Game Changers: Moments that cause a significant shift in the way you currently think about something.
When it comes to food, we’ve probably all experienced a few game changers — meals that have changed the way we previously thought about certain dishes. We are Sorted Food, a group of friends from London who head up a global community of millions food lovers. We use our community’s local recommendations to explore the world, looking for exceptional food in exceptional places. In this series we are in Oregon to discover what makes the state so special.
Let’s Start in Portland
Over the last 10 years of travelling as part of Sorted Food, we’ve been lucky enough to experience more spectacular food than we could possibly write into a blog post, most of which has come from cities across the US.
But *how* we’ve found those food experiences has always been the most interesting part - by asking for recommendations from the locals, the people who know these destinations the best and can help us discover the real soul of town, city or area.
And when it came to recommendations for Portland, Oregon, we were completely overawed by sheer number of recommendations we received from our audience… and it didn’t stop there! As soon as we arrived, we had countless people telling us new places to experience fantastic food.
And the best thing? All the food seemed to focus on the incredible produce grown in Oregon - from the gorgeous marionberry pie from Petunia’s in Portland’s Downtown area, to the wacky flavours of Blueberry, Basil and Bourbon combined in a delicious, indulgent doughnut from Blue Star in Nob Hill, topped off by the unbelievably flavoured cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and zucchini cake ice cream from Salt and Straw ice cream parlour in Alberta.
After all that eating (and more!) it felt like we needed some exercise, so we headed on down to the South Waterfront and jumped on a beer barge tour along the river… But it wasn’t all drinking and sightseeing, we had to earn our beers by powering the barge via pedalling! All in all, a fantastic day with some gorgeous scenery… But little did we know, it was just getting started.
Heading to the Coast
When we first mentioned we were going to Oregon, so many people double checked that we were going to head out of the city of Portland and drive two hours west to visit the coast. It would have been rude to ignore them, right?
So we jumped in the car and headed towards a place that had been suggested a number of times - Kelly’s Brighton Marina near Rockaway Beach - we were told that this was the best place to catch and cook up some crabs.
Now being from the UK, our idea of crabbing is sitting on the end of a pier with a piece string with some bacon hanging off it and waiting hours for a tiny one to two inch crab to take a nibble… and the chances are it will fall off the line before you get it into the bucket! This could not have been more different! Kelly, the owner of the marina, took the four of us out in his small boat and taught us how to drop crab pots into the Nehalem River, just out of the main flow of the river which is where the crabs to hang out.
20 minutes later, we circled back around and lifted the first pot - imagine our surprise to find around 30 crabs ranging from four to six inches wide in the net! And the same thing happened with the remaining four pots too, it was unlike anything we’d ever seen!
Kelly told us that any crab under 5.75 inches had to be put back to allow to grow to full size, so we measured them up and returned the smaller ones, keeping the larger ones safe to take back to shore.
Back on dry land, Kelly took the crabs, washed them and then cooked them straight away in boiling salted water before handing them to us to eat. It’s fair to say that none of us have ever eaten crab that fresh or delicious before… It tasted even better knowing that we’d been the ones to catch them too!
As we drove further down the coast, through Rockaway Beach and Neskowin, the scenery became more and more epic - massive beaches with giant rocks protruding out of them, fantastic cliffs, beautiful lakes. The coast of Oregon truly looked like something out of a film set, which was when we were told that it’s actually been used as the base for many films such as The Goonies and Free Willy!
We finished the day by arriving at our accommodation in Depoe Bay as the sun was setting, running on to the decking which looked out on to the Pacific Ocean, just in time to see some whales breaching and diving in front of us. It was utterly magical and a completely unforgettable experience.
More experiences nearby
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7 Beautiful Urban Gardens in the USA
Oregon Insider: A Guide to Portland
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Spotlight: 4 Rivers, Idaho and Oregon
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Oregon Coast: Open to Everyone