umpqua store, oregon
umpqua, oregon. this place is really, but really out in the sticks. ever heard of it? umpqua. it sounds like something one of those pesky oompa loompas might chant in a charlie and the chocolate factory themed acid trip (but in reality it is named after the umpqua tribe of native americans). this "town" consists of a post office and general store (adjacent), a volunteer fire department (maybe) and some number of houses, trailers, pickup trucks and barns nestled deep in the formerly lush but now sporadically clear cut forests of oregon.
i don't know if you're familiar with oregon but there are only a few "major" cities, such as: the trucker hat wearin', meth-lab littered town of medford in the south; the perennially dreadlocked, filthy-hippy-birkenstock-shod denizens of eugene a bit further up north; and the, it's-so-far-up-north-it-might-as-well-be-washington, city of portland; and, hmmm, well, i guess that about covers it. umpqua is located way off of the five, between roseburg (about two hours north of medford) and eugene (about an hour and a half further north). you'll probably never find yourself here, but if you do, and if you're hungry, this is the only choice in town. and it's pretty good.
dinner, which is served only on weekends, consists of an entree plus your choice of foil wrapped baked potato or pesto pasta or rice pilaf (not recommended), plus a vegetable, plus a choice of salad or clam chowder. homemade bread is brought to the table. three types: honey wheat, white and a dark brown bread. they are all absolutely delicious - light and fluffy with a nice crust and excellent flavor.
the clam chowder and is highly recommended. the potatoes are cooked through yet still a little firm, not mushy. the broth is rich without being cloying and with none of the nasty thick gelatinousness that you find in some chowders.
blackened salmon ($16.95). fresh salmon blackened with a spicy and flavorful coating. the fish is juicy and tender. the vegetable of the night was broccoli, sadly served with a cheese sauce. i'm told that it's unusual for the veggies to be served with a sauce. but i have to admit, it was tasty in a white-trash kinda way.
usually only on the lunch menu, here are the fish and chips. the fish for the evening was halibut but sometimes can be cod. either way, it is dredged in batter and fried up very crispy. a winner.
baby back ribs ($16.95). this guy was gigantic. i mean really big. i took a picture with someone's forearm in the background for scale but i thought it looked prettier without the living body part. the meat was slow cooked and fell off of the bone. the sauce was tangy and sweet and smoky. so good, one of our party ordered a second batch to go for sandwiches.
pesto prawns ($15.95). big, juicy succulent prawns in a light cream pesto sauce tossed with linguine. the cream pesto sauce was, much like the chowder, rich and creamy without being too rich. by the end of the meal, the remaining cream sauce had not congealed into a solid mass. from a cardiologist's perspective, an excellent sign.
and the poor, sad vegetarian, what of her you might ask? well, not wanting to create a ruckus by asking for something special (although i feel pretty sure they would've been accomodating), the herbivore had the sides that accompanied the extra order of ribs. the salad was your standard iceberg variety loaded with cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and the like. the potato was a nice, well cooked russet, such as you might find at a steak house. the vegetable was straight from a trailer. or maybe the makeshift kitchen of a convenience store. and the bread was just fantastic. this bread rivals any acme or semifreddi or tartine loaves i've come across. plus, there is no corkage for the homemade moonshine you bring along.
and on the way out you can pick up a little something for the road from the front of the store.
fort mckay road