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
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Oregon
  • So Slow


    We went over to Jack Willie’s in Oldsmar for lunch today with a friend.  We haven’t eaten there in a while because the food had been hit or miss the last couple of times we went.  There was a pretty good crowd on the patio and around the bar, but it didn’t seem busy enough for how slow the service was.

    Between the three of us, we ordered the Oyster Po Boy, the grouper sandwich and the Fish & Chips .

    The food took way too long to come out of the kitchen.  I don’t think I could have eaten the Oyster Po Boy as a sandwich unless I wanted to wear half of it.  The oysters were fried nicely though.  The grouper portion seemed a little small, but it was blackened ok.  Besides the service, the other issue I had is that they allow smoking on the patio which completely ruins a meal for me.  Total bill with two drinks was $44.

    Jack Willie’s Tiki Bar and Grill
    1013 St Petersburg Dr
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-854-1972

    Jack Willie's Bar, Grill, and Tiki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food2/5
    Service1/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value2/5
    1.7/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Oldsmar, Seafood
  • We went over to Dunedin tonight and had dinner at Hog Island Fish Camp.  It was a little too warm to eat outside, but I wish they could do something to damper the noise inside.  It’s hard to have a conversation when the dining room is full.  It’s the same thing I said last time we were here.  We started off with the crab cake appetizer.

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    The crab cake had a nice crunch on the outside and it was filled with crab.  One of the better crab cakes we’ve had around here.  Loren went for the mixed grill for dinner.

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    He said the fish was blackened nicely and the kebab was cooked well.  The rice dish had a lot of fresh corn in it.  I went for the half portion of the shrimp & grits.

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    The half portion was a bit too small for me for dinner.  It had shrimp and grouper cheeks over creamy grits.  The tomato gravy was ok.  It had a familiar flavor to it, but I couldn’t place it.  For dessert, we couldn’t pass up the orange cake.

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    It tasted just like a creamsicle.  The cake was moist and the orange flavor was prevalent throughout the entire thing, in the cake, the filling, and the frosting.  We licked the plate clean.  Total bill with a drink was $55.

    Hog Island Fish Camp
    900 Broadway
    Dunedin, FL
    727-733-1179

    Hog Island Fish Camp Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

     

    Food4/5
    Service4/5
    Atmosphere2/5
    Value3/5
    3.6/5

    We decided to try Casa Cosenza in Oldsmar for dinner tonight.  It was one of those experiences where if you didn’t laugh, you’d have to cry.  Everything from the food to the service was a joke.  When we arrived there was only one other table of guests and yet we were directed to either a small table in the corner behind them or another small table with the sun shining in.  Luckily, the sun was setting otherwise it would have been impossible to sit there.  Seriously folks, invest in some window treatments.

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    Our waitress was rather clueless.  It was like she didn’t retain anything you said or that she had already said from one moment to the next.  She brought out a salami taster and some bread.

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    Loren thought it was ok.  It had salami, cheese, bread, and a basil leaf plus a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.  I found it to be too salty and the bread it was on was on the stale side.  As for the bread basket, the bread sticks were inedible.  Solid as a rock.  The bread itself was thick and cold.  I just believe if you’re going to tout that you make homemade bread, that it should be served warm.  Our waitress asked twice if we wanted olive oil & balsamic vinegar to go with it.  Loren said just a little bit of garlic would have made it a better dipping sauce.

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    When the waitress came back to take our order, her cell phone rang.  Granted she didn’t pick it up, but why would you have it on you when you’re working??  We ordered the caprese calda su fogliedi zucchine fritte as an appetizer.  The menu described it as mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes in puff pastry with fried zucchini.

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    We both laughed when it came to the table.  The “puff” pastry was hard as a rock.  There was no semblance of puff there at all.  There were 4 tiny pieces of grilled zucchini on the side and this thing cost $12.  The waitress came back and asked us how it was and I told her it was rock hard.  She seemed perplexed at that point.  I think we both knew this was not going to go well.

    For his entree, Loren ordered the fish of the day which was black grouper.  It was cooked in a paper bag with tomatoes, capers, and olives.  When he went to order it, she asked if he wanted roasted potatoes or mashed which were actually a puree.  He said the mashed, but as you can see from the photo, it was served with both.

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    He actually liked the fish.  He said it was cooked well and the olives and capers added a nice flavor.  The puree of potato had a really odd texture.  It was overmixed and gluey.   I decided to try the lasagne.

