Monday, July 10, 2017

Portland, Oregon {Willamette Valley & Hood River Wineries}

The day after the celebration, we woke up early and went to grab breakfast at Pine State Biscuits. There was a bit of a line, but it moved pretty fast. We had our food within 20 minutes and devoured it. Both of our sandwiches were delicious - Jason went with the Reggie Deluxe and I got the McIsley. While we were stuffed, we regretted not getting some hash browns on the side.

After, we drove through the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River, Oregon. There were a ton of beautiful wineries, cider joints, farm stands, etc. We made our way along the "Fruit Loop", making stops at Marchesi Vineyards (The tables were set up in between the vines!), Wy'East Winery, and Hood Crest Vineyards (amazing bruschetta and pizza!). It was super hot this day, but we still enjoyed hanging out in the shade on the patios. The views of Mt. Hood were just incredible!

On our way back, we decided to grab Salt 'n Straw - a Portland institution. We did eat it in our car with the A/C at full-blast - it was SO hot! We met up with some friends and grabbed a glass at Rogue Ale House while we were waiting for our table at 10 Barrels Brewing Co. We had a glass here and a really yummy dinner. I loved catching up with them - it always feels like no time has past, even though it had been a year since we had last seen each other!

The next morning, Jason and I stopped by Blue Star donuts. We basically got one of everything so the family could try a bit of each kind. We brought them over to the family and chatted for a bit. After that, some of us drove out to more wineries - this time in the Willamette Valley area.

Our first stop was Sokol-Blosser, where we had a reservation. We had our tastings as well as a few meat/cheese plates to share. Thankfully the weather had returned to normal and we loved soaking up the crisp weather! The wine was delicious. In my personal opinion, I prefer Oregon wine to California wine BUT the price point is typically too high for us. The pinot noirs from this area are just perfect and we had some great rose as well.

Next up was Stoller. Here, we skipped the tastings and just got a few bottles of wine to share. We didn't want to waste our time inside when we could sit outside on the lawn! The guys played disc golf and the ladies caught up with each other - it was so peaceful and relaxing out there.

We were all pretty hungry, so we stopped for lunch in Dundee at Red Hills Market. I had actually eaten there on a prior trip and remembered the delicious pizza/sandwiches/salads they had. 

Our last stop of the day was actually my favorite - Penner-Ash. Jenna and I split the tasting and picked out a bottle of ridiculously good Pinot Noir to enjoy. The tasting room was set up on the top of the hill and we just sipped the wine and enjoyed the view.

After all the wineries, we had accumulated 6 bottles (that all made it home safely) for us to enjoy and remember our wonderful trip.

That evening, back in Portland, we went to dinner at Whiskey Soda Lounge (hint - they have many of the foods you'd find at their sister restaurant, Pok Pok, but with little to no line and amazing cocktails). We had mussels, wings and some buns. Plus an Earl Grey cocktail!

Our last morning, we walked around Forest Park for a few hours - taking deep breathes to absorb as much Oregon air as we could! Working up an appetite, we had lunch at Killer Burger (rec'd by Jason's coworker) - where I had a classic burger and Jason had the PBPB (peanut butter, pickle, bacon). Both were SO GOOD, but the PBPB definitely wins the prize for most unique. Also, the Hollywood District is the most charming and adorable area EVER!

We dropped off our car and hung out in the Alaskan Lounge for a bit (thanks Priority Pass!) before our flight home. I even picked up a souvenir pottery coffee mug at a shop called The Real Mother Goose.

Jason loved Portland (YAY!), so I know we'll be back soon. Can't say I'm surprised by this - anywhere in the Pacific Northwest is our jam. I'd love to explore the coastal region more and do some more hikes in the Portland area. Well - this wraps up our 5 days in Portland!

Up Next: We'll be heading to England & Austria soon, but I'll be posting a recap of Jason's 6th Year at Southwest in a week or so!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Portland, Oregon {Cannon Beach}

A few weeks ago, we took a trip to Portland to celebrate my cousin's wedding/have a family reunion! We arrived pretty late on Thursday night, but woke up bright and early on Friday so that we could take a trip out to Cannon Beach.

The drive there wasn't bad at all and we arrived at the coast when it was still quite brisk out! We walked a mile or so to the Haystack Rock. Once we got there, we spent a while looking at the puffins on the rock, exploring the tidal pools and checking out the coastline. 

After we got too cold, we walked back to town and grabbed a coffee & blue cheese and bacon biscuit from Insomnia Coffee Company. We headed a little further north to Ecola State Park where we hiked around for an hour or so. It was really beautiful here - wish we had more time to explore all of the trails!

I really enjoyed our lunch of halibut and prawns from Bell Buoy of Seaside. SO delicious! We grabbed some road-side cherries and then started our drive back to town. We hit some terrible traffic, but still had time to relax a bit before we met up with family at Landmark Saloon. It was so great to catch up with everyone, play cornhole (and get some tips from the master), and have some yummy food.

The next morning, we went for breakfast at Pip's donuts and chai tea - YUM!) After, we went to the Saturday Market with my parents. We sampled some cider, wandered around the stalls and tried not to overheat (it was 100+ this day!) for a while before heading over to Powell's Bookstore. We could have spent hours in the bookstore for sure! 

We met up with family at Deschutes Brewery for lunch and got a beer sampler! We had the celebration that evening - which I sadly got ZERO pictures of! I'm borrowing one to post here. Glad there was a photographer and can't wait to see those photos soon. Dinner was at a place called Aladdin's Cafe. I had never had Syrian food before, but I'm basically obsessed with it now. Hummus! Pita Bread! Garlic Sauce! Baklava! Cardamon ice cream! Seriously, just delicious.

Next up: Wineries in Hood River and Willamette Valley!