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What do you crave when you travel away from the Bay Area redux

Ruth Lafler | Jul 15, 200207:01 PM

I just got back from an 8-day roadtrip in the Pacific Northwest, and despite having been in the car for 6 hours straight, stopped at a convenient taco truck before heading home. Then today I lunch I fell on the mixed spring green salad with glee.

I can't shake the notion that, even in the PNW, I'm going to end up with scurvy or some other nutritional deficit from lack of vegetables. The only two vegetables commonly available in casual eateries outside the big cities are iceberg lettuce and potatoes. Oh sure, they toss in a couple of bits of tomato, and maybe a slice of cucumber or radish and a few shreds of grated carrot or cabbage, but otherwise, the food is basically white and brown (actually, the best-looking vegetable I saw for several days was the leaf of kale one restaurant used as a garnish). Fortunately, it's high cherry season up there, so I reassured myself that the big bag of cherries I kept conveniently at hand in the car would stave off malnutrition.

I will say, however, that monotony aside, I really only had one meal that was actually bad, and that was the result of arriving in Astoria at almost 10 pm on a Monday night and having to settle for what was open. At least I wasn't reduced to eating at Denny's. Even though fine dining wasn't in our plans (my travelling companion freaks at the idea of entrees over $15), we made it a point to avoid fast food (which we did completely) and chains (only a couple of small regional ones). Despite all the horror stories about the homogenization of America, there are still places that are relatively untouched, and where locally-owned businesses are more the rule than the exception. Of course the food at the Corner Cafe in Raymond Washington isn't really any better than Denny's, but at least it doesn't feel mass-produced.

The upside of the trip was that I had more than one meal of better-than-average fish and chips -- FYI, halibut is an outstanding choice for fish and chips.

Meanwhile, I see you guys organized and pulled off another epic chowdown in the week I was gone. Serves me right for leaving town!

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