It's a loooonnnngggg drive to Portland from Berkeley but it was definitely worth the trip! Here are some highlights..
New Sammy's Cowboy Bistro - Talent, OR
We arrived at New Sammy's Cowboy Bistro in time for our 8pm reservation, after a long but scenic drive up highway 5. Overall I enjoyed my meal - very impressed with the ingredients (many were grown in the yard behind the parking lot). Service was a bit hit and miss, it took about 10 minutes to get seated and then another 10-15 for our order to be taken, then the wine order was taken about 5 minutes later - a little frustrating to get your first course at 8.45 for an 8pm reservation - esp when there are a lot of empty tables around. The food was ok - I am sure it is the best in the area, but after reading some of the posts on Chow I think I was expecting more. So I will chalk it up to my expectations being set too high, if you are in the Ashland area I would recommend it.
Rogue Brew Pub - Eugene
Stopped in at Rogue for a quick lunch - it was great pub food and a fun atmosphere - the service was excellent. Picked up some beers during one of there garage sales and got a great deal - and I am sipping on a chipotle/chocolate stout mix right now.
Le Pigeon - Portland
One of the best dining experiences I have had in a long time. We arrived early (thanks to the Chow recs) and secured a couple seats at the bar. The service was excellent - friendly, attentive, and made great recommendations on our selections. The food was spot-on, uncommon ingredients (beef tongue spaetzle, pigeon, maple ice cream with bacon!) cooked perfectly and paced very well. Overall the atmosphere at the bar was very enjoyable with the chef passing over the dishes as soon as they were ready. Basically I am looking for a reason to go back to Portland just to eat there again.
Noble Rot Wine Bar - Portland
Stopped in Noble Rot after Le Pigeon for a bit more wine - they have a great selections of tastings and I think it was good value. Atmosphere was casual, comfortable, and very busy - so it was a good spot for drinks on a Friday night.
Stumptown Coffee - Portland
Real good stuff. It is so nice to enjoy a latte that hasn't been scorched. I am a big fan of Blue Bottle Coffee in the Bay Area but I think that Stumptown could make a run for my #1.
A to Z Wine Tasting - Dundee
If you have a chance to go to A to Z in Dundee make the trip - I don't think you will find better value wines or a more relaxed and fun tasting experience. We drove home with about 2 cases from A to Z alone.
Pok Pok - Portland
We had a good time at Pok Pok and it definitely had a cool vibe. We ordered the wings - that were noted as a 'best' on the menu and they were very, very, very good. Our other dishes were so-so, but I would credit that more to our bad ordering combination than to the kitchen.
Hate to say it, but it was Burger King on the drive home and I am committed to never, ever eating that again.
New Sammy's Cowboy Bistro
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