Tuesday, November 30, 2010
"...and when they walked past the coffee house she realized it wasn't the same place she had remembered from before. Another block up Park Avenue and there it was...on the right.
The door faced the one way street and she could see coffee cups on the tables, soup in the bowls and an empty table with three chairs through the windows as she approached. Opening the door, they walked inside, ordered their coffee and lunch and sat down to wait.
The place was packed with college students some of which were close to her own age she presumed. Grabbing at the cellophane wrapped candy cane she picked up from the basket at the counter where she placed her order, she decided that removing her jacket and scarf would be a good idea. It was warm inside and the coffee would surely warm her up even more. She was looking forward to sitting for a while before heading back downtown and eventually back to the loft.
The warm up inside the cafe felt good but the short walk in the rain to get on the streetcar was refreshing in its own way. Her Christmas gift list was in her small bag that she sometimes called her Portland purse and it hung crosswise snuggly against her chest. A quick stop at Powell's to grab a couple of books would shorten her list. Seeing a few homeless people out in the rain from the streetcar window on 10th made her feel lucky and a little sad at the same time. It's too wet and cold this time of year to be a homeless person in the Pacific Northwest she thought. The hot dog stand guy and the fiddler just outside Powell's made that familiar stop seem comforting and safe as she gladly entered yet another place to warm up.
Passing by the cookbooks and not stopping to peruse was a feat in itself. Up three flights of stairs to the photography and art section and scarcely passing that area without a stop led her to the place to find the books she was looking for. Grabbing a few of the books on her list, she headed back downstairs and this time she didn't pass the cookbook isles without stopping. Only a few minutes to dream of owning every single one of them, touching the ones she loved and seeing Julia's face on a small book placed on the fourth shelf up, then it was time to head to the market.
Daydreaming of France, French cooking lessons and wishing she could have met Julia when she was younger and walking as fast as she possibly could while huge drops of rain poured down as she passed Sur la Table, she resisted yet another temptation to go inside. Passing one restaurant after another and finally her market was on the left. She ran in to grab something to cook for dinner and then set off to the outdoor store for yet another gift or two then it was going to be time to get back to the loft.
Warmth again! The fireplace was on, the cozy loft was toasty, the tea pot was calling to her as the tea she set out earlier was beckoning to be brewed. She would do just that and along with her book she had shoved in to her book bag for this short trip to Portland, she would enjoy these few minutes of quiet, these moments of solitude and sip her tea and quickly find out what was happening in Cedar Cove!"
Saturday, November 27, 2010
I have to say, this was the best NOSH tour since the beginning. You were all perfect! The tour guests had nothing but very good things to say about you, your restaurants, the food and the ride through town. Thank you all for being so amazing.
As always, Matt and Jesse...it's a pleasure beginning with Sybaris. And, we thank you for such a great beginning. Ruby, again...what can I say...amazingly delicious and as always an awesome surprise for everyone on the tour. Paul and everyone at Calapooia Brewing Co., we are so proud to have our very own brewing co. right here in Albany and we are always so glad to show it off and the food...speechless. No place better in town that's better than your combo of burgers, fries and beer. And the tots...my favs! Beth, thank you for becoming our newest member of "very awesome places to eat in Albany!" Sidekicks was made for this tour or the tour was made for Sidekicks. Either way...I think we are perfect for each other! Now, can I have another PEPPERMINT shake please??? Stacey...I love the food, the Brewster's punch and the vibe of Brewster's. The games always on there and the happy folks, good food and those "can't put them down" chips are to die for. Thank you!!! And to the delightfully delicious folks at First Burger and Boccherini's...oh wow! That soup was sweet and like liquid pumpkin pie. Such a nice way to end our tour. And those donuts...can I have 20 more please??? Thanks for the hot coffee too! Perfect ending, perfect brew and the perfect way to end our tour! Mad Cupcake Love...you were the perfect beginning to the beginning! Amie and Sarah...sweet thank you's and your cupcakes...divine!
We can't thank you all enough! And, some of you will be on our next NOSH tour and a few of you cannot due to Christmas and Holiday parties, etc. We thank you ALL again and will be looking forward to our very little break and ending this season with our plates full on Dec. 18th on our last tour of the year.
