The Restaurants at My End of the Universe

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At the end of October, we flew out to Oregon for a week long loop around the state.  This was our first venture that far west and we were determined to see as much as possible.  We flew into Portland late at night and started our journey the next day heading southeast.  We stopped in Madras at the Rio Distinctive Mexican Cuisine Restaurant for lunch.

We started off with some fresh chips & salsa and the Queso Fundido.

This was a scrumptious skillet of bubbly, ooey, gooey cheesy goodness.  It three different cheeses and a little bit of a kick from the chorizo.  For our entrees, I went with the chicken fajitas and Loren got the Puerco Enmolado

The fajitas were tender and tasty.  Loren’s dish had roasted pork with a homemade 7 pepper & mango mole sauce.  He said it was pretty darn good.  Everything was fresh and the service was friendly.  Total bill was $38.

Rio Distinctive Mexican Cuisine
221 SE 5th St
Madras, OR
541-475-0424

Rio Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

From Madras, we headed over to the Painted Hills.  It was absolutely gorgeous.

After walking around the Painted Hills, we stopped in Prineville at Dillon’s Grill for dinner.  It’s a typical local steak & BBQ restaurant.  Loren got a steak and I got some ribs.

Not a lot of fuss goes into presentation.  Service was slow and they forgot to bring out the salad.  The ranch dressing was one of the tastiest things they had.   Loren’s steak and the ribs were just ok but the onion rings had some crispy, crunchy goodness.  Overall, not a place we’d try a second time.  Total bill was $27.

Dillon’s Grill
142 NE 5th St
Prineville, OR
(541) 447-3203

Dillon's Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

 

We spent the night at the Pronghorn Resort, beautiful place, and headed out toward Smith Rock State Park in the morning.  We stopped at the Cozy Cafe in Redmond for breakfast.  I can only imagine that a lot of hikers & rock climbers must stop here because the portions were huge!  I ordered the biscuits & gravy with eggs & hash browns and Loren got a waffle with bacon.

Loren said the waffle & bacon were both good.  The food was literally falling off my plate.  There was enough for 3 people to eat easily.   I made a pretty good dent in the biscuits and gravy.  The biscuits were fresh and the gravy had a nice peppery flavor.  The hash browns had a little too much pepper when combined with the gravy, but that didn’t stop me from digging in.  Good thing we were going hiking all afternoon.  Food was tasty & the service was friendly.  Total bill with orange juice was $27.

Cozy Cafe
323 NW 6th St
Redmond, OR
541-390-7552

Cozy Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We had a great time in Smith Rock State Park.  The scenery was gorgeous.  There were a bunch of rock climbers out there and we hiked up the back of Misery Ridge Trail.  I highly recommend going up the backside & down the front, though it’ll still take the wind out of you hiking up those switchbacks.

We were exhausted by the time we finished hiking and headed over to Kebaba in Bend for dinner.  We were early enough to still get their lunch menu.

We started off with some babaganoush and pita.  It was so good!  Loren got a salmon gyro and I got the lamb kebab.

Everything was fresh and had wonderful flavors going on.  The lamb was tender, though I would have liked another kebab for the price.  Loren said the salmon was good and the lentil soup had some warm spices in it.  We got a fresh baked cookie to go and the total bill was $31.

Kebaba
1004 NW Newport Ave
Bend, OR
541-318-6224

Kebaba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We stayed the night at the Sunriver Resort and I was able to get some really cool Milky Way photos.

The next morning, we stopped at the Harvest Depot for breakfast.  Loren got some scrambled eggs, bacon & hashbrowns and I got the eggs, hashbrowns and french toast.

It was a typical breakfast.  Nothing really stood out.  A little expensive for what it was, but it filled our stomachs for our next hike.  Total bill was $20.

Harvest Depot
51453 US 97
La Pine, OR

Harvest Depot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We drove over to the “Crack in the Ground” and hiked through part of it.

From there, we headed south to Ashland and ate dinner at Pie & Vine.  We got there early, so it wasn’t very busy.  They have a big pizza oven and it was warm and a little smoky inside.  We started off with the fried calamari.

