My husband found Caldera's from an article in Sunset Magazine, and booked us a reservation when we went camping at Wallowa Lake. When we walked up, it was like leaving Joseph all-together. The town of Joseph works hard to make their main street like an "old west" town, showcasing their bronze sculptures and their connection to Chief Joseph. Caldera's is a gem on an off-street.
We walked up to the restaurant, which looks more like a lodge, and noticed their flowers and lovely decor. The interior of the restaurant also functions as an art gallery and little store upstairs. Meanwhile, the art they're selling fills the walls of the restaurant with glass, carving, bronze work, woodwork and more. The result is a surprisingly pulled together mish-mash of art. The bar was a work of art in itself, and worth paying attention to.
We walked through the restaurant to the backyard seating, and it was like walking into your best friend's backyard at a barbeque. None of the chairs matched, nor did the tables, but it was intentionally that way. More lush garden surrounds the seating area, where families and friends, locals and tourists, sat quietly enjoying their food and time together. Thursdays they have live music on their porch, and some local musicians provided some great folk music as we ate.
The food was fantastic! By recommendation, we tried their sauteed vegetables - which they grow in a separate garden specifically for the restaurant. Not surprisingly, they were delicious. As fresh as can be, and very simply but deliciously prepared. My husband had what I believe is the star item on the menu. While everything looked delicious, he ordered the "steak rolls." They were thin strips of steak wrapped around julienned veggies - carrots, zucchini, and summer squash mostly - then grilled on the open bbq on the back deck. These, perfectly cooked and artfully displayed, were accompanied by what the menu described as "wasabi potato cake," which turned out to be a perfect description. It was like nothing I've ever had, and it was delicious.
I ordered the crab and avocado salad, which I was on the fence about since it's so far eastern Oregon. But the crab was fresh and delicious and the portion was generous. The avocado complemented it and it was on a bed of greens with a red pepper vinaigrette. Very light and delicious.
Overall, Caldera's is one of the reasons my husband and I have resolved to return to the Wallowas every year!
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