March 16, 2022

New Panda restaurant in Oregon City, Hal Brown

 I don't post political stories on this blog which is by and large a photo diary about my excursions around northwestern Oregon featuring lots of scenic photos and stories about unusual restaurants. For my political views: 1600 of them are here on Daily Kos).

Previous blog stories here.

March 16, 2022

Lunch at New Panda (their website) in Estacada and checking out the boutiques and craft and gift stores there.

This came with a cup of soup and sticky rice. I had the hot and sour soup which was very tasty. The entree portion was so large I could only eat half.

Here's a photo of one of the gift and craft shops:
Above The Spiral Galley:

From Wikipedia:

Estacada is a city in Clackamas CountyOregon, United States, about 30 miles southeast of Portland. The 2020 population was estimated to be 3,700. 

The last time I was in Estacada was a few months ago just to see if there was an appealing restaurant to eat in. Driving through the town I didn't see any place to eat besides a pizza place and a couple of other uninteresting places. Since then someone told me there were several good places to eat and that it was a town with lots of boutiques and they suggested I check it out again. This time I looked on YELP and found New Panda, a Chinese restaurant with good reviews. I decided to head out there again. Although only 23 actual miles from home it is a 50 minute drive because the last half is on a winding road. It is a scenic ride along the Clackamas River. 

The food at the New Panda was excellent and the servings were huge. The decor was typical for a Chinese restaurant.

If you have no other way to judge a restaurant it might be that it is the lunch choice for the town's fire fighters. Three of them were eating there.

Walking through the town you'll find several shops with lots of gifts including arts and crafts items. There's also an unusual store which sells DVDs and discounted groceries. I talked to the owner who bragged that he had the lowest grocery prices in town and planned to increase the shelf space, currently 50%, to include more grocery items. 

This is the store's competition.

Here's a decrepit motel on a side street. Note the anti-Biden "Let's Go Brandon" sign in the window.

While rural areas around Portland may have numerous pro-Trump residents willing to display their support for the former president (there were a few houses with pro-Trump flags) the residents of this house were obviously not among them.

Politics & Voting in Estacada, Oregon (Link)

The Political Climate in Estacada, OR is Leaning liberal.

Clackamas County, OR is Somewhat liberal. In Clackamas County, OR 54.0% of the people voted Democrat in the last presidential election, 42.9% voted for the Republican Party, and the remaining 3.2% voted Independent.

In the last Presidential election, Clackamas county (borders on the city of Portland and is where I live) remained strongly Democratic, 54.0% to 42.9%. 
Clackamas county voted Democratic in the four most recent Presidential elections, after 2000 and 2004 went Republican

Just about every building with the space to have a mural has them. Here are a few (click to enlarge):

This restaurant isn't in the downtown section. It is across the busy street and located by the river. This is from their website.

The Cazadero Steakhouse, formerly The Cazadero Inn, is an icon for many who live or travel through Estacada. Located on the beautiful Clackamas River, the Cazadero offers an arrary of 5 star dishes, everything from berry pancakes to house smoked prime rib. We take special care to pick high quality products and prepare our meals from scratch when ordered. Menu here.

A few more photos:

Mar. 15, 2022
Just a trip to see Willamette Falls. It was still there. If we have the great earthquake, who knows what will happen to it if a huge tsunami roars up the river. Meanwhile I hope to live long enough to visit the development that is just in the process of getting started which will replace the old paper mills you see in these photos.

It's a bit jarring to be reminded that not everyone living around here is a liberal. This is a car in the Costco parking lot.

March 11, 2022

A picnic along the Willamette and the Tualatin River where the later joins the former seeing a rare for these parts Muscovy duck (read info here). Considered wary of humans this duck was fearless as it came within a few feet of me so I could take photos.

Willamette Park in West Linn is located where the Tualatin River joins the Willamette River.

It is a great place for little kids to play with a playground and two water features. It is a terrific place for a picnic.

 It has at least three bathroom facilities, a baseball diamond, volley ball, and other sports including what appears to be two polls for climbing competition.

Here are more photos from today's picnic. Click images to enlarge.

Mar. 9, 2022

The Stone Cliff Inn offers a great hamburger and a fantastic view from high above the Clackamas River. It is in a cathedral ceiling log cabin with many tables having a river view and a two large terraces for outside river view dining. All this being said, what other restaurant built on the side of a cliff also offers the opportunity to patrons, with proper authorization from the Carver Climbing Club, to climb the rocks in the back of their parking lot?

Here are the photos from lunch today.

From the website:


A name descriptive of the large boulders and basalt cliff located at the quarry (site of the current restaurant).

Although there were other activities in Stone between 1850 and 1900, quarry rock was the main focus of commercial activity. This attention brought settlers and other commercial activity after the turn of the century (see photos on walls of the Fish Hatchery, Post Office, Bank, Creamery, Railroad, Cannery, and of course General Store/Saloon, now the Rock Garden Tavern located directly below the restaurant).

Between 1900 and 1950 the town of Stone was primarily a logging community. There were three sawmills in the area: the Mumpower Sawmill below the bridge, the Pratt Sawmill at the north end of town, and the Harrington Sawmill near the Historical Baker Log Cabin.

Several local families were part of the logging lore so closely tied to the identity of Carver (named for Stephen Carver in 1917, who built a railroad line into Carver to haul logs and passengers). Those families included, for example, the Charriere, Rosenbaum and Alford families. Most of the original settlers still have descendants in the area who have stayed despite the fact that the logging activity has since moved South or East toward Estacada and Molalla.

