Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Light Adventurer: Exploring the Salmon River Trail in the Mt. Hood National Forest

We were headed for an afternoon on the Salmon River Trail #42 out of Welches, Oregon. Even getting there was magnificent. The beauty began soon after leaving the mountain town of Sandy. It was June and the snow was still covering most of Mount Hood. The wildflowers were in bloom. It was a perfect day for hiking.

Driving to the Salmon River
In Welches, we took the Salmon River Road. We were shaded by the forest canopy on this increasingly warm day. Five miles of narrow, pot-holed road but who cares when it is bordered with beautiful blue, purple, pink and white wildflowers. 

We entered the Mt. Hood National Forest and arrived at the trailhead, just before a bridge over the rushing Salmon River. I peeked over the side and thought this would be a great vantage point when the salmon were heading upstream to spawn. To the left of the bridge was a deep, calm pool. Great for fishing, I thought.

What Goes Up…
Our group gathered, geared up with hiking boots, sticks and, of course water.  We left our passes on our dashboards. We chose the upper trail, the most difficult, and decided to hike to the bridge, a little over a mile and a half and then return. Sounds, easy, right? Well, with all the rocks and stops for photography, it wasn’t a quick hike.

The hike starts up a rocky trail with views of the Salmon River to the right. Going up that rocky trail is well worth it. Not only can you enjoy trickling rivulets oozing out of the mountain and delicate wildflowers, the trail will take you to a marvelous place.

The Old Growth Fern Forest
About a mile up the trail, everything smoothed out. The trail was softer and more flat. We were still by the river but were surrounded by mossy old growth forest, ferns and lush greenery. It was the type of place that dreams are made of and where you might expect to see Bambi and Thumper cavorting.

We were told that in the 1960s, the Forest Service planned a paved highway up this canyon, connecting to Highway 26. The canyon was included in the 1984 legislation that created the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, and will forever be protected. The old growth forest, and canyon are treasures that are not far from Portland.

The Island
Some of my hiking friends waded over to explore an island in the river. The island is a wide peninsula cut off from the shore by a small fork that splits from the main river. They enjoyed the lush forest with massive trees.

I took the main trail back and stopped frequently to enjoy the wildflowers and the huge trees. You have to stop on this sometimes-narrow trail to look up at the treetops. There are many rocks and roots to trip you if you walk and gawk too much! So slowing down, or stopping to have a look is recommended.

Tips for Hiking the Salmon River Trail
(contains affiliate links)

Gear Up for Your Hike - You'll be more comfortable and safe if you have the following:

 - Water Bottle or Hydration Pack - There are cliff face trails that are exposed to the sun and can get very hot. Consider a small hydration pack. The day was warm and there was shade, but it was still a day to carry water.

- Lunch or Snacks - Carry at least some trail mix or snack bar. The hike might take longer than you think it will and a good trail bar or mix will give you energy. I prefer Corazonas bars. They taste great and are a healthy snack.

- Hiking Stick or Hiking Poles - Due to uneven terrain, rocks and tree roots, you'll need to consider a hiking stick. I prefer my collapsible travel staff. It gives me a third leg and helps a lot when I trip or slip (which isn't uncommon for me!)

- Gortex Hiking Boots with Good Tread - It's uneven terrain out there on the trail and it's rather rocking in places. I like a mid-height gortex hiking boot. If you want to get over to the island, waterproof boots are a must.

On the Way Back
On the way back, as I was ready to leave Sandy, I saw a sign for the Jonsrud Viewpoint and followed it off to the right. This is a favorite stop for photographers. You will enjoy spectacular views of Mt. Hood and the Sandy River Valley as well as informational signs about the Barlow Road, part of the Oregon Trail.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Feast 2017 Schedule and Tickets: More Fun-Size Events, More Dinners, And An Inspiring Line-up Of Chefs

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! Feast On!

Bon Appétit Presents Feast Portland returns better than ever for the sixth year, September 14th-17th, 2017. Festival tickets will be available to purchase starting at 9am PST on Friday, June 2nd at

With deep Pacific Northwest roots and a mission to reflect and celebrate the most relevant food and drink trends regionally and globally, Bon Appétit Presents Feast Portland is widely considered one of the country’s coolest culinary festivals. The four-day festival brings together both legendary and emerging culinary talent at more than 40 events in stunning venues across Portland, Oregon. With a schedule packed with large-scale marquee events, intimate fun-sized events, once-in-a-lifetime dinners, tasting panels, hands-on classes and industry parties, there are countless ways to Feast. 

