Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I'm gunna burst! It's going to be on the news tonight, wait and see!
I had the divine pleasure of putting together my very first "food tour." Yesterday, about 30 innkeepers convened in Ashland for our annual bed and breakfast conference. And yeah...it's pretty darn clear that innkeepers love food, love to eat and really love to cook. So, what could be better than offering a bunch of innkeepers a food tour of some of the best Ashland downtown restaurants.
A few emails, a few more phone calls and a trip here in February and we nailed it! Five restaurants on board to be a part of bed and breakfast guild annual conference food tour and boy did we hit the jackpot.
Standing Stone Brewery not only serves the best beer in Ashland but what a diverse menu. Pub food with a high end twist. Oven fired pizza's, steaks, and the menu goes on. Pair that with a flight of all their beers and a table full of Oregon innkeepers and you better call for back up.
Tease is about a block from the awesome Ashland Springs Hotel. A tapas like menu, Tease serves up small portions with a world fusion twist that not only puts a bit of every taste you have ever experienced in to one bite but places that same concept on their cocktails as well. Place a model in the middle of this restaurant surrounded by an audience of pencil wielding artists and you have a template for artistry in real time!
Zoey's of course serves the best ice cream. I think my choice was Oregon Trail. It had raspberry and hazelnuts in it. And if you like our Oregon pears, you would love the Oregon Pear choice. Yummm!
And now on to Organic Nation. What can I say about these folks. A husband and wife team, living in paradise, making organic and gin and vodka...what a cush job! Everybody loves them and their distilled treats!
Pictured above is a lovely twist on a french toast idea from Dragon Fly Cafe and Gardens. Plantains, a bit of flour, sugar, eggs baked and topped with a banana's foster garnish and a slice of pineapple all created by their British chef. And, what a creation it was. Ever see a bunch of innkeepers fighting for the last piece?...not a pretty sight!
Duck Confit was our delicacy at Lark's Restaurant. Banked on the edge of the Ashland Springs Hotel, Lark's is one of Ashland's premier classic restaurants. Specializing in local, fresh and organic market finds, this place is gorgeous and provides a taste of the region by infusing their local goods in to each item on their menu.
So, besides busting a gut here in Southern Oregon, I have plans to create my own food tour in Albany. We've got the goods, we've got the chefs, we've got the customers and most of all we've got the drive to find all that is good in our region and taste our way through this state one city at a time!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
This was my view yesterday afternoon about 4pm. We had decided on a quick trip to Portland before heading to Ashland on Monday for our annual conference for the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild. I think I should have been a tour guide. I've said it a few times before and actually I think I said in my last blog. Sorry but what can I say...I love learning everything I can about here! I love Oregon, I adore Albany and I am smitten with Portland!
It was great to walk in to our loft and see everything just as we left it only a few days before. The oatmeal was still in the new Ikea jar next to the jars of walnuts and brown sugar. It's almost like we never left. Our goal for this less than 24 hr. stay in Portland...eat somewhere we have never eaten. And that we did! Henry's Tavern near downtown and the Pearl. Over 100 beers and I pick the one that has real tangerine juice in it. Oh wow...yum! It was so cool, they had a strip of iced counter top that ran the whole length of the bar. I had never seen that before. It kept my beer nice and icy for me...just the way I like it!
Ray ordered Mongolian Beef and of course I ordered my usual bar and grill staple, a house made veggie burger. Well...before that, I had to order a wee cup of Tillamook Cheese Beer Soup...another yum moment! Poor Ray kept rubbing his belly claiming he was going to blow up. I just told him, "that's fine...just do it in the men's room. It's easier to clean up that sort of thing when all you have to do is hose things down a bit!" He just gave me the look like, 'what kind of freak are you anyways?' I just laughed my usual sarcastic laugh and sent him on his way. And he says I'm not as funny as I think I am. Well...I beg to differ!
After that nosh fest, we headed even further in to the downtown near Pioneer Square. There is nothing like Pioneer Square on a Saturday evening. Although it was a little quiet this particular Saturday evening, across the street, things were a little livelier!
