Many summers, while growing up in Portland, my family would go to Black Butte
in Central Oregon for a week. Central Oregon in the summer, with temperatures in the high 80's, green everywhere, view of five mountains, hiking/biking/swimming, is basically the most perfect place on this planet. One of the traditions that made each visit special was our dinner at Kokanee Cafe
in Camp Sherman
. My family likes the restaurant so much we once drove there from Portland (a 3.5 hour drive each way) for Father's Day dinner and headed back to Portland right afterwards. I was just in Oregon for a short visit, and after a 10+year absence I went back to Black Butte and Kokanee Cafe.
Camp Sherman is a really small town on the banks of the Metolius River, and Kokanee Cafe is small unassuming place that very much fits in to Camp Sherman. What's not unassuming about the restaurant is the awesome food they make. Growing up I would always get their quail dish, which I can vividly remember the taste of to this day. While they no longer offer this dish on the menu, they still make some great food.
Metolius River and Mt. Jefferson
Our dinner on this occasion started with a really nice Pinot Noir from Westland Vineyard, an Oregon winery. My first course (and probably my favorite dish of the night) was an asparagus dish presented on top of a phyllo dough pastry, topped off with a poached egg and cheese that is a cousin to parmesan. Our main dishes were all excellent. I had a duck with mushroom risotto and a lemon broth. We also ordered some delicious lamb shanks and ribeye steak as well. My brother and his girlfriend Brit split chocolate mousse and creme brulee for desert. After such a long break I had very high expectations and Kokanee Cafe came through again as it always has. With a simple yet elegant atmosphere, a stunning location and a great locally sourced food, Kokanne Cafe really is the perfect restaurant. I just hope that my next visit comes sooner than ten years from now.