Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cannon Beach Eats – Cranky Sue’s & Cannon Beach Thai Cuisine

When you live in Indian Valley, ID a big part of any vacation has to be dining out. Local options are limited, to say the least, so unless necessity dictates otherwise, we’re eating in most of the time—well, we both can cook, so not a huge problem. Still, good restaurants are the acme of exoticism for both Eberle & me, & we’re not talking three-star Michelin restaurants or anything remotely as high-falutin’ as that; just good, memorable food at a place we hope won’t break the bank.

So one big pleasure on our trips to the Oregon Coast is the great food; we hit four spots this weekend (because we were having supper in most
nights): Roseanne’s Café in Oceanside, Cranky Sue’s & Cannon Beach Thai Cuisine in Cannon Beach, & the San Dune Pub in Manzanita.

Roseanne’s Café & the San Dune Pub are great (the latter particularly for fish & chips), but I’m going to focus on the two Cannon Beach spots. First, I have to say that although Cannon Beach seems to be the pla
ce to go on the north coast, I don’t care so much for the town itself. It’s swarming with tourista’s, even in the off season & especially on weekends, so you can’t take a leisurely stroll down the street or find a place to park (I know, I know, we’re touristas, too). I’d also have to say that the actual beach at Cannon Beach strikes me as the least attractive piece of shoreline on that part of the coast—again, lots of people, & other than the iconic Haystack Rock, it’s humdrum in comparison with a lot of nearby spots (though we did enjoy watching pelicans there on Sunday morning).

Having said all that, however, I’ve also gotta admit that as long as we go to the Oregon Coast, we will go to Cannon Beach because we both adore two restaurants there: Cranky Sue’s & Cannon Beach Thai Cuisine—& believe it or not, they stand right next to each other on Fir Street. If you’re coming from Portland, you’ll find them off the first exit from 101 South; if you’re coming from the south, you’re gonna have to wade thru the Cannon Beach madness no matter which entrance to town you take off 101.

Eberle & I went to Cranky Sue’s on Saturday afternoon after a morning of exploring Manzanita Beach. It was a glorious day—sunny & warm, just a gentle breeze off the water, so we sat outside with the dog owners; Cranky Sue’s is very dog-friendly, & though we’re not dog owners, we like dogs & enjoy that. For the less dog-centric, there’s dog-free seating inside.
It’s a good idea to be in a mellow mood & not have a lot of plans when you dine at Cranky Sue’s—it’s a popular spot, the food is made to order, & the wait can be a bit long. Those are the only real minuses—despite the restaurant’s name, the staff is pleasant, & when the food does arrive it’s out of this world. Crab cakes, of course—actually, there are some other really tempting items on the menu, like fried catfish or oysters, but until we swing it so we can stay on the coast longer or more often, it has to be crab cakes at Cranky Sue’s. This is the sort of food you dream about after you’ve had it.

We both got the crab cakes on potato flour rolls with Jamaican tartar, & also a side of some nicely tart coleslaw. Just to top this off, we ordered o
nion rings—a guilty pleasure from my past that I haven’t had for years. These onion rings (with homemade ketchup & basil dip) were amazingly fried. It’s true that almost any food tastes better fried, but Cranky Sue’s has the art down, like the late, great Gravy’s in Daly City, CA. Another treat is the raspberry lemonade (we know from last year)—sadly, they were out of it this time around, but there are plenty of soft drinks for teetotalers like us, & plenty of beer for the rest of y’all.On Sunday, we just headed next door. I’ll admit that Cannon Beach Thai Cuisine is not the most inspired restaurant name, but that’s the only thing about this place that isn’t inspiring. I don’t recall exactly what we had a year ago—I think I had some type of yellow curry; all I can remember is Eberle’s dish was great, too. This time around we ordered Gang Pra curry, a country style curry with carrots & bamboo shoots & basil & pepper & zucchini, & Eggplant Delight, a fiery dish with eggplant (natch), onions, peppers & carrots. In both cases, the meat was chicken. The Eggplant Delight came with a small, but fresh & tasty side salad. The service at Cannon Beach Thai Cuisine has been prompt & friendly each time we’ve gone there.

Cannon Beach Thai Cuisine cooks vegetables just about to perfection—crisp, but flavorful. Eberle believes that in the case of the curry, the meat & vegetables must be added (after themselves being cooked) to an already existing stock & then served immediately. However these folks do it, the flavor is wonderful—more food to daydream about during the Indian Valley winter….

Cannon Beach Thai Cuisine is also modestly priced—those two dishes, flavorful tea & a more than respectable tip only set us back around $25.00 (remember when you consider these prices—neither of us drink alcohol). Cranky Sue’s is a fair bit more than this—I believe the meal ran in the $50 range—but it’s worth it.

So if you’re over on the Oregon coast & near Cannon Beach—forget about Haystack Rock—check out Cranky Sue’s &/or Cannon Beach Thai Cuisine!

Top pic: Crab cakes at Cranky Sue’s
Second Pic: Cranky Sue’s
Third Pic: Eggplant Delight at Cannon Beach Thai Cuisine
Fourth pic: Eberle & curry—a happy eater!
Bottom pic: Cannon Beach Thai Cuisine

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