Posts Tagged With: food

The Pearl Café – A Little Restaurant Makes a Big Entrance

“If you walk into The Pearl Café when they open for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. you’ll be treated to the enticing aroma of freshly baked desserts. You’ll second-guess your decision to have breakfast and actually think about just eating the goodies instead.” [read more on]


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Living Up to Its Name: Great Hall, Sunriver, Oregon

Great Hall, Sunriver, Oregon

Sunriver’s Great Hall

We have a tendency to think of Sunriver Resort in Oregon as being an all newly-constructed development. But did you know that it has an old building with architecture reminiscent of the Old Faithful Inn? You may have attended a wedding, conference or other event in it, perhaps thinking it was simply built to look old and blend in with the rustic surroundings. But the Great Hall was actually built in 1944 by the Army Corps of Engineers on the land there that was once home to Camp Abbott. The hall was only used for about six months, as a cafeteria, then the war ended and the beautiful building constructed from local trees was abandoned and sadly fell into disrepair. At one point it was even used for a cattle barn. Fortunately for all of us, it was saved and has been totally restored and updated into a premier meeting space, while reminding us of the history of the area and the beauty of the natural resources used.

Plaque, Great Hall, Sunriver, Oregon


Great Hall, Sunriver, Oregon

Great Hall

Outside the Great Hall, Sunriver, Oregon

Outside the Great Hall

The log building features high ceilings with exposed beams. A massive stone fireplace burns a cozy fire, and a balcony of limbs surrounds you like welcoming arms– all of which can’t help but make you think of the Old Faithful Inn.

Stone Fireplace, Sunriver, Oregon

Gorgeous Stone Fireplace!

Fireplace Sitting Area, Sunriver, Oregon

Fireplace Sitting Area

Welcoming Balcony, Sunriver, Oregon

Welcoming Balcony

Replica fixtures illuminate the interior in a soft warm glow. Hallways adorned with historical pictures and stories lead the way to modern and comfortable meeting facilities. There is space just to sit and relax where your eyes are drawn out the large windows to an open field and expansive sky. You’re sure to see some sort of woodland wildlife if you are patient.

Looking up!  Great Hall Lights, Sunriver, Oregon

Looking up!

Hallway to Meeting Rooms, Sunriver, Oregon

Hallway to Meeting Rooms

History on the Walls, Sunriver, Oregon

History on the Walls

Space to Relax, Sunriver, Oregon

Space to Relax

Events can be catered by Sunriver restaurants, as ours was this day at the Northwest Travel Writers Conference. The beauty and ambiance of this grand old building and the creativity of the dishes served and displayed made for a deliciously memorable experience.

Amazing Food!, Sunriver, Oregon

Amazing Food!

Amazing Food!, Sunriver, Oregon

Amazing Food!, Sunriver, Oregon

Amazing Food!, Sunriver, Oregon

Amazing Food!, Sunriver, OregonIf you are ever in the market for an event space, or simply want to stop in and pay respect to the history and architectural skill of the time, don’t pass up the chance to check out the Great Hall at Sunriver Resort.

For more information, see

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Urbanspoon Scores! Pour House Grill, Bend, Oregon

Appetizer, Pour House Grill, Bend, OR


We were hungry, but didn’t want any of the usual chains. But we were in a town (Bend, Oregon) that we didn’t know very well. We decided to get brave and I pulled out my i-Phone and tapped the Urbanspoon app hoping for at least a somewhat good idea. Up popped the Pour House Grill – with a 90% “Like” rate. We decided that was good enough to take a chance.

As we pulled up to the restaurant, we were worried we wouldn’t find any place to park, it was so busy. Another good sign! But we did find a spot, and headed inside. We were immediately greeted and seated by a very friendly waitress, who was also very helpful in answering our questions about the menu.

They had a nice variety of appetizers, burgers, and beer. They have some wines and even a few of my new love – hard cider.

We ordered appetizers and then our dinners. We were pleased with the portions, the prices, and the service. So much so that when we were looking for a place for dinner again a couple of nights later, we wound up back at the Pour House Grill to try some other menu items. Again, we weren’t disappointed with either the food or the service.

