written by Julie Lee | photo by comewecreate
May is Oregon Wine Month, and while there’s no reason to limit celebrating the state’s revered bounty of exceptional wines to a mere thirty-one days, we relish having a specific month in which to commemorate. Here are some recommended Willamette Valley pit stops with phenomenal food to help soak up some of that vino.
Many restaurants in the valley serve dinner only, so our favorite go-to for a fabulous foodie lunch is Valley Commissary. With an upscale ambience and a delightfully unpretentious feel, chef Jesse Kincheloe prepares daily specials like Dungeness crab gnocchi, salads and sandwiches (we strongly suggest the egg salad sandwich) in an open kitchen. Need catering? This is the place.
920 NE 8th St., McMinnville | valleycommissary.com
The Painted Lady
The Painted Lady continues dominating awards, deservedly so, ending 2015 with a AAA Four Diamond ranking for the fifth year in a row. The setting is historic, housed in a renovated Victorian, and the French-inspired food is spectacular. James Beard Award-nominated chef Allen Routt masters magnificent presentation with five- and seven-course prix fixe meals, each arresting entrée presented exquisitely as edible art.
201 S. College St., Newberg | thepaintedladyrestaurant.com
Babica Hen Cafe
Babica Hen Cafe is our pick for a substantial breakfast to start a long day of wine-tasting. Dundee is the second location for the Hen (the original restaurant is in Lake Grove), and the fried chicken waffle with potato mousse will fill your stomach generously before hitting the tasting rooms.
1410 N. Hwy 99W, Dundee | babicahencafe.com
With a little more modern flair and upbeat pizazz than some of the original fine dining establishments in wine country, such as Tina’s or the The Joel Palmer House, La Rambla stirs the pot with some eccentric tapas and paella worth the forty-five minute wait it takes to prepare it. Our favorite is the Mariscos Paella with seafood and piquillo peppers.
238 NE 3rd St., McMinnville | laramblaonthird.com
Let’s face it, sometimes after an extended day of vineyard tours and tastings, nothing sounds more fulfilling than a hearty brisket sandwich and a cold brew in a casual setting. Storrs does barbecue right, smoked to perfection; the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender, the biscuits are made from scratch and the cheesy grits will help curb a next-day hangover.
310 E. 1st St., Newberg | storrssmokehouse.com