YESTERDAY AND MUCH of the day before we were in Portland, visiting our youngest daughter and her family — her husband, their three grown children. You can be sure we ate. You'll have to take it for granted, because I'm not going to go into details here. It was a haze of leftover Christmas dinner (roast beef, potatoes, Brussels sprouts…) and, well, cookies. Many many cookies. And, yesterday, a nice roast chicken from the spit at Arrosto: 2340 NE Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon; +1 (503) 446-7373
TODAY, RATHER REGRETFULLY, we left Portland, making our usual stop at Pearl Bakery for half a dozen gibassiers, the orange-flower-flavored pastry my Contessa particularly likes, and then joining our family in a last cappuccino at Heart; and we drove as far as Dunsmuir, where there's a restaurant we like that we haven't visited in years.
The room is a little rambling and quite casual, with an open kitchen. The place is across the street from the train station, and the not infrequent passing freight trains punctuate a scene that's comfortable and familiar.
The menu leans toward French bonne femme staples. I opened with a generous butter lettuce salad, with a sprinkling of thin-sliced breakfast radishes and a very nice vinaigrette involving walnut oil.
I went on to cassoulet — a dish I ignore with great difficulty. This was quite nice, with duck confit, a delicate sausage, long-cooked beans, the requisite breadcrumb topping. I'd have liked a little dot of walnut oil on top, but I had no complaints. Cassoulet is the perfect dish for a night featuring snow on the ground outside…
And what a pleasure to find a restaurant we remember fondly from many years ago is still just fine. I know no other place to eat between Sacramento and Ashland.
•Café Maddalena, 5801 Sacramento Avenue, Dunsmuir, California; +1 (530) 235-2725