Sibling Assignment #18: Poppyseed Pancakes, Strong Coffee, and Red Flags Flying

The sibling assignment this week was An Oregon Coast memory. Raymond Pert's will be found here and Silver Valley Girl's will be found here. We all picked entirely different memories to write about. That is the fun thing about the sibling assignments. The Sunday Scribbling assingment this week is ocean here.

August often found our family gathering at the Oregon coast. One year my siblings Silver Valley Girl and Raymond Pert joined my parents and myself for a visit to Yachats located on the central coast by Newport. We stayed at the Adobe hotel and Silver Valley Girl was also joined by her husband and daughter. The time we went on this trip the internet wasn’t readily available yet. I would rely on Best Places books, travel magazines, and word of mouth to assist in suggesting places to eat and tour.

My dad grew up as a meat and potato kind of guy. At that point in his life he wasn’t up for experimenting with “weird food”. I should have known that my breakfast restaurant choice would not go over well for the whole family as we took off for Newport to The Whale’s Tale.

In my research this restaurant had been given 5 stars and I had read things like “ the Whale’s Tale is yet another Newport tradition, considered a kind of shrine to 1960’s hippie restaurants” ( first red flag). “ You can’t beat its location on the waterfront or its cozily exaggerated maritime motif” (second red flag). “At Whale's Tale Restaurant along the bay front, specialties include Eden's Garden, a homemade poppyseed pancake topped with seasonal fruit, yogurt, sweetened coconut and sliced almonds. The Fisherman's Omelet features sautÈed mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers and two cheeses, topped with local grilled oysters.” (third red flag). This restaurant is also known for its strong coffee often coined the Fogcutter’s blend. (fourth red flag).

The rest of us were excited even before we arrived at the restaurant. As we entered the dark, wood beam place we could smell the strong coffee brewing and were eager to study the menu. We were seated at a big round table right by the door and could enjoy the sights and smells of Newport Bay.

The menu was an eclectic ( I think Dad hated eclectic) mix of breakfast dishes that included the poppyseed pancakes, the omelet above and other items not usually found on the café menus Dad was used to ordering from.

Things began to go downhill when Dad drank his coffee. “ Why can’t you just get a plain cup of coffee instead of this weird stuff?” Next,as other patrons arrived and the doors were open often Dad made another classic statement. “ Geeeeez…..why does everything smell like fish here?” We all took deep breaths and didn’t dare look at one another knowing we were ready to explode into laughter. “ Let’s see Dad… Newport Bay, fishing, docks across the street, people carrying fish… that all connects to fish in our book,” one of my siblings replied.

Then came the ordering. Dad had this habit of mumbling when he placed an order. Half the time we couldn’t understand him, let alone a waitress. I don’t even remember what he ordered, but it wasn’t quite right. The waitress probably didn't understand him.With Dad you never knew what wasn’t quite right, but his silence and body language were clear signs.

The rest of us were adventurous. Poppyseed pancakes, vegetarian omelets, and other eclectic dishes were brought to the table. We asked for more of the great coffee and laughed and visited through the whole meal as Dad sat quiet. As we left the restaurant Dad gave us another one of his classic lines. “ Which one of you jugheads picked this restaurant? I couldn’t even get a good cup of coffee and everything tastes like fish. How can you ruin eggs over easy, bacon, and toast?”

As he walked off toward the car I took full responsibility. It was reassuring to know that the other six people in the group loved the place. I guess I thought since Dad was on vacation perhaps he would want to experience new foods and beverages. I should have read between the lines and watched for those red flags.

The upside? It has been one of the top five classic stories we have told over and over since and laughed our heads off, especially if anyone brews "good coffee" from fresh beans or makes a strong, robust brew. We all like “ the weird stuff.”


  1. One of my memories from the Whales Tale was going to use the unisex restroom that had a faulty lock, (even before they were in fashion), and some guy walked in on me. Oops Sissy!!!

  2. I didn't know Silver Valley Girl had an oops Sissy moment at the Whales Tale...that was quite a breakfast.

    IEGirl: your account of our breakfast is hilarious/hysterical. I genuinely laughed out loud! For some reason, the word that sealed the deal for me and almost made me roll of the bed was "Jughead".

    I've really got to think about what to write. I was going to write about puking on the USS Minnow, but that's been done now and I'm sure glad I didn't give Whales Tale a whirl. Your way of telling this story is CLASSIC!!!

    If I ever seem in need of laugh therapy in my old age, just pull this story out. I think it would help me laugh out of a coma!!

  3. LOL, I can so relate to your father. I guess I would take his side! I'm for normal tea and cereal...the smell of fish makes me I could just picture myself mumbling and trying to sit quietly so every else can enjoy themselves, but trying to find an allie, someone, anyone, who agrees with me. The post gave me a good smile for the day!

  4. I love love love this post.
    I am the one that eats all the weird food in my family. Right now I am getting a recipe for poppyseed pancakes :). My Dad would have never even set foot in a place like that. Great story!

  5. As I posted to Raymond, I live near and spend much time on the Oregon Coast -- and much eating of wonderful food is a big part of it all.

    Fun post!

  6. svg and rp...we need to take a trip back to this place... in a review it has a new owner.
    jennifer... the bay in Newport would not be for you... very fishy!
    tori...i was thinking about those pancakes also...good for sunday breakfast! are a fortunate person to live where you live. i need to get back there for another visit.

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