Dining in the Willamette Valley, Oregon
One of the great things about wine trips is that usually really great restaurants go hand in hand with wine country. Plus nobody looks at you funny if your table orders a couple of bottles of wine for lunch.I won’t bore you with all of the food details, but rather just give you some links to the great spots we ate and the highlights. First up was Recipe in Newberg – cute place, right? And just as cute inside too. We shared the house made burrata with olives and salumi, then most of the table ordered their specialty pork sandwich.For dinner we had planned on going to Farm to Fork, but after 4 people told us it’s going through a transition and to avoid it, we switched at the last minute to Jory in the fairly new Allison Inn, the first resort in the Willamette Valley wine country. My philosophy in great restaurants is to try something you don’t see every day. Hence, the salmon tartare with black rice, shiitakes, garden peppers as an appetizer and the trio of rabbit for my entree (braised leg, loin involtini, rabbit bacon with parsnips cassoulet). Those less adventuresome had the Red Wattle pork ragout with pappardelle, fennel, and Bellwether Farms ricotta or the grilled Wagyu strip loin with celeriac, chanterelles, garden chard, and smoked pearl onions. We were celebrating two milestone birthdays for this trip, so we milked that for dessert everywhere we went!For the BIG celebration dinner we went to the Painted Lady, the highest AAA-rated restaurant in Oregon. It’s in a very Victorian house, with quiet, white table cloth service and a multi-course menu – I loved the experience, my husband hated it. But regardless of whether this is your preferred ambience for dinner, there is no denying the incredible food.Not one amuse bouche, but a tray of three tasty bites.Vennison Carpaccio appetizer with greens.Crab canoli appetizer with avocado puree.A delicious little single raviolo – and for the life of me I can’t recall what it was stuffed with, but I’m pretty sure that’s black truffle on top.Braised veal cheek with potato puree and root vegetables.A perfectly sized small cheese plate in lieu of a sweet dessert which was also an option. The four course tasting menu with wine pairings will set you back over $100 per person – with any other drinks, tax, tip, it can be an expensive night, so save this one for a special occasion!Just to show you that I can eat simply as easily as I can eat grandly, we had lunch at Dundee Bistro the next day, where several of us opted for a burger with truffled fries – YUM!Our final night dinner was at Tina’s in Dundee, and honestly, by then we could barely face more food and wine. But never to pass up a chance to try something great, we split the unusual crostini appetizer, and then I had the duck breast on risotto – which I managed to finish, despite knowing better.There are lots of great places to eat in the Willamette Vally – just ask at your hotel or a winery and you can’t go wrong. And make sure you order some of that fabulous Oregon wine with your meal!
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