Thursday, September 29, 2011
There is something pretty special about being in the middle of a vineyard here in Oregon. The fact that I can walk or ride a horse through the center of the vines as they are growing with their fruit just hanging on the vines makes me feel like I am a part of what's going on. An Oregonian for only a few years but if I believed I was once here in another life, I think I was probably a vintner. This is really funny because I don't know a lot about wine. I do love however, the feeling I get when I'm close to the vines. It's like a feeling you get when you planted flower or vegetable seeds in your garden and you actually grow something. Quite an amazing feeling.
A beautiful piece of art rendered out of the kindness of an artists heart. A back drop for the new Oregon Wine Country License Plate depicting what I get to see every day. Living in the Willamette Valley is really that amazing. I hope I never tire of seeing these sweet rows of fruit. I never want to take it all for granted.
Rows of empty Pinot Noir glasses although they didn't start out that way as we tasted our way through the event at Willamette Valley Vineyards celebrating the new license plate. The joke was that we were all encouraged to get the new plates as soon as they are available so as to have them on our cars while driving through Napa Valley. They are hoping to have them ready by March 2012.
A celebration of agriculture in Oregon, a boost for an already booming tourism piece and an another reason to celebrate where we live! The Willamette Valley Wine Country!
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I love watching the Maple in our garden change colors. I try to capture a photo as often as possible. The leaves are already falling too fast.
These hops are so big this year. The third year for these plants and I really need to get out there and chop em down!
My favorite part about gardening...the after party! It feels so good to sit with a cold beer after working in the yard and look at my accomplishments.
This Espresso Stout was on our last NOSH tour. I wanted to try it really bad but I was so engrossed in the Chocolate Molten Lava Cake that I really forgot it was there. I guess chocolate is only thing I love more than beer. Hmmm....go figure!
Sunday, September 25, 2011
A perfect setting at Sybaris in downtown Albany made for a great impression for our food tour yesterday afternoon. About thirty very hungry tour goers made their way through town via trolley tasting at six local restaurants!
What did we "taste?" Well, here's a rundown...Halibut and potato cakes with mustard cream, grilled tomato oil and fresh basil at Sybaris paired with a lovely California white, a dish of tomatoes and cheese with a little pesto at Clemenza's just down the street on First Ave. Then, a nice slice of Chicken pizza that ended with with Spumoni Ice Cream cake and an awesome voice by Tanner the karaoke dj at Pizza King. That kid needs an agent and fast!
Calapooia Brewing Co., as always an amazing stop. Flights of their famous Chili Beer along with a few others and their tasty in-house made Root Beer. Class Five Burgers, Reuben's, Sunburgers and tots at a brew house...how very fitting and paired deliciously with a nice tour of the brewery in back.
Off to Brewster's to sample their new addition...Chicken Pot Pie! They said..."oh, wow...this is the best chicken pot pie I ever had!" And...they were seriously telling the truth. A big hit and a surely a big seller for their fall and winter menu. Oh, and that Brewster's Punch...my fav!
End all that with a final stop at Cappies Brewhouse. Finalized with an nice Espresso Stout and a sweet dish of Molten Berried Chocolate Lava Cake. Warm, chocolaty, berried up Chamborded goodness chased by that stout...oh god...how could something taste so sinfully good?!
Thank you to ALL of our restaurants, our guests on the tour and thanks to those who coordinate such lovely things in Albany. The taste was perfect!
Have a great time in New York Matt and Janel...Sybaris as always is a winner and wish we were all going with you!
Have a great time in New York Matt and Janel...Sybaris as always is a winner and wish we were all going with you!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Pioneer Square Monday Farmer's Market...the first day!
Matt Bennett...owner of Sybaris in downtown Albany stirring up some local berries! Matt and Janel are heading for New York City next week. Matt will be preparing an authentic Willamette Valley menu at the James Beard House.
Root veggies are all the rage you know. They are in everything! We were recently at Toro Bravo and had an awesome salad that contained some very delicious beets. I also found some squash and nuts and more amazing things in that salad. It's making me hungry just thinking about it.
