An Embarrassment of Huckleberries and a Russian Fort!

My ignorance has been cured when it comes to huckleberries!

I'd like to thank whoever made the informative nature info signs along the trails up to the Pygmy Forest at Salt Point State Park up in Sonoma County.

Thanks to them, I was able to identify, and then enjoy, what felt like ten frillion huckleberry bushes!

I never really knew what they looked like...

But now I do! What delicious woodland treats.

Don't get too worried about getting poisoned; just do your homework first. Then reward yourself with a trip to the Gerstle tidepools!

And a b*tchin' Russian fort.

Fort Ross may well be part of the reason there are no more sea otters on that part of the Sonoma Coast...

But it's tough to blame them. Survival was a whole other thing back then. Too bad they didn't have eco-foresight, but what can you do.

That group in the background there is a group of teachers who typically bring their classes to Fort Ross, gathered for the day in a seminar environment run by the rangers.

They had giant pots going over open fires; I asked what they were making and one of the rangers replied, "Blackberry stew, borscht, and porridge!"

The fort's old pantry...

...And its oven.

Looks like a fancy pizza oven to me. Were those Russians making disc-o-doughs in their otter-fur coats?

I'd want some pizza if I were living on borscht and gnarly apples on the blustery California coast...

Lucky for me, I was destined for an afternoon on the sofa by the fire, relaxing while the Saturday dinner team made an amazing fish taco feast.

I spent hours reading a giant Taschen edition of Hunter S. Thompson's excellent book on the Honolulu Marathon and Captain Cook, The Curse of Lono.

It was heaven.

So was dinner! A good fish taco trick, also practiced at Papalote Mexican Grill in SF: saute your seafood with white wine and butter. (And garlic of course!)

And then make lots of fresh condiments. Cabbage, hot sauce and guac?


Note: My chef pal Jason says to cook delicate white fish like tilapia really quickly, over super high heat. Keeps the fish from steaming and getting mushy. That's advice that works!!

A smart place to hide a birthday cake...

And an even smarter place to eat it: over breakfast the next day.

photos: TB


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