7-26-17 Thistle Restaurant

For dinner, we went to Thistle –

Sign at entrance

while it may be small in table numbers and Spartan in design, it is memorable , this is a great restaurant. We got a table for two near the menu, which is a the black board on the wall, and proceeded to order from the cocktail list while we decided on starter and entrees.





Emily, our server was friendly and prompt.

Field Greens salad

Janeen started off with the field greens salad with preserved lemon, filberts and goat cheese and I had the Summer Squash with carrots& creamy herb dressing.

Summer Squash









This we paired with some rosé bubbles from Portugal.

Rose Bubbles from Portugal

For our main Janeen had the Albacore with artichoke, olive and remoluade while I had







Rabbit Shank

Rabbit shank with potato, salsa verde and fava greens. This was paired with a lovely Vouvray Everything was delicious – and while I haven’t had rabbit more then a couple dozen times, this ranked right up there as the best. Janeen’s comment about the Albacore was she wished she know how to make it as great as she was tasting.

We passed on dessert and talk a walk around the block before heading back to our cottage.

7-26-17 Oregon Gardens and Lunch

It’s been WAY to long for Janeen to have been away from a garden.  So, today we headed east to Oregon Gardens.   This is an 80-acre botanical garden in Silverton Oregon. It opened in 199 and is home to over 20 different gardens included the Rose Garden, Children’s Garden and many others. The City of Silverton created a series of ponds to cycle the reclaimed wastewater prior to it being allow into the river. This series of terraced wetlands located in the garden allows it to have access to a free water supply to support the operation.

.  One of several open areas with a water feature
This was below the last fountain and near a major event center.


Janeen enjoys the feel of the birch tree.

Of course, Janeen’s must see garden was the Medicinal Garden displays.  This has the closet varieties of medicinal plant species that are most like the herb garden where she has spent so much time.



After spending a couple hours touring around we went to the town of Silverton and had a really nice lunch at the 3 Ten Water restaurant.  

The dining room has a large fireplace along one wall and a great looking bar at the end.  We had a simple lunch of Halibut Fish & Chip and a Caprese salad.  of course we had a glass of wine and a beer to go with our meal.

Caprese salad
Halibut Fish & Chip


Tonight we go into McMinnville for dinner at a new place (for us) called Thistle Restaurant.  More about that later.

7-25-17 A Restful Day and dinner at the Burr’s Place

The last couple of days have been restful – without much stress and nothing really planned.  It’s been nice to take a deep breath and relax.  On Tuesday we drove out to Melissa’s home and had a great evening at their outdoor patio and lovely dinner which Simon had cooked on the BBQ.  I had been here before, staying in the ‘chateau’ (a 5th wheel trailer you can see by the ‘barn’) but Janeen has not.   It was a nice evening with lovely people and nice wines.


Their house has a wrap around deck on 2 sides for lovely evening seating.
Nice place to spend the evening with friends.


When the bought the property it did not have the pond, after much work they were able to create it.

7-22-17 Domaine Drouhin Oregon

Saturday was focused on Domaine Drouhin Oregon.

This French producer arrived in the Valley in 1987 and this weekend was the 30th anniversary celebration.   We have the honor of being Wine club members #1 here – and wear name badges accordingly.  During the day was an open house where we were able to meet the wine maker, Véronique (again)  .

Véronique and David

and her brothers Laurent, Philippe and Fredric (also for the 2nd or third time). With the exception of Laurent, they all live in Beaune France where the family is from and where they operate the Joseph Drouhin Wine company. Also present were two of Véronique’s three children – Laurene and Arthur.

Lauréne pouring me some 2010 Lauréne Pinot Noir.

Unfortunately, Louise was unable to be present for the weekend. Each of her children has wines with their names – Pinot Noir for Laurene and Louise and Chardonnay for Arthur. All of the current release wines were being poured, with the exception of the Louise ,which is limited in production to only 100 cases or so and thus not generally opened for these events.

David, Janeen, Véronique, Lauréne and Arthur


Open House included a photo booth set up and were we able to get a couple of pictures with most of the family.



That evening was another celebration, but limited in who might attend. Fortunately, we were invited and with about 70 others were led through the vineyards where they had set up a ‘dining room’ and ‘kitchen’ for the celebration.

Janeen walking to the dining room through fields of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The menu was paired with older Domaine Drouhin wines along with several wines from France. We started with Aromatic Salt Roasted Spot Prawns paired with a

2008 Limited Edition Chardonnay

2009 DDO LE Chardonnay and a

2008 Clos des Muches

2010 Clos des Mouches Blanc from France.







Duck Sausage, Duck Confit, and cornbread salad with roasted new potatoes and foraged mushrooms followed this. This was paired with a 1998 DDO Pinot Noir – Lauréne

1998 Lauréne Pinot Noir

and a 2008 Clos des Mouches Rouge from Burgundy.

