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Willamette Valley wine & food recs?

What advice do you have for this area? We'll probably be staying in McMinnville, but it seems like we'll have to do some driving. Is there anything chow-worthy in McMinnville?

As for restaurants, we are thinking two dinners out, one at Joel Palmer House and one at Tina's. One lunch out, at Dundee Bistro. Are these good choices or would we be really missing out by skipping the Painted Lady? Does anyone know anything about Nick's Italian Cafe?

Any recommendations about wineries? I've tried to do some research on this topic on the wine board but came up short. I know that pinot noirs are big in this area but we are also looking for wineries that have a nice pinot gris.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

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  1. Nick's always gets rave review, although the last time I was there was in '98 or so. I was in the middle of trying to buy a home and stressed to the max, so I don't remember the food.

    Le Bistro Maison in Mac is really great, we were there last year, and it was fantastic.

    Lunches at Golden Valley Brew Pub are always nice, I've met friends there many times.

    I'm not a great judge of pinot gris, so I don't have a recommendation amongst all of the many wineries in the area, sorry!

    Golden Valley Brewery and Restaurant
    980 NE 4th St, McMinnville, OR 97128

    Nick's Italian Cafe
    521 NE 3rd St, McMinnville, OR 97128

    Bistro Maison
    729 NE 3rd St, McMinnville, OR 97128

    1. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/513623
      Here are the results of my 30-second search.
      Local regulars and I have commented extensively on this question.

      Many places have great pinot gris: Montinore, Elk Cove to name a couple.
      Also don't forget pinot blanc at wineries such as Erath. Had some '07 just now!

      Always make sure to call first, especially this time of year. Some wineries are open weekends only and some are closed to the public.

      1. Ive only eaten @ the3 Dundee Bistro in this area but its always been fantastic, as for wineries i'd say dont miss Elk Cove for sure and I believe you can do Drouhin, Archery Summit and Domaine Serene all on the same road.......i think....things were getttin a lil fuzzy when we were last there.....and i'm not sure where Ken Wright's place is but if they have a tasting room its worth ANY drive....cheers

        1 Reply
        1. re: A2fay

          I love Ken Wright but it's not open to the public.

          Have always enjoyed Dundee Bistro, but was there are week ago lunch and the service was not good.

        2. My favorite winery in the area, in terms of wine, is Owen Roe. Call ahead to schedule a visit.

          1. just thought of this today too.....if you are going from Mcminville to the Dundee area i believe you go through Gaston, which if you take a right at the lil post office there will take you right on up to Elk Cove......is this correct Willamette locals?????seems like thats what we did last time i was there...

            1 Reply
            1. re: A2fay

              Hi from Portland and a frequent wine country visitor. That is not correct. Gaston is not between McMinnville & Dundee. It is north of Yamhill county, on Hwy 47 in Washington County. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600957
              While Elk Cove is a great idea if you are on 47 in western Washington County, there are countless excellent wineries in the immediate Dundee Hills/McMinnville area. No need to spread yourself so thin.

            2. If you haven't been before, planning is a must. It is possible to spend 1/2 hour or more getting from winery A to winery B if done at random. And unless you confine yourself to McMinnville, you will definitely be doing some driving.

              The Painted Lady is exceptional.

              Get a map here http://www.willamettewines.com/, pick out the wineries you want to visit, and plug the locations into a GPS. Even with the blue signs, some places are very hidden, or can be on the far side of a hill that the map doesn't show. Great sightseeing, though, if time is not an issue.

              1. Daedalus Cellars has a new little tasting room in Dundee and makes a fantastic Pinot Gris. A bit hard to find, but right off Hwy 99, and worth it if you like white wines. Have fun!

                1. I suppose this is kind of after the fact but I do like to post a report on our experiences.
                  1. lunch at Bistro Maison: Service definitely left something to be desired but their "Sandwhich Classic" with rillettes was quite excellent. It is also fun that they bring out hazelnuts and crackers at the end of the meal.
                  2. Dinner at the Joel Palmer House: We really enjoyed the food here - Heidi's Three Mushroom tart was good, although people who have texture issues with mushrooms would be very overwhelmed. The two desserts that we had, marrionberry bread pudding and chocolate peanut butter tart were delicious but truly the saltiest desserts we had ever eaten. Also, the selection of wines by the glass was pretty good, something we were grateful for after a long day of tasting.
                  3. Dundee Bistro for lunch: Friendly, efficient service. We liked the pasta carbonara but RAVED about the salad of radicchio, bacon, beets, fennel, and oranges.
                  4. Tina’s for dinner: While our soup and salads were marginal, the appetizers were truly wonderful. The panfried oysters were perfectly cooked and the salmon spring rolls had an amazing hazelnut sauce that was to die for. Our entrees were well cooked, dessert was good too and our server was very attentive.

                  We had breakfasts at Youngberg Hill Inn, where we were staying. They were always good and the granola they serve on Sundays is amazing!

                  We went to far too many wineries to mention although we quite enjoyed Eyrie. Overall, we were quite impressed by all of the dining options here. It was a wonderful trip! Thanks for the recommendations.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: movesalot

                    Thank you for the report!
                    Always great to know the results of our efforts, which inspires us to respond to others' requests.
                    Will try Tina's again, as it's been awhile.
                    And will definitely try the Youngberg Hill Inn.