IN A FUTURE COLUMN, we'll take a closer look at the seemingly schizophrenic rules being issued by city and state agencies that are making it damn near impossible to find anyplace outside your home to consume cannabis. (Spoiler alert: It's not going to be a feel-good column.) But for now, let's talk about something that will be a feel-good experience, namely the multifaceted gem North Fork 53, just down the road a piece on Highway 53 by Manzanita.
I'm embarrassed to say that I've been aware of this spot for some time, and had received numerous invites to attend their groundbreaking dinner pairings of cannabis and food for months. (Thanks, Stephanie!) But as my endlessly patient girlfriend will tell you, shutting down my work long enough to get out of town happens with the frequency of solar eclipses. (Apparently "Workaholics for Weed" is a real thing.)
This mistake was corrected recently with a trip out to the property, located on the Nehalem River, where you will find a lovingly restored and updated 1930s farmhouse and barn that serves as a weekend farmers' market. It all sits on four riverfront acres, where organic produce and more herbs than I can list are grown and sold from the barn, and used in their dinner pairings.
The one plant missing from the garden is cannabis. A rotating collection of local organic growers provides two strains at a time to North Fork 53, which are presented to you as an option for your bed and breakfast with dinner package. Obviously, I selected this option, and was presented with a handcrafted wooden platter that held two small glass jars with the two featured strains, Tangie Banana and Black Betty, both from Gnome Grown. There was a PAX 2 vaporizer, a grinder, lighter, hemp wick string, and papers, in addition to a glass duff jar for spent vape.
This attention to detail carries over to every aspect of the experience. The scenery is so vibrant and stunning as to appear CG. The four bedrooms are all hip without selling out any of the charm and detail of the house's original bones.
We were given the option of partaking on the wraparound deck, portions of which overlook the Nehalem River. Although a mere 15 minutes from Manzanita, I could have been a million miles away. The other option was to vape at the dining table while we ate. Yes, please.
The featured strains are given CSI-like treatment by the chef, who uses years of skills to match the terpene scents and tastes to the food menu, which is filled with organic produce produced onsite.
I'm not someone who Instagrams their lunch (you shouldn't either), but I was sorely tempted as our three courses arrived, flawlessly presented with a detailed explanation of why the chef made these pairings. We puffed the selected strain, and dove into the following:
Salad of mixed greens, arugula flowers, golden raisins, orange, sweet and sour radish, coriander vinaigrette, citrus herb goat cheese, and toasted walnut breadcrumbs. (Also toasted: me, vaping the Tangie Banana.)
Parsley ricotta gnocchi, parmesan mushroom reduction, chive oil, charred baby beets, turnips and baby carrots, shaved parmesan, thyme flowers, chive blossom. These all worked in perfect tandem with the Black Betty's pungent woodsy tastes.
Spiced rhubarb cobbler, cardamom rose whip cream. (Your new favorite thing: that whipped cream.)
The dinner is offered as an occasional special event, but anyone can have the same experience with a three-course breakfast. You request the "Coastal Cannabis Package," which adds a mere $100 to your tab, absurdly affordable for the setting and amenities included.
There are no televisions, but there is a pleasant sense of peace as you slow down and take in the rhythm of a working farm. The all-too-rare chance to enjoy cannabis in the same manner as I would a craft beer, wine, or cocktail—without being made to feel a second-class citizen—was refreshing and very much needed. All less than 75 miles from my home in Goose Hollow. Highly recommended. (Shut up.)
North Fork 53, 77282 Hwy 53, Nehalem, northfork53.com