Thursday, August 9, 2007
I've just returned from a couple of days in Oregon, where I drove through 50 miles of the stunning Columbia River gorge and passed miles and miles of orchards, fruit stands and wineries near Mount Hood. (It looked a lot like this photo, which is from the Hood River Chamber of Commerce site, although the trees were covered with fruit, not blossoms. And yes, that's Mount Hood in the background.) Alas, being on a business trip, I wasn't really in a position to stop and buy bags of ripe fruit or bottles of wine to bring back with me. I did sample a couple of items featuring the Marionberry -- a large, delicious blackberry that was developed at Oregon State University. I had Marionberry flavored Tillamook yogurt at the airport this morning, and last night I watched boats of all kinds slip past as I sipped a gorgeous mixed berry mojito at a restaurant on the Willamette riverfront in Portland. I guess that's called "drinking locally" -- as long as we ignore the rum and lime juice. I also sampled the famous Tillamook cheddar cheese in a crab and shrimp melt after the mojito was gone.
Earlier yesterday my colleague and I lunched on a hillside patio in the picturesque town of Hood River, which is apparently one of the most popular wind-surfing destinations in the world, due to the winds that are funneled along the gorge.
Both restaurants' menus noted that they use local and organic ingredients whenever possible. I'm seeing this more and more -- not that I eat out much, but it seems it's almost becoming an expectation in good restaurants these days. Since local food is likely to be the freshest, it makes perfect sense.