My Daily Kos political stories are here. In November I decided to make this a blog with personal stories illustrated with my photos from my various trips discovering scenic and interesting areas around the Portland, Oregon suburb where I live. I am always on the lookout for unique restaurants frequented mostly by local residents like the Scream'n Chicken (in Gaston) and Carlton Corners in Carlton. Recently I found The Hitch'n Post in Molalla. (Go to November to see these restaurants and the towns where they are located).
Click to enlarge map of my trips to the places documented in this mostly pictorial blog:
Dec. 28, 2021
Today I went to the The Tollgate Inn, in Sandy which is a town I've never visited. You can see Sandy on the map between Clackamas and Mt. Hood Village on the right.
I ordered the large size Yankee pot roast, with mashed potatoes and broccoli. It couldn't have been better but I could only finish half the roast.
This is a large family restaurant with two big dining areas, a smaller one with booths, and a separate saloon. The interior is decorated with interesting period items which you can see in some of the photos below.
Below: I didn't see the crow on the sign until I got home.
Above: On the way home from the moving car I took this without seeing what appears to be the shadow of two men, the hands of one on the left and the entire shadow of another, working on an electrical connection.
This is what it looked like yesterday at 11:00 AM after an overnight snow of between 1-3 inches melted around where I live.
Dec. 27, 2021
Bob's Red Mill, Milwaukie, Oregon
Bob's Red Mill (website) is a local institution. I'd never been there but it was on my list for a lunch when I don't venture far afield into the countryside. It is nearby, about a 10 minute drive.
I went there to buy their amazing popping corn since the big box grocery store I shop at was out of it. When I eat the big lunches featured in this blog I often just have air popped popcorn for dinner. Popcorn, you say, is this good for you? Well, I can tell you that "popcorn is one of the world’s healthiest and most popular snack foods. It is loaded with important nutrients and offers a variety of health benefits." This isn't my opinion. It comes from a registered dietician. She called it a low calorie snack but considering that I add a half a bar of melted butter I suppose we can ignore that, but I mean who eats dry popcorn?
As you can see from the photos (click to enlarge) Bob's has a large balcony dining area and other dining area on the main flour. There is also an outside area.
Bob's sells items like flour, granola, bread, cookies, and grains for consumers in numerous area grocery stores. Some items are sold in commercial quantities. For the full selection, which is enormous as you can see in the photos, you have to go to the store.
Dec. 26, 2021
I miss the snow from when I lived in Massachusetts. In fact before moving here my entire life was spent is states, New York, Michigan, and Massachusetts, where nobody even considered a snow storm to be significant unless there was a foot on the ground and 10 foot high drifts across the roads in the countryside.
This morning at 4:00 AM even though I was hoping for deeper snow, I was happy to see at least a dusting of snow outside my window and some light wet snow falling. (Click images to enlarge):
We could have almost 3" through Monday:
I'm hoping to drive into the countryside for lunch today because even with just a little snow on the trees it will be something I've never seen since moving here.
Here are some photos from 2006 in at home in Massachusetts:
In Massachusetts we had a cranberry farm so I had two front end loaders and a truck with a snow plow so always plowed our long driveway and our neighbor's driveway (and also end of our street if the city hadn't done it yet). When we sold the bogs and our equipment I got tired of doing it myself with a snowblower and had it plowed out by the man in the photo above.
The snow stopped and the roads seemed dry and the sun was breaking through the clouds so I decided to drive to Aurora and eat lunch at an old standby, The Old Colony Pub. Here are the photos.
First, driving there on Oregon's (see Wiki article) Route 99:
There were hardly any cars on Route 99 along the Willamette River both going and returning. I've posted photos of The Old Colony Pub and Aurora before. Here are today's with wet snow on the ground.
By the time I left the sky had mostly cleared and the snow had stopped.
Dec. 25, 2021
Merry Christmas from Mac, Duff, and I.
Dec. 23, 2021 (Click images to enlarge)
The Ovation Bistro and Bar in Milwaukie, Oregon
How did I end up eating in a small wonderful French restaurant a few minutes from home? After all, regular readers of this blog know how far afield I travel to find unusual restaurants. Today I was on the road at 6:30 AM on unfamiliar winding roads in a light rain in the pitch dark taking my car for service at a Lexus dealership some distance away. They gave me a loaner so I drove home in a brand new car. (I can see why they are so happy to offer to loan cars as all the new features may tempt some people to trade in their old car, a 2013 in my case.) My car wasn't finished until 1:30 so on the way home I was pretty hungry and decided to go to Ovation in the town of Milwaukie. I'd eaten there before and found the food and service was excellent. I ordered a portobello burger and my friend ordered their Ovation burger on lettuce. Both were excellent.
