Castaway's Restaurant & Tiki Bar

by Steven Behling


Historically, I've not been one to seek out dessert.  Sure, if offered, I'll gladly accept your slice of cake or pie, your scoop of ice cream or gelato, your pots de creme, or perhaps your trifle...but I'm not one to purposely "leave room" for dessert.  Perhaps it's because we didn't have dessert most nights when I was growing up, and we certainly didn't make it a practice of ordering it on those rare occasions when we went someplace nice.  I very much was, and still am, a member of the "clean plate club," and depending on the main course, I'm not likely to have the stomach space for something sweet at the end of the meal (NOTE: I'm still testing the hypothesis that ice cream melts and fills in all the empty space down there).  Nevertheless, I've slowly shifted toward the realm of the after-dinner sweet treat, mostly due to my foodie friends, pastry chef Aaron in particular.  

That said, there is one dessert that I have been dreaming about for over a year.  Twelve months, 27 days, and two hours, to be exact.  It's the Bananas Macadamia from Castaway's Restaurant & Tiki Bar in Cannon Beach, Oregon, and it's...intoxicating.  Ripe bananas flambéed with sweet cream butter, brown sugar, and nutmeg, deglazed with island rum and served with coconut ice cream and toasted macadamia nuts.  I ain't never been to Hawaii, but my mouth sure has.

I tried the Bananas Macadamia from Castaway's last year with some friends and, to be polite, didn't grab it from the table after my first bite, threatening to stab anyone who came near it with my fork as I greedily slurped up its contents.  Later that evening, I lamented my penchant for social graces and made a pact with myself to get (and not share) my own bowl of this simple, yet delightful dessert.  Last weekend, I did just that, which turned out to be a somewhat poor idea given how rich and instantly satisfying a few spoonfuls can be...which just goes to show that dessert really is better when you have someone to share it with. 

P.S. The photo below completely undersells this thing.  Given that I was working with a hot, sticky concoction of bananas, sugar, and rum plus quickly-melting coconut ice cream, there was little time for staging.  Now go get a spoon!

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Castaway's Restaurant & Tiki Bar is located at 316 N Fir St in Cannon Beach, Oregon.


Kelly's Brighton Marina

by Steven Behling


Below is the story of how I got crabs.  Again.  

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Last weekend, my friends Claire, Tamson, and I beat the sweltering heat forecast for Seattle (hey, high 80s is enough to wilt even the sturdiest coastal Pacific Northwesterner) and spent some time along the Oregon coast.  As is our tradition, we stopped at Kelly's Brighton Marina for some fresh seafood and, well...the experience.

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Imagine weaving your way down (or up, as the case may be) foggy, winding roads packed to the brim with verdant, lush forests on either side, occasionally catching a glimpse of waves beating upon a rocky shore, narrowly missing the turn-off for a small pier filled with families, couples, and locals harvesting some of the freshest seafood around.  Except you didn't miss the turn, because you've been here before.

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Kelly's Brighton Marina is an unassuming, friendly stop off Highway 101 where you can toss in your crab pot and wait by the fire, play a game of Jenga, and pet the marina's dogs to your heart's content.  If you don't have a crabbing license, you can pick one up here, along with any supplies you might need.  Want to stick around for a while?  Kelly's offers camping sites and an RV park.  Or, you can do what I do, which is choose from the giant tubs of live crabs, clams, and oysters caught fresh daily by the crew at Kelly's, wait 20 minutes for them to steam and prepare your sea feast, and lose yourself in a glorious, zen-like state of cracking and consuming seafood that is so sweet, so delicious, so flavorful, the mere suggestion of adding seasoning or butter is cause enough to make you walk the plank.  They even pluck the crab's heart from its chest and serve it to you on a claw like some ancient mariner ritual.  And then you eat it, because it's delicious. 

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As we were driving back up to Seattle at the end of a gastronomically-satisfying, relaxing beach-filled weekend (i.e., more blog posts to follow from this particular vacation), Claire remarked that sitting by the fire, hearing the flames rustle as they warmed our feet, cracking crab (which she, self-professed ostraconophobic, even ate a bit of...and liked it!), and breathing in the salty ocean air at Kelly's was the very best part of the weekend.  I couldn't agree more.

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Kelly's Brighton Marina is located at 29200 Highway 101 North in Rockaway Beach, Oregon.