Bon Appétit Presents Feast Portland has donated more than $300,000 to local and national charity partners working to end childhood hunger. In 2017, Feast Portland will partner exclusively with Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon

2017 Participating Chefs

Visiting chefs include: Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo of Fat Rice (Chicago, IL), Alvin Cailan of Unit 120 (Los Angeles, CA), Barbara Lynch of Barbara Lynch Gruppo (Boston, MA), Brad Farmerie of Public, Saxon + Parole (New York, NY), Bryan Lee Weaver of Butcher & Bee (Nashville, TN), Christina Tosi of Milkbar (New York, NY), Clare Gordon of General Porpoise Coffee and Doughnuts (Seattle, WA), Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme (New York, NY), Derek Dammann of Maison Publique (Montréal, Canada), Edouardo Jordan of JuneBaby (Seattle, WA), Enrique Olvera of Cosme (New York, NY), Ethan Stowell of Ethan Stowell Restaurants (Seattle, WA), Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune (New York, NY), Greg Baxtrom of Olmsted (New York, NY), Ignacio Mattos of Estela (New York, NY), Isa Fabro of Unit 120 (Los Angeles, CA), Jean-Paul Bourgeois of Blue Smoke (New York, NY), Jeremiah Langhorne of The Dabney (Washington, DC), Joshua Henderson of Vestal (Seattle, WA), John Tesar of Knife at The Highland Dallas (Dallas, TX), Josef Centeno of Bar Amá (Los Angeles, CA), Julia Sherman of Salad for President (New York, NY), Laura Sawicki of Launderette (Austin, TX), Matt Fortner of Lola (Seattle, WA), Mike Anthony of Gramercy Tavern (New York, NY), Mike Solomonov of Zahav (Philadelphia, PA), Nina Compton of Compère Lapin (New Orleans, LA), Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club (San Francisco, CA), Rene Ortiz of Launderette (Austin, TX), Sam Mason of OddFellows (New York, NY), Tom Douglas of Tom Douglas Restaurants (Seattle, WA), Tony Cervone of Souvla (San Francisco, CA), and Tyson Cole of Hai Hospitality (Austin, TX).

Local Oregon chefs include: Aaron Barnett (St. Jack), Allen Routt (The Painted Lady), Andy Ricker (Pok Pok), Beau Carr (RingSide Steakhouse), Ben Bettinger (Big's Chicken), Benjamin Gonzales (Nuestra Cocina), BJ Smith (Smokehouse Tavern), Bonnie Morales (Kachka), Carlo Lamagna (Clyde Common), Cathy Whims (Nostrana), Chris Cosentino (Jackrabbit), Chris DiMinno (Jackrabbit), Daniel Oseas (Broder), David Sapp (Park Kitchen), Derek McCarthy (Pastaworks at Providore Fine Foods), Dolan Lane (Kimpton Hotels/ Red Star Tavern), Doug Adams (Bullard Restaurant), Dustin Clark (Besaw's), Dustin Koerner (Andina), Earl Ninsom (Langbaan), Elias Cairo (Olympia Provisions), Enrique Sanchez-Rodriguez (Local Ocean Seafood), Erik Van Kley (Taylor Railworks), Gabe Rosen (Biwa) Gabrielle Rucker (Le Pigeon), Geovanna Salas (Castagna), Greg Denton & Gabrielle Quiñonez Denton (Ox), Gregory Gourdet (Departure), Han Ly Hwang (Kim Jong Grillin), Jackie Sappington (The Country Cat), Jason French (Ned Ludd), Jenn Louis (Ray), Jin Soo Yang (Bamboo Sushi), Joel Stocks & Will Presich (Holdfast & Deadshot), John Gorham (Toro Bravo), John Stewart (Meat Cheese Bread), José Chesa (Chesa), Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene's), Justin Wills (Restaurant Beck), Justin Woodward (Castagna), Kate McMillen (Lauretta Jean's), Katy Millard (Coquine), Ken Gordon (Kenny & Zukes Delicatessen), Kim Boyce (Bakeshop), Kristen Murray (Maurice), Kyle Lattimer & Paul Losch (Ruddick Wood), Kyo Koo (Danwei Canting), Leather Storrs (Noble Rot), Lisa Schroeder (Mother's Bistro), Matt Christianson (Urban Farmer Restaurant), Matt Sigler (Figlia), Maya Lovelace (Mae), Melissa McMillan (Sammich and Pastramie Zombie), Naomi Pomeroy (Beast), Patrick Fleming (Boke Bowl), Pete Moss (Double Dragon), Peter Cho (Han Oak), Rachel Yang (Revelry), Rich Meyer (Trifecta Tavern and Bakery), Rick Gencarelli (Lardo), Luke Zembo (Slow Bar), Rodney Muirhead (Podnah's Barbecue), Sam Smith (Tusk), Sarah Minnick (Lovely's Fifty Fifty), Sarah Schafer (Irving Street Kitchen), Scott Dolich (Park Kitchen), Scott Ketterman (Crown Paella), Sunny Jin (JORY, at The Allison), Tim Alves (Bottle + Kitchen), Tim Healea (Little T Baker), Tommy Habetz & Nick Wood (Bunk Sandwiches), Troy MacLarty (Bollywood Theater), Tyler Malek (Salt & Straw), and Vitaly Paley (Imperial).

