Friday, September 22, 2017

family, food & wine!

Yes, it's New Years (Jewish) and so of course thoughts turn to family and food and wine... celebrations of the blessings of the prior year (dodging Irma being the most recent) and how to live your life for the upcoming year.  So in celebration of our brother and sister in law becoming empty-nesters we headed to Portland (where Steve & Suzanne - S&S - live and work) on the same day their daughter Marissa left for Jakarta and the start of her "gap" year... and as luck would have it Cousin Michele (who now lives in Seattle) was able to join us for a dinner and a day of wine tasting as well!

We arrived late and exhausted from a week filled with many activities (and much time spent dealing with the oncoming Hurricane and then the Hurricane and then the Hurricane aftermath - all from a distance.  The distance put us out of harm's way, but not our friends and family who live in Florida full time.  After the Thursday night concert (prior post) Phil met a friend for the Cubs/Cardinals game Friday afternoon and then we headed to the airport.  Steve was gracious enough to pick us up, which was above and beyond the call of filial duty LOL.

On Saturday morning we had some excellent bagels from an east side bagel truck that Steve got up early to retrieve for us, while Suzanne went to the farmer's market.  We headed south on 99W towards McMinnville OR and our first stop was Domaine Drouhin Oregon (DDO) where we had more than enough to taste and to buy...LOL of late DDO has been bringing in some Domaine Drouhin burgundies to sell via their US operations. So we didn't budget either our time or money to get to all the places we wanted to that day but somehow soldiered on... the weather was really lovely but a haze from fires came and went all weekend long.

From DDO we went to Archery Summit and then to Bergstrom and then to Roco.  We got to meet my sales rep Ryan at Bergstrom (fun to put face with name on both sides of the email relationship) then we rushed (in rush hour) back to PDX to meet up with Michele and head out to dinner at the terrific Castagna (an overwhelming tasting menu left us all in a food coma - all excellent and fun but just plain too much!) TIP- do the shorter tasting menu the longer one completely overwhelms....

two wonderful wines from S&S cellar

snacks - a ton of them to start - we were full before course  number One showed up LOL

bread with butter or with lardo and herbs

Crab- followed by albacore


smoked trout followed by halibut and foie gras

"salad" with heirloom tomatoes

duck followed by beef

palate cleanser of granite and pearls of flavored oil

tarts start the dessert courses - yes there were many of those as well LOL

their signature dessert- caramelized potato skins- the folded meringue has amazing flavors of caramel on the dark side - this was waaay yummy!

a final treat of cold bars that were some kind of Asian flavor akin to red bean ice cream

we were stupefied by the number and variety of dishes - next time we all agreed the smaller menu would be a more judicious choice LOL

The next day we got up and headed toward Salem to visit St Innocent, Bethel Heights, and Cristom vineyards - all had terrific wines and so we bought at all three.... Michele left to head back to Seattle and we headed to PDX for a favorite meal of the weekend at HoldFast... The menu was more manageable and the pairings interesting (we brought two bottles but only opened one, as the pairings were good) this would be my current recommendation for PDX dining if anyone is headed there. Chef's counter seating for viewing the meal prep of the two outstanding chefs. Really a nice evening all around!

steamed and moist brown bread with browned butter that was absolutely magnificent- OH WOW!

above - their wine pairings and below the bottle we brought (again from the cellar of S&S)

final treats - Phil ate his stick treat when I was up photographing the wine pairings (aaaarrrggghhh! LOL)

our take home - the brown bread with the recipe (won't be making this anytime soon- double bain-marie based cooking for four plus hours LOL) However we did enjoy it the night we got home as a side to the grocery store roast chicken - and it was way better than the chicken even at three days old!

Monday we had lunch reserved at JORY at the Alison Inn and a later tasting at Argyle.  In between we stopped at Panther Creek tasting room and the Ponzi tasting room in Dundee.

weather was predicted to be bad on Monday but this was the view from the kitchen right before we left for lunch -

starters of melon soup - salmon - and salad

mains of halibut salad - two paella and a burger

then on to the wineries for the day - Panther Creek - Ponzi and Argyle

harvest has begun and the wine makers were all very busy so we didn't get to spend time with any buddies but did touch base via text and email-

Somehow the day got away from us again and we headed back for dinner at LePigeon....
adorable Lucy (not our Lucy the Lucy of the S&S household)

and our final dinner of the trip at LePigeon - hard to follow an act like the Holdfast dinner - and they couldn't but it was a very good meal -

more S&S wines

tuna tartare and watermelon ordered by Suzanne and Tor

Phil's foie gras starter

Steve had the sweetbreads I think LOL

the mains - Phil's pigeon

wagyu brisket


Truffle chicken

foie gras profiteroles one for each and the ice cream sandwich shared for desserts - those were excellent -

Suzanne drove us to the airport on Tuesday afternoon - we had lunch at Kenny and Zuke's (better airport food than either of the Chicago airports) and arrived home about 10:30 after hitting a diner for a late evening bite before coming home to Lucy (so she wouldn't be angry at us just dropping bags and going out LOL)

A completely fun three plus days - family, food and wine (what's not to like?)

The next day Phil went to the grocery and I started meal prep for a dinner party on Thursday to celebrate a visit from dear friend Laure (new mom to Hugo -seven weeks old) - hosting Neil, Lee, Laure, Sheila and Mary (along with Laure's six year old Alix and newborn Hugo) - looking forward to the weekend and some down time with friends before a crazy next week (which happens to be the last week before we leave for the Republic of Georgia- more on that to follow...)  #lifeisgood

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