We've heard so many great things about our sister wine city up north in Oregon. For one thing, they grow a bounty of the pinot noir grape; which is one of my favorite varietals. I also had a chance to sample quite a few of these Oregon wines at Pinot Days in LA, so that really got me hyped up to make this trip up.
I planned the trip for us to go to Portland. It was in honor of Chris for her hen's party, so I took the reigns to find some good activities wine related.
One special activity that I wanted to find for Chris was a fine dining experience in the Willamette Valley. I scoured the internet and read reviews for hours on end to get to the star of this blog, The Painted Lady restaurant.
This restaurant is dubbed the "French Laundry of the Willamette Valley." I do not remember where I ready this, but I was open to trying it out. The owners are a husband and wife team with roots to Napa, so it was plausible that they were bringing some of their old Napa experience with them up north.
I was mostly intrigued by the quaint, small town feel from the photos on the website. The building was a restored home, where the entry is the house's original front door. How cozy to feel like you're coming over to Allen Routt and Jessica Bagley's house for dinner one night.
I made reservations a couple months in advance to ensure a seating on a prime Saturday night. The restaurant is an intimate setting with seating for maybe two dozen people in the downstairs dining room.
From the moment we walked into the restaurant, I knew we were in for a treat. The space itself gave such a warm feeling of coming over to a friend's house. We were greeted very kindly at the door, and then escorted to our table overlooking the fireplace.
We purused the wine list and menu while chatting. The menu was quite impressive in both its use of local ingredients, as well as, the variety and unique preparations; showcasing the creativity the Chef. Our server explained both the non-meat and meat pre-fixe menus to us, and gave us freedom to mix and match to create a custom tasting.
Since there were four of us at dinner, we pretty much ordered everything on the menu in some combination! In addition, a couple of us decided to add the wine pairing just to round out the meal. After that was all handled, we prepared to feast.
The first course was the amuse bouche. That first bite of potato croquette set the tone of the night. It was crunchy, yet fluffy goodness on the inside. The tomato soup was surprisingly refreshing, and the duck on the spoon delighted the mouth.
For the next 4 1/2 hours after the amuse bouche, the four of us happily chatted, drank and ate to our hearts content. Course after course we were wowed with the feast for the eyes, and then of course, the feast for the stomach. I've never so enjoyed sitting for that many hours for a meal. What a treat.
I'll have to say that the highlights of the evening for me were the red meat course, and my miso custard dungeoness crab (chawan mushi, not pictured). Both dishes were very memorable because of its delicate preparation and the taste was rich without being overpowering. The meat was cooked perfectly.
I'm going to let the photos speak for themselves. The food was excellent and I am impressed by the Painted Lady in Newberg, Oregon.
You should go see for yourself the Painted Lady restaurant in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.
201 S College Road