Saturday, 27 July 2013

A good day on the North Fork of the Stillaguamish

First Steelhead - caught on the swing.

Dolly Varden - a new species for me.

G with a nice Dolly.

Second steelhead on the swing - same day. Sparsely tied purple and black Intruder.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Eating Around / Little Bird Bistro (Petit Oiseau)

Caribou rack over the entrance to the kitchen at Little Bird Bistro.
Little Bird Bistro is the sister restaurant to Gabriel Rucker's Le Pigeon run by head Chef Eric Van Kley.  We had an enjoyable meal there last evening with family and friend.  The menu is French Bistro with a decidely Portland style.  Everything we had was very tasty - some dishes better than others.  The selection of bottled wines is lacking on the low end.

Daily chalk board specials.
Started with a bottle of Chablis (1er. Cru Mont de Milieu, Jean-Pierre Grossot, ‘05) which I thought was good though not exceptional.  I shared a dozen raw oysters; Kusshi's from British Colombia and Netarts harvested on the Oregon coast.  The Kusshi's are more delicate, firmer in texture, and carry a bit less oceany flavor than the Netarts.  Both were excellent.  Others in the party had the Goat Cheese Gnocchi, with roasted lamb neck, peppers, and mint - and they enjoyed it immensely.    Gnocchi is always a favorite.

For the second round of small plates I ordered the sweet breads and we also ordered the Marrow Bones with Chorizo, and Calamari, oregano, pickled chilies and black flat-bread.  Everyone enjoyed the marrow bones immensely.  The black flat bread was dyed black with squid ink! The sweet breads were described on the menu as follows: Crispy Veal Sweetbreads, carrot purée, roasted carrots, curried crème fraîche - they had a kind of peppery coleslaw on top that was a bit strong for the delicate sweet breads. The curried creme fraiche was something I never would have thought of myself - very good.  By then we'd switched to a red Rhone, Crozes Hermitage, Domaine des Martinelles, ‘09.  This one was, I thought, better than the Chablis.  Rich texture, deep berry flavors and peppery.

For an entree I ordered the Pan Roasted Duck Breast, deviled duck heart & egg salad, paprika toast, dijon vin.  When I kill a game bird or duck, the hearts and livers are always eaten the same day.  Thinking back, I do not recall getting the heart on my plate.  The duck was perfectly cooked, but the dish was rather plain and not terribly exciting.  Someone at our table ordered the Sherry-Glazed Pork Shoulder,roasted corn, fingerlings, manchego, padrón peppers which may have been the best entree we tasted.  Someone else had the Cassoulet of duck leg, pork belly, sausage & white beans which everybody liked.  C and P shared Fennel Sausage, fallen soufflé, parmesan, pepper jam which was good, but not really memorable.

G came directly from work and still had his flight uniform on.
If I had to compare to other meals I've eaten in the past few years in Portland, I think I go back to  Pigeon before I returned to Petit Oiseau.  I somehow prefer the atmosphere and space at Pigeon.   The Pigeon menu was just as interesting there and, in my memory, the food was perhaps better prepared.

Eating a meal like this is a luxury few can afford and we count ourselves very lucky indeed to be able to do so once in a while.  From a practical point of view, I do it for the chance to get a taste of foods I can not, or have not, tried to cook at home.  But really it's just plain fun to share a special meal with family and friends.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

North Platte, Wind River, Big Horn

Gerry fishing on the North Platte upstream from the raft.

Synopsis: Spent a week fishing with Gerry Cox.  We started with a day and a half on the North Platte river at Gray Reef. Wade fished the dam the first day and floated from the dam to Lusby the second.   We stayed at Sloan's cabins in Alcova.  From there we drove overland through the Rattlesnake Hills to the Wind River at Boysen State Park.  That was about 60 miles of dirt through some rather beautiful sage country.  We wade fished the Wind in Boysen State Park for the afternoon and into the evening catching many large rainbows (18" to 24") on size 18 caddis.  We probably should never have left Boysen. We drove north, spending the night at the Greybull Historic Hotel (which I can recommend should you happen to pass through Greybull WY.)  Continued north, over the Big Horns and up into Montana.  We did a quick tour of the Little Bighorn Battlefield and then to Fort Smith on the Big Horn below the Yellowtail damn.  Stayed in a small but very new and clean room at the Bighorn Angler. It was an unbearable 98°F and we waited until almost 5PM to wade fish at the three mile access - and it was still brutally hot with icy water at about 47°F.  On the fourth of July we floated the Big Horn from Afterbay below the dam to 13 mile takeout at Bighorn.  The final day we floated the three miles from the Afterbay to the three mile takeout.  The fishing on the Big Horn was difficult and the average fish is nowhere near the size they were fifteen years ago, and we were not the only ones saying so.  We left Fort Smith at 2PM and were at home, sitting on the couch sipping bourbon, a bit after 9PM.

Gerry with a nice North Platte rainbow.
Dates - 30 June 2013 to 5 July 2013
Miles Driven: 1042
Miles Floated: 24 - Grey Reef to Lusby (8), Afterbay to Bighorn (13), Afterbay to Three Mile (3)
Longest Overland: 42.5 of dirt (Dry Creek Rd. Alcova WY to Gas Hills Rd. Riverton WY)
Best Sleep: Greybull Historic Hotel, Greybull, WY
Best Meal:  Pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw, Up in Smoke BBQ, Buffalo WY
Weirdest Meal: Subway, Garryowen MT
Biggest Fish: 25" Rainbow - Wind River, Boysen State Park, Shoshoni WY
Coldest Water: 47°F - Big Horn River, Fort Smith, MT
Warmest Water: 66°F - Wind River, Boysen State Park, Shononi WY
Hottest Air Temp: 98°F - July 3rd, Fort Smith, MT

Wind River cutthroat - over 18"