“Mom, can we go to Newport and have marionberry French toast?” my teenage daughter asked.
I guess it’s true that we sometimes do anything for our kids. That’s how I found myself driving a carload of girls from Seattle to the Oregon beach town of Newport. It was a six-hour trip each way for French toast — plus playing on the beach and basking around the hotel pool.
It all began about 10 years ago on a family trip to the Oregon coast. A hotel clerk steered us to Newport’s Fishtails Cafe, where fishermen, locals and tourists crowd in for clam chowder, fish and chips and what’s become our go-to favorite breakfast treat — marionberry French toast.
We devoured the slices of thick-cut bread stuffed with cream cheese, sauteed and covered in a homemade marionberry sauce. And we’ve remembered that truly incredible breakfast ever since.
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Every few years we’ve gone back to Newport on family trips, drawn by that French toast, the miles of beach and the town’s excellent Oregon Coast Aquarium and Hatfield Marine Science Center.
So when I asked my daughter Abby what she’d like to do for her 14th birthday celebration, I wasn’t surprised that a Newport trip was her request, in the company of her good friend Lexi Brown and 16-year-old French exchange student Laurène Watrelot, who’s living with us this school year.
Three teenagers actually wanted to spend a weekend with me. Cherish every moment, I told myself, feeling blessed to be heading out with a carload of kids, each of whom holds a special place in my heart.
As we drove south, spring sunshine alternated with pouring rain. We laughed and sang as the miles ticked off, a hailstorm pelting its own rhythm on the car.
Finally arriving in Newport, the clouds parted. We dumped our bags at the hotel, and the kids raced to the ocean’s edge, playfully leaping by the tumbling surf. After hours in the car, it was good to stretch our legs with a long walk on the beach, exploring tide pools and getting chased by waves, with the picture-postcard Yaquina Head Lighthouse looming to the north.
The next morning it was time for the long-awaited, long-driven-for French toast. Fishtails Cafe was hopping on a Sunday morning. We slid into our seats and quickly ordered. We knew what we wanted. Eyes grew wide as the marionberry French toast arrived, along with sides of bacon and potatoes.
The abundant, and delicious, breakfast was a huge hit. It was just as good as my daughter and I remembered.
On this trip, we didn’t go to the aquarium or Newport’s other sights. Instead we ate and shopped. We played on the beach. The girls jumped for joy. And I cherished it all.
Angela Gottschalk is a Seattle Times photo editor. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org