All around Portland, it's not unusual to see "artists" playing their instruments. Sometimes these instruments aren't your usual drums or your normal guitars. Sometimes these artists use "things" like buckets...all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they use washboards and sometimes they use their voices. And every once in a while, they actually do use "real" instruments! These guys had a great sign. It read, "ugly, broke and hungry!" Those signs crack me up. They have progressed over the years to read, "will work for food" to something like, "no lie, need money for drugs and liquor!"
So, a bit of art on the streets in Portland can be a treat cause some of these guys are really good! Walking past a guitarist last night near Living Room Theater's was quite lovely. He was perched on a bench playing some classical tune that was perfect to pass by during our stroll back to our loft. Passing event rooms filled with party goers dancing to, "All The Single Ladies" or some version of it anyways cracked us up. Then the older couple totally enjoying their Ben & Jerry's cones was sweet. Then it was up to bed for me as I listened to the street car pass by a few times as my honey was on the balcony sipping his Oregon Brandy. As I was smelling faintly his new version of a "really good" cigar...I think to myself as I drift off...life is good !
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I love this picture! I even have it as my screen saver on my Mac. I have emailed it to friends, family and I think it's even on Facebook! It's Ray with two of our friends that visited us last weekend from CA.
These two guys are two of Rays good friends from the Corona Fire Department where he worked for over 30 years. Ray retired two years ago as a Deputy Fire Chief and we loaded the truck and moved to Albany. Dreams of opening our inn finally coming true, we have had a blast entertaining guests from all over the world. Fresh eyes, new ideas and an excitement we cannot always contain makes for some really good tour guides! Yeah...that's my new self imposed title. Whatever works as long as I still get to play and Ray gets to keep sampling his version of what makes Oregon taste so darn good. So...these boys sampled a little liquid Oregon right on our front porch while they were here. Ray's version of being a tour guide doesn't always leave the front porch at our inn and that's ok. Oregon is famous for many things!
Our biggest joy since moving here is the success of our downtown. We chose Albany because of our love of historic buildings and homes. We stayed because of the vision and revitalization this area is experiencing and that's something you don't get to witness just everywhere. Being on the cusp of greatness, the edge of something big and knowing there is something special about to happen where you live is pretty darn awesome. Now for us, getting the opportunity to share that with friends and guests at our inn...perfect!
We hope that our visitor's and guest and our friends and families get to enjoy what we love about being here. It's the time of year where people are wondering where to go for their vacations this summer. We hope they choose here! We hope they get to walk along our gorgeous river, dine at one of our delish restaurants, watch balloons take off at daybreak at our fair grounds, taste wine from "our" wineries, picnic at one of our beautiful parks, ride their bikes along our 8th Avenue canal, tour our carousel museum and fall in love with our town!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Ditched the old dude today and took off towards downtown Portland! Ha, just teasin' honey but I did have fun.
I am usually Ray's shadow when we come to Portland but since we have a "love nest" here, I thought it was about time I put my wings on and took off for a while. Got my map, I know where to get on the street car and kind of had an idea where the mall was.
I found it...all by myself...yay!!!
Like an innkeeper cut loose in a bakery, I enjoyed the ride to Alder St. as we passed some of my most fav shops! Sur la Table, Anthropology and all the others. I think I'm going like our little visits to the Rose City.
Ray ran a few errands and texted me the pic above while I was on my adventure. Now, this isn't something you see every day. Well...maybe in Portland you do but not in Albany. So, having the best of both world's will be a hoot and when we need a hefty dose of reality, we'll head home.
While walking around the mall today, I saw a few homeless guys and yeah...every city has them. You can't really ignore them, you know they are there but you try. Saw a sign today though being held by one of the newer Portland street residents that cracked me up. Even those guys have a sense of humor in all their despair! "Making lemonade out of lemons. Now just need money for sugar!" Hey, whatever works I guess. It reminded me of the guys in San Francisco last November holding their signs that read, "no lie...need money for drugs and booze!" Honesty may be the best policy but who knows if it's feeding them.
A little taste of the "big city," a thrill of the big mall, cooking stores, bakeries, restaurants, the street car passing our loft...whatever it is, we love it here but there's no place like home!
