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May 19, 2010 08:56 AM

Good, simple, food between Ashland and Hood River?

Need help planning possible places to eat/buy good food while car camping through central Oregon. Here are some ideas I gleaned from other CH posts – please feel free to comment on any of them.

My eight year old son is a true 'bland-arian' so interesting food (he would not touch anything like a grilled cheese on walnut bread – with a ten foot pole) such as they serve at Summer Jo's in G.P. will not work this trip but I love fresh bread (french, sourdough, whole wheat); local, organic (if possible) fruit; pastries/pie; Italian/Mexican restaurants.

Possible stops......

Ashland (two days): The Co-op for fresh fruit and supplies; The Apple Cellar for pastry? (lots of good/terrible reviews – not sure which to follow); Creekside pizza for take-away dinner or Wiley's World for pasta.

Cental Point: buy cheese at the Rogue Creamery

Merlin/Grant's Pass: Backroad Grill for lunch? Or Jimmy's Classic Drive-In?

Perhaps buy bagels in Sutherlin.

We are camping near Silverton – any recommendations for dinner or breakfast?

Any non-pizza lunch recommendations along I-84 - perhaps near the Bonneville Dam?

Pie at Apple Valley Country Store, Hood River (sound delicious!).

Where should we stock up for supplies before heading over towards the Bend/Sisters region?

Thank you!

Summer Jo's
2315 Upper River Road Loop, Grants Pass, OR 97526

Backroad Grill
330 Galice Rd, Merlin, OR 97532

Jimmy's Classic Drive-In
515 NE E St, Grants Pass, OR 97526

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  1. Is there a reason to get supplies before Bend/Sisters? There are regular markets, etc. there.

    I assume you've searched the Hood River area for lunches; It looks like there are some choices, though I've never been to any.

    Have fun.

    1. What route are you taking? I5 to I84, east to US97 (possibly by way of Crate Lake) and then north, or some mix?

      On a trip through the area several years ago, I found decent Mexican grocery on the west of Medford. That night I fried carne adobada and ate it on torta buns.

      I recall some talk of decent taquerias in Medford or Central Point, on service roads paralleling the freeway I think. Also something in Grants Pass. I was intending to eat at Summer Jos, but couldn't find it, and ended up eating at burger joint in Merlin. Service was slow, but the sweet potato fries were great.

      Before that I'd spent nearly a week crossing the Oregon 'outback' (from Ontario in the east), and finding nothing worth buying at the small town groceries. After that, the regular grocery (Rays) in La Pine was great. I also stopped at Rays in Gold Beach and Oak Ridge on that trip.

      I found recommendations on Chow for a Mexican taqueria in Madras, but wasn't overly impressed.

      Summer Jo's
      2315 Upper River Road Loop, Grants Pass, OR 97526

      1. Good to know about the Rays in La Pine - that may come in handy after camping.

        I am now thinking of leaving I-84 at Hood River and then taking highway 35 for a more scenic route - I don't think we will find many restaurants up there but you never know!

        2 Replies
        1. re: ekt_now

          Just drove up hwy 35 from Hood River, as part of a 4 day camping trip. In orchard country around town it isn't hard to find Mexican food - groceries, taco trucks and carnicerias. At a carniceria in Odel (just off 35) I got some chorizo and 'al pastor' (chopped pork in spicy marinade), both of which turned out to be too spicy for our tastes.

          Once you get beyond the orchard area there isn't much. I did not check out Parksdale.

          On 26, there isn't much to the east until you get to the casino or resort operated by the Warm Springs Tribe. To the west, around Government Camp, restaurants and shops appear to be typical of the stuff you find around ski resorts.

          The area is certainly scenic, but I don't think it is the best chow-hunting.

          1. re: paulj

            That is what I thought - and it is fine since we are camping and I can always cook. Thanks for the information about Hwy 35.

        2. If you want Mexican as you approach Portland from the south, exit to Woodburn. Several years ago, on the way home from Silver Falls State Park (east of Salem), I was surprised to see how hispanic this area is. We had one of the better taco truck meals there.

          3 Replies
          1. re: paulj

            THanks - we will be looking for dinner around that area so that really helps!

            1. re: ekt_now

              Via a Chow thread from 2008, a newspaper article on the area

              1. re: paulj

                Thanks, Paulj! Luis' in particular looked great - we will definitely try to eat there!

          2. Post-trip report: well, of course we did not get to half of the places on my list but here is what we did enjoy:

            Klamath Falls: nice bakery, the Green Blade, with good sourdough (though don't expect it to be like S.F. bread) and a pleasant place to sit - their challah was great and we used it for toast while camping.

            Ashland - ate at an Italian place named Martino's (next to the OSF theaters) - good spinach salad, pretty good pasta (a little over-salted), and my son had a delicious piece of chocolate mousse cake. It was not crowded while we were there so we ate on the back patio in peace.

            (Also in Ashland, we had some terrible croissants at a bakery on Main street -about a block or two from OSF - they were so greasy that if you had squeezed them, the oil would have come dripping out. We threw these out. The morning bun was okay. Sorry I cannot remember the name - it was so terrible that I am probably blocking it out.)

            Sutherlin: stopped for bagels and soup - food was fine - nothing spectacular but much better than the other options.

            Hood River: great huckleberry pie from the Apple Valley Country Store. The nice lady there recommended eating at the Riverside Grill (in the Best Western) on the Columbia river. Beet salad was great - pasta was so-so (especially for a $14 entree) - my son was happy with his grilled cheese. This is one of those places you sit and enjoy the beautiful view and the food is secondary. Staff was very nice.

            We stumbled upon a nice homey place outside of Crater Lake on Hwy 62 - Becky's restaurant. It is next to a pretty park with a creek and nice areas to walk. Food was homestyle good - I had a non-burger (we are vegetarians) that was delicious, fries were crispy, and my son ate half of an enormous piece of chocolate pie.

            In California we enjoyed Renata's in Arcata (hot chocolate was the best!).

            Thank you for all of your help!

            Riverside Grill
            1108 E Marina Way, Hood River, OR 97031