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Last weekend, we went out to Manzanita, a small and quaint town on the Oregon coast. When I say small, I mean small. Manzanita has a population of about 600 people.

But Manzanita also has one of the most gorgeous beaches that I've ever seen, and as we walked it, marveling at the open vistas, we bumped into a couple who told us a story.

It seems that during the early 20th century, Gov. Oswald West led a drive to reclaim the Oregon oceanfront as public lands...which means that unlike in other parts of the country, where beachfront property is claimed by the wealthy and wealthier, Oregon's beachfronts belong to the people of the state. Sure, there are houses nearby, but the beaches are public.

That's extraordinary.

And it is a perfect example, IMHO, of what government can and should properly do. To me, it is yet another example of what makes this state so special.

The wonderful meals continue here in Portland. Let me give you an example.

The other night, we went to a restaurant called Tasty n Alder, the third restaurant opened by chef John Gorham. No reservations taken ... you have to get there at 5:30, when the dinner seating starts. We did that, and were glad we did, since the place was pretty much full by 5:45 or so.

Among the things we enjoyed were the best Low Country Hush Puppies I've ever had, plus an amazingly spicy and flavorful Indonesian Short Rib Stew "Rendang," served with sticky rice. It was bold in all the right ways, and went perfectly with a pFriem Strong Blonde Ale from Hood River....just an extraordinary meal, shared with the women in my life - Mrs. Content Guy, and the Content Daughter.

But I'll tell you something that made the meal really special. To tell the truth, my daughter has never been the most adventurous eater. She has fairly conventional tastes (and, as you all know, her favorite food is meatballs). But she tasted the Short Rib Stew, and loved it ... and ate lots of it.

That meal ... and watching my daughter's palate expand, almost before my eyes ... was one of the best of my life.

And it figures it happened in Portland.

That's it for this week.

Have a great weekend. I know I will. And I'll see you Monday.

Fins Up!
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