Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Columbian Café’

Sunday, 22 December, 2013

We awoke late morning with a mission to go across the river to, as I suggested vaguely, “look at stuff”.

Fog on the 4.1 milebridge to Astoria hides the upper part of the bridge.

Fog on the 4.1 milebridge to Astoria hides the upper part of the bridge.

fog on the north hill of Astoria

fog on the north hill of Astoria

All the way over, Allan wanted to know what I had in mind.  Just “to look at stuff!”

We found the Astoria Christmas indoor market near the Ship Yard (bar?) entrance.

shipyard

Astoria Christmas Market

Astoria Christmas Market

Inside, we recognized vendors from the spring and summertime Astoria Sunday Market and even the Ilwaco Saturday Market.

"Niceland", an Ilwaco Market regular

“Niceland”, an Ilwaco Market regular

basket maker from the summer Sunday market

basket maker from the summer Sunday market

holiday songs on the banjo

holiday songs on the banjo

Allan's holiday market photo

Allan’s holiday market photo

After a few small acquisitions, we set out through the town in quest of lunch.

east end of downtown Astoria

east end of Commercial ondowntown Astoria

It tickled me to see a sign for a late night breakfast:  shades of my olden days at Beth’s Café or The Doghouse in Seattle.

breakfast

 While I had had my mind set on Himani Indian Cuisine, I was open to Allan’s suggestion that we go to the Columbian Café, a famously quirky eatery where he had only eaten once before.

east end of downtown Astoria

east end of downtown Astoria

We passed the Astoria coffee house on the way.  Allan noticed the outdoor knitting!

knitting or crocheting

Note how it matches the building.

fiber art

fiber art

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

I have told that this could be an incident of Yarn Bombing.

I was thrilled to see weeds in a curbside garden on Marine Drive, as it made me feel better about any that might sprout in our Long Beach and Ilwaco public gardens during staycation.

Marine Drive, one block north of commercial, runs east-west.

Marine Drive, one block north of commercial, runs east-west.

I was less thrilled that the Columbian was closing in 15 minutes and had a small waiting line inside.

Columbian Café....too late for us

Columbian Café….too late for us

So back we went to Commercial to dine at Drina Daisy, the Bosnian restaurant where I had dined once, years ago, and where Allan had never dined.

Drina Daisy

Drina Daisy

What an excellent choice.  My faint memories had not included images of all the beautiful plants inside.

drinainsidedrinainside

It would be odd to sit next to strangers with the big plant in between.

Big plant in between two two-tops.

I have a frog piece almost exactly like this and now I have an idea...

I have a frog piece almost exactly like this and now I have an idea…

Allan ordered a coffee to start.  It came with a cookie, so I decided to have mine at the end.  It also arrived with a small palate cleansing glass of a flavoured mineral water.  I had a large glass of the same water and found it so delicious that I could have drunk a pitcher of it.

coffee tray

coffee tray

coffee

While placing his order, Allan made some indication that he might like the starter course of smoked meats and a dipping sauce.   Our server, who I believe is also the owner, strongly suggested he choose one of the main courses instead because it would be more intricately flavourful.  Allan followed his suggestion, and then the server/0wner brought us a sample of the appetizer anyway!

a gift!

a gift!

We each had Sarma, cabbage rolls, with and without beef.

our table by the window

our table by the window

food

two servings of Sarma

table

Allan’s photo

in the planter next to our table

in the planter next to our table

Sarma

The owner told us that the chef, who “prepares the food just the way she prepared it for more than 20 years in her restaurant in Gorazde, Bosnia, near Sarajevo”, is very particular about the freshness and quality of her fruit garnish.

Toward the end of the meal, she emerged from the kitchen and gave us a box of chocolates saying “From my homeland.  Merry Christmas.”
another gift!

another gift!

part of the view from our table

part of the view from our table

from the website:

Why the name, “Drina Daisy”?


The Drina is a river in the south of Bosnia with significant geo-cultural importance. Historically the Drina River has been described as the dividing point between Eastern & Western cultures. We see it not as a point of division, but rather as the point where cultures meet & come together. The bridge depicted in our logo is one of the most widely recognizable structures in Eastern Europe, the bridge over the Neretva River in Mostar located in south central Bosnia.

The Daisy is a simple, yet elegant flower that flourishes both here & in Bosnia. Our Daisy, however, is this & a bit more. Our Daisy is a very special lady, she is “our” Mother. Our Daisy was “transplanted” in this great Northwest from her native Florida by way of Astoria & its Tongue Point Naval Air Station during its peak activities of the 1940s.

Our Drina Daisy experience remains strongly in my mind three days later and I have the urge to return there soon after such a wonderful time.

After lunch, we strolled east through a fine and not too cold mist along Commercial.  The west end of downtown is almost all derelict buildings, many owned by one historic family.  A long wrangle has been going on with the city trying to reclaim them.  Meanwhile, I admire the solution that someone has come up with of putting historic photos in the windows.  I would like to see this or something similar done in the empty storefronts in my town.

Astoria downtown, west end

Astoria downtown, west end

astoria

astoriaastoriaastoriaastoria

astoria

One of the old photos (below) is of the Astoria Plywood Corportation.

millpond

I am pretty sure that that is where Millpond Village is located now, the location of my favourite Astoria gardens.

[I found out several days later that my dear friend Jenna, AKA Queen La De Da, was instrumental in getting this photo project going back when her shop was in downtown Astoria.]

