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Jun 27, 2010 09:37 PM

Trip Report: Willamette Valley (Thistle, Farm to Fork, The Painted Lady, Crescent Cafe)

Wife (DessertDoc) and I travelled to Wine Country to get out of the heat, try some wines and check out the local food scene... (some brief notes)

Thistle - Recommended by a bunch of people before we arrived. Small restaurant in McMinnville, concentrating on fresh locally sourced ingredients. Wonderful flavors and nice wine selection as well. We had a great meal and enjoyed speaking with the chef. We found out later that he was recently involved in an altercation with some other local chefs regarding the provenance of a pig in a pig contest (I promise I am not making this up!). Some highlights from the meal were the beet salad and the black cod.

Farm to Fork - Part of the Inn at Red Hills, right on 99 in Dayton. The restaurant makes a nice breakfast in a comfortable but not very scenic setting. There is indoor as well as outdoor seating on a patio. The smoked trout scrambled eggs were great.

The Painted Lady - Formal dining in Newberg. Four course tasting menu in a renovated home. Highlights were the foie gras, the rabbit, and the pork two ways. Wine list is extensive with some great cellared local wines. Definitely occasion dining with a quieter room and a lot of romantic couples.

Crescent Cafe - Small (very small) breakfast and lunch spot in McMinnville. Arrived right as they opened at 8am and there was already a line for the classic breakfast food made with locally sourced ingredients. Highlights were coffee cake, ham/egg/cheese/grilled onion sandwich and the omelet of the day (avocado, bacon, scallion, jack cheese). Great coffee too! No reservations, but you can sit faster if you are willing to sit at a community table.

DessertDoc loved the chocolate chip cookies at Farm to Fork. She felt the desserts at Thistle didn't match the quality of the apps/mains.


Farm to Fork

The Painted Lady

Crescent Cafe
No web site as far as I can tell. Open 7am-130pm during the week, 8am till 130pm on the weekends.

Painted Lady
201 S College St, Newberg, OR 97132

FARM to FORK Events
, Ashland, OR 97520

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  1. More on the punches thrown over out of state pigs in today's NY Times.

    I'm still eager to eat at Thistle (but sounds like I should skip dessert).

    Which wineries did you get to and like? It's hard to choose a few with so many options.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Windy

      Sorry about the late reply...back at home in Phoenix and spending more time on our local board.

      We visited the following wineries

      Archery Summit
      Domaine Serene
      Beaux Freres

      We had a great time at all of the wineries...such a change of pace from Napa. Archery Summit and Domaine Serene are big corporate operations but make great, though expensive, wine. Cristom, Bergstrom and Trisaetum are more small family operations. Beaux Freres is by reservation only and a great intro to biodynamic wine production. Everyone we met was friendly and excited about the wine. If I had to recommend one place to go, head to Cristom...its off the main drag and they make great pinot.

      Domaine Serene
      6555 NE Hilltop Ln, Dayton, OR