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From California to Oregon

Culinary couple Cheryl and Bill Jamison shares their take on cuisine from Portland, Oregon.

From Paso Robles we drove over to the Pacific coast and took the dramatically scenic Highway 1 north along the shore to Santa Cruz.

Then we turned inland to skirt the eastern fringes of the San Francisco Bay for a quick one-night stay in the town of Napa, where we met up with close friends for dinner at Ubuntu, perhaps the most daring and exciting vegetarian restaurant in the country today.

All of us loved our meal, which consisted of eight small servings of different dishes that we shared. Our favorite plate, ironically, was the one that most mimicked a carnivore’s dream, grits than had been smoked and pooled under meaty local mushrooms.

Early the next morning we continued north more than six hundred miles to Portland, Oregon. Our first dinner in the city was at meat-centric Beast, every bit as bold and popular as Ubuntu but totally different in orientation.

Beast delighted us with its forthright name and set-dinner offerings of lamb, foie gras, and all manner of pork, but the dish we walked out talking about was the most delicate and vegetable-based, an almost custard-like silken soup of hedgehog mushrooms topped with shavings of Oregon truffle.

We had two other good meals in Portland—a Cuban breakfast at Pambiche and a Thai street-food dinner at Pok Pok—but then both of us caught bad colds at the same time. One day we could barely get out of bed, much less enjoy food or anything else.

When it was time to leave Oregon, we had to push ourselves to drive up to Port Townsend, Washington, where we went to see another close friend whose unfailing good cheer perked up our moods.

Cheryl and Bill Jamison write about food and travel, always with mouthwatering results. Among their best-selling books are Smoke & Spice, American Home Cooking and The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking & Entertaining. They are also frequent contributors to Cooking Light and Bon Appétit. Married 22 years, they live just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The Jamisons’ newest book, Around the World in 80 Dinners: The Ultimate Culinary Adventure, regales readers with a tasty account of their global travels in search of great local fare—from Bali to Brazil.

Learn more about Cheryl and Bill at cookingwiththejamisons.com. You can sign up to join them on a future trip by clicking on “culinary adventures.”

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