Almost 36 hours of time off! Well, not completely off of course, when you work for yourself you’re always working in some manner or another. But to put this in context, on one day last week I fielded 42 support and inquiry calls before I took a lunch break around 2pm…didn’t count the after-lunch crowd! Gary Dawson Designs is rockin’ on!! But on Saturday, after tending the garden…
Alysia and I decided to get on bike and go!
First stop was River’s Edge Winery located on the West side of Elkton on the Umpqua Hwy (Oregon Hwy. 38). Keith and Marcie
were delightful hosts for our tasting of River’s Edge offerings and we selected a 2008 Elkton Vineyard Pinot Noir and 2010 Pinot Gris wishing we had more room in our sparse luggage. We ended up hanging around for a while chatting with this couple and these guys know their wines, have very nice wines to offer AND know food so can make valuable recommendations based on your taste in both food and wine. Recommend the stop!
Next stop Winchester Bay (also known as Salmon Harbor) on Hwy 101 just south of Reedsport. I had previously enjoyed several meals at a deep-fried fish place on the north end of the boat basin called Griff’s so that was our lunch destination. I had a disappointingly luke-warm Cioppino. This stew had obviously been frozen and microwaved back to serviceability. Alysia had scallops that were, in fact, cooked to perfection but were served with soggy fries and a mediocre tartar sauce. This place has remarkably high marks on Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon and Yelp so maybe this was the occasional bad day that every place has, but after that meal I’m a little sorry that I had recommended it to Marcie and Keith at River’s Edge.
In Bandon we stayed at a reasonably nice place but can’t say a lot great about it so we’ll let that part go…on to food, ya!
Alloro Wine Bar is likely the nicest place to eat in Bandon and I think they work hard to serve quality food in a nice atmosphere. When we arrived for our 9pm reservation however, we were pretty happy to sit in a hallway booth out of the main dining area that was occupied by two inebriated and unnecessarily loud groups of Golfers. I suppose Bandon Dunes, a world-class golf resort is a boon to this small beachside community but, well, I hate shouting over dinner to have a conversation! If our server is correct about the frequency of this type of atmosphere, I may recommend getting there earlier in the evening, before wine kicks these types into overdrive.
Our server was gracious enough but went pretty blank when we asked for a wine recommendation based on our food choices. “Something middle of the road” was not the specific advice we were seeking. Our eventual choice of a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir was a bit pale but did service our food reasonably well.
We shared a nice appetizer of Zucchini Blossoms Stuffed with Oregon shrimp, prawn and basil, deep fried with saffron-lemon aioli and then Abby’s Greens, a salad of Local organic greens, beet vinaigrette, blueberries, goat cheese, and balsamic onions. Of the two the salad was much better balanced though we wished that we could have had more than one tiny balsamic onion on the plate.
Our choices of Maple Leaf Farms duck breast, cranberry-cherry salsa, wild rice, farro and hazelnut pilaf, and green beans and Ravioli of Herb-roasted pork, beet greens, hand-dipped ricotta, local lobster mushrooms, in a butter sauce were both very finely prepared and savory. But our ravioli shared a common trait with the squash-blossom appetizer which was an awkward balance that tended to heaviness. Fortunately for us, we had asked for lemon slices to be served with our water and we discovered that by simply adding a small squeeze of lemon juice to both dishes, we improved the balance to elevate these dishes from ok to really great!
Our desserts of Cannoli with fruit and a chocolate gelato with coconut and macadamia nuts were both excellent!
Overall the prices were reasonable for the quality of food served and we were happy to have sampled the fare of this small boutique eatery. But for the style of service and what they seem to be trying to do there, it seemed a bit out-of-place to have to doctor our plates at the table to really bring out the flavors of this otherwise well-prepared food!
The next day began with great coffee at Bandon Coffee Cafe. with biscuits and gravy, apple pie, and a cranberry cookie!
The way home was fun with a stop on a sunny beach to share a bottle of wine al-fresco!
And look what we found in the roof of the announcement shelter at the beach stop!!