2010 Clos des Mouches Burgundy








The cheese course included several lovely local cheeses paired with a 1987 Joseph Drouhin Musigny, Grand Cru – a 30 year old Burgundy that was still vibrant and full of fruit.  A real treat to have this lovely wine as part of our meal.

1987 Musigny


Chef Vitaly Paley and his team did a wonderful job both in preparing and presenting the lovely meal.

The Kitchen and Prep area
Nice oven









The dining room

Our table included a group of 5 folks – who are law partners in a firm in the Portland Area. After the initial greetings we got into the evening with wine stories and tales of various experiences. It was a very pleasant evening and if they happen to read this blog I hope they will leave a comment!


The view from the vineyard of Mt Hood was beautiful.

Mt Hood

It was a fantastic evening with wonderful wines, great foods and interesting people.

7-21-17 Car Troubles and Mushrooms

For some reason, the check engine light has been on in the Prius for a few days. While I was convinced it was related to the loose gas gap, even after driving 100 miles or so, it hadn’t gone off so I headed out to the local Toyota shop in McMinnville to have it checked. There is something to be said about small towns – in addition to the lovely waiting room, there was fresh coffee, fresh fruit, pastries and they started to make popcorn before I left. After waiting for an hour, I finally had it confirmed the trouble light was related to the gas cap and they didn’t charge me for the service! Where else could I have gone and gotten this done for free! Not Los Angeles that’s for sure or even Portland I’m guessing.

After getting back to the cottage, I took Janeen to the Curves gym in Newberg and while she was getting all hot and sweaty I had the car washed and picked up a DUTCH Bros. coffee. After returning to our ‘home’ we had a salad lunch and relaxed for a while.

When we first starting visiting in the area there were not a lot of ‘good’ restaurants. That’s changed over the years of course, but one of the ones we went to early on in our travels was the Joel Palmer House.

Joel Palmer House from the parking lot side – the main entrance.

This place was started a while back with the emphasize on mushrooms – meaning most, if not all, of the dishes served had some form of mushroom included in the presentation, sauce or as part of the actual entrée being served. Since we were last here, son Christopher has taken over from his father (who started the place) and is doing a great job of changing up and moving forward. As it was a lovely evening ,we chose to sit outside on the patio – a good choice for the evening.

We brought our own bottle, a 2009 brut L’Ermitage from Roederer Estate in the Anderson Valley of CA. We stopped there on our way north and picked this up to see how it compared with other sparkling wines we have had.   Turns out it held up very well! The restaurant has a 3 and a 5-course pris fixe option and we selected the 3 course with an extra appetizer course.

Carrot Tartare

To start our meal we were presented with a Carrot Tartare – basically raw carrots with some spices. It was interesting, but not something that jumped up and said “great” to either of us.



Foie Gras

As an appetizer we had the Foie gras – presentation and taste were both quite good. From there I had the Wild Mushroom Risotto and Janeen had the Escargot – with lemon-lime emulsion and truffle.  They provided this interesting taste between courses.  


Duck Breast

For our main, Janeen had the Duck Breast –Chinese 5 spice scented with blueberry and foie gras and I had the

Elk Rib Eye






Elk Rib eye with lentils, chili and onion demi-glace. For dessert, Janeen chose Lemon Cake and berries with orange lavender glaze and I enjoyed a selection of Artisan Cheeses.

Cheese Pate – crackers were a bit disappointing.


A Lovely time for sure.

7-20-17 Walter Scott Winers and Williamette Valley Cheese

We started the day at Walter Scott Winery.

Sign at entrance

This small producer in the Eola-Amity Hills area of the Willamette Valley. We were there to taste through their current releases with Andy Steinman. Andy and his wife Sue became major investors in the Winery in 2012. We have know Andy and Sue for some 15 or more years having met them at World of Pinot Noir which is held around Janeen’s birthday (March) on the Central Coast of California and then again at various Pinot Noir events in Oregon. Ken Pahlow and wife Erica Landon started Walter Scott wines in 2009 sharing faculties with others until they could have the size and stability to have their own facility. In 2011 they moved to a leased facility in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Production has grown from a beginning of 650 cases to over 5,000 now. With the help of Andy (now the CFO) and Sue (legal council to the team), Ken who’s background included working with Mark Viossak at St. Innocent Winery working various harvests at Patricia Green Cellars and a position at Evening Lands Vineyard gives him the background to work the wine making magic to produce some wonderful Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.

Tanks and interior processing area

A small production area, barrel storage and work space limits their production at this time but there are plans to expand the exterior portion of the facility to allow equipment storage outside – thus increasing both barrel and case storage inside.


We tasted two of the Pinot Noirs – 2015 Sojourner vineyards and 2015 Freedom Hill plus two chardonnay’s Freedom Hill vineyard and X Novo Vineyard.

Andy explaining the wines

We found the wines pleasant but the Chardonnays more drinkable now while the Pinot Noirs need a few more years to mature.






