‘Tis been a season of West Coast adventuring. Not a singular season as much as a series of seasons. From the flower blooms of April to the rain-belt of mid-September, I’ve ventured high and low this year, with Portland at its epicenter.

What started as a realistic attempt to see if west coast living is really my jam (and hence my family’s jam), developed into a multi-pronged effort to visit Portland as much as humanly possible within a 6-month period.

After forfeiting my family’s usual spring break vacation this year – they headed west to Los Angeles – I decided to spend the week in Oregon, my casita away from home.

I’ve written about Oregon in the past, but something has always drawn me to this place. There’s a sense of spirituality in the shifting mountain mists, the coastal waves, the smell of white pine and Douglas fir. Oregon makes me want to shed my New York mask, pull on checkered flannel, and just be. And smell. And do. Hike, watch, drink, and eat. All of the local tidbits and doodads, the hearth-baked artisan breads, the grass-fed meats, the stinky cheeses, and the only-to-be-found in the Pacific Northwest edibles – marionberries, cloudberries, Rainier cherries, Walla Walla onions… I have yet to eat geoduck (pronounced “gooey-duck”), but someday. At the very least, it’s on the list.

I did barehand my first full Dungeness crab, nose to tail, while watching those humbling coastal waves roll in; dunking sweet day-caught meat into browned butter prepared by the most utterly talented Portland-area chef, Althea Potter of The Southeast Wine Collective. So there’s that.

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