Why is it important to support Oregon wineries?
As a person who loves to travel, I love tasting the wine and foods of the places I visit. In France, I eat French food and drink French wine. When I get to Japan, I’ll eat Japanese food and drink saké. When people travel to Oregon, they want to experience all we have to offer. Our wine list is exclusively Oregon because I want to offer a broad selection of the old, the new, from the Northern Willamette to the South. We want to show the diversity that our area has to offer, including producers whose wines aren’t available out of the state.
Christopher Czarnecki, owner and chef at The Joel Palmer House, has opened The Barlow Room, a casual restaurant and bar in Dayton.
The plan: To explore as many of the wineries — and as many of the quirky small-town spots that make this region unique — as possible in a four-day trip.
The route: Portland to Eugene, avoiding the highway (in this case, I-5) in favor of picturesque byways.
The car: My usually trusty 2000 Mazda Protege. Downside: Broke down in the middle of my trip. Upside: Broke down in the middle of a wine district that had tasting rooms and a mechanic within walking distance.
Growing up outside the Willamette Valley in Eastern and Central Oregon meant my parents piled the kids in the station wagon—I preferred the back end, with more room and a barrier between me and my two younger brothers—every few months and drove over the mountains to Portland. These trips always involved a stop about halfway for a bathroom break, coffee, lunch or pie at a café, some landmark place my parents had been stopping since they were young marrieds.
It's Diner week, the ongoing roll-out of our annual restaurant guide. We kicked things off last week with Higgins at 20, our profile of the landmark downtown restaurant as it enters its third decade. You'll also find our guide to the city's best new restaurants, The Oregonian's 2014 Restaurant of the Year and, below, a look at what's new in wine country restaurants.
Upcoming wine country openings: The Barlow Room, 503 Uncorked
Chef Christopher Czarnecki will open the Barlow Room Bar and Grill this spring, three blocks away from his lauded farm-to-fork restaurant in Dayton.