To all of you...have a great holiday season and we'll see some of you in December!
Albany Nosh Tours
Friday, November 26, 2010
I kept telling myself last night after our huge Thanksgiving dinner that it was my day to splurge! One day, one meal, two pieces of pie and oh my gosh...my stomach hurt!
I think we all have these experiences during our holiday dinners. We spend all day in the kitchen preparing our feasts. That doesn't even begin to count the hours we spend in preparing our market lists, doing the actual shopping and thinking constantly about making sure we have everything we need for the big day. I think I must have hit the market 3 or 4 times before I felt good about my pantry. Trader Joe's, Market of Choice, Safeway and Fred Meyers respectively.
I was dying to try a new recipe for turkey. I am not a meat eater but I always aim to please and if that means I get to buy a new cookbook, well then I'm all for it. I had watched "The Barefoot Contessa's" episode when Ina made her Roasted Turkey Roulade then proceeded to make it happen. Watched the same episode again, ordered my fresh turkey to be de-boned, pieced out and filleted. That's where our new Market of Choice in Corvallis came in. I love that place! Coffee, tea, lunch and shopping for really good food all in one place. I got Ina's cookbook and went to work to make sure I had all the rest of the ingredients for this turkey roulade! Eau de vie...aka Oregon Pear Brandy, dried cranberries, apple sausage and some good hot Italian sausage too, pine nuts, lots of good butter, sweet onions, bread stuffing mix and all shoved in to my fresh turkey and tied neatly and placed in to the oven to roast for 2-1/2 hours. Yum!
Along with this darling of a turkey, we served the usual green bean casserole, garlic smashed potatoes, rolls, cranberries, my "no meat" dressing, Sherry's asparagus saute'd in lots of garlic and butter and whatever sweet potatoes that survived the usual fire we have in our oven every year. It was all so delicious!
So, after the dinner, the homemade pumpkin and apple pie with again my pate brise' (thanks to Martha), crust and oh yeah...my whipped cream, I thought I was going to burst! Rubbing my belly, looking for a way to get some relief, I figured "what the heck" and so I grabbed yet another very small piece of apple pie and decided if I was going to burst, I was going to go out big. Weird dreams all night but hey...it was all so delicious!
One would think that I learned my lesson after that meal but...I didn't! I intended to behave today, I had really good intentions. I even veered away from things I knew weren't good for me. So, I had my usual latte' and bran muffin at Lovejoy Bakers to get my "good food day" going. Down hill spirals taste so darn good though. Salt Bagels and tomato basil soup at Kenny and Zukes, a piece...just one piece of salt caramels at Moonstruck Chocolate's on 23rd to go with yet another latte' and then the leftovers!
Now I'm eyeing the pies. I can see them sitting there waiting to be devoured. Waiting to be topped with my whipped cream left from yesterday too. Then I shall not keep them waiting any longer. With my fork, my plate and my fortitude, I will press on and face my tasks head on and once again attempt to make myself sick!...bon appetit!
(BTW: that lovely egg dish was Steven's 2nd breakfast today. He has decided that the pastrami Eggs Benedict at Kenny and Zukes is like heaven in his mouth.)
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I am dragging my feet, holding out and rejecting the fact that Christmas is only about six weeks away. I love Autumn and so every time I get to get out and take a walk, I soak up the colors, the scents, the feel and all the fall beauty around me. Today though...I smelled Christmas!
I literally almost put a kink in my neck as I turned my head so fast on my walk this afternoon. I was enjoying every bit of it when all of sudden I smelled pine. Not just any pine but that perfect Christmas pine scent that no candle company can mimic. It was real and I saw it, it was huge and green and I smelled it! The joke was on me today and ok...I get it. The weather is getting colder, the leaves are almost done falling, the piles of them are getting bigger and yes...winter is on its way!
I swore I wasn't going to let summer get past me so fast this year. And as usual, swearing didn't help and I still haven't figured out where it went and it's been gone for a bit now. Then when the leaves began changing colors, I again grasped on to the idea that this season would not escape me. I have to say that I have tried to squeeze out every last bit of it and enjoy it as much as possible. So, I can't actually say that I didn't try and enjoy it and that I did for sure but, does winter have to sneak up on me like that? How rude!!