Bend’s Pour House Grill is definitely a go-back-to spot again next time we are in the area.

Do you use an app or review site to help you choose where to eat?

For more information, menu, and prices check out their website at




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Centralia’s Best “Surprise!” Food – Shanghai Café

Ready to eat! Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Ready to eat!

In your travels, have you ever noticed that the really good food is in the restaurant where you think you would least expect it? However, you don’t always have to travel to experience the great little joints – don’t overlook the ones in your hometown. Shanghai Cafe in Centralia, Washington is one of those places.

Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Shanghai Cafe

It doesn’t look like much from the outside. It barely looks like a restaurant. It’s very small, non-descript and whenever we tell folks what to look for, it’s the big butterfly on their sign. When you walk in, it still looks small, but cozy not cramped. The Asian décor is fun, but looks dated. It should be – it opened in 1929! However, don’t let any of this deter you – have a seat and enjoy the feast to come!

Inside Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Inside Shanghai Cafe

They will start you out with a mild tea while you are looking over the menu and of course, they have other beverages available. On the table underneath a plastic cover, is the Chinese Zodiak calendar. I always enjoy looking at it, picking out myself, kids and grandkids.

Chinese calendar, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Chinese Zodiak Calendar

David always does the ordering for us. He has been going there for years and introduced me awhile back – I have difficulties eating certain food and have to be careful, so luckily he knows what I can eat, and which of the foods won’t give me problems. It always sounds like he only order 3-4 dishes, but when the food starts coming out, it seems endless! First the Egg Drop Soup arrives, then the Kimchi, then Sweet and Sour Pork. Just as we finish that, out comes the Special Garlic Chicken, Orange Chicken and on and on.

Pot Stickers, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Pot Stickers

Kimchi, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington


Orange Chicken, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Orange Chicken

Mongolian Beef, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Mongolian Beef

Almond Chicken, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Almond Chicken

Sweet and Sour Pork, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Sweet and Sour Pork

Tempura Veggies, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Tempura Veggies

Spring Rolls, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Spring Rolls

Special Garlic Chicken, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

Special Garlic Chicken

We can never eat it all! But that doesn’t break anyone’s heart, the leftovers are even better after they’ve soaked in the juices overnight. But I always leave room for the Fortune Cookies, of course. And here’s an unusual idea for you – Chardonnay wine and fortune cookies taste amazing together!

A great fortune!, Shanghai Cafe, Centralia, Washington

A great fortune!

Shanghai is a family-run business (the current owners are only the second owners) and they always remember you and what you like to order. You don’t get that kind of warm, personal service most places.

Our motto when traveling is “always check out the local restaurants.” So don’t forget those in your own town – who knows what you might be missing!

Shanghai Cafe is located at 519 South Tower in Centralia.

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Kells Irish Pub – Portland, Oregon

Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

Kells Irish Pub

If you’re looking for a cool Irish pub to go to for St. Patrick’s Day, you need to check out Kells Irish Pub in Portland.

Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

Kells Irish Pub

There are a lot of authentically old establishments in Portland, but Kells is not one of them. However, they did a great job of making it look like it. There are Kells located in Seattle and San Francisco as well and a second Portland brewery.

Money on the ceiling, Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

Look at all that money on the ceiling!

We were in the area for something else when we noticed the entrance, which simply looked intriguing and inviting. As we entered, our jaws dropped open and we stood there in shock. The first thing you notice is – there’s money everywhere on the ceiling! Well, heck, that just made us want to look around even more! Luckily it was early mid-morning so the place wasn’t busy. We asked if we could just take our own little tour and it was no problem.

Money on the ceiling, Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

Money on the ceiling

The main floor has an inviting fireplace, warm wood furniture, and cute small chandeliers and exposed brick walls, all giving Kells its character.

Fireplace in Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

Fireplace in Kells Irish Pub

Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

Kells Irish Pub

When you go downstairs, the ambiance of the dark wood and stuffed chairs are so old-time reminiscent that you expect to see ghosts of mobsters smoking big cigars and beautiful women wearing diamonds and furs lounging off to the side.

