Trudy and I spent last weekend in Eastern Oregon visiting her family in Pilot Rock and eating road food, and visiting Lewis and Clark and Oregon trail sites. We had a couple of enjoyable days.
Day 1 began with a drive to Pendleton, a regional wheat and ranching center in Northeast Oregon about 200 miles from Porland. The place has had several road food places over the years and our stop there was to eat breakfast at the Roadfood- reviewed Main Street Diner in downtown Pendleton.
The place is a little quirky with lots of drawings and knickknacks of Betty Boop and photos and movie posters of 1950's movie stars. The staff was young, friendly, and exceptionally nice. I liked everything about the place except......
The food was awful. A reviewer recommended the veggie omlette but the one i had feature ingredients were canned mushrooms and not very fresh vegetables. Hash browns and toast were average. Trudy's bacon was okay. I hate to say it but this was a completely forgettable meal and nowhere near road food worthy. It was probably the worst meal i have had in over 200 road food spots.
What makes it worse is that there is a clear alternative. The Rooster in south Pendleton has good french toast,good steaks and a varied clientele of first nation folks, latinos and local ranchers. my advice is skip the Main Street Diner and eat at the Rooster.
Trudy's relatives live in a compound 15 miles east of Pilot Rock, a small town that is 15 miles south of Pendleton. The drive to the family placee is an adventure. You start out with a two lane road that gradually narrows to a one lane road barely wide enough for one vehicle. Trees hug the shore of Birch Creek, there are wheat farms, sheep farms, a few cattle, lots of horses and one pig farm. Mountains crowd you until you reach the family compound.
Trudy's cousin was celebrating her 25th anniversary and family and friends were coming over for two days. one of trudy's sisters was there, second and third cousins. Trudy's cousin's husband is a frequent traveler and i enjoy hearing about his trips(most recently to Rome and Greece) Sam's second cousin(now 15) has grown a foot and plays soccer and in the band. It was a pleasant few hours and it was good for trudy to reconnect
with her family We drove to Pendleton, fell asleep early and had no dinner.
Sunday morning we drove 40 miles to Milton-Freewater and ate breakfast at the road food reviewed Oasis restaurant. The place is a ramshackle building that seems to have been put together by a mad scientist. There is a fine dining room, a bar, a live music area and i suspect a card room. You go out Stateline road and the place is about a stone's throw from Washington. Trudy and i have had some excellent dinners here in the past but Michael Stern has said the best meal was breakfast so we decided to start our day there.
We started our meal with an order of biscuits and gravy. Fluffy soft soaked in a beef gravy, they were a revelation. Tasty,and belly filling. I had a prime rib chile omelette, rich, flavorful, satisfying. Trudy's pound steak was a fine cut. Great food. Superb food. Worth the drive.
We shared the bar with some folks more devoted to booze. The folks downed 3 vodka drinks in a half hour which was a little surprising at 9.a.m. They did appear to have designated driver though.
The rest of the day we kinda ambled back to Portland. We stopped at Hat Rock state park along the Columbia, so named by William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition because of its uncanny resemblance to the then current style of beaver hat. A nice place to stop and well worth a visit if you are in the area.
We also stopped at the mouth of the Deschutes river. it was a spot there travelers had to ford a difficult river, with all wagons, livestock and travelers forced to stop at a mid river island and somehow get across. it is the spot where the Deschutes empties in to the Columbia and it has a nice state park to camp in if you so desire.
The winds were blowing hard, whitecaps visible along the Columbia and windsurfers active from Arlington to Hood River. We stopped for pie at the Charburger at Cascade Locks, enjoying the views of the river, the bridge and the first nation fish camps. A nice weekend.
<message edited by mr chips on Wed, 09/5/12 12:02 AM>