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Jul 26, 2006 11:56 PM

Crater Lake to New Sammy's-crazy?

I will be coming to the Northwest for the first time next week and will be spending two days (two nights) at Crater Lake. WE have a reservation for the lodge restaurant but from what I read here, it looks like a fairly mediocre experience...I managed to get a reservation for New Sammy's in Talent/Ashland at 9 pm. I mapquested it and see that it's about an hour and a half drive there (possibly more depending on where in the park we are...I'm not sure). My question then is: is it the kind of place we should be driving 3+ hours roundtrip for an incredible meal? I've done some ridiculous chowhound adventures (spent three hours looking for a sausage stand in Chicago, nearly missed a performance of mine because I went in search of a steakhouse in Oklahoma City without a car, etc.)but am willing to listen to reason. especially because my girlfriend will be with me...and she's a little saner. but from what I've read about this place, it seems quite special. If not, can anyone recommend something close or within decent driving distance of Crater Lake? Thanks!!

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  1. I can't see how New Sammy's is worth the drive. It's good, but not that good.

    1. Yes it's worth the experience. It is unique,
      and the best for many miles around. Lovingly made, locally grown, tremendous wine selection...
      2 more in Talent:
      Bangkoks Benny Thai has re-opened in their new Building in Talent on West Main.
      New Latin Tacos place- Inti: tacos y mas in Downtown Talent on Talent Avenue.
      Cheap and wonderful. Marco's from Italy by way of New York.
      Up in the High Country: the Pinehurst Inn-
      and the Greensprings Inn
      Tummyache, if you Mapquest a route along Dead Indian Road, first heading south out of the park through Fort Klamath, you can glide right into Ashland, then Talent's not far.
      Go back the Hwy 62 route.
      We have 5 taco trucks in about 7 miles between Talent and Medford, the best being: Tacos Michocan in the Tark's shopping center parking lot in Talent, TacosMarisco in the Ray's Parking Lot, (Sporadic hours), and my favorite Taco Michel, in a Motor home stuck next to a Mexican Car Repair Shop, north of the 7-11 and south of the FleaMarket(which also has a great stand) on 99.
      Birria. Great burritos too.
      e-mail if you want:

      1. I agree with hungryhippo: Sammy's is good but not worth the 3-hour drive. It's got this legend about it because of the unusual way the owners came to start the restaurant in Talent (passionate foodies go overboard at their labor-of-love restaurant in Boonville, CA and generate lots of debt; flee without paying to Oregon and start another local-ingredients restaurant near Ashland), but it's not THAT special. They do use local ingredients as much as they can but not always with perfect results. The French-oriented wine list is amazing (but expensive). The small dining room is kind of cozy but rather plain (and quite dark the day we were there last summer).

        3 Replies
        1. re: svL

          I can't let the opinion of svL go without comment. The biggest disagreement is the comments made about their wine list. To call it expensive is a gross misstatement. Some of the listings are below retail assuming you could even find them. Yes, there are expensive items, but if you let Vernon guide you through the list, you will end up with marvelous pairings. I had a German white with dinner last time that was beyond description. He came up with it knowing I like reds. That to me is service. The cost? Below $50.
          It is special in my books. The food is made with care, the service casually elegant, and the knowledge of the owners, and their willingness to share beyond 99% of the "big city" places.

          1. re: runninrob

            I said the wine list was expensive, not overpriced. The wines could be good value but still expensive.

            For example, a bottle that retails for $200 and goes for $180 at a restaurant is good value but still expensive to me.

            Vernon's list is full of excellent and hard-to-find wines that are well-priced but expensive to begin with.

            1. re: svL

              That seems to me like a reason TO drive
              several hours to eat & drink, especially given the sparse nature of Fine Dining around The National Park, and the fact that the OP is from NYC. I say Max it out and experience a nice time.