Curious Coos Bay Adventure
Last July, Don and I had an unusual adventure with unusual food.
This is the sign from where we purchased our food. Important to note that Coos Bay Oysters takes top billing. Chuck's Seafood is the name of the place.
How We Heard
We heard about Chuck's from Rik, our host at Itty Bitty Inn. After checking us in at the little motel in North Bend, we chatted with Rik for about 45 minutes. He was a hoot of a host! Then suddenly he seemed to be rushing us on our way. He handed us a cutting board and knife and told us we needed to get to the port in Coos Bay!
He told us that the fresh catch came in on Friday, so today was the perfect day. "The fish has been smoked and cured... you MUST get octopus jerky and oysters sticks... grab a bottle of wine and take it all to the beach!"
We did as we were told. We drove about 10 minutes to Chuck's Market. Actually it took longer, because we had to pick up a cheap cooler and ice.
Once we arrived, we headed towards the door, near the sign saying Oyster Farm! Yes, Chuck's has their very own oyster farm in Coos Bay!
I spotted 2 folding chairs and realized, we could actually have a dine-in experience, if we wanted.
But Rik had gotten us pretty excited about the fish on the beach idea.
Cans and Cans
We peeked around a little, before heading to the counter.
There were lots of canned options. Salmon, tuna, crab, oysters. All freshly prepared, hand packed and processed.
I spotted a few awards on the wall. It looked like Chuck's had been around a long time.
Since 1953! I love a place or business, that's older than me! Not by much.
In the Case
Don and I looked through the glass, trying to figure it all out.
The tuna and salmon looked a little more familiar. Chinook Salmon! We knew we were in the Northwest. We got some smoked tuna and a little Chinook Salmon.
We asked the young woman behind the counter, about her favorites.
She smiled and pointed to the Smoked Tuna Teriyaki.
Back at the Inn, Rik was very enthused about oyster sticks. I had pictured some kind of lollypop-oyster, on a stick! Luckily I didn't see anything like that.
We made sure to get some oyster sticks along with smoked salmon sticks and jalapeño salmon sticks. We were sort of acting like kids in a candy store. Which is odd for me, because I'm not the biggest seafood fan. And these foods were sort of scary.
Rik insisted we sample all the goodies that the locals go for. He said we might have to ask, since it's not always spotlighted in the case.
The octopus jerky was nearly hidden, on an upper shelf. Our enthused helper behind the counter, pulled it out for us.
Earlier at the Itty Bitty, Rik told us how he loved salmon fins! I was skeptical. What does it look like? A fin?
He assured me it was wonderful stuff. He showed us some leftover fins in the back of his truck. (I guess he'd had a beach feast) He said that local families know about these great treats. "The markets practically throw them away, but locals love them."
To the Beach
We bought our fish and a loaf of garlic bread and headed for the nearest beach that we could spot on the map.
We were surprised to find a picnic table in the sand, just waiting for us. I propped my camera on a rock and captured a photo memory!
I am not really the biggest fan of fish. But I do love a "When in Rome" experience.
So, When in Coos Bay, go to the beach and nibble on some fish fins and jerky!
Here's Don, getting ready for a bite of smoked salmon stick... I believe.
I'm sampling a salmon fin in this fine photo. It looks like a pretend to eat pose. But I really did give it my all. It was okay.
Two Days Later
Since we had a cooler and a fridge in our hotel, we were able to take some of our fish to Sacramento.
We stayed a couple nights with our son and our daughter-in-law. I'm not sure how impressed they were with our food contribution. It's kind of like sharing a "you had to have been there" experience... with some leftover fish.
As you can see, Scott looks a little worried about biting into this fin.
But he is always game for a food adventure! I should have taken another photo, after his bite!
Cheers to fish on the beach! Big thank you to our guide, Rik!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.