Day 16 Dinner Debriefing: Jen’s Garden

Jen’s Garden (click on the menu link or wine list link – the menu is correct, the wine list has changed a little) is a fancy little French restaurant hidden away in Sisters, OR. Last time we were here, we enjoyed our dinner, but this time we were disappointed.


We had a lovely table for two in a small room, with just a handful of other diners. We tried to do the five course Prix Fixe, but it was too much. Caroline started with the spring rolls of duck confit. She was surprised to find that they were served cold, but they were tasty. I was going to do the same, but our server talked me into the curried oysters. I knew they were fried, so I thought that they would be cooked. Unfortunately for me, they had just flashed the coating, the oysters inside were raw, but slightly warm. I found this dish a challenge to eat. Caroline tasted a tiny sample, and it was clear that she wasn’t going to clean my plate for me. The pastry was nice, and provided a firm dry texture that saved me.


This restaurant specializes in ‘Wine Flights’, providing a small glass of a different wine with each course. However, two of the five were French. I’m sorry, but we didn’t drive seven thousand kilometers to America’s wine country to taste French wine. They did offer to do us a custom Oregon flight, but with Caroline’s dislike of Sauvignon Blancs and my inability to enjoy Zinfandels, we decided just to go our own way. However, if you noticed a comment on yesterday’s blog by IHeartOregon, you will be pleased to note that we found his recommended WillaKenzie Estate Pinot Noir on the menu,  by the glass, even, and it was the highlight of the evening.


Second course was a light seafood soup. It was quite nice, but Caroline ran into trouble on the wine. We had planned on a Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Chardonnay, the waitress tried hard to steer us to something lighter. She persuaded us to try an Independent Chardonnay called Le Bourgeoisee or something. I found it fascinating, a Chardonnay so light that it reminded me of a Chenin Blanc for its floral notes. Caroline found it vegetative and hated it. I drank mine and took hers for later with the salad course. She switched back to the Cold Creek, but didn’t really like it either.


Third course was the entree, and we both chose the Jamai of beef. This is French for Flatiron steak, apparently, for Canadians that translates as Flank Steak, I think. The serving was too large, so I ate just the rarest bits. The chimichurra seasoning was not to my liking. I did like the potato and crab cake, but Caroline did not. Despite being in the mood for red meat, she ate just two slices of six.


We tried to order the Abeja Cabernet with our entree course, but we failed to notice that this wine is only sold by the bottle. Contemplated ordering a whole bottle and taking the leftovers home, but decided it would be more reasonable to have the Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Cabernet, which is available by the glass, and we know we like it.


Fourth course was a salad, and we were getting too full. Spring greens with a parmegan crisp and a fancy anchovy. We both ate less than half, and sipped on our leftover white wine.


Fifth course was dessert, and we both opted for the coconut panna cotta. This was a snow white flan, and rather reminded me of blancmange from my private school days in England. If it had been more creamy, it would have been nice, but it was just sort of gutless.


I did order a sip of the Electra Orange Muscat that would have been the dessert wine with the wine flight. I couldn’t help but compare it to the Estancia Orange Muscat that Donna likes to serve. The Electra comes off as watery and over sweet.


All in all, the worst meal we’ve had on this whole trip. I have to acknowledge that I am simply not foodie enough for this menu. I do have likes and dislikes, but I like to believe that I am a little bolder than the average meat and potatoes man. Tonight I would have traded my whole meal for an In-N-Out burger. 

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