2017 Feast Portland Events

Bigger than a dinner but smaller than a Feast marquee event, Fun-Size events make a triumphant return in 2017 with a handful of intimate and out-of-the-box experiences including: The Late, Late Show: Adventures in Takeout features the work of chefs Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo (Fat Rice, Chicago), Kyo Koo (Danwei Canting, PDX), Han Ly Hwang (Kim Jong Grillin’, PDX) Gabe Rosen (Biwa, PDX) and Bonnie Morales (Kachka, PDX). Vegetables: A Love Story, Featuring Healthyish by Bon Appétit has a dream team of creative vegetable-focused chefs - Edouardo Jordan (JuneBaby, Seattle), Joshua McFadden (Ava Gene’s, PDX) Bryan Lee Weaver (Butcher and Bee, Nashville), Julia Sherman (Salad for President, NYC), David Sapp (Park Kitchen, PDX), Scott Dolich (Park Kitchen, PDX), and Tyler Malek (Salt & Straw, PDX/San Francisco) and Josh Alsberg (Rubinette Produce, PDX). Because Breakfast boasts the most Instagram-ready collection of small pastries, crepes, breakfast goodies, delicious donuts, morning cocktails and inspired riffs on coffee drinks that you’re likely to find outside of Paris, featuring Jehnee Rains (Suzette, PDX), Kim Boyce (Bakeshop), Clare Gordon (General Porpoise Coffee and Doughnuts, Seattle), and Michael Scelfo (Waypoint, Boston). Pizza & Burgers goes back to basics with Tommy Habetz (Pizza Jerk, PDX), Sarah Minnick (Lovely's Fifty Fifty, PDX), John Gorham (Bless Your Heart Burgers, PDX) and Luke Zembo (Slow Bar, PDX).

There are vibrant night markets all around the world and The Feast Portland Night Market Presented by Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card is among America’s best. Outside under the stars with views of Portland’s downtown skyline and colorful Tilikum Crossing, the Night Market is an irresistible array of exotic tastes, kaleidoscopic sights and DJ-fueled sounds. This high-energy, Latin-themed event is lit by festive lights and warmed by the collective buzz of where to eat next, with food from more than 20 standout chefs from coast to coast. It’s a taste of Latin America, Spain and more right here on the banks of the Willamette. 

There’s no better way to kick of the best food weekend ever than at Sandwich Invitational Presented by The Portland Trail Blazers. When 18 all-star chefs bring their ‘A’-game to the Rose Quarter Commons, the awesomeness scoreboard is gonna light up like a Portland Trail Blazers blow-out win. Expect a high-flying affair where featured chefs put some crazy spin-moves on the classic definition of “sandwich.” Throw down some title-worthy cocktails, exceptional craft brews and fine wines. Join the panel of esteemed judges in voting for a favorite creation to see who will hoist the coveted Sandwich Invitational championship trophy.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. And where there’s fire, there’s Smoked! Presented by Tillamook—Feast’s over-the-top take on the backyard cookout of your wildest imagination. It all goes down at The Fields in the Pearl District, where there’s grass under your feet and the iconic Fremont Bridge providing the backdrop. When the sun dips behind Forest Park, the glow of giant, flaming grills lights the way as 22 world-class chefs serve up the amazing and the unexpected. There’s a noteworthy array of cocktails, fine wines and craft beers to cool it all down, too. It’s every carnivore’s smoky dream sequence—wandering from grill station to grill station in a meat-fueled, blissful state. 

The Grand Tasting Presented by New Seasons Market takes a full block in the heart of downtown Portland, Pioneer Courthouse Square, and transforms it into a veritable mosh pit of amazing food, drink and discovery. Jump in and get friendly with more than 80 vendors, including some of the best chefs, vintners, brewers, bakers, cheesemakers and food artisans from the Northwest and across the country. The Grand Tasting is Feast’s largest tasting event, where guests find their favorites side-by-side with those who’ll define tomorrow’s taste trends—from handcrafted chocolates and cheeses to innovation of the liquid variety.

No matter what you believe, there’s always room for a little food worship on Sunday morning. Brunch Village is all about starting a little late and moving a little bit slow—bathrobe and bedhead are fully optional. Expect an eye-opening, international food and beverage dreamland, led by master brunch makers from New York, New Orleans, Austin and, of course, many of Portland’s brunch mainstays. It all takes place within the cozy confines of downtown Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Drink Tank panels shine the spotlight on some of the country’s best winemakers, brewers and distillers. Discuss and taste the hottest trends in the beverage world, including gin, American Single Malt Whiskey, punch, rosé, Beaujolais, and Pilsners with a panel of national experts and moderators like Wine Editor of Bon Appétit Marissa Ross, Executive Editor of Imbibe Paul Clarke, and certified cicerone and beer writer Lucy Burningham.

