Rosmarino Osteria Italiana, Newberg
Probably our favorite restaurant in the valley (other visits), if they had been open on Wednesday we would have gone for our anniversary. Alas, this year they were only open Thursday-Sunday, so we made a reservation for Sunday night – which was quite necessary, as they were turning groups away the entire time we were eating dinner!
I went in fully expecting to order the amazing blue cheese and walnut gnocchi, to the point where I didn’t even look at the menu. However, our server talked up a wild boar ragu gnocchi that was on special, and I ultimately ordered that instead. I was not disappointed… Leandra decided on the Prosciutto and Rucola pizza, which was delicious as expected. And as a bonus, I could use her crusts to get every last speck of the ragu out of my bowl.
La Rambla Restaurant, McMinnville
Our first experience with a restaurant requiring proof of vaccination to dine inside – after showing the digital photos we keep on our phones, we were seated and perused the menu. Our fried Dave had joined us for this evening, and since La Rambla has a sharing plates theme, we ordered multiple plates to try out. Altogether we tried the bacon dates, coffee dusted flat iron steak, piquillo peppers, brussels sprouts, and the Spanish tortilla.
Joel Palmer House, Dayton
There are several fine dining restaurants in the valley, and after much research, we decided on the Joel Palmer House for our 20th anniversary celebratory dinner. Well-known for their ‘mushroom madness’ 5-course tasting menu, every plate has some mushroom influence. Most of our evening was quite good, but there were several missteps.
For wine we ordered the Varnum Pinot Noir 2016, which we were pleased to see had a reasonable markup.
I started with the mushroom risotto, and Leandra with the mushroom tart, both were excellent. For course two I had the mixed green salad with candy cap mushrooms and pecans (a nice combo) and Leandra the beef tartare. With course three I ordered the beef stroganoff, which surprised me with medium rare beef. Leandra’s sturgeon was a bit tough, to the point where she had to ask for a knife (they had not included one for this course). For course four I ordered the mushroom wellington, featuring portobello mushrooms in a puff pastry, which was quite flavorful. Leandra was a bit disappointed in her under seasoned elk, which in retrospect we believe may have been missing the promised tahini. Finally, our dessert courses were nice, with a deconstructed pavlova for me and a chocolate mushroom forest theme for Leandra.
Service-wise, we were surprised that none of the various servers ever re-filled our wine, and for most courses they asked who had ordered what (at our table for two). Both of these quibbles were unexpected at a restaurant of this caliber and price point.