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A cold, lofty space near Salem's downtown has been warmed up by a new operation with the catchy moniker of Prudence Uncorked (325 High St. S.E., 503-362-0888; www.prudenceuncorked.com). Jesse Tomaino has taken over the kitchen from former owner/chef Jeff James. The trendy appetizer plates include selections of mushrooms, figs, cheeses and crab cakes. The spinach pecan salad with mustards and apples is delicious. Moderately priced sandwiches and lunch-size plates are available at noon; entrees include boneless beef short ribs, pastas, grilled salmon and a satisfying lamb stew with red wine for evening selections. One negative is that the bread is tasteless and needs to be warmed up. Choose the "snowball" (house-made Tico's coffee ice cream with a candied nut crust) from the reasonably priced dessert menu.
Eugene has some interesting places, one of which is the locally owned Glenwood (1340 Alder St.; 541-687-0355; and 2588 Willamette St.; 541-687-8201; glenwoodrestaurants.com). The two locations are slightly different in nature and menus. Glenwood is perhaps best known for outstanding breakfasts (served all day), but it also is open for lunch and dinner, serving casual, healthy fare. Pick from Glenwood hazelnut French toast to a long list of three-egg omelet combos and burgers, sandwiches, salads and meat entrees. Value $14 dinners-to-go are offered Monday through Friday and designed to feed a family of four. Call or order through [email protected] before 2:30 p.m. for same-day pickup.
One of our state's great places to visit is the Oregon Caves National Monument (19000 Caves Highway, 541-592-2100; nps.gov/orca) near Cave Junction in southern Oregon. The magnificent marble caves of re-crystallized limestone are breathtaking. General cave tours, $8.50, adults; $6, ages16 and younger. This year's season is May through October; accessibility depends upon the snow.
The nearby picturesque Oregon Caves Chateau (20000 Caves Highway, 877-245-9022; www.oregoncaveschateau.com) is one of Oregon's most charming lodges. Sue Densmore is leading a drive to raise funds for needed restoration. Originally designed by local architect Gust Lium, this six-story national landmark offers 23 small but comfortable rooms. Room rates start at $90.
-- Gerry Frank