I usually don't go to Corvallis Farmer's Market because I get what I need for the week in Albany on Saturdays. However, we were too busy to make a stop last Saturday and I had promised a guest that she would enjoy some good local food. So, today I headed to Wednesday market in Corvallis and proceeded to load my market bag with good stuff. I realized after a few minutes that I only had 22 bucks on me. I wasn't too happy with myself because I had planned to load up on a lot of good stuff. As I made my way through the market, I realized that my money was going to be plenty. Several tomatoes, squash, onions, peppers and two bunches of cilantro later, I realized that I actually had four dollars left over. Two potato donuts for the boys and two bucks less, I remembered how close I was to the Alpine Sourdough Bakery. I walked in and grabbed a loaf bread and saw the sign..."we don't take plastic!" Darn!!! The guy behind the counter said to take what I wanted and just remember to pay him next time I come in. Seriously? That seems to happen a lot around here. It's not unusual to drive down a back road and see produce and flowers for sale with a sign saying, "just leave money in bucket!" Yes...I live in place like that.
Not a day goes by that I am not stunned by some experience here in Oregon. The nicest folks in a place like nowhere else on earth.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Every year at this time, I have to literally tell myself to slow down. Autumn is my most favorite season and I don't want to miss any part of it. There is just something about the way the leaves change colors and scatter on the ground. The sky even looks bluer in Autumn and the hues make the lakes bluer too. The changing colors of the trees and other foliage lie against that stunning organic backdrop like a painting. It's like the shades of greens, oranges and reds along with blues and browns have been so carefully chosen by an artist to be sure to capture the feel of fall. A masters drawing, an architects design and perhaps a photographers model...Autumn in Oregon is art in and of its own.
Even in black and white, the fallen leaves take on a life of their own!
I call this one a self portrait but seriously, she can be found at Vintage Roost this weekend!
If I were asked by someone when the best time to visit Oregon is, I would say Autumn. But, I would also say that if you come in Autumn, be sure to plan on taking your sweet time. We can't rush the season here in the Willamette Valley. The grapes are on their own time clocks and you have to be here for the harvest. The hops are drying and you have to experience our awesome Oregon beer. The food has been foraged and picked and prepared for your visit too and lucky you...the best of our Oregon Bounty is found here in the Willamette Valley where we encourage you to take your time and enjoy every bite.
Remember...it's ok to stay for that extra piece of pumpkin pie!
Friday, September 16, 2011
There are several links below to provide you with information about Thornton Lake. You will be surprised to find out how many species of birds live there and rely on the lake and surrounding areas for survival and there is more to that "Turtle Crossing" sign you see while driving on N. Albany Road. Turtles find refuge and safety on Thornton Lake. Preserving places for nesting, laying eggs and getting the nutrients they need for survival is all counting on us.
A place to call home, a place for the turtles to thrive and a place for many species of wildlife to find a little piece of heaven and it's all found in a town known for its devotion to preservation. We hope to see you at the Wheelhouse on October 6th!
"Trails, a pavilion, and a nature-based playground will be built to teach children the history of the relationships between nature and humans"
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
A little pink flower, prosecco with a sweet twist of something delicious!
A smooth Italian Grappa, my cocktail and a rum'd up pink lemonade!
All three of us chose the special containing pasta, egg plant, tomatoes and a very delicious olive oil based sauce. The service was awesome and our dinner came out of the kitchen quickly. Reminding myself that I didn't need to rush through this experience, I enjoyed each and every bite! If I had to choose what restaurant in Portland this place reminded me of, it would be Piazza Italia just around the corner from our loft on NW Johnson. Authentic Italian flavors melded with the seasoned olive oil and a cheese that made the pasta kind of melt in your mouth and that made me smile. It's amazing what you taste when you tell yourself to slow down to really taste your meal.
I highly recommend The Pink Door and just click here and you will be taken to their website. It's a good idea to make a reservation and check out the entertainment as it's also quite amazing. Trapeze artists, jazz bands and a little burlesque only adds to the whimsy.
In conclusion, it's all about the food at The Pink Door along with the lovely cocktails, the entertainment, Puget Sound and the darling wait staff that helped make our evening so very special!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
A very wise woman once told me..."Whenever we go anywhere we have a hard time finding things to do between meals. We are thinking about food all of the time."
