Great Seafood in Each of Portland's 5 Quadrants

Posted by Laura Morgan on February 03, 2018

Generally, when I get asked about where to get seafood on tour, people are looking for one thing: oysters. Specifically, raw oysters on the half shell washed down with something fermented. As I browsed through my phone’s picture gallery for inspiration for this post, I realized that when I’m craving something from the sea, oysters are also my go-to. Even though we’re only a couple hours from the coast, PDX isn’t traditionally a seafood town, but there really is so much great seafood here these days. This being Portland, you probably already know chefs all over the city are innovating when it comes to style and sourcing.

Disclaimer: to make this blog post manageable, I’ve narrowed down the long list to just a few places that are specifically seafood-centric, not-to-be-missed and excellent all around, one from each of our five quadrants.. Yes, we have five quadrants. Nowhere in this list is the whole snapper from Departure, or the chilled seafood offerings at Woodsman Tavern, or so many others, but go to those places too, you won’t be disappointed. Needless to say, this is not an exhaustive list; it’s just a good start.


Year of the Fish, Carts on Foster, corner of SE Foster & 52nd , Open Tues – Sat 12-8pm

The food carts on SE Foster and 52nd make up one of the only pods in SE Portland that have escaped development in the past couple years. In fact, this cart used to be on SE 50th before that lot was converted into an apartment building right off the hip, foodie-centric corridor that is SE Division. Back to the food, though. The cod fish and chips, tuna melt, clam strips.. you just can’t go wrong. All good. And the gluten free options really are gluten free as the owner has a dedicated fryer just for them. There’s also a beer garden right here and what better to wash it all down?

IG: @yearofthefish


Olympia Oyster Bar, 4214 N Mississippi Ave, Closed Mondays – Hours vary

Named for the Olympia oyster, the only oyster native to the Pacific Northwest, this little bar is reinventing the American oyster experience. They are equally committed to serving excellent cocktails and organic wines and, because of its location and the communal tables within, it is an excellent place for visitors to people watch after a day of boutique shopping on Mississippi. Also, February 2 – 9 OOB’s chef Maylin Chavez, and a group of her passionate seafood conservationist friends are putting on a series of dinners and events in PDX called Shuck Portland to raise money and awareness for disappearing wild oyster reefs. If you’re in town, you should try to make it to one of the events! (link under Events below)

IG: @olympiaoysterbar


Fishwife, 5328 N Lombard St, Closed Open Tues – Sat – Hours vary

This place is low-key, family friendly and to be honest, won’t catch your eye from the street outside. Once you’re inside though, it has that old school diner/clam shack on the beach sort of feel. Their menu items (think clam chowder, assorted fish and chips, shrimp cocktails and Louies, etc.) are good and the service is great. This place can get busy with local neighborhood families so call ahead to make a reservation and avoid the wait.


Headwaters, The Heathman Hotel, 1001 SW Broadway, Open Every day – Hours vary

Inside the beautiful Heathman hotel is swanky Headwaters, a celebratory seafood restaurant from Vitaly Paley, Portland restaurant veteran and James Beard Award winner. This is a great date night option or a great place to have dinner and drinks before you head next door to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, one of Portland’s last historic performing arts venues. Keep in mind though, if there’s a show going on next door, this place is going to get packed. Make sure to check out Vitaly Paley’s Russian Tea Service in the building as well. It’s a fun thing to do with a small group and the food and tea are exquisite.

IG: @headwaterspdx

Roe, The Morgan Building, 515 SW Broadway, Open Wed – Sat, 5:30 – 10pm

Are you looking for a dining experience that is multi-coursed, thoughtfully sourced, painstakingly prepared and outrageously good? Perhaps also a little hidden, exclusive, anticipated? Then plan well ahead and make reservations at Roe. Roe is run by Trent Pierce, multi nominated James Beard chef and fifth generation PNW restaurateur. At Roe, the seafood-focused, French and Japanese influenced menu rotates weekly and is served in several courses with optional wine pairings. This is a special occasion restaurant or just a must-try-before-you-die whether you’re visiting Portland or live here.   

