Located just 35 miles southwest of Portland, the city of McMinnville has a lot going for it. There's the Evergreen Aviation Museum, with the "Spruce Goose," another 200 or so aircraft and exhibits, IMAX theatre, and, of course, the newly opened Evergreen Wings & Waves Waterpark. There's also Linfield College with its 1,700 person student body pursuing a liberal arts curriculum in the private facility which was chartered in 1858. And then, there's the fact that McMinnville is located in the heart of Oegon's wine country, which is blessed with a long, moderate growing season that produces exceptional wine grapes.
We weren't in McMinnville to sample any of these assets. We were there to sample the cuisine, and our first stop was the lovely and unique restaurant and bar, La Rambla, with its northwest-inspired cuisine from Spain. Located in the historic Schilling Building, LaRambla has as an impressive interior: a beautiful wood entrance, dark mahogany, a copper-topped bar, original artwork, and a multitude of gorgeous, hand-blown light fixtures.
The hand-blown light fixtures are stunning.
Sipping on the Sangria was a pleasant way to spend the 40 minutes required prep time for the La Rambla Paella (clams, shrimp, calamari, sausage, chorizo, chicken, green beans, saffron) which Steven ordered. In the meantime, we feasted on Tapas, the delightful Spanish small-portion appetizers: the delicious Fried Calamari (served with lemon, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, saffron aioli) and Willamette Valley Mushrooms (a blend of cultivated mushrooms, garlic, white wine and toasted bread made more interesting with the addition of chorizo). The Paella arrived and was judged well worth the wait. It was scrumptious; traditional, but with a northwest flavor all its own. My dinner choice was the Bodega's Platter, a very delightful selection which included serrano ham, chorizo, olives, 3 cheeses (the Cana de Cabra goat cheese was exceptional!), membrillo, bacon-wrapped dates and yummy Red Fox bread.
On a return visit the following day to take some photos, Steven met Jeff Torgerson, Executive Chef, and was impressed with his knowledge and dedication to making La Rambla a world class restaurant. He's got a fine start! La Rambla is clearly one of Oregon's best already, and well worth a visit.
238 NE Third Street
McMinnville, OR 97128