Despite Tsunami warnings lining the highway in big flashy lights on Friday, Adam, Adam’s mom, Kathy, and I headed toward the coast for a little adventure/roulette with the ocean. We arrived in the quaint port town of Astoria just after noon and starving to death. Distracted with the horrible events in Japan, we forgot to research what to do and where to eat, so, leaving it to chance, we stopped at the words “Smokehouse”. Because who doesn’t stop in their tracks when confronted with the possibilities of smoked meat. Even better, smoked salmon. Fresh, wild and sustainable, what luck that we randomly picked a restaurant that appeals to our sensibilities. Perhaps restaurant isn’t the right word for Joesphson’s.
When you walk in the door you’re greeted with the smell of fresh fish. And when I say fresh, I mean the fishermen are in the back room gutting (next time I want to tour the facility with my camera) and cleaning that morning’s catch. Walk through the door to the deli area you’ll find shelves and shelves of canned seafood, a couple of cases of smoked seafood to go, and a pair of ladies with big welcoming smiles standing at a tiny stove stirring clam chowder.
Wander a bit more and you’ll find the tiniest dining room in the world. Four, maybe five tables with chairs, a couple of fisherman in rubber boots, and a menu consisting of four items. Yep, four. And that’s all you’ll ever need. Josephson’s charms you with their food. Paper plates and cups, plastic knives and the best friggin’ salmon burger ever. Freshly made moments before we walked in the door, a smear of mayonnaise on rye bread, also made fresh that morning, this burger is as good as it gets. Adam had the cream-less clam chowder. Big chunks of clams, perfectly pureed potatoes, so delicious and filling I seriously couldn’t tell it was dairy-free. If you go to Astoria, Josephson’s is a must.
Just a two hour drive from Portland, Astoria lies just at the mouth of the Columbia River in the very Northern corner of our state. Just a hop over the Columbia and you’re in Washington. Astoria is one of those places that is hip without the hip. It seems to have perfectly melded the modern coffee culture (boy were there a lot of coffee shops for such a tiny town) with the old school blue-collar port workers and fisherman. Good food, a relaxed vibe, and the cutest little co-op I’ve ever been in, Astoria is one of those places you move to so you can telecommute while watching the ships go by through you’re Victorian bay window.
And then go out for an evening of midget wrestling.
We spent most of the day antiquing (the three of us love to antique), so I didn’t take as many pictures as I normally would have, but hopefully these will give you a tiny taste of Astoria.
Don’t worry, we’ll definitely be going back soon. It’s only been two days and I’m already craving Josephson’s.