Mmmm.  Tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  It was perfectly cooked and the tomato sauce that went with it was good too.  Loren decided to try the flank steak special & I got the fettuccine alfredo.

The steak was very tender and had olives and broccolini with it.  The fettuccine alfredo had fresh made noodles that were tender and the sauce was creamy and delicious.  We were both stuffed by the time we left.  Total bill was $57.

Pie + Vine
358 East Main St
Ashland, OR

Pie and Vine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We spent the night at the Green Springs Inn & Cabins and then headed into northern California to see the Redwood trees.  We stopped at the Frontier Cafe in Happy Camp for lunch.

 

We both got cheeseburgers, one with bacon & one with mushrooms.  They make a darn good burger here.  It was fresh & hot off the grill and the onion rings & fries were pretty good too.   $25 total.

Frontier Cafe
64118 2nd Ave
Happy Camp, CA

Frontier Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We walked through Jedediah Smith State Park to check out the giant redwood trees.  The humidity in the forest was like being back in Florida.   The trees were huge!

From there we headed up the coast.  We stopped in Brookings for some really good ice cream at Slugs & Stones and then up to Bandon for dinner at Edgewaters.   Our meals came with bread & clam chowder.

The clam chowder was creamy with lots of flavor and good stuff inside.  Loren ordered the rockfish and I tried their chicken marsala.

Loren really liked the fish, but my chicken wasn’t quite tender enough.  The marsala sauce, potatoes & veggies were good though.  Total bill was $45.

Edgewaters Restaurant
480 1st St SW
Bandon, OR
541-347-8500

Edgewaters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We spent the night at the Windemere Inn on the Beach and then drove north up the coast.  We stopped in Florence for lunch at the Bridgewater Fishhouse & Zebra Bar.  This was one of the best meals we had on the trip.  Loren got the salmon sandwich & I got the oyster burger.

Though the service was slow, the food was excellent.  The salmon was very flavorful and the oyster burger had a great crunch and wonderful taste.  We’d definitely eat here again.  Total bill was $29.

Bridgewater Fishhouse & Zebra Bar
1297 Bay St
Florence, OR
541-997-1133

Bridgewater Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
After lunch, we hiked through the Sweet Creek Trail.  One beautiful waterfall after another.  There are at least 11 different waterfalls on the trail.  It was gorgeous!

After the hike, we headed up to Seal Rock in search of sushi and ended up at Yuzen Japanese Restaurant.

It was just ok.  I guess my expectations for sushi on the Oregon coast was a little too high.  The fish was fresh, but the rice was too gummy.  Not some place we’d go back to.  Total bill was $65.

Yuzen Japanese Restaurant
10111 US 101 North
Seal Rock, OR

Yuzen Japanese Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We spent the night at the Overleaf Lodge and could hear the waves crashing on the rocks all night.  The view was amazing.  Breakfast was included, then we spent some time at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

After the aquarium, we drove into Newport and had lunch at Local Ocean Seafoods.  It was unseasonably warm for the end of October and they had the doors wide open.  This was also some of the best seafood we had on the trip.

Loren got the salmon sandwich and I got a crab cake & oysters off of the appetizer menu.  I could have eaten several of those crab cakes & the oysters were perfectly cooked.  It was all so fresh and had a wonderful mix of flavors & textures.  The salmon was delicious too.  Yum!  Would definitely eat here again, though it was a bit pricey.  Total bill was $38.

Local Ocean Seafoods
213 SE Bay Blvd
Newport, OR
541-574-7959

Local Ocean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We headed up the coast to Cannon Beach.  We stayed at the Hallmark Resort right in front of Haystack Rock.  This was the view from our hotel room.

For dinner, we went over to the Wayfarer Restaurant and sat out on the back porch.  We ordered a bunch of appetizers instead of entrees (though you wouldn’t know it based on the prices).

We got the dungeness crab cake, the chanterelle hash, and the clam chowder.  It was all very good, but the crab cakes couldn’t compare to the one I had earlier in the day.  We also got a chocolate mousse dessert to go which was decadent.   Total bill was $57.

