Mar 022015
 

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early (aka 8:30am) and made a breakfast of scrambled eggs with spicy pork sausage and fried polenta with a lot of spicy sauce. It was really good and only around 400 calories. Plus coffee. It was a nice day out and we planned on going for a hike. I’m slightly disturbed by the abnormally nice weather here in Portland. Usually the rain starts in February and goes through June. I really hope this doesn’t mean we won’t get a summer….Anyways, here was breakfast:

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Bella gets SUPER EXCITED when she realizes we are going for a hike. We start getting the gear together and she starts spazzing out, whimpering, jumping, whining, running between the rooms where Michael and I are in. Total spaz. We made a stop at Subway to get lunch to go and then hit the road for a day hike in the Gorge! It was a gorgeous, warm-ish day (55 degrees) but a little on the windy side. We drove about 45 minutes east towards the Bridge of the Gods and decided to hike Dry Creek Falls. We’ve done it a few times but this time was the longest distance we did on this hike.

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I like this trail a lot because it’s rarely ever crowded. It’s a good workout without being too brutally hard you’re miserable and it’s through old growth forest that shields the bitter cold winds of the Gorge. The parking lot right by the Bridge of the Gods is a pay lot, but if you drive one block away and drive through the neighborhood there’s parking under the bridge for free right by the trailhead. FYI.

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We walked on the soft ground padded with pine needles and moss and the trail snaked through the thick trees that made the forest seem dark. There were breaks in the trees where we got to enjoy some of the sunshine. It was warm enough that a jacket wasn’t needed. I had a moisture-wicking t-shirt and a sweater on and that was good.  We came across a few different groups of hikers and everyone was really nice, plus all the people with dogs off leash put them on a leash when they saw us! What a nice change. Also, Bella did SUPER great on the hike. No barking at strangers or dogs, she just seemed a little excited and curious.

We got to a fork in the trail where the falls are and a bridge. This is as far as we’d ever gone on this hike. We skipped the Falls this time because I remember it being kind of small and anticlimactic. Instead, we decided to cross the bridge and go further up the trail.

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Bella tends to be afraid of bridges. She panics and refuses to cross the bridge. I went first and we walked single-line across the short and narrow bridge. She was a little freaked out but made it across ok! It’s so funny what she’s afraid of. Bridges. Vaccuums. The mop…Silly pup.

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We got across the bridge and stopped for lunch. We shared a Subway sandwich and drank some water in the sunshine and hung out next to the creek and bridge. It was a nice view for lunch. We’d hiked about 45 minutes so far at this point.

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After lunch we continued up the trail. It was quiet and dim, no one else on this part of the trail. We hiked through the forest and the trail was pretty level at this point. The first part of the trail is strenuous and gets your heart pounding but this part was pretty easy. Bella stopped to sniff every single fern in the forest and we passed by acres of moss covered trees and mushrooms and furry forest creatures, which thankfully Bella wasn’t too interested in.

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We hiked for awhile and then came to a clearing and a boulder field. The trail was beginning to get a bit rocky here and I stumbled a lot. I think I was starting to get tired and even though we’d eaten lunch mid-hike, I don’t think I fueled properly for the amount of hiking we did. I was starting to feel like I was close to hitting the wall. My body felt okay at this point but I was tired.

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There was a bit of a view of the river, Washington state, trees and sunshine from the top of the boulder field.

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We stopped along the narrow trail to let some other people pass by on the trail before we continued on. Bella was doing ok but I was a little worried about her footing on the boulder field. The trail was ok but the rocks were pretty big. *I* was struggling with it!

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The boulder field was still cool.  We kept hiking up the trail and it was going deeper into the forest. Michael joked that we were almost to Canada. It was part of the Pacific Crest Trail, which goes from Canada to Mexico, so in theory we COULD have kept going…But I was definitely getting tired and was ready to turn around.

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It was such a pretty day and a nice hike but it was definitely time to turn around. In fact, we probably should have turned around about a mile before here. I was feeling lethargic and while my body felt ok (knees, etc), I was stumbling on the rocks on the trail. It was difficult in places to get the right footing and when I start stumbling I know I’m getting tired. I had some water and we continued on.

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While there aren’t that many viewpoints, it really is a pretty hike. We trekked down the trail and then got to the bridge. Bella crossed it like a champ, no fear this time, and we continued down the trail. Thankfully it was mostly downhill.

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We FINALLY got back to the car.  The last 3/4 miles were hard for me. My knees were starting to feel sore and I was really, really tired. Bella was doing okay, though, so that was good.

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We got back to the car and Michael checked our mileage. We did 6.16 miles! That was the longest hike we’ve done in a long time! It was roughly 1 mile longer than I would have wanted, but despite the fatigue, I enjoyed the day. Here are my calories:

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767 Calories burned! Bella fell asleep in the car immediately. I would have fallen asleep had Michael not poked me periodically to keep me awake. :P We got home, I gave Bella a bath, I also took a bath with epsom salts to try and relax my cranky knees and shins, and then Michael got started on dinner. Dinner was BBQ ribs and Brussels Sprouts. YUM! It might have been the best ribs Michael has done to date and I LOVE Brussels sprouts, so it was pretty much the perfect meal after a strenuous hike.

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The hike was good. It was a really nice day and the weather was near perfect. Would have been even more perfect had it been shorts and t-shirt weather. I iced my grumpy knees Saturday night and relaxed with some episodes of Gilmore Girls. All in all it was a good day!