Learn directly from the masters in dynamic workspaces at Feast Portland’s Hands-On Classes. 2017 classes include Hot Stove Society’s Dumpling Fest: A Hands-On Dumpling Class with Chef Tom Douglas; Drink Like a Pro: Demystifying the Cocktail; Bon Appétit’s “Inside The Test Kitchen”; Ice Cream Social the Lazy, No-Fuss Way with Food52 co-founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs; Cook And Capture: Camera-Ready Cooking At Home with Andrea Slonecker, Colu Henry and Kari Young; The Ultimate Candy Creation Experience Workshop With Jami Curl; Salt Block Grilling: Outdoor Cooking with Slabs of Primordial Salt; Thinking Outside the (Chocolate) Box: Making Confections with Cheese, Beer, and Local Produce; Spiked Tea with Bull in China; Steak & Eggs; and Smith Tea Presents Botany 201: Palate Cross Training.

The Dinner Series events are once-in-a-lifetime meals crafted through the collaboration of the country’s most innovative culinary minds. 2017 Dinner Series events hosted at KitchenCru include: The Bon Appétit Hot Ten DinnerUnion Squared in PDX with Mike Anthony (Gramercy Tavern, NYC), Jean-Paul Burgeois (Blue Smoke, NYC), Cathy Whims (Nostrana, PDX), Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon, PDX), Geovanna Salas (Castagna, PDX); The French Connection with Barbara Lynch (Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Boston), Kristin Murray (Maurice, PDX), Katy Millard (Coquine, PDX); and Quatro Hombres: Adventures in Tex Mex with Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue, Austin) and his fellow Texans Doug Adams (Bullard, PDX), Rodney Muirhead (Podnah's Pit, PDX) and a special guest. In-restaurant Dinner Series events include: The Convivencia Dinner with Mike Solomonov (Zahav, Philadelphia), John Gorham (Toro Bravo, PDX), Sam Smith (Tusk, PDX) and Kasey Mills (MEC, PDX); Game, On with Chris Cosentino (Jackrabbit, PDX), Chris DiMinno (Jackrabbit, PDX), Derek Dammann (Maison Publique, Montréal) and Sam Mason (OddFellows, NYC); For One Night Only with Enrique Olvera (Cosme, NYC), Andy Ricker (Pok Pok, PDX), Daniela Soto-Innes (Cosme, NYC) and Jose Chesa (Chesa, PDX); Whiskey Pig Presented by House Spirits Distillerywith Carlo Lamagna (Clyde Common, PDX), Alvin Cailan (Unit 120, LA) and Isa Fabro (Unit 120, LA); Portland Surf and Texas Turf with Gregory Gourdet (Departure, PDX), Matt Christianson (Urban Farmer, PDX), John Tesar (Knife at The Highland Dallas, Dallas), Doug Adams (Bullard Restaurant, PDX) and BJ Smith (Smokehouse Tavern, PDX); Friday Night Lights with Ignacio Mattos (Estela, NY), Naomi Pomeroy (Beast, PDX), Peter Cho (Han Oak, PDX), Justin Woodward (Castagna, PDX); Lamb, Bones and Butter where good friends Gabrielle Hamilton (Prune, NYC) and Jason French (Ned Ludd, PDX) come together to cook a warm-hearted, hearth-driven meal of a lifetime; and Not-So Secret Supper featuring Eva Kosmas Flores and her Secret Supper PDX team, Jessica Fiorillo of Feed Me Dearly, and Ashley Alexander of Gather + Feast bringing your Instagram food dreams to life, creating a stunningly beautiful meal on a farm on nearby Sauvie Island.  

Feast Portland 2017 Lineup
The complete Bon Appétit Presents Feast Portland 2017 lineup with event descriptions, list of participants, and ticket information can be found at Tickets for each event are available for purchase individually and prices are all-inclusive of food and drink served at that event. 

 For more information visit and follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter (@FeastPDX), and Instagram (@FeastPortland).

Note: Information provided by Feast Portland. My photos are from previous amazing Feast Portland events.

Summer at Olympia Provisions: Patio Fun, National Hot Dog Month and Free for Fathers Day

When OP Wurst opened on Southeast Division in Portland, I attended the open house and sampled some creative variations of the hot dog. I also looked longingly at their outdoor patio as the rain clouds rolled in. But now they are prepared for summer and the patio is open!

Olympia Provisions (OP) is gearing up for summer. Fathers will especially enjoy their day at OP Wurst. OP Wurst also has a special spot in their sausage and sunshine-loving hearts for the month of July, because it's National Hot Dog Month!