IG: @roepdx


Bamboo Sushi, 836 NW 23rd Ave (several locations), Open 5-10 every day

Bamboo is a great place to find high-quality, artfully prepared sushi, especially their NW location because of the great district it’s in – plenty of shopping, bars, restaurants and entertainment. The best thing about eating here, though, is their commitment to sustainability and in fact, they were deemed the first sustainable sushi restaurant in the world back in 2010. Their philosophy of responsibility spans from transparently sourcing from sustainable fisheries, including their refusal to serve that sushi house staple, Bluefin tuna, all the way to building design and waste.

IG: @bamboosushi


The crab’s finally in and oysters are in season - seafood is in the spotlight this week in PDX! Check out the following events going on this week in the city:

Shuck, Feb 2 – 9, 2018

Atlas Obscura Oyster Tasting and Maritime History, Feb 7, 2018

PDX Seafood and Wine Festival, Feb 2 & 3, 2018

A Winter Day on the Oregon Coast with Nan Devlin, Director of Tillamook Coast Tourism

Posted by Laura Morgan on February 01, 2018

From the tiny town of Seaside, the end point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, to the cranberry bogs of the southern coast, with plenty of lighthouses and sand dunes in between, there truly is something for every visitor to the Oregon coast. To help our readers make it a perfect day on the coast, we spoke with Nan Devlin, Director of Visit Tillamook, to get a few tips on preparing for your trip. Nan is lucky enough to have accumulated a lifetime of experiences here, but her current specialty is Tillamook County, the 70 or so miles from Manzanita in the north to Neskowin in the south. In Tillamook County you can find several coastal towns, each with their own unique personality, as well as access to gorgeous public parks. Here is also where you’ll find iconic Haystack Rock, the Tillamook Creamery, and thousands of gray whales passing through on their way to warmer climes each winter.

Here’s what we asked Nan:

1. What book could you recommend that would fill visitors with the spirit of the northern Oregon Coast for their trip?

This is a tough one because not much has been written about this area, other than Astoria by Peter Stark. However, there is a terrific non-fiction book called The Next Tsunami by Bonnie Henderson that reads like a mystery novel. It's about how scientists discovered the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the Pacific Ocean and much of the scientific discoveries were made from Seaside to Netarts Bay. Also, we published 25 Hikes on the Tillamook Coast, and it's written like a love letter to the trails here.

2. What is a unique souvenir and why is it special?


3. In your opinion, what is the perfect winter day?

A walk in the forest or a nature reserve in the morning, a walk on the beach in the afternoon and a great bowl of chowder in the evening.

4. What would be your anniversary restaurant on the northern Oregon Coast?

Meridian at the new Headlands Hotel in Pacific City - or drinks and a light meal at MacGregor's Manzanita.


Now go enjoy your time on Oregon's beautiful coastline!


**Edited for additional detail.


It's beautiful, it's brooding, it's the Oregon Coast in Winter

Posted by Laura Morgan on January 18, 2018

The Oregon Coast, or the People’s Coast as it is proudly claimed by locals, is broody, devastatingly beautiful, and at this time of year, more than 50 shades of gray.  Every single one of the 363 miles of Oregon’s coastline are open and free to be enjoyed by the public, officially since 1967, which along with the impressive network of state parks that beeline the coast, is what makes a visit to Oregon’s coastline truly must-see-before-you-die. But right now, it’s winter, what do we eat when we get there?

Dungeness Crab

Luckily for us on the west coast, this is exactly the time the Dungeness crabs are plump and ready to pull out of the ocean. James Beard, the father of modern American cuisine, and native Oregonian once said, “Dungeness Crab is sheer, unadulterated crab heaven.” (See below for James Beard’s beloved deviled crab recipe.) Or, as Bethany Jean Clement, food writer for The Seattle Times, put it in her story this time last year, “At its freshest, Dungeness crab tastes only as oceanic as the wind off the water, more delicate and closer to sweet than anything from the bottom of the sea should imaginably be.”

Commercially speaking, Dungeness crabs weren’t filling out their shells yet on December 1st, Oregon’s official crab harvest opening date, and are now in pricing negotiations with buyers, so commercial harvest for Dungeness still hasn’t started as I’m writing this. Recreational harvest, however, is up and running and people are able to crab pot up and down the Oregon coast from the mouth of the Columbia River to Cape Blanco in the south.

