Traveling Paleolithic in the Cyber Century

It’s really tough to do.

Wherever: not just temptation, but menus loaded with pasta, bread, dessert, sauces…

I discovered two things:

1. order off the “ala carte” and the “appetizer” menu.

and, 2. Restaurants won’t subtract the bread or the cream sauce from your bill.

GAK.

So what to do?  Grocery stores, small markets and farmer’s markets.  Berries, fish, local fruit.  These all work here on the West Coast where it is dungeness (Metacarcinus magister) season from Waldport, Or. to San Francisco and smoked salmon is everywhere all year round.  In summer, fresh fruits abound, but in February, pickins’ is scarce.

I recently fled the City and headed north to the beautiful Oregon Coast to spend time with friends and family.  I found myself hunting for that “perfect paleo-meal” by the sea.  I didn’t find it… alas … Plenty of great food, but nothing reasonably priced that fit the paleo- profile.

I had a lot of smoked fish and apples.  I also had fish and chips, some fabulous pureed asparagus soup, and, for breakfast, some fruit plates with chicken-apple sausages on the side (thank the Gods that coffee is still on the menu).  Salads with shrimp, crab, and just salads.  In Oregon, those yummy little red cranberries are ubiquitous: dried, roasted in things, chopped and baked, as garnish on salads and soups.  I found them delightful.  I found that ordering a crab cocktail in Bandon worked out well  – if you ask for the sauce on the side.   And, yes, it was garnished with cranberries.  The saute of crab and asparagus comes with a cream sauce they don’t list on the menu. for those who love them: mussels, oysters, and clams can be found in almost every restaurant worth its salt, and a few that aren’t.  The bowl of mollusks steamed in wine and herbs is a Northwest classic.  That and – yet another – salad, and it looks like dinner.

I did learn one lesson: traveling paleo won’t get you cheap meals.  I acquired a roomy picnic basket and some utensils.  Those farmer’s markets near roadside parks and wayside stops are a lifesaver fort he paleo traveler.    Since a good many are also equipped with wi-fi these days, I could check my e-mail over lunch while watching the Pacific roll in.

Well… that’s about it for travel for now.  I’ll post a re-visited pureed asparagus soup as soon as I deconstruct the recipe.

Meanwhile, tonight it’s an award dinner at the local university – so it’s salad again …

Bowl of Clams in Wine With Saffron

Arrange 10 or 15 clams or mussels in their shells (or both) in a sturdy pan one layer deep.  Pour 2 cups of white wine over all.  Add a good drizzle of a fruity extra virgin olive oil. If you still eat butter, add a goodly number of dollops.

Add: 2 or three minced garlic cloves, the same number of sliced shallots, salt, pepper to taste and 5 to 10 saffron threads (depending upon the strength).

Cover and steam gently on low heat or over a campfire until the clams fully open.  Garnish with chopped parsley and a  few lemon wedges tucked between the clams.  Serve at once.

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