Cookbook Dining Adventure!
Don and I spent one night in Bend last summer. We could have missed this wonderful little tavern, at the foot of Oregon Avenue... but our cookbook reminded us.
Traveling with Cookbooks
The old tavern was still in business after 80+ years! We pulled up and grinned to see that little had changed with the building, over the years. It was July so we saw no, icicles and snow, like this old photo. But we saw lots of pine trees.
Bend was a logging town, when the tavern opened in 1936. The tavern got its name, for the 2 gigantic Ponderosa Pines, just in back. A patio was built around the beautiful trees. In the old photo and the book illustration, it looks like one tree is growing right through the roof.
We stepped inside and felt the mix of old and new. We could see a few reminders of the past. There was a little knotty pine here and a few retro booths there.
Lots of displayed photos helped us imagine how the tavern looked over the years. In 1936, the place opened as a lunch counter, serving local timber workers and their families.
Two women, Marne Gribskov and Eleanor Bechen began the business, during a time when the country was just recovering from the Great Depression. The coffee shop/tavern/dining room, changed and grew over the years.
It wasn't yet 5, so Don and I stepped over to the bar to enjoy the end of Happy Hour. We had a good chat with a few local couples who raved about Bend and made us want to move.
I hopped up a few times to look at the old photos on the wall. There were pictures of the original lunch counter and photos of famous guests who have dined... Clint Eastwood, Ronald Reagan, President and Jackie Kennedy. I love it when restaurants display old photos!
Just past the bar, was a spacious dining room that was added in 1957. I passed a few booths with curtains and that seemed very retro. Then I spotted the two trees, growing through the center of the room!
DJ and the Cookbook
DJ was suddenly the best guide ever. He told me that the Garden Room was added in 1957. It was built right around the two trees that had been on the patio. He took me closer, to study the tree trunks. One was about 300 years old and still thriving. The other was killed by mountain pine beetles over 30 years ago, but the trunk was preserved.
DJ said he would be happy to be our server, whenever we finished up at the bar. We were lucky to get a patio table on such a lovely evening. Once seated, I looked back and was pretty amused to see the living pine, growing right through the roof.
The red umbrellas gave us shade from the evening sun.
Then when the sun got low enough, the umbrellas came down. Our view was even better. We watched a few kayaks and envied the people who lived in the homes across Mirror Pond.
After studying the menu, we dug into some warm, sourdough bread with honey butter. The relaxed, evening atmosphere made us want to slow down and enjoy every minute.
Don ordered the house meatloaf special. It came with two slabs and a zingy, hot fanny gravy! My Chicken Marsala was smothered in a thick sauce of mushrooms and Marsala wine... which I shared with my heavenly mashed potatoes!
We were just finishing, when the manager stopped by our table and introduced herself. "Are you the ones with the cookbook?" Betsy asked with much enthusiasm. Betsy told us she was curious to see the book. I think she said had worked at the Tavern for 40 years, but that seems impossible.
Betsy studied the illustration and chuckled. She remembered specific details about how the door and entrance looked when she first started working. She kept shaking her head and smiling. "Bill will be so excited to see a picture of this book." It turns out that the owner is Bill McCormick, as in the McCormick and Schmick's restaurant chain. He sold the chain a few years ago and now his focus is on Pine Tavern, alone.
Our evening at Pine Tavern ranks pretty high. The atmosphere was comfortable with a good mix of locals and tourists. The pond setting was ideal. The food was yummy and not over priced. And our people encounters were fun... with the silly cookbook!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.