I could tell you how to go crabbing, but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has you covered.

For more resources, including required licenses and rules of harvest, visit Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife here:

For updates on closures and openings when you’re planning your trip:



Dungeness crab isn’t the only thing you can find coming out of the ocean right now. Lingcod, Rockfish, Sole, Flounder and Black Cod can also be found fresh at fishmongers all over Oregon. In my opinion, though, black cod is what you’re looking for.

Also known as sablefish in Jewish delis on the USA’s east coast and in many parts of the rest of the world, it is delicate, fatty and perfectly flaky when done. Probably the best fish, aside from a gorgeous Pacific Northwest salmon, that I’ve ever eaten, for one very simple reason: smoking. There is nothing better in the world than a rainy day spent next to the smoker with the promise of flaky, savory smoked black cod in your near future. I’ll post my recipe with pictures of this (and our other adventures in Portland and beyond) on our Instagram page. And if you’re in Portland, go pick up some black cod, already smoked to perfection for you from Portland Fish Market (4404 SE Woodstock Blvd.) or Flying Fish Company (2340 NE Sandy). Both shops have other seafood treats as well, like oysters on the half shell and fish & chips, or other take away items for your perfect winter picnic or dinner in.



Beards’ recipe for Deviled Crab, so simple, but so, so good.


In the meantime, stay tuned to The Big Foody PDX for new Northern Coast food and drink tours coming online end of summer 2018! We’re so excited to share the beauty and deliciousness of the Oregon Coast with you!



Oregon Seafood Watch

Oregon’s Seafood Consumer Guide 2017 from OSU’s Sea Grant Program (what to look for at the fishmonger)

Dungeness Crab Buying Guide from FishChoice​

The Ocean between us

Posted by on January 16, 2018

The Ocean Between Us.


You know one of the reasons I love living in New Zealand is the ocean. I promised myself when I decided to stay in Auckland and not move back to the UK that the day I didn’t fall in love with colour of the Waitemata Harbour when travelling over the bridge was the day I needed to leave the country. That promise holds strong today and some of my favourite memories involve the ocean. Attaching a can of tuna to a colleagues fishing line when he asked me to hold his fishing rod, endless dog walks on the beaches of the East Coast, that first plunge of the summer into the water and the promises to do it daily while the weather was warm enough, cockling and fishing from the rocks in the far north - they are all treasured times living here.

And it’s the Pacific Ocean that connects us to our Big Foody sister region of Oregon. Perhaps the most obvious that Oregon and Auckland have in common is our food and drink, and although seafood probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Oregon, it certainly has a deep history. From an Oregonian’s perspective, there are certain things one does at certain times of year, on the coast it is Dungeness crabbing in winter, razor clamming in spring/summer, and fishing for the mighty Chinook in late summer and fall.

Oregon’s food culture is defined by ‘doing’, actively seeking that bounty in the oceans, mountains, valleys and crafting it into something delicious. It’s not just about great restaurants, although there are plenty of those (and we will definitely share those with you), but it’s about the places, people and their recipes who make our homes special.

In Auckland, 1 in 4 people, have a boat, fishing is a right of passage and passed down from generations to generations. Gathering, hunting and living off the land and from the ocean is still very much a way of life in areas of New Zealand.

On our first five day tour of the Oregon State we will visit the stunning Pacific North West coastline around Astoria and Cannons Beach and onto Netarts Bay where the incredible Jacobsens Sea Salt is made!

Join us over the next few weeks as we post more on about our Culinary Escapes for the year.



Who are Forty Thieves?

Posted by on December 29, 2017

Forty Thieves Nut Butters

Who are Forty Thieves? Forty Thieves was founded by Shyr and Brent, lovers of the outdoors and healthy foods. After spending time exploring the the big wide world, they returned home to New Zealand and ready for a challenge.

Forty Thieves are now producers of delicious nut butters in out-of-the-ordinary flavours including Salted Macadamia with Maple and Vanilla Bean, Cacao Hazelnut with toasted coconut, Peanut Almond with Cacao nibs and Sunflower cashew with Chia Seeds!!!!

