Return to Sharks (Newport, OR)


The best cioppino we had ever eaten was had at Sharks Seafood Bar back in 2009. Not only was there a substantial broth of tomatoes, vegetables and herbs—a recipe which the chef will not divulge—but a generous serving of fresh seafood. A noticeable amount of sweetness, which some may find a trifle much, came through from a generous amount of tomato paste. Cravings for it were mitigated by the cioppino base being available by mail order; all you need to do is add your own seafood. But the experience of this wonderful stew cannot be matched by enjoying it made to order in the quaint, nautically themed restaurant, and surrounded by the historic Bay Street waterfront.

Tonight, we decided to have a variation served with pasta. It isn’t technically a noodle dish but more aptly a stew with linguine in it. Marinara linguini (☆☆☆) comes with fresh Dungeness crab, two kinds of shrimp, and fresh fish (today it was rockfish). You could easily confuse this dish with another menu item, Cioppino and Pasta (☆☆☆), which only adds a few Manila clams for an additional $5. You might consider the marinara to be a better value. Both entrées arrived in large soup bowls filled to the brim and held their piping hot temperature long after they were placed in front of us. In the end, both of us agreed that the straightforward stew was preferable for no other reason than to forgo the starch that tended to sate us sooner than without and that the residual liquid from the pasta had a diluting effect. Otherwise, the cioppino appealed to our taste buds as much as the first time.

Sharks' Cioppino and Pasta

Sharks’ Cioppino and Pasta

Sharks Marinara Linguini

Sharks Marinara Linguini

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A Day in Newport, Oregon


Back in 2009, Newport appeared on our culinary radar when we ate a remarkable cioppino at Sharks Seafood Bar. It would be enough of a reason to come back again (and again). Aside from its many seafood restaurants, this town of 10,000 residents has several other attractions.

The most obvious physical presence in the city is the historic Yaquina Bay Bridge, one of many designed by Oregon engineer Conde McCullough. It is a steel and concrete arch bridge spanning Yaquina Bay that used to be crossed by ferry before the bridge’s completion in 1938. We walked partially across it to admire McCullough’s artistic touches: gothic pointed arches cut out in the balustrade and the art deco design of the four obelisks that flank both ends of the arch.

Yakina Bay Bridge

Yakina Bay Bridge

Art deco obelisk

Art deco obelisk

Entrance to the bridge

Entrance to the bridge

One of the finest aquariums in the country is also located here, the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Though my recall is vague of what I saw the last time I visited many years ago with my family, what did stick in my mind was a stunning display of jellyfish in a large cylindrical tank in which many diaphanous specimens floated up and down in dancelike movements, illuminated only by a single light from above. It was simple but spectacular. Our visit today was rewarded by another beautiful display of jellyfish (above) and equally fine exhibits of fascinating creatures and ecosystems that live off the Oregon coast.

A walk in the historic Bayfront area along Bay Boulevard still reflects Newport’s heritage as an important fishing village. It still is a port off Yaquina Bay where fishing fleets continue to work, has a fish processing plant and hosts several businesses, including many fine seafood restaurants. Murals by Rick Chambers adorn the sides of buildings, all of them paying homage to Newport’s maritime history.

Birria de Chivo Tacos at Los Temos Taqueria (Salem, OR)


Surrounded by large tracts of farmland on the outskirts of Salem is a small stretch of local shops and businesses. Among them is a taqueria innocuously housed in a flat building, which you might normally drive past since there’s nothing remarkable about the exterior except that it’s painted in the tricolors of Mexico. Los Temos specializes in goat birria (birria de chivo, of Jalisco origin). It would qualify as a birrieria except that there are other things that can be ordered, among them tacos filled with goat meat, asada, adobada, lengua, cabeza and pollo. The goat meat is stewed in a dried chile liquid until it is fork tender, shredded and served either as a combination (with rice and beans), soup (caldo) or taco filling. On top of that, a cup of the birria broth, or consommé, is included with the combination.

These were extraordinary tacos (☆☆☆☆), one of the best I’ve ever eaten. As a bonus, they’re served with house-made corn tortillas. By itself, the goat meat needed no adornment, they were that good. But what are tacos without onions, cilantro and a squirt of lime, generously provided. For ramping up the heat level, you can add crushed red chile peppers, house-made salsa roja or salsa verde, or Tapatio sauce. You can dip the tacos in the consommé, but I just drank it straight from the styro cup. The consommé (☆☆☆☆) is a brilliant elixir, salty, complex, savory and piping hot.

Goat tacos

Goat tacos

Consommé

Consommé

Cilantro, onions and lime

Cilantro, onions and lime

The aguas frescas (☆☆☆) we ordered (tamarind and horchata) were very full-flavored and delicious.

For us, every trip through Salem will now include a stopover here.

Update (5-2-16):

It seems the only time I ever get to eat at Los Temos is during the drive from Seattle to Los Angeles (or back). I was determined to have what most customers seemed to order during our last stopover—caldo, or soup. The consommé is actually the broth in which the goat is simmered, as rich and complex as any in the world. Instead of having the deconstructed soup in the form of either tacos or combination plate with the consommé on the side, the caldo is how the goat is meant to be eaten. It comes with five freshly made corn tortillas that are soft and fluffy. Sprinkled with plenty of cilantro and onions, caldo is now my favorite at Los Temos (☆☆☆☆).

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Los Temos Taqueria
7000 Portland Rd NE
Salem, OR 97305
503.463.6822