Be back soon Albany!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Yes, we had a blast! Well...I think we all did anyways and if the smiles on our friends faces along with Voodoo Doughnut icing is saying anything we are sure they are as smitten with Oregon as we are!
Portland Friday night was a hoot, dinner at Bridgeport Brewery was great, breakfast at Kenny and Zukes...as always delicious! And, showing our friends what we love about Portland, Oregon...exciting!
We had a couple of days in Albany and the Willamette Valley to "show off" this piece of heaven on earth. First it was a Friday evening dinner at the inn followed by a berry pie that was in my opinion...darn close to being the best berry pie I have ever made and the Tillamook Vanilla Ice Cream melting over the top my slice was pretty darn good too!
After breakfast, we hit an estate sale, antique boutiques, the carousel museum and a walk by the Willamette River. We were hungry enough for lunch after that morning and that meant marble rye and turkey sandwiches...again at the inn.
A trip to Hazelnut Hill for nuts of course and a chocolate milkshake and samples of milk and dark chocolate covered hazelnuts and...oh my gosh...time for a nap! Holding our guts for fear of them bursting, we enjoyed a nice afternoon of rest before dining at Vault 244. Yes...more food! But we couldn't deny our friends a taste of downtown Albany...Chicken Marsala, Wild Mushroom Stroganoff, Steaks......
A trip too short, a visit too quick and a ton of fun in just a few days but it ain't over till we've had breakfast! Baked Cherry French Toast, hot "Truck Stop" coffee and sausage for our friends before they leave!
Come back soon...we still have more of Oregon to show you! You need to see Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Alsea, Eugene, Bend, Sister's, Mt. Hood, Sublimity, Nye Beach, Newport, Elkton, Ashland, Jacksonville and all the other places we love. Ray needs to take you river rafting and on a flight over the cascades. I need to take you down that side road so you can see the most beautiful barn I have ever seen. Then we'll go to Paneza Nellie's where we will enter through the back screen door and taste the best bread sticks we have ever eaten.
So many treasures, so much fun and some of the best food in the world! Hope you come back soon!
Monday, March 15, 2010
We are so excited! We get to play tour guides this week! Not only are we innkeeping, but we are hosting friends from SoCal this week too!
Two Dave's a Denise and and a Lauren are coming up to see Oregon, visit the Willamette Valley and us...here in Albany!
So, for their sakes, I have created an itinerary for them! Enjoy and we hope if you are reading this blog, this will entice you to visit Oregon and The Willamette Valley sometime soon!
Itinerary for Two Dave's, Denise and Lauren!
Thank you for considering The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn for your stay in Oregon and the Willamette Valley! We have prepared an itinerary for your stay with us. Please feel free to make suggestions, ask questions and/or request changes for the following:
Thursday, March 18th:
From Pfeiffer Cottage Inn to PDX via Amtrak, we will arrive in Portland at approx. 3:30pm.
Walk from Union Station to The Benson where 3 guest rooms have been reserved for our over night stay in Portland.
At approximately 6pm, we will take the MAX to PDX to fetch another Dave and Lauren! Upon their arrival, we then again take MAX back to the hotel, check them in.
We will take the street car to the Pearl District at approx. 8pm. We will dine at Bridgeport Brewery and Bakery where they have a great selection of items to choose from along with the best beer too!
For dessert, we will head on over to Voodoo Doughnuts! Now, this will be an experience in itself! Prepare to be enticed by a Cap'n Crunch covered doughnut, or a grape powdered covered doughnut or the original Voodoo doughnut itself! You can't come to Portland without this experience!
I am assuming after this evening, the ladies will be exhausted and the guys can join Ray at the cigar lounge at The Benson! Good night!
Friday, March 19th:
Breakfast at 9am at Kenny and Zukes, Portlands authentic Jewish Delicatessen! Blintz's, "real" bagels, eggs, you name...it's on the menu!
Check out of The Benson by 11am and head to Union Station. Back to Albany via Amtrak!
