Monday, October 24, 2011
AVEC... a little French, some Basque and a shared bottle of wine!
Always looking for that unique food experience and we found it at AVEC this evening. A very small, simple and quite crowded restaurant in Chicago... certainly worth the wait!
Wine while we waited for a table or a spot at the chefs bar. Our favorite seat in any restaurant and we got one for each of us!
The best seats are always at the chefs bar. Watching them work, prepare food, roll out my focaccia with taleggio cheese, ricotta, truffle oil and fresh herbs was truly entertaining. Ray had the black-eyed pea and turkey sausage casserole with rapine, ricotta and calabrian chili fennel relish!
Like many of the restaurants in and around Portland, AVEC in Chicago has a truly original personality. It comes out in the style of the restaurant, the flair in the food, the mastery of "the art of food making," and satisfaction in knowing that they have created something that cannot be found anywhere else.
I could only eat a few pieces of my focaccia... so rich with the cheeses and truffle oil. I only wish I could have eaten the whole thing or had friends to share it with. Next time!
Ray had the special dessert tonight... raspberry sorbet and for me... just coffee with cream and a very little thin shortbread cookie with chocolate chips and currents baked in to it. I'm quite certain that the ending to this little soiree will bring me sweet dreams tonight!
Monday, October 17, 2011
A small gathering of family, close friends and the two lovebirds saying their "I do's!"
I made this heart with my gloved finger on the icy cold hood of our car last winter in Boise. Little did I know it would become an icon for "love"!
Paris is romantic...the place for lovers, a place to fall in love and a place to "pop" the question!
A honeymoon cottage or a suite at the inn, either way...there is Champagne and Chocolates waiting for the newlyweds!
For wedding photographs, vintage does it best! The Pfeiffer Cottage Inn is blissfully photogenic. The organic structure that exudes Craftsman is bold and sweet at the same time. Woods, decor and all the trimmings that make your wedding, your wedding photographs and your wedding night the most romantic moments in your lives.
In the quaint garden or the large parlor, 1908 was a good year for a wedding. Joining hands, hearts and lives with those who love you in vintage bliss...white wedding cupcakes for up to fifteen guests for a perfect Oregon Wedding ...at the inn!
Call for information for your small event!
Friday, October 14, 2011
Milky Way Martini's, steaks, salads, and some delicious looking chocolate dessert that I have yet to devour and what a night!
We love entertaining our out of town guests at the inn but it's even more fun for us to entertain our friends from SoCal. We often get that look from them when we are south when we tell them that we're really not in to chain restaurants. But then...they come up here to the delicious PNW and totally get why we are so snooty! It has to be local, it must be fresh and it has to taste amazing! So, we got the nod, the look and satisfaction of making yet another friend swoon with the tastes of Oregon. Yes...she held her hand over her tummy with the look that just says..."I've had the best meal of my life!"
Thanks Sybaris!... you did it again and you keep doing it over and over. We are glad you are back from New York City and thank you for helping us win over our friends and guests at the inn.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Ambiance is important to me. I love candles, white linen, white sheers and crystal with white china. My Raspberry Dream Cocktail I enjoyed at The Joel Palmer House tonight blended in perfectly.
My first course...Joe’s Wild Mushroom Soup – rich essence of puréed suillus mushrooms finished with crème fraiche . So cute that the server drew a mushroom with the creme fraiche. Kind of like a barista at my favorite coffee house that makes the perfect gingko leaf with the steamed milk froth.
Everything is about mushrooms at The Joel Palmer House as it should be. The Willamette Valley is loaded with them and is one of the best places to forage for these gems. We enjoyed pasta dishes of stroganoff and penne with the most delicious flavors.
The meal ended with a dessert of coffee and a chocolate peanut butter concoction that was quite heavenly. It also ended with Executive Chef Christopher Czarnecki posing with me in this photo and then giving us a personal tour of his wine cellar. How lucky are we!
About 3,000 bottles of purely OREGON WINE, Christopher invited us in to his wine cellar. He is proud to serve his guests only wines from Oregon with about 500 different Oregon Pinot Noir's and about 650 different Oregon wines in all. Pretty amazing and the perfect place to go if you are out wine tasting all day and need a place to experience all that delicious wine with food grown and served locally by people that have been doing so for generations.