It is a common fact that their Salted Macadamia nut butter is utterly addictive.

We at the Big Foody asked them what they love about Auckland “I love that the city is surrounded by water. There are so many beautiful beaches up north and along the west coast and lovely bays and great walks east and south”

The Auckland CBD, Ponsonby and Grey Lynn are their favourite suburbs to eat out and their favourite places to eat out “right now - Scarecrow and The Fed for classic New York style deli food. Fresh asian flavours served up at Mekong Baby. I'm also a big fan of the growing food truck scene and am obsessed with The Rolling Pin's vegan dumplings”.

Come join us on one of our tours, for the Ultimate Auckland Food tour experience and taste these amazing nut butters!


Help! Christmas Ham and Turkey leftovers!

Posted by on December 27, 2017

It’s the day after Boxing Day and there is still a whole lot of ham or turkey left. You’ve already eaten ham/ turkey sandwiches 2 meals in a row and you just can't face another one.

Here are some quick and delicious meal ideas to get you through the leftovers and enjoy them as if they are a whole new meal.

Dice up the ham or turkey and add to scrambled eggs, frittatas and omelettes for some fantastic breakfast ideas. Go all out and add small pieces to homemade hashbrowns.

Add chopped ham or turkey to your favourite pasta bake, macaroni and cheese or scalloped potatoes. Even add diced turkey or ham to a creamy fettuccine or risotto with fresh seasonal produce like courgettes or asparagus.

Feel like getting your bake on? Add chopped ham to Cheese pinwheels and add some chutney and relish for a real special lunch or picnic treat.



Stewed Strawberries in Pinot Noir

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on December 20, 2017

Stewed Strawberries in Pinot Noir

Years ago I was just in time to walk in the front door of Lauraine Jacob's house just as she was finishing up from a photo shoot for the Listener, immediately this dessert was thrust in my hands with the instructions to "try this". So I did. And it is still one of my most favourite desserts to this day. 

2 punnets strawberries
1 vanilla bean
4 tbsp sugar
1 cup pinot noir
1 large orange
1 cup Greek yogurt
8 mint leaves, sliced thinly

Remove the tops from the strawberries and cut each in half. Place the vanilla and sugar in a pan with the pinot noir and over gentle heat dissolve the sugar. Add the strawberries and bring to a very gentle simmer. Allow the berries to cook for 3-4 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Chill in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, peel the orange, removing all the white pith and cut into segments or small pieces. Add the orange to the stewed strawberries in the syrup and spoon servings into small glass dishes.

Spoon a little yogurt on top and decorate with the sliced mint.

A Christmas Tradition - A German Family in New Zealand

Posted by on December 20, 2017

Christmas Tradition  - A German Family in New Zealand

I love Christmas time. I love that the whole family comes together (no exceptions!), I love the excitement in my kids the night before Christmas and their delight on finding presents under the tree on Christmas morning. Of course, I love the food as well!

I also love tradition. Tradition doesn’t have to be anything extravagant or highly religious, it’s simply something that has been put in place and repeated year on year and it can be very personal or individualised to your family and circumstances, but it’s special and has significance to you.

Our family's traditions have even evolved over the years, as we have hung onto snippets of our German homeland and introduced traditions from the kiwi in-laws and of course adapted how we do things to fit in with the kids.

29 years ago (that realisation just made me feel so incredibly old!) I moved over to New Zealand along with just my mum, dad and my sister.

It was a huge shock coming from the wintery, cold, snowy Bavaria in Germany, to the hot sticky climate that Auckland had welcomed us with on an early December day.

And we still live with some of those traditions that we brought with us nearly 3 decades later.

We still celebrate on the 24th! rather than on the 25th, with a full-on meal of Turkey (always prepared by dad), potatoes, rotkohl (red cabbage), green beans and plenty of thick gravy.

For dessert, we introduced a New Zealand element (but has been the same since day 1 here in NZ), fresh strawberries, ice cream and whipped cream.

After our meal with full tummies, we all make ourselves comfortable on the couches in mum and dads lounge for ‘Bescherung’ - the handing out of presents.