After tasting the wines we had a delightful lunch in McMinnville and then decided to visit the Willamette Valley Cheese plant close to Amity. This small producer is making artisanal cheeses from local dairy cows.

Some of the cheeses they presented.

While a delightful visit there wasn’t any cheese that really said ‘take me home’ but we enjoyed the exposure to alternative cheese taste just the same.

7-19-17 Stoller Day 1 and Recipe Restaurant

It’s been several days since we updated our blog. During that time we left the Oregon Coast and travelled inland to my sisters place in Portland. This was a scheduled stop for laundry duty, pick up stuff we had shipped to her place and get organized for our stay in the Willamette Valley. During our stay with Marilynn, we visited Cindy and Jon where our son Ryan and his husband Chris joined up for a visit. They (Ryan and Chris) are on a 2-week trip, which included a stop in the SF Bay area before joining us at the Cousins Reunion on the Oregon Coast. They are now in Yellowstone prior to heading to Wyoming to visit a relative of Chris before they head to Salt Lake City and home. We won’t see them for several months and not even sure where we will see them again.

This morning, after repacking the car, we drove to the Willamette Valley and more specifically Stoller Winery. We had arranged, through Melissa Burr, Director of Winemaking, to stay on property at Stoller in one of their cottages. This lovely 1 bedroom place is just right for our needs. It comes with a full kitchen, nice living room and bedroom.

Our Cottage at Stoller
The tasting room and lawn overlooking the vineyards.
Lunch and a Rosé at the Stoller Tasting room

Couldn’t ask for a better place to stay.    Prior to hooking up with Madison (who took us to the cottage) we had a lovely sandwich from Red Hills Market and a Stoller Rosé on the lawn outside the tasting room. A nice spot, lovely view and delicious sandwich.

Now it is off to McMinnville and do some shopping for our meals in the Cottage.


Our Cottage at Stoller
.  At one end is the kitchen and the other a nice seating area.
The seating area.


Oysters on the Half Shell
Entrance to Recipe Part Deux

For dinner, we hooked up with Emily Bachand and went to her husband Paul’s restaurant Recipe, part deux.   This small place in Newburg doesn’t have a real kitchen and all the ‘hot’ stuff comes out of a food truck they have parked behind the place.

All the hot items come out of this food truck behind the restaurant.

Paul’s first restaurant, Recipe, had a fire and this place lets him keep going until the old place is rebuilt. When we arrived, I had brought a lovely bottle of burgundy from 2005 – Savigny Les Beaune from Josephn Drouhin but we started off with a lovely Chablis. This parried well with our Oysters   on the half shell, Lemon Wagyu steak tartare and the Torchon of foie gras. We followed this with other stuff which I didn’t write down and a couple of great desserts.

7-14-17 Wine Tasting

Wine Tasting! Something we actually know something about was the theme for the day on Friday with the Family. With an early start, 8:15 AM, we headed out to our first stop at Domaine Drouhin Oregon. This wine producer uses the theme “French Soul, Oregon Soil” as they are from France with a very long history producing Burgundy wines and came to Oregon in 1987 and set up shop. After 30 years they have produced a number of really interesting wines with the focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (really Pinot is the main thing in my opinion).

They made up a specific tasting menu for our group!

Our group of 43 folks were met at the winery and taken to an outdoor area with lovely shade trees overlooking the vineyard and tasted through 5 different wines.

All in all a wonderful way to start the morning.

Nice selection of great wines!
Dyane did a wonderful presentation prior to the start of our first tasting.
Stoller Vineyard and our second tasting of the day.

After finishing our tasting, we headed over to Stoller Vineyards for another delightful tasting where we all had a sack lunch from the Red Hills Market.


Cindy, Jon, Janeen and James in the Roco Tasting Room

From there off to Roco Winery and our final spot for the day.

Rollin Soles, Wine Maker and Owner with Chris and Ryan at Roco Winery.

After a leisurely drive back to Gleneden Beach a nice dinner and family sing along was part of a birthday celebration for several of our group.

7-13-17 – A family Reunion

The last couple of days have been focused on family. A gathering of cousins and their kids had been in the planning for the better part of a year. This involved joining three branches of the family on my (Neyman) mother’s side. My mother had two brothers – Ted and Bob. Between them they had a total of 8 kids. These “kids” are my cousins and we have gathered together to catch up, share stories and photos and have a good time.   This includes my three siblings – Georgia, Richard and Marilynn and their grown children and grandchildren. During a head count at dinner tonight, we totaled 47 people!

.  .  David, Georgia, Richard and Marilynn
Jason & Little Miss

Several have come from great distances: Kathee N. from New York state, Bill N. and Jason L. from Virginia, Roy N. parked his boat in Tahiti and flew in to join the group.   All in all we are a great bunch of people. It is really neat to get to know some of the second and third generations who have joined with us here on the Coast of Oregon, the oldest being 78, and the youngest, 2.

Roy, Sarah, Lisa and Rob.  Roy came the furthest.