LAST THURSDAY, only a day or so after returning from a month away, we drove up to Oregon, there to see a grandson's wedding — the first such event in our family.
We broke the trip at an AirBnB in Phoenix, a few miles north of Ashland, arriving too late to do anything ambitious about dining, so we settled for a quick meal at our second-favorite restaurant thereabouts.
I had my usual: a Margarita; a cabbage-and-lime salad (shredded cabbage, carrots, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice); a delicious taco filled with duck confit.
•Agave, 5 Granite Street, Ashland; 541-488-1770
FRIDAY WE DROVE on, much of the time on the fine old Territorial Highway, to the oddly named Noti, Oregon, where wedding preparations were under way on the grounds of the decommissioned public school — gradually being turned into an event center.
You're looking at the ceremony in this photo, but that was the next day, Saturday. The rehearsal was, well, a rehearsal; dinner afterwards was hamburgers from the grill, with all the fixings…
BY SATURDAY I was craving some salad, and we stopped in at a favorite Eugene restaurant for a Niçoise: Delicious barely-seared tuna, line-caught (I suppose) off the Oregon coast; garden lettuce, green beans, potatoes, and cherry tomatoes; perfectly hard-boiled eggs, fine potatoes, smooth and subtle aïoli.
•Marché, Fifth Street Public Market, 296 East Fifth Avenue, Eugene; 541-342-3612
Dinner was back out in Noti, after the wedding: a huge dinner party at tables for eight, with salads, barbecued pork and beef, and plenty of good Oregon pickles.
NEXT DAY, we decompressed at a family brunch back at Marchê — ten of us at table. I opened with a white Negroni, made with Suze instead of dark Vermouth, and went on to a second Niçoise, because, well, why not.
We had dinner at our AirBnB "home": polenta and sausages.
MONDAY WE DROVE OUT to Florence, on the Oregon coast, and then turned south, stopping for the night at Brookings. My contessa found a nice place for dinner — billed as a bistro, it is closer to a trattoria. After a nice green salad; I went on to lasagne, with well executed Bolognese and bechamel under a pleasant marinara sauce; and then a light, creamy tiramisù.
•Black Trumpet Bistro, 625 Chetco Avenue no. 220, Brookings, Oregon; 541-887-0860
WE WERE LUCKY next morning to find two good cafés for the necessary morning espresso:
•The Bell & Whistle Coffee House, 16340 Lower Harbor Road, Brookings, Oregon •Northtown Coffee, 1603 G Street, Arcata, California; 707-633-6187
Northtown also provided us with first-rate BLT sandwiches to eat in the car on the way home — good bread, fine bacon, nice balance. All we needed, once finally home, was to open a can of cannellini and another of tuna, and chop an onion, and we had that classic Italian hot-weather salad…
TONIGHT WE DINED in again, with a small feast from the Wednesday farm market in town. Cook grilled a couple of pork chops in the black iron skillet, and with them we had corn on the cob from Brenier, fine Italian broad beans from Middleton Gardens, the requisite green salad, and a honeydew melon for dessert. Yes: we're home again in Sonoma County, and lucky to be here.