Talent taproom brims with cider, beer, food, fun
A new cider taproom in Talent has a beverage for just about any palate.
As proof of Legend Cider’s appeal, an 80-year-old friend who had never before tried alcoholic cider raved about her “Mount Mazama” mango elixir, particularly with a meal of garlic-butter prawns, fried rice and stir-fried vegetables from one of the two food trucks parked out front. My partner and I favored the other truck’s traditional Hawaiian fare with our brews.
Previously operating a food truck, Legend owners Adrianne and Tyler Baumann wanted to help Talent rebuild after the Almeda Fire. So they started work in late 2020 on an expansion of their La Pine brewery and taproom. Adrienne Baumann’s family owned the building that previously occupied the site, which burned in Labor Day 2020’s devastating blaze.
Now fire pits mark the facade of Legend at 245 W. Valley View Road, which opened in October. In deference to our friend’s comfort, we passed on the outdoor ambiance to take a table inside, which is just as welcoming to families with small children as it is to couples on date nights and singles at the bar.
More than 30 taps behind the bar pour about a dozen ciders under Legend’s own label, as well as guest beers, wines and even locally made kombucha. Legend ciders also are available in about 50 locations in Oregon. All of Legend’s cider apples come from Washington’s and Oregon’s Columbia Gorge and are enhanced with other, all-natural fruit juices.
With so many sweetly suggestive flavors available, my partner wanted to try a flight, which provides four 4-ounce glasses of either cider, beer or both for $7. He even incorporated the maple-sage nonalcoholic kombucha from Phoenix’s MoxieBrew with his taste of IPA and two ciders.
For customers who can’t decide between strawberry-kiwi and strawberry lemonade or “PCT” and “POG,” complimentary tastes are available. Or customize a glass. The server recommended “Broken Top” blood orange topped with a vanilla-flavored brew for an adult version of the classic creamsicle.
To complement the stick-to-your-ribs dishes we had ordered from Hula Grill food truck, I requested a 12-ounce glass ($6) of Oakshire Brewing’s “Ill-Tempered Gnome,” a brown winter ale. The pairing seemed appropriate with kalua pork fries ($14).
While we awaited our hot food, I unceremoniously gobbled Hawaii’s favorite portable snack, Spam musubi, which Hula Grill prices at two for $5. A seasoned traveler to Hawaii, our friend voiced her disapproval of canned mystery meat. There’s a reason, though, that this supersized sushi handroll — which provides the ideal ratio of salty protein with bland starch and chewy, umami seaweed — is so beloved. Don’t knock it until you try it.
After the musubi, we didn’t really need the large chunks of slow-cooked pork that larded our cheese fries. Spicy mayonnaise and cilantro-lime aioli numbered among the potatoes’ toppings, but I could have used some straight Sriracha and more citrus to cut through the thick layer of cheddar and jack cheeses garnished with sliced scallions.
It’s food that asks to be washed down with alcohol, and my partner had sipped down his flight before polishing off the fries. So we asked for a 12-ounce pour ($5) of Legend’s “coastal cranberry.”
Seafood — albeit panko-breaded and coconut-crusted — does lighten Hula Grill’s menu a bit. We were drawn to the panko-furikake cod over the coconut shrimp plate ($14), which comes with the requisite two scoops of steamed white rice and one scoop of macaroni salad.
Other “local plate” proteins are teriyaki chicken ($13), kalua pork ($13) and “loco moco” ($12), that inimitable griddled beef patty smothered in brown gravy, served over rice and topped with a fried egg. Hawaiian-style tacos (two for $13-$14) can be filled with either the fish, pork or chicken, each topped with house-made pineapple salsa. My partner hankered for an organic mixed-greens salad, but the truck had run out.
The pineapple salsa that adorned our fish played a starring role, its sweetness intensified by sweet Thai chile sauce, which was superfluous on my palate. The macaroni salad likewise had a sweeter note than some other versions I’ve tried, although the creamy dressing was in just the right proportions to the perfectly cooked elbow macaroni. I wished for a side of furikake, Japan’s ubiquitous rice seasoning, which I happily would have showered over the plate.
Our friend had high praise for her shrimp — nicely sized, deliciously seasoned and conscientiously cooked. S.O. Hibachi mixes and matches sauces — garlic butter, sweet chile and teriyaki — with proteins — fried tofu, chicken, steak, shrimp, priced from $13 to $16 and accompanied with fried rice and fresh vegetables.
Fried rice can be ordered as an S.O. Hibachi meal, topped with one of the four proteins or more veggies, from $12 to $9. A similar format applies to the truck’s udon noodles, from $13 to $14.
Legend’s owners aim to have at least one food vendor on site during business hours, more on the weekends. The taproom lacks its own kitchen.
Weekend live music and Wednesday trivia have added to Legend’s scene. TVs over the bar screen sporting events. See facebook.com/legendcider for events and updates. Read more at legendcider.com
The Legend Cider Taproom is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.
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