We hiked in drizzly rainforests where we were joltingly reminded that civilisation was but a rusty pun away...
True to form we also went bakeryspotting and right off the ferry in Port Townsend, Washington, made a beeline for Pane d'Amore where we were kindly received by co-owner Linda Yakush, She proudly showed us their signature bread, Nash's miche, made with wheat grown in nearby Sequim by Nash's Organic Produce.
There is something elven and Tolkienesque to a land dominated by rain and wind and even though I love sunshine as much as the next person and I have Italian, Provençal and Pays d'Oc's genes, I am still a Northern girl at heart (after all, I grew up in Paris where the sky has perfected both pearly mists and drizzle). So I loved the clouds over Astoria harbor...
Hiking on the edge of precipitous cliffs, we saw bald eagles soar above shimmering waves and densely forested hills.
I missed the ocean once we headed inland but truly enjoyed discovering Portland and its bread scene. There might have been artisan bakeries along the way but we didn't find them. If you know of any in or around Portland or along the coast, I'd be grateful if you could let me know as we will surely be going back. Pearl Bakery is already on the list. We skipped it because we ran out of time.
Meanwhile here are the few we manage to spot - in the order we visited them - as well as crumb pictures of the breads we bought. Please note that these breads were chosen to complement each other: I knew we were going to bring them back home and freeze them and I didn't want to load up with just one kind. Their only common denominator is that they were all levain-based and baked in Portland. But the truth is that it was very difficult to choose as there were many more I would have liked to taste.
Since several of them are still in the freezer, I am not going to hazard any comparison or review. I was happy to see however that all the artisan bakers whose bakeries we visited were baking their loaves to a rich golden brown, standing their ground against the current fad for bread "moins cuit" (with a lighter crust).
Grand Central Baking Company Bakery on NW York Street
(Grand Central has several other locations in Portland as well as in Seattle)
I would be remiss if I didn't mention another food scene we greatly enjoyed in Portland, i.e. the foodtrucks. That alone would be worth a return trip but then we would need so many days to sample them all that unless we move to Portland, I don't see how we'll ever manage it. So I'll just feature the two we ate at on our last day (after visiting the bakeries).
We were at the SE Division Street nosh spot. I picked the Blue City Biscuits truck and happily lunched on a plate of tasty organic with a fried egg and plenty of excellent smoky collard greens while the Man (who seems to think real men don't ever eat grits) hit the nearby Pie Spot. He went for the chicken pot pie. It made him happy as well.
On the way back north to Seattle, we glimpsed successively Mt Hood, Mt St-Helens and Mt Rainier, sparkling white against the blue sky. No pictures as we were on the interstate and we barely spotted the mountains before they disappeared behind an eighteen-wheeler or a wooded hill but my heart certainly beat faster each time...