Egads! These sticky-hot months send Bite Club straight to Portland's rivers, where a constant stream of boats soak up the summer's wet 'n' wild action. Even better, a salty sailor can drop anchor at many public docks and marinas and chow down right on the banks of either the citified Willamette River or the mighty Columbia. Bite Club got a handle on water grub with help from Seattle-based authors Lorena and Leonard Langdon's Cleats & Eats, a clever guide to Portland's boat-up restaurants. To help all you river avengers fill your bellies, here are five waterlogged spots to tie on and pig out:
Columbia River, North Bank, Camas/Washougal Landing
One of the Langdons' fave spots is the islander's paradise Puffin Cafe (360-335-1522), a tropical spot that boasts chicken with spicy bananas and key lime pie on a moderate budget. Psst! When parking, bypass private boat spots and use only "guest moorage." You wouldn't want your craft to get shanghaied by water police.
Columbia River, South Bank, M. James Gleason Boat Ramp
Salty's on the Columbia (288-4444) has managed to shed some of its musty rep in the past year, reemerging as a lovely, but spendy, spot to indulge in scallops, lobster and other marine life. Be forewarned: Drab outfits still make the waiters look like a bunch of stiff Clark Kents compared with the restaurant's super-food. Better to focus on Salty's gorgeous views of both Mount Hood and Portland's vibrant sunsets.
Columbia River, South Bank, Red Lion Jantzen Beach
Classy skippers may come to Shenanigans (978-4595) for a thick porterhouse and a nice glass of pinot, but the crew will stay to party hearty at the Red Lion hotel's bizarre '80s-era-obsessed bar, Tuxedo Charlie's.
Multnomah Channel, South Bank, Fred's Marina
The off-the-beaten-river allure of the Multnomah Channel, between Sauvie Island and Forest Park turns a lazy float into a water adventure. According to Cleats, you can motor over to Fred's Marina Snack Bar (286-5537) to stock up on power food like ice-cream bars, chips or Fred's kielbasa dogs before you explore. Slide farther along the water to the wet-set's newest playground, Mark's on the Channel (543-8765).
Willamette River, Newport Bay Dock and RiverPlace Marina
Give your sea legs a workout at the city's most centrally located marina. Grab a double scoop of Umpqua ice cream at the Little River Cafe (227-2327) or raise a pint of Full Sail on the Pilsner Room (220-1865) patio. There's Dungeness crab Benedict to be had at the floating restaurant Newport Bay (227-3474) during weekend brunch. Watch out, this local chain's prices may sink you while you're enjoying the view.
Cleats & Eats by Lorena and Leonard Langdon ($11.95) is available at Powell's Books.