10 Edible Gifts from Oregon (Holiday Edition)

JacobsenSalt

Just wrapped up a big story for Zester Daily, for which I picked a different artisanal edible food product from every state (and one would-be state, D.C.) to send at the holidays. It was a doozy. Not all regions of the country, it turns out, are populated by people moved by the DIY ethos to make-their-own and turn it into a business. Here in Oregon I can swing a bearded cat and hit one. So here are my faves from Oregon. We send a new edible Oregon out every year since we’ve moved here and haven’t run out of ideas yet!

Here are my picks for great edibles to send from Oregon:

1. Jacobsen Salt. (pic above) Harvested directly from the waters of the Netarts Bay by a really, really swell guy, Ben Jacobsen.

Truffle Oil Photo

2. Oregon Truffle Oil. Made by my replacement dad in Oregon, famed truffle hunter Jack Czarnecki, America’s First Truffle Oil.

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3. Honest Chocolates. All natural, local, and the people who run it are awesome, too; made in McMinnville using lots of local ingredients (pinot noir, hazelnuts, etc.).

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4. Rogue River Blue cheese. The king of the blues. We’ve had so much success sending this one we’ve been able to make the rounds of the company’s choice aged blues.

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5. Republic of Jam. What can I say? It’s my jam. Especially strawberry prosecco.

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6. Mud River Coffee. Made by my friend Nick Walton, who heads up my favorite gathering spot. Simply the best.

Briar

7. Briar Rose Creamery. The chevre that will redefine how you feel about goat cheese.

hd8. Harry and David. Pears so perfect you can eat them with a spoon.

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9. Olympic Provisions. Salumi, perfect for picnics.

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10. Oregon Olive Mill. Peppery arbequina olive oil, the perfect gift for when you have absolutely no idea what the person likes / what diet they are on / whether they break out in hives drinking coffee.

Liz Crain on Portland’s Food Scene

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Liz Crain, food writer, picking dandelions for dandelion wine.

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You could spend a lot of time trying to figure out the food scene in Portland yourself by waiting in the rain outside of all 500+ food carts or eating at ever sock-rocking restaurant in town (Gruener, Toro Bravo, Paley’s Place, Pok Pok, Le Pigeon).

Or, you could just call Liz Crain. That’s what I did a few weeks ago (my Q & A is up with her at Zester Daily). She allowed me to pick her brain about the most exciting new developments in Portland’s food culture over the past couple of years.

The most exciting developments, according to Liz:

  • Homemade miso
  • The cider and fermentation festivals
  • The way food cart proprietors have made the leap to brick-and-mortar restaurants
  • Pok Pok, Toro Bravo and other RIDICULOUS AWESOME restaurants
  • (insert animal or honey-producing insect here) – keeping

Liz’s new book, The Food Lover’s Guide to Portland, is out in its second edition from Hawthorne Books this month. If you want a great guide for your explorations, it’s a necessary addition to your library.

On the Menu: Food in McMinnville

CommunityPlate

HouseI’ve got a story up at a food website out of Los Angeles, Zester Daily, about what it is really like to eat in a small town with agricultural roots, one that has transformed itself to a kind of food heaven.

It’s called “Eating Big in a Small Oregon Town,” and I’d like you to know I picked that heading myself 🙂 After all, I did move here when I was two months pregnant…

This is the first in a long series of articles I’ll be writing for Zester Daily about food and drink in Oregon. I jumped on as a regular contributor this month and am excited to be sharing everything I know about the sensual way of life on the edge of the Pacific.

In case you’re done reading me wax rhapsodic about small-town food scenes and are looking for my top food picks in McMinnville, here’s a few.

1. The beef tartare at Thistle.
2. Cupcakes at The Sage.
3. Garden chop salad at Community Plate.
4. Tonnarelli with meatballs at Nick’s Italian Cafe.
5. Anything and everything at Bistro Maison.
6. Ethiopia Yergacheffe latte at Chrysalis Cafe.
7. Spicy eggplant tofu at Thai Country Restaurant

Been to any of these and have another favorite? Let me know! I am a creature of habit and can sometimes have trouble not getting my favorites, so I’m eager to hear about yours!