next I saw the name, EVOO and right away new that I was in for a great evening.
You see, I know that EVOO stands for Extra Virgin Olive Oil! Anything that is “Extra Virgin” is good for me! And hell..with oil?
As we entered the building I knew right away it wasn’t a massage pallor , but a cooking school. A beautiful kitchen, professional gas cooktop, and square table surrounding it. Immediately Chef Bob Neroni and wife Lenore greeted us, identified our seats, wished me happy birthday, and we looked about the kitchen store until the other guests arrived.
Then it was on to business. Bob and Lenore proceeded to explain the evening, and what they would be preparing for us as we watched and learned. There was of course, and added bonus..different wines would be paired with each course. Atta boy!
If you have never attended one of these cooking schools it’s something you should, especially as couples. You will always come away having learned a bunch about cooking, new techniques, and a menu you just want to prepare again yourselves.
This is the four courses that they prepared in from of us, and we got to eat.
Butternut squash & Gorgonzola Ravioli with seared green apple & cider gastric, served with Proseco Sparkling Wine.
Fried tomatoes with east-west crab cakes, apple butter (from scratch), carrot habanero aioli, confetti fried corn chips, served with a 2012 Grele dry rose.
Confit duck leg with homemade cranberry chutney, potato mash with duck butter sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts & garlic, with pomegranate seeds & pine nuts, served with a 2009 Nine Hats Sangiovese.
Apple date galette & ice creme, Chocolate crumb pumpkin tart, whipped creme, pepita-ginger brittle, served with Coffee Umbria Mezzanotte Coffee.
OK, so as Tony on the Soprano’s would say.. “get the fuck outta here”
Everything on this menu was made in front of us, even the brittle!
I have attended cooking classes, and demonstrations in the past, but this was a couple notches above the others for sure. I would recommend if you are ever on the Oregon Coast, or in the Portland Oregon area, make a trip to Cannon Beach, any season, and check this place out. A little pricy, but what the hell, worth every penny.
Cheers and may the holidays be good to you all,