This restaurant was built by Mike Rosenbaum, son of local logger Lloyd Rosenbaum, to preserve some of Carver's rich history. The building incorporates the two historical themes from Carver from 1850 to 1950: quarry rock and logging. The rock wall bordering the entire restaurant driveway is from the quarry. Likewise, the foundation of the Stone Cliff Inn is basalt rock remnants from the original quarry. The logs on top of the basalt are all Douglas Fir, characteristic of those logs harvested in the Carver area between 1900 and 1950.

In no particular order, click images to enlarge.

Mar. 8, 2022

There was no inside seating at Tony's Fish Market... despite what their website said:
We now offer a menu of appetizers and lunch items like sandwiches and bagels, chowders and fish baskets. Our kitchen is a popular lunch location and you can dine-in (my bold), on our patio, or take your order to go. Also you can call in your order if you’d like to take it on the go. For more cafe’ kitchen information check the menu page. We also offer beer, wine, ciders and non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy with your order.
 Therefore expecting to eat inside it was a choice between sitting in the car or eating outside on a cool rainy day. Eating in the car wasn't practical so sitting at one of two outside picnic tables under a canopy was not comfortable. 

The cod fish tacos were decent, the clam chowder not what you'd expect at a seafood store as the clams were rubbery, the tiny shrimp salad and sauce was very good, the sweet potato fries were also good.

Mar. 3, 2022

Vancouver, Washington has some excellent restaurants with spectacular waterfront views on the Columbia River. Here are some photos from today:

The Bridgeside (below) isn't a particularly unique restaurant but is located in the sweet spot for a break as it is halfway along the route between Vancouver, Washington and where I live if you take the drive on Washington State Route 14 and cross the river to go back on US Rt. 84 in Oregon.  The Bridgeside has a wide variety of pies and sweets like brownies and fudge. If you have room left after a lunch in Vancouver it is a good place to stop to coffee and desert before you head home.

It is just off the Bridge of Gods exit before the entrance to I-84 which is the way to return to Portland via expressway where cars move along at about 75mph rather than the winding slow going state highway in Washington. 
There are views of the Columbia River from the long row of booths by the windows. The inside is decorated with a Native American theme.

Mar. 2, 2022

An outside picnic in the rain

Link to website here
To say that this Oregon City food court is off the beaten track is a fair way to put it since most of restaurants I've eaten at are on Main Street (with the exception of Coasters Crossing which is actually in an old train station which is an active Amtrak stop, The Highland Stillhouse across from the Willamette Falls lookout, and The Hive Social which is on the top of the hill). It would be more accurate to say that Corner 14 (which is on the corner of 14th Street and Washington St.) is under the tracks since you have to drive the beneath railroad bridge to get to it from the road most people travel to get to Oregon City from where I live.

On a 50 degree rainy day it was comfortable eating outside because of the gas stoves on every table and the fire pit shown below.

My lunch from Shawarma Express
It didn't look quite like it did in the photo:
Now on my list of places to eat is Tony's which is across the street from the food carts. Here's their lunch menu.

March 1, 2022

After a couple of days of heavy rain I thought it would be a good trip to stop by the overlook at Willamette Falls.  Even though there was a steady rain, heavy at times, two other people stopped to take photos. 

I took some photos from the usual viewing spot but then went a bit further for another new view. I pulled to the side where there was enough room to park, climbed a low barricade, and took some more photos. I was surprised that it was so easy to get there. I would have expected a high fence because there was a sheer drop-off to a certain death for anyone who got too close and slipped over the edge.

Click images to enlarge to read the following:
Once the project is complete visitors will be able to get so close to the falls that they will hear the roar of the water and feel the spray in the air.

The falls after a period of heavy rain:

Up the road about a quarter mile if you step over the low barricade to the grass strip on the other side you can see this plaque on a large boulder. You'd never know it was there unless you made the effort to see it.

This is attached to the side of the boulder:
Copied from the plaque: 
"600 Yards South of this point explosion of Steamer Gazelle, April 16, 1854. Loss of twenty four lives. Marked May 13, 1933 by Multonomah Chapter D.A.R."
Copied from website: (visit link
The following authentic information is from the pen of C. P. Culver, Esq. 
Oregon City, Saturday noon,
April 8, 1854…….
Mr. GROVER; one of the most heart rending calamities that has, perhaps, ever occurred on the coast of the Pacific, happened at Canemah, this morning, at about 7 o’clock, A. M. The new steamer Gazelle. Belonging to the “Willamette Falls Canal, Milling, and Transportation Company, while lying alongside the wharf boat, at Canemah, receiving freight, and but a few minutes before her intended departure for Corvallis, was blown almost completely into atoms, by the explosion of her boilers. Not a vestige of them remains on board the hull, save the head of one of them. As far as is known, twenty lives have been lost, and about thirty persons injured, some of them severely, others but slightly. Among the killed is Mr. David Page, the Superintendent of the Company, and recently from San Francisco. Gloom and despondency rest over our community. I have only time to send you a list of the killed and wounded, as at present ascertained: - from Waymarking

More photos from the other side of the barricade:

Climb the low barrier and about 15 feet across the grass is the precipice which you get too close to at your own peril lest you slip and fall some 100 feet.

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