Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 2.12.2009


Nuzzling in the Northwest
Where to love it up, and what to eat when you do
by Suzi Steffen

THE BEST PLACES TO KISS IN THE NORTHWEST, travel guide by Teri Citterman. Sasquatch Books, 2008. Paperback, $21.

THE BEST PLACES TO KISS IN THE NORTHWEST COOKBOOK, nonfiction by Carol Frieberg. Sasquatch Books, 2008. Paperback, $19.95.

Want to know where to take your honey in Whistler? Yearning for romance in Yakima? Searching for soulful sweetness in the San Juans?

Even if you’re simply entering the arena of lovin’ in Eugene, the 10th edition of Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest, Teri Citterman’s popular little paperback from Sasquatch Books, contains mountains and valleys of info for you and your main squeeze.

The book also covers coasts, rivers and all kinds of natural and not-so-natural outposts where love wings and wanders its winsome way. The book’s subtitle is Lodgings, Restaurants, Beaches, Sunsets and Scenic Dives: A Romantic Travel Guide, and that’s no lie: It’s an exhaustive but portable planning tool. Reading it gives lots of lovin’ details about the Pacific Northwest from the southern tip of the Oregon Coast and Ashland up to the Vancouver Island and the Okanagan Valley. Some listings will inevitably be out-of-date in these hard economic times, but if folks popping into Eugene head for Luna and find Café Maroc instead, how much more romantic the trip will be.

Cities? For sure, from Vancouver to Seattle to Portland, in lots of charming, specific detail. The outdoors? Best Places has you covered. For instance, in the section on the beauties of Newport, the writers recommend both the windswept Yaquina Head lighthouse and the stunning cobble beach below. Oh, do they cover the options at Mounts Bachelor, Hood and Rainier. But the book’s contributors never skip the essentials of tasty treats or libations, not to mention the creature comforts at various inns, resorts and B&Bs.

Maybe you don’t have time or money to travel to the Ashland Springs Hotel for the opening of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival the weekend of Feb. 20, but the travel guide’s new companion book can give you a taste of what’s in store when the economy recovers. The Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest Cookbook seems like a gimmick — and like its parent book, it is. But this is a well-researched and beautifully presented gimmick, with Northwest staple recipes like a baby spinach salad with poached pears, candied pecans and blue cheese (from a restaurant in Jacksonville) or a Seattle-area dish of steamed clams in saffron broth. From an inn in Sooke, B.C., comes a creamy fromage de coeur (perfect for Valentine’s Day), and Sisters’ Fivepine Lodge provides a recipe for coffee with a little something extra, not even counting the “ultimate whipped cream” that tops it off. For the nights when you’re hunkered down at home with your honey, use the cookbook for inspiration and the travel guide for perfect planning. Sweet!

Seared Scallops with Corn, Pancetta & Green Onions

From the King Estate Winery, reprinted with permission from Sasquatch Books

1 cup freshly shucked corn

4 green onions (green and pale green parts), chopped

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 ounce pancetta, diced

1 pound Alaskan sea scallops

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Balsamic sauce (recipe follows)

Olive oil (optional)

Snipped chives (optional)

1. Place the corn, green onions and cream in a small saucepan and simmer until the mixture is thick and creamy; keep warm.

2. In a medium skillet, cook the pancetta over medium-high heat until it starts to get crispy. Season the scallops with salt and pepper; add to the pan with the bacon, leaving space between the scallops. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning once, until the scallops are browned on both sides and opaque in the center.

3. To serve, spoon the corn mixture onto the center of each plate. Divide the scallops and place on top of the corn mixture. Spoon the Balsamic Sauce around the corn. Drizzle the olive oil around the Balsamic Sauce. Sprinkle with chives.

Balsamic Sauce

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon butter, melted

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients.