Coos BayCrabs and crashing waves

First published 11 January 2022

If you've ever seen photos of water exploding skyward at the coast, odds are they were taken in Coos Bay. The jutting sandstone rocks along Cape Arago and neighboring Shore Acres State Park spawn perhaps the largest, most intimidating wave breaks in the Northwest. If you're there at the right time, you'll be forced to recalibrate your "Power of Mother Nature" scale and your sense of awe.

After taking an irrational number of wave photos, I drove back into town for dinner at the Tokyo Bistro, home to some of the best sushi I've encountered in the Northwest. It's hard to go wrong at a place that makes its own wasabi, but if you like culinary artistry and single-tear-inducing flavor profiles to intersect at your table, order a platter. Better yet, ask for the chef's special.

I then headed to the Mill Casino Hotel. After riding an exciting, albeit brief winning streak at the blackjack table, I retired to my room for a bath with a bay view and a restful slumber.

The next morning, I waited for the tide to position itself properly, then drove down to Charleston Harbor, geared up at Basin Tackle and headed for the dock. The crabbing is legendary in Coos Bay and having never thrown a crab ring before, I figured now was as good a time as any. In need of a tutorial, I made a new friend at the dock who happened to be rather proficient at the process. In no time, I was hauling in my own Dungeness crab, satiating my hunter-gatherer instincts.

That evening's meal was earmarked for the Hilltop House. Chef Joseph Zamora can do things with steak and seafood that will make you blush, and I'd had that dinner planned before purchasing the train tickets. If old-school ambience and dishes like Tornedos Oscar don't do

it for you, I just can't help you. After a nightcap at the Mill, I all but collapsed into bed, muscles tired and belly full---direct results of my day of collecting and consuming crab.

7 Devils Brewing Company

Cape Arago and Shore Acres State Parks