Christmas baking is never far away during the Bescherung, which easily takes a couple of hours (as the family has now grown to 10 and each present is unwrapped individually, with everyone watching!).

The Christmas baking tradition has also evolved over the years. For many years, while my sister and I were young and living at home, it was completed on the morning of the 24th with dad at the helm with traditional German cookies such as Zimtsterne (Cinnamon stars, made with hazelnut meal) and Vanillekipferl (Vanilla Cresents, made with Almond meal) but as we have both had children and allergies to egg and nuts prevent these traditional morsels being made, the tradition continues, but with child friendly and allergy-safe baking and not on the 24th, but when the kids have finished school and we have finally got a moment to ourselves.

Because I wanted to keep this tradition going and wanted to share something from my past with my dearest friends and family (the kiwi side), everyone receives a small sampler plate with their Christmas card.


Two of my recipes that we baked as a family over the weekend are:

A modified version of ‘Spritzgeback’ that is able to be rolled out and decorated, which is what the kids love the most. Traditionally made with Almond or Hazelnut meal, I substitute these with Coconut flour, which I find has a similar texture and has a more coarse texture than regular flour. I also substitute egg with apple puree. The result (if the kids don’t over do it with decorations and I don’t forget them in the oven!), is delicious and you can't really taste the difference at all!

Kids Christmas Cookies


230g butter - softened

1 cup white sugar

60g apple puree (I use the Watties baby food jars)

115g coconut flour

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 180° C

Cream butter and sugar. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine to form a smooth cookie dough

Using your hands, give a it a light knead, ensuring all the dough is part of the the main dough ball.

Prepare and flour your working surface.

Roll the dough out using a rolling pin until it is about 3-4 mm thick.

Using cookie cutters, press out cookies and gently lift them onto a greased oven tray.

Either put them in the oven as they are or decorate them with anything that you may have in your pantry - my kids used, coloured and chocolate sprinkles, peanuts, chocolate buttons. To help the decorations stick, we painted on a thin layer of milk, but an egg mix will work best (if you can tolerate egg)

Bake for 10 -12  minutes until starting to become golden.


My second attempt with the kids on theweeeknd was a modified version of a tradition German shortbread like biscuit - Melt in your mouth delicious and super addictive. Again, I substituted the almond meal for coconut flour and it tastes absolutely divine.


Coconut Flour Shortbread


250g butter

100g icing-sugar

A few drops of vanilla essence

100g plain flour

250g cornflour

50g coconut flour

Mix all ingredients well and leave to cool for 30 minutes in a cool place.

Shape walnut-sized balls from the dough. Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper ensuring that there is plenty of room between the biscuits. Imprint stripes onto the balls with a floured fork.

Bake at 175°C for approximately 20 minutes.


Yip, I left them in the oven slightly too long!! The distraction of kids!

Plum Pie

Posted by Elle Armon-Jones on December 20, 2017


Sweet Shortcrust Pastry

90g softened butter
65g caster sugar
3 free-range egg yolks
200g plain flour plus a little extra for dusting

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until nice and pale. Then beat in the egg yolks, one at a time until totally incorporated into the mixture. Add in the flour until the mixture comes together as a ball of dough. Tip the pastry out onto a floured work surface and knead briefly until smooth. This shouldn’t take long and don’t over knead! Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill for 30 - 60 mins. I often make double the quantity and freeze half so I’ve always got some.

Makes 300g


Plum filling

800g-1kg plums

3tbsp brown sugar

Pinch of ground ginger

Pinch of ground cloves

2tbsp ground almonds

One egg beaten

Wash the plums and chop them in half removing the stones. In a bowl mix together with cloves, ginger and sugar.


Split the pastry into two thirds and one third. Roll the â…” to line the pie tin. Blind bake the pie base on 180 for 20 minutes or until cooked through and golden

Leave to cool for 10 mins

Scatter the bottom of the pie with the ground almonds and fill with the plum mix. Roll the remaining pastry and top the pie. Prink the pastry with a fork to let the steam out and brush with the beaten egg. I like to sprinkle brown sugar on the top, but it’s not necessary. Cook at 180 for 30-40 mins. Serve with ice cream or creme fraiche or just drowning in fresh cream!