Wayfarer Restaurant
1190 Pacific Drive
Cannon Beach, OR

Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The next day we drove up to Astoria and had lunch at Drina Daisy Bosnian Restaurant.  We started off with the meat & cheese platter.

Everything on the plate was tasty.  I’m not usually into cured meats, but these were really good.  Different cheeses and a pepper sauce that wasn’t spicy, but had a lot of flavor.  I can’t remember the names of the dishes we got, but it was a beef stew and a lamb dish, I think.

Everything was fresh and flavorful.  We’d never had Bosnian food before and it felt like comfort food.  Would definitely eat here again.  Total bill was $41.

Drina Daisy Bosnian Restaurant
915 Commercial St
Astoria, OR

Drina Daisy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our final meal of the trip was at Bistro 23 in Portland.  Loren got the smoked meatballs and salad and I got the pasta bolognese.

Both dishes had a lot of flavor packed into them.  The meatballs were tender and the bolognese was yummy.   Everything was fresh and tasty.   Total bill was $27.

Bistro 23
5530 NE 122nd Ave
Portland, OR

Bistro23 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We had a great trip in Oregon.  Weather was great, scenery was amazing, and most of the food was delicious.  I took a ton of photos on our trip , so if you want to see more of them, check out my Flickr album

Star trails over Haystack Rock:

 

 

Food4/5
Service3/5
Atmosphere3/5
Value3/5
3.4/5
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  • Filed under: Oregon
  • We went over to Tampa Bay Brewing Co on Race Track Road in Oldsmar for dinner and it was busy.  We had to wait a while for a table and the noise level in there is rather deafening.  We started off with the Cantonese Calamari because it’s soooo good.

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    There’s a bit of heat going on in this dish, but the calamari is very tender and the flavors are delicious.  There are also a few shrimp tossed in there for good measure.  Loren went for the Chicken Spinach Salad and I decided to try the baby back ribs with a side of loaded mashed potatoes.

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    He said the chicken was tender and flavorful, but there was way more spinach on the plate than he could eat.  The ribs were just ok.  Not quite as tender as I would have liked and the loaded mashed potatoes were inedible.  The cheese on top made a very solid barrier and the potatoes within were too thick.  It needed something saucy to loosen it up.  We wanted something sweet to end the meal, so dug into a deep dish apple crisp.

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    Loren said he’d ordered it before and it had a lot more ice cream, but this one was pretty good.  Just enough sweet & cinnamon, plus tart apples, a crispy crunch, whipped cream and ice cream.  We all but licked the bowl clean. Total bill with a drink was $52.

    Tampa Bay Brewing Co
    13927 Monroe Business Park
    Tampa, FL
    813-247-1422

    Tampa Bay Brewing Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

     

     

    Food3/5
    Service3/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value3/5
    2.9/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar, Tampa
  • We decided to check out Cafe Mezze Mediterranean in Oldsmar for dinner tonight.  It’s at the other end of the parking lot from Flamestone and the food was tasty.  They started us off with some bread & we ordered the fried calamari.

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    The bread was thick and good for dipping in the oil.  Loren thought both the oil and calamari needed a bit more salt.  The calamari was perfectly cooked in a light batter.  It was served with a taratora sauce.  It had sort of a mayonnaise consistency, but not a strong flavor of any kind.  We both ordered kebab combos.  Loren got the adana & kofte and I got the lamb & chicken.

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    They were all very flavorful and delicious.  The meats were tender and it was served with some veggies, a cabbage type slaw and rice that neither of us could stop eating.  Although we were both pretty full, I couldn’t pass up the kanefe.

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    We’d had it at a different restaurant before. It’s crispy shredded phyllo dough with a soft cheese in the middle, pistachios and a honey sauce.  It’s not overly sweet, but has a bunch of different textures to it.  It’s so good.  It does take 15 minutes to cook, so either order it early or let your meal settle first so you have room for it.  So good.  Total bill with a $10 off coupon (check their website for latest coupon) was $40.  We’ll definitely be back again.

