While visiting the parts of the Oregon coast I used to travel as a child, I tried some old, familiar & nostalgic food items.  And, a new place: once trendy, now just plain quality, locavore foods cooked in a sophisticated kitchen.

For the meal: the latter.  A place called Tidal Raves in Depoe Bay, Oregon.  There was a bit of a wait, so my old college friend and I left a name, were told “20 minutes” and headed out to explore the town I knew so well as a youngster.

While walking to “town” – we saw a crowd facing the sea, rapt with attention.

It was a blowhole.  A wild, out of control gush of water through a slit in the rock.  A veritable geiser.  Dramatic!   We felt it before we saw it.  “Is it raining”  “No,” said my friend, “just misting a little bit.”  That was strange because there didn’t seem to be any rain clouds above and no drops behind.  Turns out it was the misty fallout from the geyser gushing from a crevice near the road by the Pacific Coast Highway.   Cool!!

But, this is Janet Eats, not Janet Watches Blowholes at Depoe Bay!

Tidal Raves, as I recall, was started by a New York chef who decided to create a restaurant in a rather drab (at the time) community along the Central Coast, availing himself of the local bounty: salmon, halibut, Dungeness crab, oysters, wild mushrooms.  Either he was prescient (which I suspect he was) or just plain lucky, but that little quaint tourist down flanking the highway has become a bit of a destination.  B&B’s sprouting along both sides, crystal shops, and the biggest tourist tschotske shop is now a Parks Service whale watching interpretive center.

My friend had a simple crab salad with crispy garlic bread on the side.  Me: a grilled halibut sandwich with pesto mayo on a homemade roll.  And, four perfectly battered, al dente red onion rings.

For dessert: a trip down memory lane.  A visit to the taffy shop, where in the summer, you can swatch a trust silvery contraption twist the taffy before you very eyes.  I picked up 78 whole cents of taffy.  And, a piece of divinity fudge on the way out.  I’ll have to write about Divinity some day.  I don’t mean the angelic sort.  You want angels, you’ll have to visit angelsalon.com or click the box over there on the right and listen to Angels & Archetypes, the internet radio show I do with my angel therapy® friend, Amy.  I mean divinity, the fudge-more-like-meringue candy concoction.

Then, down the sidewalk, past the shop that used to have the tiniest little stone grotto with a pool and several sea lions who swam back and forth, back and forth: begging for something to eat, like fish – not divinity.  I suspect someone recognized the cruelty of that little seal grotto.  Or, they just died and the place was turned into another tschotske shop.  My mission was two shops over and across the street: to the Ainslee’s Salt Water Taffy shop, not for the taffy, but for the caramel corn.

Armed with my sugar coma in a box, I headed back.  Past the blowhole.  On to the car.  And home for a nap.