That pretty sums me up to a "t!" I was so glad to hear her say that because the fact that we plan our road trips around food kind of scared me a little. So, once I got the ok, we wrote down and planned all of our meals for our trip to Seattle.
Serious Pie was number one on our list. About a year ago, we were walking around Seattle and I just saw the word "pie" and decided that would be fine with me if we ate there for dinner. Then we realized they meant "pizza" pie. We ate there anyways. Wow...the best pizza I have ever had. Yukon Gold Potato, Rosemary and Pecorino...the best! The crust is airy but doesn't give way to tasteless pizza dough. A hint of chewiness with just enough weight to make it easy to pick up and eat with your hands. Top that with very thin sliced potatoes cooked perfectly with just a tad of crunch on the edges, a little rosemary for flavor and then the pecorino shredded thin and with a bit of crunch of its own. I'm telling you it's pizza heaven!
We also tried the Buffalo Mozzarella, Red Sauce and Basil pizza. Again...perfection!
There was no wait this time and they do not take reservations. Last year we waited over 45 minutes for a table as the restaurant is small but that is part of the experience. Family style seating on high tables and chairs give way to easy conversation with strangers which is fun. A nice cold beer and some Hard Apple Cider went well with the pizza and now I can't believe I have to wait at least another year to have it again.
We ended our first night in Seattle with a ride on the monorail and a night time visit to the Space Needle. And...of course a night cap consisting of Coconut Cream Pie, Buttermilk Peach Ice Cream and Homemade Donuts shaken in a bag of powdered sugar and sided with sweetened marscapone and homemade peach jam at Dahlia's Lounge!
On the agenda tomorrow?...Betty's for breakfast and a delicious little dining dig near Pike's Market where we made reservations for 8pm in the patio.
Let's see what we can do to fill time tomorrow between eating!
Monday, September 12, 2011
Walking downtown via the "prom"...that's what the locals call the promenade and we'll begin with coffee then see what else the day brings. Hoping for some sunshine but this kind of weather is truly the best for photography. Later!
Thursday, September 8, 2011
I constantly think and obsess about taking photos. I have heard of this disorder and with the little psychiatric training I received in nursing school, I learned that it is important to let the patient obsessively wash her hands because by preventing her from doing so only increases her anxiety.
And if you are wondering...I did relax that day. I laid in the boat and stared at the sky and the water and then wondered...how cool it would be to photograph my feet in a relaxed pose at the front of the little boat. I had to be sure to get some the of lake, the sky and the landscape in the frame too.
A little obsessed yes but when there is so much that is worthy to be photographed, how can I help myself?!
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Beginning September 16th, the "roost" will be open on Fridays and Saturdays till September 24th from 10am to 5pm. Debbie Williams has the talent for bringing beautiful vintage treasures together in one sweet place and they can all be found... "Nestled in the scenic hills of the North Albany Countryside." Join those of us that love Autumn and where finding Autumn begins...under the big oak trees at Vintage Roost.
"Hand fashioned home and garden decor by 30 crafters. Antiques, Collectibles, Baked Goods and More!"
935 NW Scenic Dr. 1/2 mile off HWY 20 in North Albany
credit cards now accepted...whoooo hoooooo!
Thursday, September 1, 2011
As evidenced by my tour through the "photography" floor of the Portland Art Museum...
I have come to the conclusion that to be famous for my photography, I will have to wait about 50 more years.
We have been wanting to take in "The Allure of the Automobile" while the exhibit is parked at the Portland Art Museum. Finally today we walked over and spent some time enjoying these beautiful cars. I know we will never really see these beauties on the road but it was fun imagining myself behind the wheel of this Corvette. Although, I also could imagine all the fiberglass crumbling in just a minor fender bender too. That fact alone would cause me to keep this baby parked safely in a garage if it was mine.
....but a girl can still dream...can't she?
Try and get to Portland to see these autos before September 11th if you can. A perfect excuse to get to the Rose City and have lunch at The Original Dinerant on 6th Avenue. Great Caprese Panini and the fries are out of this world. They've got burgers, bourbon shakes made with salted caramel, honey grapefruit sodas and floats too!
You know that no matter what, for me...it's always about the food!