Fathers and Franks
On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 18th, they’re hosting Fathers and Franks! Bring your dad in for a free Classic Father’s Day Frank on OP at any of their three OP Wurst locations:

OP Wurst at Pine Street Market
126 SW 2nd Ave., Hours: Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, and Sat-Sun 10am-10pm
OP Wurst Sausage Bar
3384 SE Division St., Hours: Sun-Wed 11am-12am and Thu-Sat 11am-1am
OP Wurst at Oregon City Brewing
1401 Washington St. in Oregon City, Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm, and Sun 11am-8pm

National Hot Dog Month Chef Collabos
They’ve got major frankfurter festivities planned for National Hot Dog Month, starting with their rotating weekly chef’s collaborations.

Each week in July, OP Wurst Chef Victor Deras will pair up with a different Portland chef to create a signature frank inspired by their restaurants to be featured at their three OP Wurst locations: Southeast Portland, Oregon City, and downtown Portland’s Pine Street Market.

They’ll donate 10% of the chef collaboration proceeds to the Oregon Humane Society (Cinnamon the Coonhound is all for that!).

The Lineup
July 6th-12th: Carlo Lamagna, Clyde Common

July 13th – 19th: Maya Lovelace, Mae

July 20th – 26th: Gregory Gourdet, Departure Restaurant
July 27th - August 2nd: Troy MacLarty, Bollywood Theater.

Everything You Need for Summer Grilling
OP is kicking off summer with gifts for the grill, available for your backyard BBQ’s and continuing throughout the year. You’ll find these items on their website, and hint, hint – they make the best gifts for dads!

More Information
Olympia Provisions Website
OP Wurst Featured on Wander With Wonder

Portland 4th of July Event: 3-Course Dinner and Amazing Fireworks from Altabira Patio

Altabira City Tavern has one of Portland’s best rooftops for this summer’s star-spangled 4th of July fireworks display. Reservations will open at 2 p.m. on June 1st for the second annual Fireworks and Dinner event on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, which includes a three-course menu from chef de cuisine Luis Escorcia and front row seats to the spectacular downtown Portland fireworks display. Dinner guests will have full access to the 6th floor patio overlooking downtown Portland’s annual fireworks celebration and a reserved table for the entire evening.

Altabira will seat diners from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and the prix-fixe dinner is $65 per person, not including gratuity and beverages. Wine and beer pairings will be available for an additional fee. A credit card is required when making reservations. Please call Altabira at 503-963-3600 for reservations. Children are welcome. 


First Course (choice of one)
Chilled melon soup, mint, creme fraiche
Ceviche of local rock fish, Pico de Gallo, house made chips
House made andouille sausage, red beans & rice 
Beef tartare, Parmesan, capers, Dijon aioli, arugula 
Wedge salad, bacon, blue cheese dressing

Entree (choice of one)
Roasted Beef Tenderloin, scalloped potatoes, Pinot Noir sauce
Half BBQ chicken, potato salad, baked beans
Smoked Pork Short Ribs, coleslaw, Mexican street corn
Roasted King Salmon, collard greens, sweet corn grits
Seafood Stew Vera Cruz, clams, mussels, shrimp, halibut, chorizo

Dessert (choice of one)
Blueberry white chocolate cheesecake with orange blossom caramel and rice krispie tuile 
Warm Maryhill peach cobbler with lavender honey ice cream and pistachio brittle
Strawberry Shortcake with toasted marshmallow, chocolate chip ice cream and pistachio brittle

Altabira City Tavern offers regional American cuisine focused on updated classic dishes with 16 taps of local craft beers, select Northwest wines, and locally distilled spirits. The restaurant and bar is open for lunch and dinner in a modern setting with large floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of Portland’s downtown skyline and inner eastside. For more information and menu, please visit

Information provided by Altabira City Tavern

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Visiting a New Mexico Pueblo: Laguna Pueblo Feast Day

Feast Days at the pueblos of New Mexico are special times full of family, feasting and ceremony. Usually feast days are open to the public. And, as I found out, feast days are great opportunities to enjoy Native American culture, pueblo-style.

What is a Feast Day?
According to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, “Feast Days” at each of the Pueblos are named after the Pueblos’ patron saint. The Pueblos open up their respective Feast Days to the public where visitors can view the reverent dances and songs offered on those days.

Feast Days bring tribal members together to renew their culture, language and native religion. On those days, families prepare food for the many invited visitors coming through their homes, and participate in the activities taking place on their Feast Day. Pueblo Feast Day Dates do not change and are held on the same date each year. List of Pueblos and Feast Days

What is a Feast Day Like?
I had never attended a feast day and heard about the Feast Day at Laguna Pueblo, 45 miles west of Albuquerque. The pueblo, visible from I-40 had always intrigued me.

With earth colored adobe homes dotting the hillside and a white historic mission church at the top of the hill, Laguna Pueblo looked more like a scene out of old Mexico than what you might expect to see while driving the Interstate. Laguna is home to the Ka-waikah people and, like the other pueblos, have their own government and rules for visitors.