Dinner will be served at the inn at approx. 6pm with a wine and cheese happy hour at 5pm! Steaks seasoned with spices and pan fried in butter and then baked will be served along with Oven Fried Cottage Potatoes and Yams, green salad with dried berries, nuts and Granny Smith apples tossed in White Balsamic Vinegar and olive oil and caprese!
We will enjoy the evening by tasting some of Ray's distilled goods selections, sipping Clear Creek Berry Liqueur's and Bailey's of course!
Saturday, March 20th:
Wake to delightful smells as a Chile Rellano Casserole, homemade pico de gallo and "Truck Stop" coffee are being prepared for you in the dining room. Breakfast is at 9am (and coffee is out by 8)!
Now this where you have some options:
opt. 1 Wine tasting in Lane County via the back roads. Kings Estate, Sweet Cheeks and a few other wineries are on the route as well. If we happen to hit Kings Estate around lunch time, they have a wonderful lunch menu as well as tours every few hours. The tour is worth taking as their grounds and wine cellars are breathtaking!
opt.2 Wine tasting at Willamette Valley Winery in Marion County and/or tasting at Mark's Ridge near Sweet Home in Linn County! This is also a spectacular options. Stunning views of the entire Willamette Valley can be seen at either of these wineries.
Option 1 will take most of the day and get us back in to Albany in time for dinner at Vault 244. However, Options 2 can get us back a bit earlier and we would have time to peruse the Albany Antique Mart, the Carousel Museum, etc. We will still dine at Vault of course!
Remember that there are other options as well: hiking the OSU College Forest trails, walking around Corvallis and the OSU campus, touring the Covered Bridges roads, tasting at Hazelnut Hill, walking through the Monteith District and seeing some of Albany's historic homes. Boasting the most in the entire state of Oregon and the most varied as well, these homes and buildings are a photographers dream and our walking maps are very informative and helpful as well!
Centrally located in the Willamette Valley, Albany offers the perfect location due to their position and ease of navigation through the region. The Linn Countryside is a sight to see and you can begin seeing all of it from Albany!
As the evening winds down, we can again sip and visit as we rest our weary souls from the days Oregon treasures!
Sunday, March 21st:
Breakfast again is served in the dining room at approx. 9am with coffee available by 8! Baked cinnamon french toast with Grand Mariner, Shirred Eggs with homemade pesto, crimini's and swiss cheese, organic chicken feta sausages and melon with blueberries will be prepared for you!
Check out by 11am then back to PDX via Ray and Debbie!
Thanks for coming up and we look forward to your stay with us at The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn. Have a safe trip and we will see you at PDX on Thursday!
Monday, March 8, 2010
We love it here! We love Albany, we love the Willamette Valley and we love, love, love Portland!
My honey bought us a loft in Portland. A love nest, the love shack or whatever you wanna call it. As long as he doesn't get us kicked out for looking like a homeless dude on the balcony in The Pearl smoking his stoggies, we're good!
We spent our first night there last night. Only one night cause we had a guest book a dinner party at our inn tonight. I raced home made these darling white butter creamed sparkling cupcakes for dessert. I love innkeeping, I love cooking, I love baking and I love The Pearl! So, yes...I'm a spoiled brat cause I have the best of both worlds. I get to play at our inn, entertain guests and then we get to escape to our nest every now and then.
We fell in love with Portland about 2yrs ago when staying at The Monaco. It was Valentine's evening and we were in the lobby with a bunch of other hotel guests. There was a dog massager in one corner and an accordion player in the other. We were sipping wine and beer and eating chocolate and were half tempted to crawl on over to the massager and ask for a neck rub. A perfect hotel, a perfect city, a perfect first visit to Portland.
Since that time, Ray has learned the entire transit system. Don't ask me how...I have no idea unless that thing the government planted in brain was a GPS. He knows the MAX system and the street car route by heart. And, it helps that the street car happens to go in front of our new loft one way and on the way back goes behind us. Pretty darn cool!
So, if you are coming to Oregon, wanna see Portland, wanna stay in Albany...let us know. We love acting as tour guides. We know where all the good food is, where the best beer is brewed, where to buy the best Oregon Brandy and most of all we know you would fall in love with Oregon too!