Heading downstairs, Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

Heading downstairs

To the Cigar Room, Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

To the Cigar Room

In the Cigar Room, Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

In the Cigar Room

In the Cigar Room, Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

Also in the Cigar Room

Humidor in Kells Irish Pub, Portland, Oregon

Humidor in Kells Irish Pub

How was the food? We have no idea! We didn’t have time to try that part of Kells, but maybe you can and let us know. The character and personality alone is enough to make it worth checking out. And if you’re there around St. Patrick’s Day you’re sure have a great time with all the activities and events they have planned. Enjoy!

Kells Irish Pub is located at 112 SW 2nd Avenue in Portland.

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The Original Taco House – Portland, Oregon

In my last post, I wrote about eating before we hit Voodoo Doughnuts, and said I would tell about it in a later post. So here it is.

Taco House OutsideYes, there are probably more “authentic” Mexican food restaurants, but the Original Taco House was the first Mexican restaurant in Portland that was open year round, so how can it really be beat?


David really loves The Original Taco House so when we recently had an opportunity to be in the area, he followed his nose and took us right to it. Actually, he ate there about 30 years ago when he was living in Portland. At that time it was cafeteria style, where you got your tray and went down the line picking out what you wanted.  You can see from the pictures that it is still set up like that, but now it is regular sit-and-serve style.


It opened in 1960, owned by Gene and Natha Waddle. They also owned and ran Waddle’s restaurant located in Jantzen Beach just off I-5. Waddle’s restaurant is now gone, but the Taco House is now ran by the Waddle’s grandsons.

On my first visit I was apprehensive. There are so many foods/textures/spices I don’t like. So when I asked the waitress what was in the burrito meat, she brought me a sample so I could see and taste. I really appreciated that because other places when I have asked that they said nothing else was in it and when I got it it was filled with peppers and onions. Note to restaurants – peppers and onions ARE something besides beef. So I ordered and devoured a beef and bean burrito and David thoroughly enjoyed his Mini Grande Tostada. Josh was in heaven with the huge enchilada and taco combo.


The restaurant is decorated in typical Mexican restaurant fashion, although the fireplace at the end of the room is a little out of place for the décor. But, hey, in the Pacific Northwest, not many of us are going to complain about a fireplace.


The staff is very friendly and helpful. The portions are HUGE and delicious. You can get as bland as you want, the way I eat, or as spicy as you like. There’s quite a variety of foods, even gluten-free if you need it. Of course I added a Strawberry Daiquiri to my meal, a drink so cold the outside of the glass was frosty. Yum!


(Photo by Brandy Kirkendall)

While it may have to compete with tons of other Mexican restaurants in the Portland area now, it says a lot about a restaurant if it still sticks in your mind 30 years later. The only problem now is that David wants to eat there every time we go to Portland!

The Original Taco House has three locations, two in Portland and one in Vancouver. This one is located at 3005 SE Powell Blvd. Portland, Oregon. It’s open every day from 11am-10pm. (503) 234-6401

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That Voodoo That You Do So Well – Voodoo Doughnuts, Portland, Oregon

1-IMG_25521-IMG_2565Who doesn’t love a good donut? Who can’t love a GREAT donut? Then if you are ever in Portland, Oregon you have to go to Voodoo Doughnuts! There are two locations, one at 22 SW 3rd Street and one at 1501 NE Davis Street. The one on 3rd is very small. I didn’t even see inside. There were two very long lines outside of it. We were around the corner waiting for my daughter who had an appointment in a photography studio. We kept seeing people walk by with big pink boxes. Josh, who can smell a donut a mile away, kept shouting, “Voodoo donuts!” We thought he was nuts (well, he is), but then David walked around the corner and it was right there. We walked over there and yep, there it was, and a lot of people were coming out of this little bitty storefront with boxes of donuts. People were lined up two different ways to get in – I never could quite figure out how the two lines looked. But I had heard of this place and that the lines were long and that’s why many people go to the other location. Since we weren’t ready for donuts yet (we needed to eat a solid lunch first) we just looked at the crowd and left.