St. Joseph Church at Laguna Pueblo
St. Joseph Church at Laguna Pueblo
September 19th is the Feast Day of St. Joseph, the patron saint of Laguna Pueblo. You can see the beautiful whitewashed adobe St. Joseph's church from the highway. When you attend the Feast Day, you may visit the church.

The feast day, the year I went, was on Sunday and took place 10am - 8am. I arrived around 11 a.m. and found plenty of places in the dirt parking lot on the hillside behind the church. People were parking alongside the road and at their relative's homes.

The first thing I noticed were rows upon rows of colorful tents lining the areas around the church. I parked (free) and started walking along the dusty pathway. I
I enjoyed looking at all the booths. Families were selling roasted corn from the backs of their pick-up trucks. The corn, grey with ash, looked as though it had been roasted in a pit.

As I made my way up the hill, I noticed that there were quite a few jewelry vendors from Kewa Pueblo (formerly Santo Domingo) known for their inlaid shell and heishi. There were "Diné curly fries", hamburger stands and sno-cone vendors. I had a sense I would not go hungry!

It was fun to see what each booth offered. There were dime toss games for children, quite a bit of pottery from Acoma, Macaw feathers from Central America, wonderful home made pies and horno (oven) bread.

The main booths were located along two streets near the church. A Laguna pottery vendor welcomed me and suggested I visit the church, founded in 1701. I did so and said a prayer for the success of the pueblo's harvest. I noticed beautiful traditional painting along the walls, and old, creaky wooden pews that must have been there for many years. I took a photo of the church, with permission, and left a donation.

It was getting hot and I was glad I brought water. Around the stone and adobe homes, there were many people. Inside, families were serving their invited guests, too many to fit inside the home.

Ceremonial Dances
I heard the beat of drums and wandered closer to the main plaza. Just outside, in front of a home there were feathered Eagle Dancers. I watched the dance and then headed over to see what was going on in the plaza. It wasn't time for a dance yet. There were chairs lined up for the local people. Visitors could watch, respectfully from above, if they remained behind the local people.

As I wandered the booths, I noticed dancers, in traditional dress, shopping for food and for more items of traditional dress. I especially enjoyed the fact that this was not a tourist-oriented event. 95% of the people there were Native American. I saw friends from Zuni and Acoma there.

Laguna Pottery
I collect pottery and was looking for some Laguna potters. I asked each pottery vendor where they were from and oddly, most were from Acoma. I know that Laguna and Acoma people have had a close relationship over the years but I still had hoped to purchase a piece of Laguna pottery. In speaking with a young Laguna woman who had a few pieces of pottery to sell, I found out that there were not many people at Laguna making traditional pottery. She was teaching pottery and wanted to revive the art. Next to her, one of her students was wrapping up two huge pottery jars for a collector. Other than these two booths, I didn't encounter many local people who made pottery.

I ended up purchasing a small Jemez pot from Geraldine Toya. She had a gorgeous wedding vase pot which was a bit out of my price range. Her pots are all made in the traditional way and she and her husband use natural pigments and paints.

Geraldine Toya and her beautiful pottery.
The amazing wedding pot is on the left.
Interestingly, you can see their work, in much larger form, along the Albuquerque Sunport road.

I had met Laguna potter, Michael Kanteena, as he presented his art for us at the Petroglyph National Monument years ago and hoped to see him at the feast day. Unfortunately he was not there.

I stopped by the Indian Arts Center store just off the Interstate, near the gas station and asked about Laguna pottery. The owner explained, as did the pottery teacher, that there were not many potters in Laguna. She had some older pottery available for sale to collectors. Also at the Indian Arts Center, you'll often find fry bread and Indian tacos for sale.

Worth a Stop.
When You Go
Feast days are opportunities to visit the Laguna Pueblo as it is a time that visitors are welcomed. Although each small town that makes up the Pueblo has a feast day, the best one to attend is September 19th, as all the villages celebrate the Feast of St. Joseph and gather at Laguna for dances after a Mass at the San José Mission Church.

You'll be spending the day outdoors so wear sunscreen, a hat and carry (or purchase) water.

Bring cash for food and your arts and crafts purchases. While some vendors took checks, and a very few took credit cards, most expected purchases to be made with cash.

More Information - Laguna Pueblo Website

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Finicky Foodie: On the Octopus Trend

Octopus is being served in all the trendiest restaurants. In fact, some of my favorite eateries feature octopus. But I, as a finicky foodie, am having trouble jumping on the pulpo bandwagon. My background in eating octopus as food goes way back to the time that octopus was served as little rings, often dredged in flour and fried. At times these rings were chewy, but I was OK with them. They didn't look like octopus.

Growing Up with Octopus
I grew up in San Francisco and loved seafood. We went to Fisherman's Wharf to pick up fresh crab. We dined on swordfish steaks with plenty of tartar sauce. And we savored prawns served cold with home made tangy red sauce.