Ambling down Commercial, I marveled at the casual stringing of a few of the extension cords powering the holiday lights along the street.

extension

At a side street, white pillars caught my eye from a block away and we walked one block south to Duane Street.  I had been reading bits of news about the Garden of Surging Waves, a tribute to the Chinese heritage in Astoria, but had not realized that it will be right downtown.  It is “named for the famous Surging Waves Pavilion located in a classical Chinese Garden in Suzhou, China”.

garden in progress

garden in progress

surgingwaves

surgingwaves

waves

pavilion

pavilion with hand carved dragon columns

a stunning wall of words, juxtaposed with the American Legion building,

a stunning wall of words, juxtaposed with the American Legion building.

words

words

It is right next to the hole in the ground where the old Safeway store collapsed into the basement!  Somehow, this is going to be incorporated into the park, I believe.

perhaps a water feature?

perhaps a water feature?

I so look forward to seeing the project completed; it is already breathtaking.

On we walked along Duane.  In the distance, I saw the new-ish falafel lunch truck, a worthy stop if one can get to town before it closes for the day.

The O Falafel lunch truck

The O Falafel lunch wagon

Turning north again to return to commercial, we passed the elegant Elliot Hotel and I was reminded of another hotel lobby that I wanted to revisit.

Elliot Hotel

Elliot Hotel

As I quested for said hotel, we passed the always beautifully decorated windows of the pharmacy on Commercial.

Pharmacy windows

Pharmacy windows

Here’s what I was looking for: the revitalized Commodore Hotel.  I do advise visiting the website and clicking on “story”.  Hint:  Use your cursor to turn the pages of the book.

The Commodore.

The Commodore.

It must have been our friend J9 who first took me in to see the lobby, where one wall is fashioned of artifacts found during the remodeling of the old hotel.

just inside the front door

just inside the front door

wall

Through the door to the right is a coffee shop.

holiday stars

holiday stars

Old suitcases, bottles, papers, books, boxes, and more are incorporated into the wall.

above the fireplace

above the fireplace

I did not photograph the fireplace below because people were sitting and knitting there (perhaps cozies for tree trunks and planters and trash cans!)

wall

wall

detail

I thought that the sign on the wall of artifacts might explain some of the history, so I took a telephoto shot.  Oops….and there I had been nosing all around the lobby when I fit neither of the allowed categories of people!

oooops

I did not realize my faux pas till I looked at the photo at home.

Leaving the hotel, the sight of the Columbia River to the north lured us down to the River Walk.

looking north across Marine Drive; who could resist?

looking north across Marine Drive; who could resist?

We passed a tableau in a window, something our friend Queen La De Da (queen of the mermaids) would like:

seascape

seascape

mermaid

And then we were right at the water’s edge with all sounds muffled by the fog.

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

at the foot of the street

at the foot of the street

The thick fog almost obscured the view of cargo ships at anchor.

Allan's photo of ships in the fog

Allan’s photo of ships in the fog

Allan's photo

Allan’s photo

We were right next to the Bar Pilot Station.  I am in awe of these people who do one of the most dangerous jobs:  guiding ships over the rough Columbia Bar.  Briefly, and as I understand it, the pilots go out on a boat, and sometimes on a helicopter, to board ships out waiting at sea and skillfully pilot them over the treacherous bar.  The most dangerous part is the transfer from the pilot boat onto the ship.

pilot

headquarters of the brave

headquarters of the brave
Pilot boat

Pilot boat

We ambled west along the river walk, that runs for five miles along the river.  In the two block stretch that we traversed we found much of interest.

The River Walk

The River Walk

interpretive sign

interpretive sign

wild (noxious weed) buddliea

wild (noxious weed) buddliea on the river bank

I noticed the most glorious mural.

I noticed the most glorious mural.

mural3

mural2

mural4

dog

Allan noticed a detail that escaped me: information about the artist!

“Performed & Painted by Joanne Lumpkin Brown Local 729, 503-325-7885 painted June 1 thru July 30th, 2001, sistahpaint@hotmailcom”

muralart

flyer contains the artist’s name and contact information

Just west of the mural were the big windows of the Wet Dog Café, a place much favoured by our friends Tom and Judy.

The Wet Dog

The Wet Dog

The River Walk, looking west from where we turned inland

The River Walk, looking west from where we turned inland

The River Walk

The River Walk

Someone had brought two chairs to join a bench!

Someone had brought two chairs to join a bench!
dinnertime for ducks

dinnertime for ducks

Just up the street, I so wanted to get a photo of these two colourful storefronts and just as I raised the camera, as often happens, up pulled a car to park!

shops

shops

I’m sure the shopkeepers were happy to have another customer.  The shop called Cargo looked so colourful inside and bustled with people.  Only wanting to not drive across the bridge in the dark kept me from going in.

Cargo

Cargo

Just by where we parked, a window displayed a restaurant table set for dinner and a reflection of downtown (and me).

Twas either the Silver Salmon or T Paul's

Twas either the Silver Salmon or T Paul’s

The last photo, from the car, shows raindrops and Fulio’s Restaurant, another wonderful place where we have had many delicious meals, especially the Butternut Squash Ravioli.

Fulio's

Fulio’s

On every staycation, I think I will take the bus to Astoria and just walk around all day, stopping at different coffee shops and browsing here and there.  Perhaps this staycation, seeking blog fodder, I will finally do so.

.

Read Full Post »