In my travels unto rural areas I've found myself in very conservative Trump country. There's no mistaking that this restaurant is welcoming and inclusive for anybody considering the Pride flag next to the French flag being flown outside:
What all the different LGBTQ+ flags actually mean
Politics & Voting in Milwaukie, Oregon
The Political Climate in Milwaukie, OR is Leaning liberal.
Clackamas County, OR (where I live) 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 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
Our personable waiter, Romano, was dressed for the season:
Painted Hills grass fed organic beef, thick slices of brie cheese, caramelized onions, Ovation’s signature burger sauce.
Dec. 21, 2021
You should be able to click most of the photos to enlarge them.
What an amazing find this was! It is in the town of Hubbard (pop about 3000) south of Aurora on Route 99 (aka Pacific Highway).
The Burger Hut Cafe had excellent Yelp reviews so I decided to check it out. It did not disappoint.
Unassuming from the outside the inside was decorated with numerous Betty Boop memorabilia, photos of 1957 Chevy's, other items provoking nostalgia in those like me who remember the fifties very well. There was a working vintage juke box with 50's hits which the waitresses kept playing.
The 8 oz. New York strip steak at $13.25 came with soup or salad and a choice of several kinds of potatoes or onion rings. I had the vegetable soup which came in a large bowl and was delicious. But it was the steak that surprised. It was far better than the same steak meals costing $29 at other restaurants. It was juicy, tender, and flavorful without any grizzle. You didn't even need a sharp steak knife to cut it.
The restaurant staff was very friendly. I was told that before the pandemic the restaurant had become so popular with out-of-towners that there was often a line waiting to be seated. Today only a few tables were occupied.
As I was leaving I met an interesting couple who had also just finished eating. They were from the nearby hamlet of Mulino. We got to talking about 1950's cars and the man said he grew up in L.A. and he and his friends didn't have cars. Instead he told me they stole them and took them for joy rides leaving them a few blocks from where they took them. He said he'd estimate that they stolen between 60-70 cars. I asked what the fastest he ever drove was and he said 180 mph. I told him I'd never driven more than 140 mph and even then the scenery was going by so quickly it was just a blur. The woman said that she had a 1964 GTO that was so fast she once got stopped by a cop for speeding who didn't give her a ticket saying he just wanted to see what was under the hood of her car.
Dec. 20, 2021
Don't bury your burger
If you follow this blog you know I am always on a quest to find the best burgers around. I have found some delicious burgers in out of the way independent restaurants (reported on in pictorial stories for your culinary edification particularly if you live in the Portland area). I usually order burgers topped with embellishments like chili, mushrooms, and onions. I've even had burgers made with a mixture of beef, venison, elk, and wild boar. Sometimes they are so loaded one can't even see the burger itself (see photo of completely buried burger from Dean's). Last night instead of broiling a Fred Myers pub burger from their meat counter and making a cheeseburger (like I did the other night) I made a simple burger with Montreal steak seasoning rubbed in on the outsides.
Call it a naked or unadulterated hamburger. There's a good case to be made that the only fair way to rate a burger is to have it unembellished, even eschewing adding condiments. This simple burger was delectable.
Dec. 17, 2021
Watch Willamette Falls video here:Read about the Willamette Falls Legacy Project here
Dec. 14, 2021 Click to enlarge photos.
I was going to Clackamas Town Center which is located in Happy Valley (a real nearby city) to look at hiking shoes at REI and decided to see what the best independent restaurants there were. I found Dean's Home Style Cafe on Yelp. It is in a converted old farmhouse. Once upon a time it was on a farm but now the area is built up and it is surrounded by warehouses and stores. Add this to my list of recommended unique restaurants which are frequented mostly by local residents.
The interior is modified to make it into a restaurant of course but the three small dining areas are mostly unchanged.
The serving staff is very welcoming. I talked to a man and woman who come there all the time and they had nothing but compliments for the place.
Here are a couple of patrons:
Here's my chili burger with a side of tasty onion rings. It was excellent but I could only manage to eat half.
