Dining in The Dalles, Oregon

Photo © Bobbie Hasselbring

by Bobbie Hasselbring

If you live in the Northwest, you’ve probably driven up highway 84 along the Columbia River. “The Gorge,” as locals call it, is one of the most beautiful basalt canyons in the world and is fast becoming a destination that foodies seek out. The Dalles, a town just 20 minutes east of better-known Hood River, is full of quaint, historic buildings, many that house terrific eateries.
Sup in a Saloon. The Baldwin Saloon, built in 1876 and run as a bar by brothers James and John Baldwin, stands across from the railroad tracks facing the river. In its long life, the old building has been a saddle shop, a warehouse, a coffin storage site and a steamboat navigational office. Today, it’s returned to its roots as a bar and fine dining restaurant serving local natural beef, fresh fish, house-made pasta and some of the best desserts this side of New York City—everything from scratch. While you’re there, you can’t help but marvel at the vast collection of original turn-of-the-20th-century oil paintings that surround you, many of historical significance. baldwinsaloon.com

Quaff in a Flour Mill. The massive grain silos and concrete walls of the old Sunshine Flour and Biscuit Mill dominate the east end of town. From 1908-1978, it was a working flour mill. Today, it’s the cool, industrial-hip Sunshine Mill Winery, with tasting room and event space. Amid ancient fans, belts, motors and chutes, you can drink their Copa de Vino and Quenett wines and munch on delicious plates of charcuterie, creamy cheeses, briny olives, breads, crackers and high-quality chocolate. sunshinemill.com

Take Tea in a Victorian. Who’d expect to find an Australian teahouse in the Northwest? For the past 10 years, The ANZAC Tea Parlour has been serving high tea fare, including 50 types of tea, crustless chicken-almond sandwiches, delicate cream scones, chocolate-dipped strawberries and their famous coconut-oatmeal ANZAC biscuits—cookies from a heritage recipe originally baked to ship overseas to Australian soldiers. Lunch here will make you feel like the Queen. anzactea.com
Breakfast like a Cowboy. For rancher-sized breakfasts, try Cousin’s Restaurant next to Cousin’s Country Inn. Their buttery cinnamon rolls are eight inches across and they serve big breakfast omelets, waffles, and French toast sure to fill your get-up for the day ahead. cousinsthedalles.com

Take along a French picnic. In a historic building along 2nd Street, Lake Oswego’s popular La Provence Boulangerie and Patisserie operates Petite Provence in The Dalles. They’ll make luscious to-go sandwiches for a picnic, or you can just indulge in the bistro. Don’t deprive yourself of their signature French Onion Soup, and end your meal with one of their very French pastries or desserts. provencepdx.com

For more information abut visiting The Dalles, go to thedalleschamber.com.