Vida Café - hidden in plain sight
By Gerry Aster
The Vida Café could be described as a gem hidden in plain sight. It’s right on Hwy 126 and for most tourists driving through the area, the Vida Café is the landmark they reference even more often than our beloved Goodpasture Bridge. But how many travelers take the time to linger over the Vida Café’s diner-style cuisine? Even more to the point, how many river residents choose the Vida Café as an out-to-eat destination?
I’m as guilty as anyone since I only recently visited the Vida Café after a long absence. You see, my grandchildren love the contraband experience of Vida Café Mickey Mouse pancakes served with hot chocolate and loads of whipped cream atop both. But my grandgirls are getting older and their visits to the river are less frequent. My 90+ year old father prefers Vida Cafe chili but only if it is immediately followed by a piece of their wonderful, homemade apple pie.
While breakfast is still quite a treat at the Vida Café, I’m told lunch and dinner business has picked up a bit, now that Ike’s and The Riverside are no longer options. Personally, I love the Vida Café veggie omelet. Since breakfast is always served, there is no reason not to have my favorite dish any time of the day. However, if I was completely honest I would admit that their hot cherry pie ala mode is what brings me to their doors again and again. When I’m not too full, I’ll order a piece of this not-too-sweet and not-too-sour confection for dessert and then take home a whole frozen pie to delight family and friends at a future date. It lives very happily in my freezer until being called into service.
Living on the shady side of the river has its plusses and minuses. The big minus is lack of sunshine during the long winder months. There is a quick cure and it is not ramping up the Vitamin D. It’s sitting for a few wonderful minutes on the bench outside of the Vida Café. The angle of the sun is just right and makes you feel as if you’re on a south-of- the-border beach (that would be south of the Oregon border.) Yet it is the opportunity to greet friends, neighbors and passers through that provides the real warmth to the experience.
I plan to say more about Vida Café’s pie in the future but, for now, I urge you to visit the Vida and visit the “beach!”
May 22, 2012
McKenzie River Reflections