Number 33

The Beaver State

Ouragon, as it was once called, has an incredibly diverse landscape with Pacific coastline, volcanic mountains, waterfalls, a variety of forest types (including rain) plus a desert.  Called the High Desert it is a relative term given most of the Oregonian landscape gets lots of rain where the desert gets only about 7 inches per year and qualifies as an actual “frontier.”  How rustic.  By no means is it arid and brown, just far less green than the rest of the state.  With all those trees came the lumber industry followed by the fur trade started by John Jacob Astor from New York.  It remains as the top timber producer in the lower 48.  Western Red Cedar, anyone?  This is where it’s from (sorry, architect flash back).  It is also home to the world’s largest mushroom.

In other agricultural news...Oregon is one of the four largest producers of hazelnuts worldwide.  You’re welcome, Nutella.  They also do a lot of cranberries.  Given the similarities in climate and soil to the Alsace and Burgundy regions in France, certain grape varietals do very well and Oregonian wineries are well regarded in particular for their pinots both noir and gris.  Thanks for our friends at Red Squirrel Wine, we will have several delicious examples on hand. 

If you’ve ever been to Portland, you’d know there are a lot of eccentric people about contributing loads of diversity and liberalism in thought and deed.  Matt Groening, the man behind The Simpsons is a native son.  California has Silicon Valley.  Oregon has Silicon Forest, home to many high-tech companies like Intel and biotechnology giant Genentech.  Nike and Adidas also call The Beaver State home.  Must be all that clean, fresh mountain air which keeps wheels turning and ideas coming and people cycling and running and climbing.  But in many ways it also helps distill things down to their basics and look at them from a new perspective.  In our experience, this is the crux of food from the region.  It tends toward the straight forward and clear with the tiniest tweak here and there which will light up your taste buds in a whole new way.  Without further ado...     

To toast the Oregon Territory...

Eyrie Vineyards Pinot Noir

Sokol Blosser Delinea or Pinot Gris

Sloe Barb Fizz

Pink Flamingo (mocktail)

Mountain Berry Martini

PnP Soda

PnP Cocktail

The John Jacob w/ Oregon Old Tom Gin

Furry Bastard

Prickly Pear

And from the Oregon Trail...

Truffled Crab Melt

Olive Puffs

Stewed Leeks and Goats Cheese

Filet w/ Pickled Onion Rings

Espresso Stout Pork Shoulder

Artichoke, Olive and Salami Pie

Pea Shoot Chicken

Wild Mushroom Cous Cous

Halibut w/ Rhubarb Chutney

Asparagus Gratin

Truffled Spinach

Griddled Hazelnut Poundcake w/ buttermilk cream