In case you have never heard of Voodoo Doughnuts, you need to watch an episode of “Man vs. Food” on the Travel Channel. Adam Rich made a visit to the one that we intended to go to, and he thoroughly enjoyed his visit and the donuts. It truly is TV worthy!

1-IMG_25491-IMG_2554After a delicious lunch at a Portland-location-to-be-discussed-in-a-later-post, this was our first visit during daytime hours. When we have visited later in the evening there was not a big line. There was a bit of a line today but it moved quickly since there were three staff helping out. You actually keep pretty entertained looking at all the voodoo themed artwork, clothing, and decorations.1-IMG_2568

When it’s finally your turn, it’s almost overwhelming – you want them all! Beautiful fluffy donuts with thick frosting, smelling amazing! All shapes and colors. Old fashioned donuts, fritters, maple bars, bacon maple bars, donuts covered in Cocoa Puffs or sporting a piece of bubble gum. Pretty much if you can imagine it, it’s there. Of course, they have the voodoo-shaped donuts, filled with blood (OK it’s really a cream) but kids love this one.


One thing to be aware of if you avoid gluten, eggs, nuts, soy, etc. there are no special anything-free donuts available. We typically avoid wheat and sugar in our daily diets but since we only get to Portland a couple of times a year, we allow ourselves to indulge in Voodoo Doughnuts while we are there. They are so worth it and put all other donut shops to shame.


Daughter, Brandy and her boyfriend, Jason. It was his first visit. He was drooling…

For more information on Voodoo Doughnuts, see their website at


Categories: Food, Wine, Cider, Keatons Out and About, Oregon | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

The Depot Restaurant, Seaview, Washington

IMG_0522 In the little seaside town of Seaview, Washington, lies some of the most quaint and upscale IMG_0526restaurants that can be compared with city experiences anywhere. The Depot Restaurant seems like just a little side-street diner until you step through the doors. Then you will be amazed at the impressive work that has gone into the restoration of the old train depot, a remnant of the Clamshell Railroad that once served the entire Long Beach Peninsula. Owners Michael Laelwicz and Nancy Gorshe have worked tirelessly and lovingly for 10 years to create a top-notch experience for diners.

Soft lighting and classy, relaxing décor combined with fresh, hand-crafted food are the hallmarks of the restaurant.


Dungeness Crab Mac

My bowl of macaroni, cheese and crab was most certainly not Kraft Mac & Cheese with a little crab thrown in. Dungeness Crab Mac, the homemade creation of satisfying, melt-in-your-mouth goodness was pure heaven. At first I was a little disappointed in the small bowl which I was served, but it was so rich and flavorful that if the bowl had been any bigger, I might have made myself sick trying to eat it all.

Clam Chowder

Clam Chowder

Carne Asada Negro

Carne Asada Negro

My husband had a mouth-watering clam chowder along with the Carne Asada Negro, and again, while it was a small amount on the plate, the flavors exploded in his mouth.

Admittedly, the prices are a bit steep for the typical family just getting away on a little weekend vacation. The Dungeness Crab Mac was $15.00, the Carne Asada Negro was $10.00 and these were the “small plates.” But knowing that going into it, you can be prepared.

The prices are also listed on their website ( so you can check prices out ahead of time there as well.

It’s easy to see why this tiny restaurant located off the beaten path has received so many awards such as Best Fine Dining, Best Desserts, Best Chowder, and Best Burgers, to name a few. The staff members were extremely professional yet friendly and the food was so good my mouth is watering as I remember the experience while writing this. Definitely a go-back-to place!

Getting there: Head west on Hwy. 101 to the Long Beach Peninsula. When you get onto the peninsula, you have to turn either right or left. Turn left, which is still Hwy. 101, then take the second right onto 38th Place. You will see the Depot Restaurant on your left.

1208 38th Place Seaview, WA 98644
(360) 642-7880

Categories: Food, Wine, Cider, Historical, Washington | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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