Tough Decisions in McMinnville, OR
Have you ever heard of McMinnville, Oregon? Until I decided to visit the Willamette Valley for wine tasting, I hadn’t. And I had no idea McMinnville restaurants were a foodie paradise, so I got lucky that the best accomodation options in the area was near the downtown.
I got lots of great recommendations but Nick’s and Thistle came out on top. And when I found out Thistle, “Nose to Tail, Farm to Fork Dining” had been the inspiration for my favorite restaurant’s Chef Whim tasting menu, I knew where I had to go!
The exterior is unassuming but cute (this photo was borrowed from their website, no vintage car on my visit!)
Very cool funky retro interior and as a solo diner (of which there were several) I was seated in the front with a great view of the kitchen.
I ordered the Chef’s Whim and asked about a wine pairing. The waitress showed me an extensive menu of wines by the glass and also offered to “do her best”. I decided to go with the latter option.
While I waited, I studied the menu on the wall and tried to guess what I might be getting.
And I must say, you gotta respect a place that has “Bread & Fat” as a menu option.
The first glass of wine to come out was sparkling, and I guessed the appetizer wrong.
It wound up being some delightful Netarts Bay Oysters. Normally I don’t care for Oysters, but they were very fresh and well prepared and the sparkling for a local Oregon winery was a nice pairing.
Next up was the smoked rockfish with potato, fava beans, and amazing aioli nicely paired with a rose.
Then some charred beef tongue. My first ever trying beef tongue. I tried to not like it, but I couldn’t. It had a lovely beefy texture and flavor and was nicely paired with a pinot noir.
The fourth course was sturgeon two ways — grilled sturgeon topped with sweet pea flowers and local mushrooms and pickled sturgeon with ginger.
My phone died at this point and so I couldn’t photograph the fifth course which was dessert. The dessert was cake (which I can’t quite remember) and quite nice, but the savories were definitely the highlight.
The 5 course dinner was somewhere around $70-$75 and the wine pairing a ridiculously good bargain at $25!
More from this trip
- Visiting the Smallest Park in the World
- Making the Most of a Day in Portland
- Private Tour of the Hunt for Red October Submarine
- Where to Taste: Willamette Valley Wineries
- More Willamette Valley Vineyard Recommendations
- My First AirBnB Experience
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