Octopuses were in my life, but not on my table. I was interested in marine biology and spent plenty of time at Steinhart Aquarium in Golden Gate Park. I marveled at the tank with the huge-headed octopus, watched him breathe and squeeze into the tiniest places. Those suction cups were most often seen on the sides of the tank so we could see them close up. And, one time I saw an octopus that worked its way into a small glass jar, tentacles and all. I was fascinated. 

California Academy of Sciences
I really wasn't aware at that stage of life that people ate octopus. Shrimp, yes. Abalone, yes. But octopus? An octopus, to me, was a fascinating, undulating being moving on all 8 legs across the ocean floor and, when in a hurry, making itself streamlined... head first, with a whoosh of water to propel it away from danger. 

I not only visited the aquarium and went tide-pooling along the ocean, I read about sea life, sailing and nautical adventures. Some of what I read involved Cephalopods.  There was the giant squid in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. "The creature rises up in front of the boats—it’s a 'vast pulpy mass, furlongs in length and breadth, of a glancing cream-color', and it has a bunch of strange undulating tentacles. Then it submerges itself again." Nothing there to appeal to a foodie.

And then there was the giant octopus in Jules Vernes' 20000 Leagues Under the Sea. During the voyages of the submarine, Nautilus, they encountered several giant octopuses that attack the boat and have to be fought by the crew. Jules Verne not only tells of how the crew manages in desperate battles to defend the boat against the monsters, but in the preface to the battle several crew members talk about the legend of the giant octopus. Not the stuff foodie legends are made of!

Octopuses are Interesting and Smart
So I grew up intrigued by octopus and scared of them. What might happen if those suction cups attached themselves to me! Yikes!

I’ve recently found out that octopuses are pretty smart and creative. Last year The Washington Post reported a story in which “Inky the Octopus slipped through a gap left by maintenance workers at the top of his enclosure and, as evidenced by the tracks, made his way across the floor to a six-inch-wide drain. He squeezed his football-sized body in and made a break for the Pacific.” Inky became quite the celebrity and was cheered on for having broken out of the aquarium. 

No Octopus on my Plate Please
I mentioned that when I was served octopus in the past, it was disguised. But now, chefs make a point of ensuring that diners see the tentacles on their plate. It’s part of the art of edibles nowadays.

But I just can’t order any dishes with visible tentacles in them. It won’t work for me. My foodie friends urge me on telling me how delicious octopus is but I have just said no to octopus and pulpo on my plate.
As much as I admire my favorite Portland chefs and love what they create, I will remain finicky. I'll pick and choose from the offerings and let the octopus remain that curious creature in the ocean with the suction cups... a bit endearing and a bit scary.

I was drawn to this stuffed octopus in the gift shop
at Sea Lion Caves on the Oregon Coast.
I know I must not be the only one who draws the line at eating octopus. For now...

I remain,
The Finicky Foodie

Note: Food photos from Instagram shares.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Celebrating Memorial Day: Is it about sales, barbques or what?

A visitor to our country will observe the scurrying around on Memorial Day and conclude that it's "National Camping Day," "National Barbecue Day," or "National Mattress Shopping Day," right?

Actually, if you really stop and think about it. Memorial Day is for remembrance. If you look at the History Channel web page describing Memorial Day, you will see a succinctly written history of the day:

Memorial Day, an American holiday observed on the last Monday of May, honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.

And then, sadly, a Memorial Day mattress sale ad plays over the article. But we should stop and take a moment to remember. I do that by reflecting on this poem, which has great meaning to me:

High Flight
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high un-tresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God

The Light Adventurer: Eagle Creek Trail in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge 2017

Being a 65+ person, I'm all for what is called "light adventure." This week, I found adventure and stunning natural beauty in Oregon's Columbia Gorge. With a group (a great idea for light adventurers) I trekked from the Eagle Creek Trailhead to Punch Bowl Falls. I'll tell you what I experienced and add a few tips for a safe and comfortable hike.

Choosing the Day for the Eagle Creek Trail

Eagle Creek, less than an hour from Portland, Oregon is a very popular hike. On weekends, you'll have a hard time finding a parking place and may end up parking a mile away at the fish hatchery. Plus, if you are a light adventurer like me, you might be taking it slowly and the Millenials and trail runners can get a little testy.

So choose a weekday if you can. Go as early as you feel comfortable. We went at noon on a Thursday in May and found a place to park. I'd recommend going earlier as the trail was getting busy when we returned from our hike at about 3 p.m.

Eagle Creek Trailhead
Trailhead. Park here if you can. There are restrooms (flush toilet)
and a place to buy your pass.
Choose a Reasonable Distance

The Eagle Creek Trail to Punchbowl Falls is not an easy one. It's very rocky in spots, is a smooth incline most of the way (we were told 500 foot elevation gain) and there are some narrow spots with cables provided to grab on to. So the 4 mile round trip distance is a good one for the light adventurer. 

