Only in Oregon … Aunt Mary's is a terrific vegan/vegetarian restaurant where you can also shop for porn and browse a vibrator museum.
We hadn't been to the coast for quite a while, so when some healthy-eating Indiana relatives came to visit last week I fired up Google. It didn't take long for me to realize that there was only one place we should eat in Lincoln City.
Some Happy Cow reviews sealed the deal. Such as:
This place is best described as eclectic with no boundaries. Kind of a cross between Grandma's house, and the creepy guy next door. Nestled among the small shops in Lincoln City near the beach is a vegetarian restaurant that you won't forget.
We are both vegans, and for some reason, everyone in Lincoln City seems to crinkle their nose when they say "vegan", and not a single store carries vegan soy cheese. This place was a pleasant surprise, and we really enjoyed our visit. Now the disclaimer - be ready to keep an open mind and walk in with a sense of humor.
Although you may find an occasional adult toy displayed amongst the embroidery and nun dolls, the "vibrator museum" is just another joke to keep things light. As long as you avoid the back room labeled "filthy", and leave your kids outside as you get take-out, you'll have a great time. We ordered the Mexi Wrap and a Taco Salad, and it was the best meal we've had during our entire vacation. The host/waiter/chef was very nice and washed his hands twice that we counted. Very clean, gracious, and fun.
Well, a couple of corrections are in order. "Occasional" doesn't do justice to the wonderfully vast array of sex toys and adult gag gifts. And don't avoid the back room – dash to it!
That's where Aunt Mary keeps her best stuff.
A fine collection of hand-blown glass pipes with an appropriate "don't ask" (what they're for, I assume) sign on top of the display case. A large collection of porn videos, helpfully categorized by sexual predilection and what turns you on. Leather wear, with enough studs and chains to spice up either the bedroom or your Harley Davidson.
Then there's the food. Excellent, though the service can be a bit slow.
We were the only diners in the place, arriving right at the noon opening time, and we still spent an hour ordering, waiting, and eating. Not a problem, given how much there is to ogle in Aunt Mary's, but if you're in a rush head to McDonalds and skip the porn.
Inspecting the menu, I was tempted to order a Fuck Me, That's Good but decided to forego the grilled cheese sandwich with pineapple for a humus wrap (yes, vegan porn proprietors can spell; I've always thought "hummus" was right, but both are correct).
My wrap was grilled to perfection and filled with crisp vegetables. Someone else got a Fuck Me, That's Good and said that the name was right on.
Philosophically, I find a lot to like about Aunt Mary's. Yesterday I mused on my other blog about how craziness can be a dose of sanity.
The older I get, the more appealing a little craziness appears to me. I'm not talking about whacked out psychosis, but something milder – in the immoral, illogical, illicit, or ill-understandable sphere of strangeness.
Stuff that soothes a person's far out! soul, while making others question why he or she is marching out of the beat of the ordinary.
I wasn't consciously thinking of Aunt Mary's when I wrote those words, but I'm sure last Friday's visit to this unique Oregon coast establishment helped put me in that frame of mind.
Back in the '70s, I remember when rentable porn videos were clearly visible behind the counter of a highly respectable downtown Salem store (Future Shop) that featured VCRs and other new-at-that-time technology. Nobody thought anything of it.
American society is a lot more uptight now, and I don't think we're the better for the change.
Though Oregon is laudably looser and quirkier than most of the rest of the country (a vegan strip club opened this year in Portland), we still tend to segregate "kinkiness," which really is just another flavor of normal, as what happens on the other side of town.
It's nice to be able to drive down the main drag of Lincoln City, park, and get your fill of both healthy vegetarian food and other sorts of earthy delights.
An Oregon Coast Today article has more info about Aunt Mary's. Being someone who orders a nonfat vanilla latte and then dumps half and half into it, I resonated with Mary's eating attitude:
She's also been perfecting her recipes for vegan baked goods like cakes and muffins; these, she says, shouldn't be central to a weight-loss regimen.
"They're not healthy at all. They're not low cal. But they're very delicious. I always say that they're best served warm with butter. There's no fat in them. That's what makes the butter so good," she said.