There's a half pound burger and a bun under the mound of chili, onions, and cheese.
Dec. 11, 2021
My quest for the perfect Portland burger ends at Fred Meyer and my kitchen. You can spend more than $15 if you eat in a restaurant but my burger costs $3.00.
What Oregon’s $15 pub burger teaches us about inflation
None of them are better than the pub burger I can make at home. It costs a mere $3.00. Because they plump up in the broiler it is best to put an indentation in the middle.
Dec. 10, 2021
Nothing planned for the weekend, unless you count folding the laundry.
Dec. 9, 2020
Yesterday I posted a photo essay with pictures of clouds on Daily Kos and hardly anybody looked at it. All of the photos were from this blog. Later in the day I was driving to Clackamas Mall (formally called Clackamas Town Center) to see if XFinity would replace my falling off iPhone screen protector for free (they wouldn't). It had been raining all day. The sky was bleak with dark grey to black clouds and not a hint of blue breaking through. Then the rain stopped and the dark clouds broke up and the sky looked like this:
Dec. 8, 2021
Lunch at Coasters Crossing in Oregon City
This restaurant, unlike the others I've eaten at there, isn't on Main Street. It is across the street from The Oregon Trail Museum. The restaurant is in the old train station. This is an alternative where passengers can get on Amtrak instead of in Downtown Portland.
It is a fairly small restaurant. The service was excellent. I've had cod and halibut fish and chips in other Oregon restaurants but the fish have never come close to the succulent batter fried fish we used to get at next to the water The Narrows Crossing in Wareham, Massachusetts. Photo from their website:I'd never seen mahi-mahi fish and chips on a menu so I ordered it was amazed at how good it was. The fish was moist, succulent, and melt in your mouth. The fries were also excellent. I didn't touch the tartar sauce or even put lemon on the fish.
There is outside seating both in the front facing the street and back of the restaurant where you can watch the trains. It was too cold to sit outside. The inside has a bar and two small dining sections.
While I was there the Cascade Amtrak train came through (their website). It runs from Vancouver, British Columbia (not the Vancouver in Washington where I go to eat) to Eugene, Oregon.
These are the pictures from outside the restaurant.
Dec. 6, 2021
The journey for supper wasn't exactly a scenic trip where my quest is to find great food in unsual restaurants. I had a craving for Popeye's chicken. The restaurant is a mere five minute drive. I always accepted that their tasty fried chicken was probably loaded with hormones and antibiotics and cooked in the worst oil possible. If you can believe their website it turns out that I'd been jumping to a hasty conclusion.
Our chicken is free of added hormones and steroids*
We’re working to improve broiler chicken health by supporting the use of integrated animal welfare programs to promote practices that support and address the globally-recognized five freedoms of animal welfare.
It’s also our goal that by 2021, our chicken in the US will be raised with no antibiotics important to human medicine, as defined by the World Health Organization. Learn more about our approach to animal welfare here.
*Federal regulations prohibit the use of added hormones or steroids in poultry
The trip to the restaurant and back in the rain was uneventful:
Once I threw a couple of towels on the mess to sop up the soda (I used my carpet cleaner later) I enjoyed the still hot meal (I'd brought it home in an insulated bag).
Dec. 5, 2021
Just lunch at the tried and true always friendly and tasty Ranee's in Oregon City where Tim, a server there, remembers all the regulars. It was very busy.
I am impressed by the bathroom artwork:
Dec. 1, 2021
There are more than 72 pictures today! (I took most of them but some are from a variety of websites.)
from Website, here
To Vancouver, then to the Bridge of the Gods and back home.
The Vancouver Columbia River waterfront is being developed with new construction of condos. The already impressive walkway along the river is being extended as well. Click each of the images below for websites about the waterfront project.
Vancouver’s historic waterfront is welcoming jobs, restaurants, shops, housing, a hotel and a park as new development reconnects 35 acres along the Columbia River to the city’s historic core.
By creating a vibrant new community, the City and its economic development partners are building the foundation to grow jobs, businesses, tourism, recreation and transportation.
To return to Oregon you take The Bridge of the Gods ($2.00 toll).
The fast way home is on Rt. 84. It runs a mere 50-100 feet from the river which is on your right. Just on the left is the windy scenic road where the waterfalls are, including the well known Multnomah Falls (website).