Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Shakespeare, and Good Eats in Oregon


While the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, currently in the midst of its annual nine-month-long run, has long been a magnet drawing culture seekers to Ashland in southern Oregon, the scenic town has never been much of a destination for food enthusiasts. But a number of new and wide-ranging restaurants are redrawing the town’s culinary map.

More intimate is The Loft (18 Calle Guanajuato; 541-482-1116), another of Ashland’s new restaurants, dishing up contemporary American food with a French spin. As the spot’s name implies, seating is upstairs in an airy space with 20-foot ceilings and a restrained décor. On the menu you’ll find macaroni and cheese with truffles from the nearby Oregon coast ($15), coq au vin made with free-range chicken from a farm in Medford, Ore. ($17), and housemade chocolates served with sauce made from hand-picked huckleberries ($6). “We see southern Oregon as its own ecosystem,” said Jacqueline Vidalo, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Jeremy. “It’s easier this way: if we run out of something, we can go pick it up.”