Catch and Eat - Adventures in Oregon

these are just some of the gorgeous crabs we caught and ate

It's a really great feeling when you can go out and catch or harvest your food right before eating it. I can't explain it, but there's just something really satisfying about it. When I was a kid, my dad would hunt and fish and we'd have deer meat and fish all year round, but I never really appreciated the feeling you get when you yourself are the one doing the catching. It's like when you grow your own vegetables and fruits - it's rewarding on so many levels.

I just got back home from several days in the Portland area visiting family. It was an adventure from beginning to end. We began in Portland eating at a great restaurant called Urban Farmer. Their theme is farm-to-table and the menu was outstanding. I had the most amazing heirloom tomato salad with blueberries, pine nuts, and bacon.

Heirloom Tomato Salad at
Urban Farmer Restaurant

Wow, was it good. There were so many other wonderful dishes we ate, too, but right now I want to talk about the stuff we caught and ate so you'll just have to go to Urban Farmer and check it out for yourself!

We went to Portland to visit my sister-in-law and brother-in-law Debbie and David Hirschfeld whom we hadn't seen in quite awhile. My other SIL and BIL Sunny and Bill Hirschfeld also joined us from New Mexico (bearing fire-roasted Hatch chiles, I might add!). Deb and David live in Portland but have a cottage on the coast in Barview directly on Garibaldi Harbor/Tillamook Bay. That's where we spent most of our time and what an amazing time it was.

David took us on a deep sea bottom fishing charter with the Siggi-G folks. Captain Joe and his Deckhand Tom were the most hospitable seamen you could ever imagine. We had a great time. Captain Joe knew just where to go to get the best fish and crabs and we all left having met our full limit.

The Siggi-G runs a great charter in Garibaldi, Oregon (a great place to fish - the waters are plentiful with
Dungeness crabs, rockfish, sea bass, Ling cod, Steelhead trout, salmon, etc.). Captain Joe and Deckhand Tom
are the best and know all the best fishing spots. The charter includes cleaning your fish and boiling your crabs.

We all caught lots of fish! Left to right are sea bass (I think) and btw, that's Captain Joe on my left, thorny rockfish,
not sure what Bill has, Ling cod, and a tiger rockfish. Quite a haul!

Oh the crabs! So fabulous and plentiful - beautiful Dungeness crabs practically crawling onto our boat!
The Siggi-G folks boil them for you straight off the boat.

While you wait, the Siggi-G folks clean your fish and boil your crabs for you. We went straight home after that, and while Deb cleaned the crabs, Bill snacked on one and we all prepared for a fabulous fresh-caught meal. After getting up at 4:30am that morning, donning much-needed rain gear, and going out on the open sea for this fishing adventure, I have to tell you I was really hungry and ready to chow down.

the cookies were devoured immediately,
we couldn't wait for dinner (sorry Deb!)

Deb cleaning the crabs

Bill snacking on the fresh crab we'd just caught - yum!

On the way out to Tillamook Bay we stopped at Shafer Vineyards in Forest Grove. This vineyard was beautiful and the husband and wife owners Harvey and Miki Shafer were on hand to pour the wines for a tasting. They started this vineyard back in 1978 clearing the blackberry patch from the land and planting the grapes themselves. In 1981 they opened the winery. Although they've won many awards over the years, they still hand craft every bottle of wine they sell (at a more than fair price I might add) and they do it very well. We drank lots of their wines on our visit.

Shafer Vineyards - It's hard to believe wild blackberry patches once occupied this beautiful hillside.
The grapes you see are about 6 weeks away from harvesting. The Shafers hand craft wonderful, affordable wines.

We also stopped for a sake tasting at US artisan sake maker - Sake One.  Interesting visit and delicious sakes.

Delicious award-winning sakes made right here in the US, in Oregon to be exact!

Dinner on our last night visiting family was so much fun. We went to Deb and David's coast neighbor's beautiful home - Terry and Stephanie Lewis - and had a wonderful time.

Sunny made her fabulous green chile enchilada casserole with Hatch chiles she brought from home (New Mexico). Deb made delicious chipotle cilantro shrimp. Stephanie served up fresh caught and locally smoked oysters and salmon. And I made my Creamy Artichoke Habanero Dip.

We drank the wines from Shafer Vineyards, the sake from Sake One (actually I don't think we got to crack open a bottle of sake, but it was there just the same), and my Rangpur Gimlets. A great time was had by one and all.

Great family, friends and food!

Have you ever seen purple bell peppers?? We found these at a local Mexican market that had a small open-air produce area supplied by local farmers. None of us had ever seen them before. If you have, please leave a comment and let me know.

beautiful purple bell peppers from the local farmer's market and gorgeous tomatoes from Deb's garden

Lastly, if you'd like to see more photos of scenic Oregon, please go to my Facebook page. Here's a quick preview:

Chow for now!


  1. Fantastic post. What awesome photos, well done. Nothing beats fresh produce to work with. A fisherman buddy of mine just shared some of his catch with me and I'll blogging about them tomorrow.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. My pleasure Lazaro - I could barely contain myself! We brought back some of the fish we caught and I'm making New Orleans style blackened fish nuggets with remoulade sauce later tonight. Can't wait to see yours!

  3. You caught me with the crab photo! I voted for you too, I can't wait to see more after a post like that!

  4. Wow . . . the photos are so amazing, I can almost taste the food. I've never seen , nor heard of, purple peppers before, but they look incredible! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. I have had shafer wines at all of our family reunions,get togethers for clients and business meetings...What beautiful crafted wines bravo for letting other people in on a wonderful secret
    Beautiful vineyard pictures.We are from Cape Cod but love to escape to Oregon and bring back our bounty of wines

  6. Wonderful presentation of an adventure with fishing, CRABS, good food, vino./etc..... and fun with great people.
    I know you all and Terrye and I wish we had been there. Maybe we will see ya'll there next year. Hopefully you will be back.
    All The Best,

  7. Wish you had been there Lee Wayne! It was great fun and thank you for letting us use the crab wagon! We had a blast tooling up the coast in it!

  8. Gorgeous photos! It looks like a fabulous trip. We love hatch chiles too-when I lived in Colorado we used to do road trip to Hatch, NM just for them!

  9. Thanks Nicole! We love them, too, but must admit we never drove so far to get them :-) Lucky us to have family who lives close enough to get them for us!

  10. I purchased purple peppers this summer at a farmer's market in St Jacobs (west of Toronto) They are amazing! Beautiful purple skin with a sweet, crunchy white flesh. We ate them raw but I will cook with them one day.

  11. Wow Danny - you're the first person I've heard from who's seen them! Aren't they gorgeous! I've asked my SIL for the seeds so perhaps we can grow some around here. They'd be a HUGE hit in this part of the country.

  12. I have had them before as well! purple peppers are nice for a salad or anything raw.

    beware when you cook them though -- they lose the purple colour and tend to look a pale green like the inside flesh all the way through.