But I digress and agree that there is no stopping it. Let it come...let it rain...let it be colder than a whatever and yes, I will enjoy it too! I promise!
Next week is Thanksgiving and we will be spending it in Portland doing the whole "black Friday" shopping thing and of course I will be sipping my latte' while watching the Pioneer Square Christmas Tree is lit up like any good part-time Portlander does. I will be excited and the scent of the season will fill me like rain. Then, I will have begun to accept what I cannot change...what I cannot force to be different or last longer and what I cannot say I don't enjoy.
So, winter and that gorgeous Christmas pine I strained to see...bring it on!
I love it too...I really do!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I don't remember sitting for this photograph. It was probably taken in late 1963 or early 1964...I think. I was about 2 or 3 years old and my sister was still pretty young too.
There is something so interesting about these old pictures. Sometimes you can look at them and tell what may have been going on at the time it was taken and sometimes no matter how hard you try to read in to them, you just can't.
My mom was about 19 in this pic and already on her second child. The circa 1960's do and obvious black and white photography depicts the era and except for the fact that these aren't any of your family members, it could quite possibly be hanging in any one's hallway.
I have been spending a few months now getting a slide show ready for my mom and dads 50th wedding anniversary party. My mom spent hours getting me the photos and I spent some time trying to get them in to one slide show. Now that it's done and hopefully in my "iphoto" for good, I got to finally view my creation. Paired with a little music again circa 1960's, some 1970's and some more current music, watching and listening to this show was fun. It got me thinking about what every one's reaction is going to be when they see it. I also began thinking about just how old some of these photos are. And yes...that scared the "you know what" out of me. That means that I'm getting older too!
Next year I will be 50! Yikes! It's a good thing that I don't let age bother me too much. I loved turning 30 and loved turning 40 even more. So, let's see how this "50" thing goes. Needless to say that my parents 50th wedding anniversary is a milestone, a memory that our family will treasure forever and something my parents will remember and hopefully they will have many more years together.
So, on December 11th we will be partying it up big time at the Bellagio in Las Vegas where my parents were married 50 years ago. And, we will be seeing family and friends we haven't seen in long time. Fr. Sabino a priest from local Vegas church will be renewing my parents vows with them as about 100 of their friends and family gather to watch yet again the re dedication this marriage. A little Champagne, a lot of food and hopefully a ton of laughs and fond memories of our family's history over the past 50 years.
Congrats mom and dad!
Friday, November 5, 2010
Ray and I just finished a few days away in Eastern Oregon. On our way back to Albany from Joseph, we came across a ton of cattle ranches. I have to say that seeing all these cattle grazing on grass made me very happy. Yes...I'm still a vegetarian but seeing happy cows lulling about and nibbling at the variety of sweet grasses has to make even a vegetarian happy.
I am almost finished reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma!" It's a very informative and good book. I have learned a lot about food since moving to Oregon and have become more interested in finding out where my food comes from. I wanna know where it is raised, where it is grown and how far it has to go to get to me. And, that is what is great about living here in Oregon. Take a trip! Seriously...get in your car, take a drive or get on your bike or walk and you will see where a lot of our local food is grown!
My goal over the next several months, is to find a chef that is willing to give me a few hours every day for one week. I wanna pick his or her brain about food! I wanna see where they trod, pick what they pick, forage what they forage, put on my big boots and get the whole knee deep experience! Not an original idea but if Michael Pollan can do it, so can I.
Thinking twice or several times a day about what to serve for dinner or for breakfast to our guests is part of my normal life. I want to be sure to use what I can that is local, found here in Oregon and my region. Our guests love that we take the time to be sure our eggs are from chickens raised here in our valley and they love when I take a few minutes to let them know that I got our Sourdough Raisin Walnut bread from our farmer's market on Saturday or that the kale I have tossed in butter and French salts came from the local roadside stand that actually trusts that you'll slip your money in to the little non descript slot. By the way...that still freaking amazes me.
So, watch for my story or blog that follows me tagging along with a local chef to see how a week in their food life goes. And, check out Michael's book..."The Omnivore's Dilemma!"