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    I don’t know where to begin.  When I think of lasagne, I think layers.  You know, sheets of pasta with cheese and meat sauce.  This was a plate of meat sauce with a few sparse pieces of pasta that pretty much dissolved in your mouth.  I had no words.  And the best part?  It tasted like Chef Boyardee.  I kid you not.  It was a very familiar flavor from childhood and Loren tasted it and thought the same thing.  The waitress came by and asked how it was and I told her it was awful.  It was a plate of meat sauce.  She asked if I wanted some pasta instead.  I said sure and she said she’d take the lasagne off the bill.  Again, call me crazy, but if a customer sends back a dish uneaten and then you offer to bring out something else, would you expect to be charged for the second dish?

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    I watched Loren finish his meal since it seems to take a really long time to put together a plate of pasta.  I’m an old school Italian and I like tomato sauce that’s been cooked for a long time to remove the acidity of the tomatoes.  This just had that raw tomato taste and the pasta wasn’t cooked enough.  There’s al dente and then there’s this. There were way too many pieces stuck together and barely cooked at all.  And yes, I left most of it uneaten and we got charged for it.

    Here’s the kicker.  After complaining about the appetizer, sending my entree back, and leaving the majority of its replacement on the plate, the waitress came up to the table and asked if everything was good.  Seriously??!  I was speechless.  Needless to say, this was a wasted $58 and we will never be back again.

    Casa Cosenza
    3705 Tampa Rd, Ste 6
    Oldsmar, FL
    813-925-9765

    Casa Cosenza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

    Food1/5
    Service1/5
    Atmosphere1/5
    Value1/5
    1.0/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Italian, Oldsmar
  • So Much Food


    We ventured over to Saki Endless Sushi in Clearwater for dinner tonight.  It’s located on Gulf to Bay & Hwy 19 behind the shopping center.  I didn’t even realize there was a building back there.  It’s a nice looking little restaurant and for $17.99 you can order endless appetizers, soup, salad, sushi, hibachi, and dessert.  We had to roll ourselves out of there.   You order as much or as little at a time, pacing yourself so everything doesn’t come out all at once.  There is an additional charge for any remaining sushi, but we didn’t have any problem finishing off what we ordered.

    For the first round, we got the Green Sarabay, Mexican, and Rainbow roll

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    The Green Sarabay had Spicy tuna crunch & tamago inside with salmon and avocado on top.  I had to look up what tamago was.  It’s egg. Loren said the tuna had a good spice level to it.  I love anything covered in eel sauce and the Mexican roll and Rainbow roll were both fresh & tasty.   Next round, we got the avocado salad which is basically their ginger salad with avocado on top, an order of salt & pepper calamari, salmon sashimi, flying fish roe, an Alaskan roll, and a Saki roll.

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    The salt & pepper calamari had a light batter and the salty taste we were looking for as well as a couple of deadly hot peppers on the plate that we both avoided.  The Alaskan roll was salmon, cucumber & avocado and the Saki roll had shrimp tempura, cucumber, krab meat, mayo topped with avocado, shrimp, tobiko and eel sauce.  All of it was tasty and as if that wasn’t enough, Loren decided to try the chicken hibachi, a spicy salmon roll, and I needed some gyoza.

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    The chicken in the hibachi dish was very tender.  It also had mushrooms, onions, zucchini and broccoli.  Loren commented that everything was cooked evenly unlike some of the hibachi restaurants we’ve been to where some veggies are overcooked and some undercooked.  This was all perfectly done.  You can also order rice & noodles to go along with it, but there was no way he’d have been able to eat it all.  He had eaten half of the spicy salmon roll before I remembered to take a photo.  The dumplings were very good.  There was some hot pepper in the dipping sauce that caught me by surprise, but otherwise, they were perfectly cooked.  Even though we were both stuffed at this point, we couldn’t leave without dessert.

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    There’s nothing quite like fresh, hot, sweet doughnuts.  Yum!  I think what impressed us the most was that everything was made & cooked to order.  It was all hot and fresh when it got to the table.  Our waitress was very attentive, filling drinks and as soon as we started to glance at the menu again, she’d be over to see what else we wanted to order.  And here’s the kicker, with a drink, the total was $40.  Had we ordered it all separately, it would have been over $75.  We’ll definitely be back again.

    Saki Endless Sushi
    2643 Gulf to Bay Blvd
    Clearwater, FL
    727-726-3937

    Click to add a blog post for Saki Endless Sushi & Hibachi Eatery on Zomato

    Food4/5
    Service5/5
    Atmosphere4/5
    Value5/5
    4.5/5
  • 0 Comments
  • Filed under: Clearwater, Sushi