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Feb 182015
 

Michael’s dad came to visit for a long weekend. He’s been in the beer business for decades so of course we wanted to show off some of the Oregon beers! I turned him on to my favorite beer–Boneyard IPA–a few years ago and he agrees it’s one of the best tasting beers he’s had. :D One of the local Fred Meyer grocery stores has a growler filling station and they have Boneyard on tap! Of course I had to go and fill our growler for Michael’s dad to enjoy at home during his visit (and for me too LOL).

The first night he was in town we went to Gino’s in Sellwood. It’s a really good Italian restaurant without the hassle of going downtown. It’s an old Portland institution that is always packed, no matter what time of the week you go. Thankfully we got a table pretty quickly. We shared a Caesar salad to start and I got a glass of the Pinot Grigio wine. I got the ravioli special. It was ravioli with goat cheese in it and a butternut squash sauce on the outside of the pasta. It was a really interesting take on butternut squash ravioli! It was topped with some red pepper flakes and toasted hazelnuts. It was very rich but so delicious! Considering we eat pasta like 2x a year it was a real treat.

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Monday was a holiday. I slept in a little bit and then went to the gym while Michael and his dad hung out at home and had breakfast. I did my weight routine–lots of kettle bell exercises and some ab work–and then did 2.25 miles on the elliptical. It was a good, sweaty session, that came no where close to burning off the pasta from the night before!!

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It was such a nice day out in Portland! 60’s and sunny! The perfect spring/summer tease that comes every mid-February right before the rains starts. The three of us went out to lunch at Hopworks in SE Portland. It’s a cool restaurant/pub with a bike and beer theme. How can you go wrong with that?? I ended up getting the Thai Peanut Wrap with chicken (instead of tempeh) and it was really tasty. It came with red cabbage, quinoa, broccoli and peanut sauce. It didn’t sit too heavy, either, which was good. Michael got a chopped salad and his dad got the chicken tenders. Everything tasted really great! (Sometimes the food can be hit or miss.)

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We also shared a tasting tray of 15 beers! I think the favorite for Michael and I was the Abominable Winter Ale, which was rich and smooth and hoppy like an IPA, which was odd for a winter ale. Those are usually darker beers. But it was really good! Of course I also liked the IPA’s and the double IPA’s, those tend to be my favorites. The hoppier the better. There were a lot of beers that I skipped (I’m not a fan of dark beers).

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Surprisingly, I also LOVED the Radler–which was a lager (40%) and lemonade (60%)! It was SO good. I could see myself drinking WAY too many of those lovely ladies on a hot summer day. Michael’s dad told the story of how the Radler got started. Apparently in the 1920’s some German town was full of thousands of cyclists one summer day and Radler was running out of beer in his pub so he started mixing the beer with a lemon lime soda that didn’t sell very well on it’s own and everyone loved it! Hence, the beer/lemonade combo was born. I googled it when we got home and found this ad:

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Too funny! After lunch and beer tasting we hit one more local brewery, Burnside Brewing. It’s one of my cousin’s favorites and I’m a fan of their Sweet Heat, but haven’t tried any of their other beers. It was a really nice day and they had a covered patio that was partially in the sun so we got to sit outside while we did a sampler tray.

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I LOVE their logo. It’s a little artistic devil and it’s so cute. Anyways, we sat in the sun and enjoyed our sampler tray of mostly IPA’s, a lager, a stout and of course the Sweet Heat (which is made with Louisiana Scotch Peppers). The boys weren’t a fan of that one but I like it. :)

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That yellow one on the forefront is the Sweet Heat. Normally I’d take one look at that beer and be like, “I won’t like it” but I really do…it’s unique! So we enjoyed the sun and beer and wished it were summer then called the beer tour over for the day. I haven’t been drinking alcohol except for my birthday weekend and then the holiday weekend because Michael’s dad was visiting. Just having some samples was a doozy for me!

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After that the boys dropped me off at home to hang out with Bella and do some stuff while they went computer shopping and then hit another brewery (Breakside Brewing). I’d had my fill of beer for the day (or weekend, really) and ended up watching some Gilmore Girls, cuddled with Bella and did some yard work in the sunshine.

When Michael’s dad comes to visit from Texas he usually wants seafood so we take him to his favorite spots (Jake’s or Ringside). Monday night we went to Jake’s Grill downtown. It’s a classy, gorgeous restaurant with impeccable service and it’s always a good experience. I always forget just how great dining out at Jake’s is.

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We got all gussied up and headed downtown for an early dinner.

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I had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, crisp and dry just like how I like my wine! They brought out the famous sourdough rolls which are just too tasty not to eat…

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Michael ordered the calamari appetizer. He thinks it’s the best calamari in town and I tend to agree. It’s never overly chewy or greasy. I only had a few bites though, as I was saving room for my dinner!

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For dinner I ordered the cedar plank salmon that came with basmati rice and crispy leeks. At first I was going to get a salad and soup but the salmon sounded so amazing (and I wasn’t wrong) and when you go to Jake’s you really should order the fish.

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The salmon was perfectly crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. I LOVED the leeks on top. They were kind of like fried onions. The portions were good too–not grotesquely huge, just right. Michael got the salmon with potatoes and kale topped with a lobster sauce. Michael’s dad got the rockfish with green beans, tomatoes and artichokes.

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Everything was magnificent. I love that place! We were all stuffed but not uncomfortably so. There was definitely no room for dessert and we called it an early night.

I love it when family comes to visit and we can show off our lovely city. You can throw a rock and hit a dozen breweries and great restaurants. The weather was perfect for Michael’s dad’s visit, too, which was nice. I will say I will be happy to get back to my normal eating routine and give the alcohol a break again. Back on track!

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