Chef Bupar acquired her culinary prowess alongside her mother, who operated a street-side café in Bangkok for more than 20 years. Today, she draws on recipes she learned from her mother to conjure up the bustling, spice-tinged air of the city of her youth. The traditional Thai flavors of ginger, lemongrass, and garlic flood dishes and thick coconut milk helps lower the potency of red chilies in a range of curries to a pleasant warmth. Beneath the eatery’s saffron-hued walls and decorative greenery, bouquets of basil, cilantro, and fresh sprouts bestow portions of noodles and rice with textural variety.
Diners can sit outdoors if the weather and 80-foot sentient dragon statue permits, or enjoy after-dinner entertainment at the nearby Matthew Knight Arena. Downstairs in The Underground Lounge, diners can feast on the main restaurant’s full menu in a more casual atmosphere adorned with pool tables, HDTVs, and dartboards.
Chef Richard Balajadia’s food presentation can be dazzling—in his hands, green apples become swans and ahi tuna piles atop rice and vegetables to create gravity-defying sculptures—but he relies on seasonal ingredients to ensure that the dishes taste as good as they look. If organic arugula and free-range chicken don't sound like standard sports-bar fare, that’s precisely the intention. Lifelong friends and owners Michael Hoover, Todd Bardwell, and Bill Hutchins told the Register-Guard that they hired Balajadia because they wanted a menu that would appeal to their own "foodie tastes." Accordingly, even the bar’s burgers transcend their simplistic origins with jalapeño barbecue sauce, grilled portobellos, or house teriyaki sauce.
Even the bar’s drink menu rotates seasonally, with specialty cocktails that change to incorporate fresh summer fruits or entice tipplers with autumnal spices. The mixologists create their medleys of rosemary-infused Gentleman Jack whiskey, silver-agave tequila, and guava nectar at a bar where flat-screen televisions keep the atmosphere lively by showing Ducks’ games instead of documentaries about watching paint dry. The patio's red and yellow triangular shade sails for sunny days, and outdoor heaters fire up on chilly ones. DJ Reddfox transforms the vibe by spinning live on Saturday nights.
Bijou Art Cinemas captivates audiences with a rotating lineup of foreign, independent, and classic films shown in charming and intimate theaters. Guests can stroll throughout the quaint exterior, enjoying the 1920s mission-style architecture and open-air courtyard before entering the newly updated lobby to peruse a selection of locally sourced snacks and distribute home-recorded VHS tapes of Alf. Matinee and general-admission showings feature films from a variety of genres including dramas, documentaries, and thrillers, whereas late-night screenings diverge toward horror flicks and cult classics like The Room. Though not included in this Groupon, Bijou Art Cinemas hosts numerous special events, such as interactive screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show ($10) and a silent-movie remake of High School Musical performed by mice. Customers can check the website for an updated schedule of movies and showtimes.
The accolades accorded several of LaVelle Vineyards' wines in the pages of Wine Enthusiast magazine serves as evidence of the diligent work of founder Doug LaVelle and his son, Matthew, who tends the vines today. After taking over the winery—then one of the oldest in Southern Willamette Valley—in 1994, Doug took it upon himself to make a number of improvements to its antiquated technology and distribution network. He started the wine club in 1995, and just recently started building a new wine bar in Springfield called the LaVelle Tap Room, which is scheduled to open in late October of 2013.
Doug's investments paid off. Today, with Matthew as lead winemaker, the winery ferments grapes both from its original Willamette Valley location and another site in the Columbia Valley in eastern Washington. The LaVelle Tap Room will have 30 wines from around the world, as well as several local beers on tap. And at the rustic Elmira winery, visitors can recline on the sunny deck, tour the winemaking facilities, or outsmart tipsy minotaurs in the garden's labyrinth.
At street level, Diablo’s Downtown Lounge hides behind the guise of a traditional bar. There, hearty burgers and beers culled from 10 tap lines arrive at tables surrounded by subtle red upholstery and a gallery’s worth of local artwork. But tucked away on the pub’s subterranean level is a shadowy nightclub where painted flames race up the walls and repeatedly disappoint revelers trying to light their cigarettes. Formerly Perry’s Nightclub, the downstairs haunt still invites dancing on a large floor infused with ‘80s, hip-hop, or contemporary house music handpicked by DJs and special guests. Each level hosts its own events throughout the week, including karaoke and bingo upstairs and Goth-themed dance nights downstairs.
David Minor Theater’s two large projection screens broadcast new releases, classics, and cult films, but there's just as much appeal happening off-screen. One example: the front row of Theater One, where a long spread of plush couches stands in for typical movie seats. Then, of course, there’s The Livingroom Theater, an aptly named 16-person screening room outfitted with recliners, couches, and state-of-the-art sound.
Other creature comforts abound. The theater serves apps and entrees from local restaurants such as Café Lucky Noodle, The Jackalope Lounge, and Granary Pizza, not to mention local and seasonal beers from Ninkasi and Hop Valley, all of which guests can enjoy inside the theater during the show. Moveable tables at the end of the aisles also make eating or folding laundry during films a breeze. Moviegoers can even text their food or drink order to a special number and have it brought to them so they don't miss any of the film.