Things We Ate On Our Summer Vacation

Basically, we ate oysters. Lot’s of them. Everyday.

‘Cuz we was staying only a few miles from the town of Oysterville, WA and it just seemed like the right thing to do.

And when we wuzn’t gorgin’ on bivalves, our hosts — Dennis and Connie Kennedy (Official Friends Of ELV) — made sure we feasted on the best just-off-the-boat seafood, and all the right-out-of-the-ground vegetables this bountiful area has to offer. (We also had a running debate — over dozens of bottles — on the relative merits of California versus Oregon pinot noirs, but that’s another story.)

Their beach house is located a few miles north of Long Beach, WA (“The World’s Longest Beach”), and when you walk along this thirty-mile stretch of wind-swept, hard-packed sand every morning, you can’t help but to be overwhelmed by thoughts of the awesome, relentless power of the sea. Of man versus nature, and of the inevitable, inexorable sweep of the tides, and what life and power is brought to us by it. Of how God is a sea of infinite substance,* and how “The sea never changes and its works, for all the talk of men, are wrapped in mystery.”**

But mostly, we just thought about lunch.

Most days consisted of cruising by Green Angel Gardens — run by a farmer of one — and having him pick our produce right from the ground. Then it was off to Jessie’s Seafood Market in the megalopolis of Ilwaco, WA (pop. 950), for some fresh caught, snow white halibut and salmon, and then up to Oysterville for a few bags of kumamotos and Willapa Bay beauties (Crassostrea Gigas).

The inland bay/estuary that those ers-ters come from is so huge you can’t see across it, and the whole freaking thing empties and fills up with six feet of brackish water twice a day — making it the perfect breeding ground for these bivalves.

Rather than endure the frustration (and scarred knuckles) of shucking, we threw them on a very hot Weber grill, and let Mother Nature pop them open. It takes about a minute (if the fire is hot enough), and is the perfect, lazy man’s way to appreciate all of their sweet and salty goodness.

And rather than bore you with a blow by blow of what a good and tasty time we had, we’ll let our tasty snaps speak for themselves.


* St. John of Damascus – De Fide Orthodoxa

** Joseph Conrad – Typhoon

6 thoughts on “Things We Ate On Our Summer Vacation

  1. So glad you enjoyed it up here! Washington and Oregon have some fantastic little food gems. We’ll have to catch a meal next time you’re in town!

  2. Oh, so you went to Long Beach, too? Oh wait, you’re not talking about this Long Beach. I bet there’s no LA Harbor pollution there… But there also probably aren’t any fun gay bars in that Long Beach. hehe ;-)

    Still, it’s been so long since I was up there. I need to go back and see those cold beaches and eat that good grub.

  3. A wise friend of mine recently asked, “David, why would you consider moving to Las Vegas when you live in such a beautiful place with the bounty of earth and sea at your doorstep?” At the time, I suppose the stars in my eyes and the prospects of a burgeoning Las Vegas, (prior to the economic meltdown), clouded my judgement and I didn’t hear the words of that wise friend, ELV, as clearly as I should have.

    But the photos of the oyster beds of Willapa Bay have made it more clear than ever that I am fortunate to be a native of the Pacific Northwest. I hold in my hands some of the most wondrous things I can imagine-those briny, fresh oysters, a roadside stand selling fresh Oregon Marionberries, a Dungeness Crab steamed on the beach.

    When I saw ELV’s photo of a calming sunset over Long Beach, Washington, it reminded me of another wise gentleman who wrote about food. Just a few hours South of Long Beach is Gleneden Beach, Oregon. It was on that beach and the nearby shores of Salishan that James Beard formed a life-long relationship with food and cooking. A life that ultimately led to Beard being recognized as a pioneer leading the movement of establishing an American cuisine.

    The allure of eating Robuchon’s cuisine amidst the excitement of Las Vegas is a decadent pleasure. Yet the pleasure of eating barbecued oysters while watching the sun set over the coast of Washington is just as delicious.

  4. Dr-

    I know how you feel. Especially now that we’re dealing with the sucky economy, all my friends & family from Sacramento to San Diego ask me why I left California. One of my good friends from OC asked, “Why go to Las Vegas? It’s unsustainable!”

    While I’m glad to be away from all the personal & political drama I experienced in California, I must admit that sometimes I still miss that damned state. The farms in The Central Valley produce so much of our nation’s food supply. The vineyards of Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and (of course!) Napa/Sonoma produce some of the world’s finest wines. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego constantly compete to produce some of the world’s most innovative cuisine.

    And yes, it’s so easy to produce good food from good locally grown ingredients… And it doesn’t always have to result in a steakhouse!

    Now don’t get me wrong, the Las Vegas food scene has definitely grown and become more sophisticated in recent years. Some of the finest restaurants anywhere can be found on The Strip. It’s just that, as I said earlier, it just seems like this town still hasn’t quite matured past steakhouses and “celebrity chefs” and over-the-top attitude that can get old and boring pretty quickly.

    I just sometimes miss what may be the best quality of California other than its stunningly beautiful coastline: Its food! Yep, it can be quite fun to eat food inspired by the world’s top chefs while looking down upon The Strip. It’s just not the same as enjoying a picnic of fresh farm food at a vineyard up the 101 from Santa Barbara or munching on a veggie taco while enjoying another stunning Laguna Beach sunset.

  5. What’s up?. Thanks for the info. I’ve been digging around for info, but there is so much out there. Google lead me here – good for you i guess! Keep up the good work. I will be coming back over here in a couple of days to see if there is any more info.

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