    Cafe Mezze Mediterranean
    4013 Tampa Road, Ste 19
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-510-4080

    Cafe Mezze Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value4/5
    4.0/5

    Tampa Bay Brewing Co in Ybor recently opened up a new location in Oldsmar.  The address says Tampa, but it’s on Racetrack Road in what I still consider to be Oldsmar.  This location is also their production brewery and they offer tours.  They’ve got a nice size restaurant and bar plus an outside bar and patio.  We’re not drinkers, but we’ll definitely be back for the food.

    We started off with the Cantonese Calamari.

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    This is one of those dishes that you can’t stop eating.  It was absolutely delicious.  The calamari & shrimp were perfectly flash fried and it was covered in this sweet chili sauce that wasn’t too spicy.  Loren thought it would have been better if the sauce had been on the side because it did make the breading on the calamari a bit soggy, but I like it the way it was.

    For his entree, he went with the dish that was featured on Diners, Drivers, and Dives, the Bomb.

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    It’s a 1/2 pound bacon cheeseburger with onion straws wrapped in pizza dough instead of a bun.  He thought it was pretty tasty.  He also got the red beans & rice for his side dish and that was tasty.  It had a wonderful smokey flavor to it.  I think this is the only side dish he’ll ever order here because it was so good.  I went for the Butcher burger.

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    It had grilled onions, wild mushrooms and provolone and the burger was a mixture of short rib, chuck, and brisket.  My only complaint was that they cooked it past medium which made it a bit on the dry side.  Their homemade steak sauce saved the day.  It was sweet and tangy.  I’d buy a bottle of that in a minute.  So good.  Total bill with a drink was $43 and we’ll definitely be back again.

    As a side note, I also visited again later in the week for a work function.  We started with the chips & salsa & queso and pretzels.  I couldn’t stop eating the chips and queso.  The chips were thin and crispy and hot and fresh.  The pretzel was also really fresh and tasty.  Everyone seemed to enjoy their lunch.  I had the Moosekiller meatloaf.  It was a huge serving with mashed potatoes and onion straws with a mushroom gravy.  I’d order it again without hesitation.

    Tampa Bay Brewing Co
    13927 Monroe Business Park
    Tampa, FL
    813-247-1422

    Tampa Bay Brewing Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere3/5
    Value3/5
    3.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: American, Oldsmar, Tampa
  • Asian Pearl


    Tonight we went over to the Asian Pearl in Clearwater for dinner.  This was our first visit and definitely not our last.  The food was fresh and tasty from start to finish.  We started off with the wonton soup for two.

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    It comes with 4 dumplings, but we’d already devoured two of them before I took the photo.  The broth was light with a nice flavor.  Perfect for a rainy Sunday night.  The dumplings were homemade and filled with pork and shrimp.  Next up was the salt and pepper calamari.

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    We both love calamari and order it in almost every restaurant we go to and this version was delicious. We’ve had salt & pepper calamari at other Chinese restaurants, but this one had the herbs and peppers in a tangy vinegar based sauce.  It added a different dimension to the dish because not only did you get the saltiness, you also got a little sour that worked really well.  Loren ordered the Kung Pao Chicken for his entree.

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    It came with green beans, mushrooms and onions in a spicy sauce.  He really enjoyed it and had leftovers for the next day.  I went for the orange chicken.

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    It was served with baby bok choy.  The chicken was tender on the inside and crunchy on the outside with a sweet orange glaze.  Very tasty.  White rice was also included with both dishes and I also had leftovers.  We decided to try the coconut milk balls as a dessert.

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    These were interesting.  I actually thought they were going to be smaller and was surprised at how big they were.  We ended up taking half of them home.  It’s a crispy exterior surrounding a creamy custard inside.  They’re actually on the appetizer menu, but they work really well as a dessert.  For the ones I brought home, I dipped them in some melted chocolate and they were divine. Service was great, they kept drinks filled and plates cleared.  Total bill with a drink was $49 and we’ll be back again.

    Asian Pearl
    2551 Drew St #104
    Clearwater, FL
    727-797-1888

    Click to add a blog post for Asian Pearl on Zomato

    Food5/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value4/5
    4.4/5