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  Sunday, October 08, 2006

On Any Sunday

This morning we went into Bend to break fast at a restaurant we hadn't tried before, The Original Pancake House, on Bend's affluent west side. On the map I could see that it was situated on a very short street, and I didn't anticipate any trouble finding it. But there was. I drove right past the place.

I circled around and tried again. There was a house near where I expected the restaurant to be, with a large parking lot and people waiting. It could have been the pancake house, or it could have a been a church. I didn't fancy walking into a church on Sunday morning asking for a French slam. I saw no sign of a sign.

Driving around the lot, I saw newspaper racks, leading me to speculate this wasn't a church. Connie hopped out to put our name on the list.

There was a 25 minute wait, so we walked across the street to the top of the bluffs overlooking the Deschutes river. It was a beautiful view. Only after approaching the restaurant from the bluffs did I finally discover the Pancake House sign nestled in the trees. It was bigger than a postage stamp, but not by much. Since when do businesses not put signs so they're in your face?

After taking some pictures we returned to the pancake house and waited outside, since it was SRO inside. As we waited, I overheard four twenty-somethings chatting about their kills and ambitions. They talked about purchasing better weapons, about enhancing their armor and defense, and about the prices they've been fetching for their booty. And did I mention the dwarves and priests?

I miss the days when I was heavily into online games. I've never played World of Warcraft, as these kids do, but I've played a game that was very similar. I remember wondering if people overhearing me chat with friends thought I was a terrorist. Good times.

Not everyone waiting was doing so inside the restaurant or on its patio. One woman had her kids waiting in the car. Her SUV, to be more specific. She had an interesting strategy, one I wish my folks had employed when I was a kid. Inside the SUV was a video player, allowing her kids to watch a movie while they waited. How times have changed, eh? When I was a kid all I had were Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs.

It was a large restaurant, with maybe 30 tables. Have you ever waited 30 minutes to get into a restaurant, and once you were inside half the tables were empty? Don't you hate that? I do too. But that wasn't the case here. The restaurant was full. When you have a crowd of people waiting to get into a place that can handle a lot of tables, you begin to suspect the food must be pretty good.

We were seated next to a nice fireplace. The walls were paneled in light pine, with fancy dishes lining the shelf at the top of the paneling. The chairs and tables were pine, and the silverware glistened like new silver.

A waitress in a starched white uniform, maroon apron and white sneakers took our order. (Do we still call them waitresses, or are they now table attendants?) I've learned, since moving to Central Oregon, that ordering goes faster if I bow to the inevitable and just go ahead and order Pepsi instead of Coke. So I did. But this time I was rebuffed. I'd have been wrong either way. They don't serve soda! But we didn't walk out. I guess I've matured.

Connie poured creamer in her coffee and was surprised to discover the creamer wasn't. It was cream. Real cream. Who knew?

The food was excellent. Quality ingredients, well prepared. It's what I expected from the line getting in.

When you go to a restaurant, how do you know whether to pay the waitress or pay at the cash register? There's a clue you're given, but I've discovered that many people don't know it. If the bill comes on a tray or in a leather holder, you pay your waiter. If the bill is just left on the table, without any place to put your money, you pay the cashier. The pancake house had recently switched to the table-pay system, but I guess they forgot to train the waitresses. I got a bill without a tray, and paid at the cash register.

After brunch we headed for Alfalfa. Since moving to Oregon, we've had it as one of our missions to learn our new home as well as possible. We want to know where things are, what things are called, what the local culture is. We want to be Oregonians. I've heard the name Alfalfa on the news and seen it in the newspaper, but we hadn't been there. We've been just about every other place within an hour of home, but not Alfalfa.

To get to Alfalfa, you head east from Bend on Neff Road. Continue east about 25 miles until you discover that you drove right past Alfalfa and never saw it, then turn around and drive the other way for 10 miles. Stop when you see the Alfalfa Country Store. Like Millican, downtown was one store. Unlike Millican, this one was still in business. I liked Alfalfa.

Blog Tag: Chatter


At 10/09/2006 10:57 AM, Anonymous Jon said...

25 miles? LOL... So, did you end up near Prineville Reservoir?

Beyond the store, there's not much to see aside from fields... that big building across the "street" from the store used to be the Alfalfa School (long since closed and sold). Down the road a bit to the west is the Grange Hall.

Turning north at the power station just past that takes you towards Redmond/Prineville/Powell Butte, and the new Brasada Ranch that's being built out that way.

And then a mile down a rocky dirt road behind the store you'll find Reynolds Pond.

Exciting stuff. :)

At 10/09/2006 11:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhh... OPH is sooo goood. I love the dutch baby, and the forty-niner flapjacks. I think they have the best bacon in Bend. Glad to hear you found it!

At 10/09/2006 3:27 PM, Blogger dkgoodman said...

Well, I may have been exaggerating in how far I overshot the town. ;)

Ya know, I saw Dutch Baby on the menu, but having never eaten baby for breakfast, nor any other meal, and not knowing exactly what it was, I settled on a ham and cheese omelette. (Which was great, and hugantic, it'll also be dinner tonight.) Just what, exactly, is a Dutch Baby? Should I be scared?

At 10/09/2006 9:25 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

Soda for breakfast? *gasp*

Anyway, enough about you, what did Connie order?

At 10/09/2006 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll never be an Oregonian. You'll always be a californicator. Need proof? Alfalfa is east, the Cascades are west. Go home!

At 10/09/2006 11:31 PM, Blogger dkgoodman said...

Oops. I did write west, didn't I? My bad. I meant east. Thanks for the correction. I've fixed it.

Connie had corned beef hash with pancakes and 2 eggs. The corned beef hash was the freshest and best tasting I've ever had.

At 10/10/2006 12:42 AM, Blogger Melissa said...

Hey, Dave the californicator, is that how Oregonians treat former Californians? I hope that anonymous was joking.

At 10/10/2006 1:02 AM, Blogger dkgoodman said...

I think if anonymous was joking, they wouldn't have been afraid to sign their name. The majority of Oregonians I've met are friendly, but there's bad apples everywhere you go. Life's too short for me to worry about it. :)

At 10/10/2006 1:07 AM, Blogger dkgoodman said...

Hey Jon, I found your writeup on Alfalfa and Reynolds Pond on your blog. Nice work. I learned more about Alfalfa from your blog than I did with Wikipedia and Google. I'll have to check out the pond some day.

At 10/10/2006 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A dutch baby is a type of "oven pancake". When baked it puffs up, and the edges become tall & crisp. They are pretty rich and very tasty. One is usually plenty for two!


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