While we planned our trip to Burning Man half a year in advance, it wasn’t until we bought our plane tickets that we decided to tack on a side trip to Portland and then roadtrip it down to the desert. Rob was worried that I wouldn’t like the extreme nature of the camping we’d have to do in the desert, so we planned for success. How could we not enjoy Portland?
Turns out that each part of the trip was better than the next. After Portland, we drove East through the Columbia River Gorge, stopping at the Hydro Dam and Multnomah Falls. The path to the top of the falls may only be 1.25 miles long, but you are basically going up and up. Kind of like Mother Nature’s Stairmaster. There was a 700ft elevation. It was a fun but tiring jaunt! If I lived in Portland, I could see this as a fun fitness bench marker (similar to the Grouse Grind in Vancouver, which I have yet to do). How fast can you climb the falls?
The following day, we skirted along the gorge, through the Hood River Fruit Loop and stopped to pick up local sweet peaches and huckleberries (it was my first time trying them – they are similar to a tart wild blueberry).
Our next stop was the Smith Rock State Park. Since it took us a good 3 hours to get here, it was too late to begin the Misery Ridge trail. Because of the heat and lack of shade, you should begin this early in the day. In any case, we didn’t bring our hiking boots with us, so we had already planned to do smaller hikes and watch some of the mountain climbers.
Our next destination was the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Billed as the best lava park between Iceland and Hawaii, we had fun walking around the volcanic crater and the lava field below. To be honest, I didn’t even know there were volcanoes on the continental US. We didn’t have enough time to explore the lava tubes, but we will definitely be back.
The next day, we scheduled a whole day for Crater Lake National Park. You can drive around the lake and stop off for lots of smaller hikes. We hiked up to a great lookout, again on another side, to see some hoodoos, and some waterfalls. It was nice to get a variety of vistas from each hike.
The trip through Oregon was fabulous. I highly recommend it.
But I know you are here for the food. You see, we stocked up a bit with food from Portland. I wasn’t sure what lurked in the smaller towns. Turns out we lucked out in Bend, Oregon. We found a local brew pub (Rob’s mission was to try out local brews) that served vegan eats. I changed the tempeh reuben sandwich into a salad and I was blown away. It was really good. I haven’t had enough time to recreate the entire salad (now on my bucket list) but I started with making a raw thousand island dressing.
Originating from the Thousand Islands region (hola Ontario!), thousand island dressing is probably one of the most ubiquitous North American creamy sauces, as a mayonnaise dressing spiced with tomato/ketchup but may also have bits of pickle, olives, etc.
The creaminess of my raw version of dressing is from cashews. The deep tomato flavour comes from sun-dried tomatoes. Garlic and onion add further ripples, while the vinegar brightens the dressing. The acidic dill pickle brings this up a notch. The only trick is that the cashews need to be soaked a few hours for easier blending.
For my salad, I just used up the random vegetables in my fridge. I first wilted the kale with lemon juice and then tossed in cucumber, red pepper, olives and hemp seeds. I am not sure they were the perfect combination (and not the prettiest salad, either) but the dressing was perfect. Now I know where to start with my own tempeh reuben salad. :)
In any case, this vacation has spurred my love of Oregon. I am even more excited to try to schedule in Cycle Oregon next year!
Kale Salad with a Raw Thousand Island Dressing
2 cups slivered kale (6 kale leaves)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup veggies (I used 1/2 cup chopped cucumber and 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper)
2 kalamata olives, sliced
1 tbsp hemp seeds
2-3 tbsp raw thousand island dressing (see below) – may need to thin
1. Put slivered kale in a large bowl along with the lemon juice and salt. Massage your kale for 3 minutes until it has shrunk in size and turned a deeper green. Add dressing and massage it into the kale leaves for another minute.
2. Add chopped vegetables and olives and toss with kale.
3. Sprinkle with hemp seeds and serve fresh.
Raw Thousand Island Dressing
Adapted from Raw Recipe Box
1/2 cup cashews, soaked at least 2 hours and drained
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in 1/2 cup water (reserve the water)
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp granulated onion
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of chile flakes
1/2 cup dill pickle, chopped (1 large pickle)
1. In a food processor fitted with its S-blade, add garlic and chop finely. Add drained cashews, sun-dried tomatoes and their soaking water, apple cider vinegar, granulated onion, salt and chile flakes. Process until smooth. Add reserved tomato water to obtain desired consistency.
2. Stir in pickles.
Makes 1.3 cups.