The Joel Palmer House is everything that exudes the true Oregon experience. It's location, it's standing in the community of wine country and it's history. If you are visiting the Willamette Valley, I highly recommend The Joel Palmer House to make your visit complete. Check out their website to find a local Bed and Breakfast to make your stay in Oregon even more memorable.
Monday, October 10, 2011
Pumpkins at the inn!
Found this cute porch and ghost on my walk this morning in the Monteith District in Albany!
This made me laugh!
A front porch worthy of the cover page of Better Homes & Gardens!
Walking east on 7th Avenue...downtown Albany!
Left Coast Cellars today...for wine tasting and photographs!
The vintner's say that we need a few more weeks of sunshine for these grapes to fully mature and be ready for picking. Well...it's been rainy, overcast and cool lately so I don't know. But, the sweet fruits at Left Coast Cellars today looked pretty nice to me and ready to go but then again...I'm only an expert at wine tasting not grape pickin'!
Friday, October 7, 2011
I heard this was happening in Albany as guests arrive via Amtrak in to the train station. Last Saturday, I arrived at Albany's Amtrak Station to pick Ray up. He was due to arrive any minute from Portland and when I got there, a band was waiting. The minute the train came in to view, the band began playing and as the train came to a halt and guests began to descend the steps, they were pleasantly surprised!
The band played on for a few minutes as people smiled and enjoyed their personal band greeting. What a great idea. If someone on the train traveling through Albany didn't know where Albany was before, it surely knows now.
Great job HARP and I'm excited to see what's in store next!
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
It's amazing what can happen when a few people log in to Facebook at the same time. You meet folks you probably would have never met otherwise.
A few miles south east of where I live, the sweet town of Brownsville sits nestled amongst historic buildings, darling homes and a history worthy of bragging rights. That's where the author Tina Boscha lives. I was introduced to Tina by my friend Linda and within a few days, Tina was set to come and join us as we began our new book club season.
Small towns in Oregon are often similar in that they hold so much history, a plethora of vintage buildings and homes and a few interesting characters that truly make it fun. However, Brownsville seems to draw a little more than the average small Oregon town when it comes to interesting folks. Artists, authors, and other amazing talent fill the small town of Brownsville and we love it when all that talent spills in to where we live. Tina Boscha, teacher, author, wife, mother, pet lover and the daughter of the woman her first published book is based on, was the guest at our book club meeting at the inn Tuesday evening. River in the Sea, set in the Netherlands during WWII, captures the essence of suffering, the sacredness of family, the excitement of a first love, the hardship of sacrifice and the seemingly unending saga of coming of age. The character Tina's book is based on is a 15 year old girl named Leen and in my opinion a story worthy of becoming High School required reading.
River in the Sea is probably one of the most descriptive books I have read and although most of us have not had to endure what the main character had to go through, we can surely relate to being young and unsure of what the future holds. Truly a book for all ages. A book and story a mother and daughter can read together. A piece of historical fiction based on real life and real lives that I will probably not easily forget about for a very long time.
Thank you Tina for joining us and thank you for the story.
you can purchase Tina's book on Amazon!
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Taking photos of the pines!
Stopping at a roadside veggie stand to see the white eggplant!
Stopping at a wildlife refuge center to see the dedication to help injured and sick animals and birds.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
There is something today about the pumpkin patch I was at that made me a little misty. I saw parents propping their babies up against large bales of straw. I saw piles of orange pumpkins separated by size and shape. I witnessed a parent tell his child to only pick a pumpkin he could lift all by himself. Those days I remember really don't seem that far away.
Going to the pumpkin patch every year was something we always looked forward to. It was funny though when you could tell by the look on Sandy's face that she thought she was just way too cool be posing with her younger brother and sister loaded down with pumpkins just to satisfy me and my camera. Now you can find her propping her babies up against those bales and hoping they'll hug on to their big orange pumpkins for that perfect picture. What goes around.....
I left the pumpkins still attached to the vines for the kids. I'm an adult and can clearly be satisfied just picking a few perfect ones from the bins. Well, maybe....
Still don't get the "white" pumpkin thing but they are beautiful in a pile against an old white barn on a farm.
I think mine are right there on top!
Me and my honey along with our other 50+ year old friends will be running through this haunted corn maze next weekend. Come heck or high water anyways! I'll never be too old for a little ghostly fun!
Stacked at Peoria Rd. Farms, more orange pumpkins, apples for my pies and other veggies I just couldn't resist.