Where to eat crab along the Oregon Coast

The Fat of the Crab

August 6, 2009 · 9 comments

Freshly caught Dungeness crabs cook in a cauldron of boiling seawater. Fishermen fillet 35-pound halibuts. Locals snack on fish n’ chips made with wild Chinook salmon. Just another day on the relatively undiscovered Oregon Coast. Tell me again why I don’t live here?

Celebrating our first anniversary and Alejandro’s new job, we jumped in the car for a 12-hour trek up the coast to the tiny fishing village of Nehalem, Oregon. Amid sprawling ocean views, dread headed hitchhikers and a sea of lackadaisical RVs, we found pure, simple seafood. And that’s all we ate for four days straight.

Let’s start with Jetty’s Fishery. Order a crab or two and watch the fisherman cook them right on the dock. They’re served with cooked crab fat, or crab butter, overflowing from the top shell. Pair with a few steamer clams, giant oysters and Oregon’s finest local brew. This place is nothing fancy, but nothing is on the NW coast, and that’s just how I like it.

jetty fishery

fresh halibut

A day of wine tasting and kayaking led us to Manzanita Seafood and Chowder house for dinner. I used to think frying wild salmon was sacrilege. Taking a beautiful piece of fish and killing it with soggy batter and hot oil. Not anymore. Earnest waitresses served some of tastiest fish n’ chips I ever had. Light, flaky and tender as fish should be. They didn’t charge us a corking fee for the bottle of fruity Nehalem Bay pinot noir we brought with us, and they insisted on feeding us a piece of rich chocolate cake for our anniversary. I can own a place like this – local food, good people and a calming atmosphere.
fish n chips
Our last night on the coast called for even more salmon, but this time we cooked it ourselves. Our riverside cabin came equipped with a barbecue on the deck, so we grilled up some fresh corn and salmon steaks, and matched them with sauteed onions and tomatillos, plus a side of avocado sprinkled with sea salt. The meal was complete with a bottle of Gewurztraminer from Namaste Vineyards.
Chinook SalmonI am often torn between city and rural living, and trips like this always enforce the latter. Residents of these small towns live simple, modest lives and their happiness shines through their kind acts and pleasant ways. Locals excitedly gabbed about treasures found on hidden beaches at low tide, or suspension bridges tucked in nearby rain forests. All the little things that urban dwellers rarely have time to appreciate.
There is much more to the rugged coast than fresh food. Waterfalls, kayaking, crazy Oregonian hippies, perfumed water – view all this and more on our  facebook album.

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Twitted by LocalLemons
August 6, 2009 at 9:02 pm

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SproutedKitchen/Sara August 6, 2009 at 11:25 am

i hear you on being torn between city and country. Hard to leave the variety and social circle you’ve come to be so accoustomed to at ‘home’. The charm is overwheleming when I am in smaller towns who love food, their neighbors and good conversation. Hope you are able to travel often to be inspired by those kinds of people! Love the post!

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Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen August 6, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Sounds like the West Coast version of VT – minus the salmon! LOL! I really need to get over to Oregon at some point. I think I would love it!

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Allison Lemons August 6, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Hi Sara, that’s exactly my dilemma. While I love the pace, culture and social aspects of a city, you miss out on “real” connections and the little things in life. I think I’m finished moving around for a few years, but at least from Berkeley it’s easy to visit these places.

Hi Jenn – It’s very much like Vermont, but also very different. Does that make sense? Nothing out here is quite how it is on the east coast.

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Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen August 20, 2009 at 11:23 am

I get that. I have yet to make it over the west coast….that should change soon! :)

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Rhiannon - Travel Oregon August 6, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Fantastic photos! We’re glad you enjoyed the Oregon Coast!

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Karine August 6, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Wowow I love these dishes! They all look amazing!

Yeah… as for living in the city and rural living, both have its advantages or disavantages…. I grew up in the countryside when I wanted to live in a city and now I live in a city, but I would love to live in the countryside… I’m having problems to understand myself lol

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brad August 7, 2009 at 10:42 am

As usual – beautiful pictures and very well spoken! I live in a small town located between the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA, and I couldn’t ever see myself leaving. I have traveled to large cities for business and vacation purposes, but I always feel more comfortable laid back on my deck overlooking the mountains. Seeing nothing but my vegetable garden, trees, and wildflowers is very relaxing after a long day of work. Oregon is one of the many destinations on my to do list. Thanks for sharing and giving some insight to those of us who haven’t had a chance to visit. Happy Anniversary!

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