A Professional Foodie Talks OARS’ Rogue River Wilderness Gourmet Trips
As a restaurant critic, I eagerly anticipated the tasty gourmet adventure I was about to embark upon with OARS. Being accustomed to simple campsite cuisine with my family, I was intrigued by the gourmet riverside dining experience. After five days of rafting and eating on the Rogue River, dining outdoors will never be the same for me.
Each morning during our trip we woke with the soft rising sun, soaked in the fresh mountain air with hot coffee in hand. Our guides whipped up impressive breakfasts of crispy bacon and sweet French toast, wowing us with their talents both on and off the river.
We delighted in an incredible dinner of ceviche, and caprese salad skewer appetizers paired with pisco sours, salmon moussaka entrees paired with Oregon wine, and crème brulee with a wedge of dark chocolate perched on top. It was unbelievable that we were eating so well on the riverbank – meals that would shame many traditional brick and mortar restaurants.
On another night as we anticipated a gourmet dinner of tuna tartare and Thai spring rolls for appetizers, duck confit entrees, and chocolate mousse dessert, we noticed a black bear meander down from the opposite side of the river. He had been snacking on wild blackberries and stumbled across a gigantic wild salmon in the water. He scooped it from the river and carried it to a rock, where we watched him eat his dinner, slowly savoring every bite while he licked his lips. Meanwhile, our group of onlookers relaxed on the rocks with wine glasses and craft beer cans in hand, enjoying a real live National Geographic moment up close and personal.
Our Chef, Christian, prepared an amazing final feast – bacon wrapped scallops and sautéed shrimp appetizers paired with many bottles of Chilean red wine. The guides passed them around as if we were in a 5-star restaurant. We could have been fooled by the food and the view!
We sat in the beauty of nature eating fresh green salad, steak with a cabernet reduction, sides of croquettes of mashed potatoes with goat cheese centers, and crisp green beans. Then there was the brownie with dried apricot and grilled peaches topped with shaved nuts – absolutely delicious.
On our last morning the guides made a memorable final breakfast of mimosas and egg benedicts. Many of us joked about how most people lack the know-how to make this breakfast at home, let alone at a campsite. It was so true.
I left the Rogue River rested, rejuvenated, and pleasantly full. For some reason, flavors taste brighter in the fresh mountain air. It was an amazing culinary experience. Five days of beautiful scenery and incredibly impressive meals were good for the soul.