Tag Archives: Southern Oregon

Video Mart, Grants Pass, OR

OK, since we’re on the subject of great, old-school video stores, I gotta tell ya about one more of them. Video Mart is located literally on the wrong side of the tracks in my wife’s hometown of Grants Pass, Oregon, but, don’t let that stop you, because this store seriously rocks!

Although it’s been in Grants Pass for years, I just discovered Video Mart this past July with my nephews. They were drawn in by the store’s amazing Sunday deal on video games — all games are a dollar and you get them for five days! — but what really thrilled me was the store’s vast selection of truly unique movies.

Sure, they have all the top-40 shit up front and yes, they rent Blu-Ray too, which is awesome, but, the thing that kept us coming back was their rocking selection of older titles. The pricing didn’t hurt either, every older title is available to rent for $1.00 for three nights. And if you rent more than five, you get to keep them for five glorious nights! Awesome!

Needless to say, I got myself a membership (yep, they let me get one even though I live out of state!) and we got down to some serious movie renting. All totaled, I think we rented somewhere between 10-15 movies during our visit and at least 4 video games. Best. Vacation. Ever!

And kudos to the fine folks at Video Mart for knowing their shit too. The dudes at Odd Obsession would probably still take the gold in a movie trivia head-to-head, but, trust me, there are some truly knowledgeable film and game geeks working here too.

So, next time you’re in Southern Oregon, grab yourself some Abby’s Legendary Pizza, a six pack of Weed Pale Ale, a movie from Video Mart, and call it a night…

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The Ice Shack, Grants Pass

OK, people who still think global warming is a myth can totally suck it. This has been one of the hottest falls on record and it doesn’t show any signs of letting up. So, it’s official, everybody…the world is totally melting.

And in honor of that utterly depressing sentiment, I thought I’d share with you some pictures of my favorite new hot-weather treat…shaved ice! Traditional snow cones and 7-Eleven Slurpees will still totally do in a pinch (Lord knows they saved my sweaty ass last night!) but for me, the best way to stay cool and blissfully wipe any visions of melting polar ice caps from my head is to suck down a nice cold shaved ice.

And though we recently found a groovy little place near the Americana in Glendale (rock on, Stewie’s Shaved Ice!) that offers some great flavor combos, for me, the best place to find a truly fantastic shaved ice is at The Ice Shack in Christine’s hometown of Grants Pass, Oregon.

Located on the north end of town just off of 7th street, The Ice Shack is, just what it sounds like, a drive-thru shack where all they sell is flavored icy goodness. And let me tell ya, the Shack rocks, yo. We went there almost every day we were in town last summer and it never got old!

The decor is awesome — the bamboo walls and thatched hut roof outside would be cool enough for most places, but the fact that they use an actual surfboard as the drive-up window is just too cool for words! — the ice is shaved to perfection and the place is staffed by the nicest, cutest girls this side of the Rogue River, but the real reason to visit The Ice Shack are the flavored syrups.

I never checked to see what brand they use, but, wow, that shit is amazing. Literally every flavor we tried (except grape, which is hideous) was out-of-this world tasty, but, my favorite combo was the cherry banana pictured above. Not too sweet, not too syrupy, just the perfect blend of flavor and ice. Mmm…

Anyway, I know it’s a schlep for most of you, but, if you do ever find yourself in Grants Pass on a hot day (or hell, even a cold one!) you truly owe it to yourself to stop by The Ice Shack. Oh, and don’t forget to ask for extra napkins because that candy-colored ice melts crazy-fast, baby!

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Dutch Bros. Coffee, Grants Pass

Ever since we first started dating, way back in the 20th century, August has always been all about the big road trip to Christine’s hometown of Grants Pass, Oregon. And, just like in my hometown, we have a little checklist of places we make sure to eat and drink at the minute we hit town.

Abby’s Legendary Pizza and Millie’s Sandwich Shop are always on that list, but Dutch Bros. Coffee is the place I visit almost every day (sometimes twice a day!) when we’re in town. I know I’ve written a lot about bad coffee these days, but let me tell ya, amigos, there is nothing remotely bad about Dutch Bros. Coffee.

In fact, I would even go so far as to say that Dutch Bros. is probably my favorite coffee joint anywhere, and, considering the fact that they are mostly tiny drive-thru locations — except for the badass mothership cafe downtown — that is really saying something!

Dutch Bros. doesn’t just have crazy-friendly baristas and great, fresh-roasted beans, but they also have some of the best coffee drinks this side of Seattle. Seriously, once you’ve had a Dutch Bros. Kahlua Kicker on a hot summer day, you’ll never look at a plain-old Iced Mocha the same way again.

Founded in March of 1992 by brothers and former dairy farmers, Travis and Dane Boersma, Dutch Bros. began life as a modest coffee shack in downtown GP and today has 154 locally-owned and operated locations in seven states, including a few newer outlets in Northern and Central California.

I’ve been watching their website to see where the Bros. are migrating next, and, so far, they haven’t ventured south of Fresno, so, until the do, here’s to another coffee-tastic Southern Oregon summer!

Oh yeah, I should also mention that there is a very cool Dutch Wear boutique connected to the mothership downtown. Christine and I already have a closet full of Dutch Bros. merchandise, but something tells me we might be coming home with something a little smaller this year. Hmmm…a cute little Dutch Bros. onesie in a size 18-24 months, perhaps?

Hot and cold perfection in a cup…long live Dutch Bros. Coffee!

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Abby’s Legendary Pizza, Grants Pass

Every time we head north to Christine’s hometown of Grants Pass, Oregon, there are two places we have to eat at. One is Millie’s Sandwich Shop on NE 7th Street and the other is Abby’s Legendary Pizza on Williams Highway. And since I somehow managed to not take pictures at Millie’s this year, I’ll tell you about Abby’s instead!

Not only is the food fresh, cheap and delicious, but the Abby’s we frequent even has an “old school” video game area in the back that used to house a super cool “Phantom Menace” pinball machine!

Sadly, the “Star Wars” pinball machine has moved on, but the memory of that strange pinball/video game hybrid and the rocking good pizza we enjoyed while playing it, lives on…seriously, I think about that game a lot!

Initially known as Abby’s Pizza Inn, the first Abby’s was founded in 1964 by former high-school classmates Albert Broughton and James Harrell — better known to their friends as Abby and Skinny — in nearby Roseburg, Oregon. Once word got out that these guys knew how to make some damn fine pizza, the legend of Abby’s grew to the 34 store chain that exists today.

And though you have to drive to Oregon or Washington to sample Abby’s, let me tell ya, it’s worth the trek. Though everything on the menu is fantastic, we always order the same thing, which I guess you could call the “founder’s special” since they are named for Abby and Skinny themselves.

My favorite is the Abby’s Special, which is your basic “works” pizza with black olives, fresh mushrooms, ground beef, pepperoni, salami and sausage. And Christine and the ladies generally favor the Skinny Special with Canadian Bacon and fresh tomatoes. I honestly cannot think of a more perfect pizza combination on your plate than these two pizza pies…this stuff is amazing.

But the real star of the show at Abby’s are the spuds. Nothing really more than silver-dollar-sized potato slices, the spuds are scattered on a pizza pan and served fresh out of the fryer with sides of ranch dressing. I know it sounds weird to eat even more starch with pizza, but man alive, these spuds make the meal!

Of course, we usually leave feeling a tad over-stuffed and in desperate need of some exercise, but hey…that’s what the video game area is for, right? Rock on, Abby’s Legendary Pizza!

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