You'll probably take two hours to reach Punch Bowl Falls because of the incline and, of course, stopping to take photos and admire the beauty of the area. Coming back is much easier because it is a gradual slope down, but the narrow spots and rocks remain. 

Hiking Eagle Creek
Eagle Creek Trail
What You Will See on the Eagle Creek Trail

So this is why you go.  You'll be hiking beside the beautiful Eagle Creek, look up to see water dripping off tall basalt cliffs and marvel at the lush temperate rain forest interspersed with warmer hillsides where oak trees grow. The greenery along this trail runs from maidenhair ferns to delicate wildflowers, clinging to damp cliffs. You'll experience old growth forest dripping with moss and catch a glimpse of what a rough winter can do to a trail and trees.

Maidenhair Ferns along the Trail
Although not all that far from the highway, you'll be hiking into wilderness and may encounter backpackers coming down from the mountains. Remember, the trail to Punch Bowl is only the beginning. There are more waterfalls and excitement if you keep going. But for me, the 4 mile round trip was just right. I was good and tired when I returned.

The Beauty of Punchbowl Falls

You'll be taking a detour off the main trail at about the 1.8 mile point. This trail will take you DOWN (remember if you go down, you must come back up!) a pretty steep trail to get to Eagle Creek. This is where you may not dive, just in case you are interested. You'll see people in bathing suits enjoying the rocky beach and wading for views of Punchbowl Falls.

However, I have to say, the creek was running high this week and I didn't get to see the falls. I had Goretex boots on and tried to walk out on the rocks, but many were slippery with moss so I turned back and just enjoyed what I could see... which was stunning!

I couldn't see the falls but it was beautiful!
 I was a little disappointed because, all along the way, I was thinking about a couple I knew who got married at Punchbowl Falls and had magnificent photos to remember the event.

Punchbowl Falls. Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Common
Its a great place for lunch or a snack and to soak in the feel and sound of the rushing water and the play of light on the cliff walls. And then you'll hike back up the trail. The good thing is once you make it up that side trail, the trip back is pretty quick and is downhill most all the way.

The following information includes affiliate links, just FYI.

Tips for Your Eagle Creek Trail Light Adventure

Kids and Dogs - Remember those narrow trail areas on the cliffside with cable hand holds? Well it's no problem for careful adults, but if your kids are not careful and your dog is not under control, you can be in danger. Here are some dog safety tips from Cinnamon the Coonhound.

The paths aren't that bad if you are careful.

Gear Up for Your Hike - You'll be more comfortable and safe if you have the following:

 - Water Bottle or Hydration Pack - It was just a warm spring day when I went. I carried a small bottle of water and finished every drop by the time I finished the hike. There are cliff face trails that are exposed to the sun and can get very hot. Consider a small hydration pack.

- Lunch or Snacks - Carry at least some trail mix or snack bar. The hike might take longer than you think it will and a good trail bar or mix will give you energy. I prefer Corazonas bars. They taste great and are a healthy snack.

- Hiking Stick or Hiking Poles - Due to uneven terrain, rocks and tree roots, you'll need to consider a hiking stick. I prefer my collapsible travel staff. It gives me a third leg and helps a lot when I trip or slip (which isn't uncommon for me!)

- Gortex Hiking Boots with Good Tread - It's uneven terrain out there on the trail and it's rather rocking in places. I like a mid-height gortex hiking boot. We had to cross a small creek on the way up and my boots kept out the water.

- For Swimmers and Waders - We didn't plan for a swim in the rocky river but if you would like to indulge, take water shoes or water sandals and shorts with you to change in to. The water was high and we could have seen Punchbowl Falls (and cooled off) if we had brought a change of clothing.

Light Adventurers probably don't need this reminder!
 - Last but Not Least - Bring your camera. There is plenty to photograph along the way from scenery to wildflowers.

One reason it took us 2 hours on the way up!

When You Go

- Coming from Portland, travel eastbound on I-84, and turn off at Exit #41. At the bottom of the ramp turn right. Go about 1/2 mile to the end of the road (don’t park at the fish hatchery unless the trailhead lot is full). When you leave, you’ll have to take I-84 eastbound to the Cascade Locks exit and turn around there. But you might also want to check out Thunder Island Brewing in Cascade Locks and swap trail stories with the Pacific Crest Trail through hikers.

- (Coming from the east, there is no westbound exit at Eagle Creek. You must continue on I-84 and get off at the Bonneville Dam exit, get back on the interstate and backtrack to exit #41.)

- You will need a Northwest Forest Pass or Federal Senior/ Disabled pass. There is a drop box for purchasing the day pass at the trailhead. If you use a senior or disabled pass, just put it on your dashboard.

You'll be glad you went to Eagle Creek. It's beautiful!