Jun 192013
 

I left off in my story with Pike Place Market and chocolate (yum). After that Rachel and I drove to her friend Phil’s house in Burien. He lives right in the water at Three Trees Pointe with an amazing view of Puget Sound and the Cascades. I would never tire of that view.

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We were at Phil’s house to go kayaking. It was my first time and I was so glad I went with experienced kayakers. I was a little nervous because I didn’t know what I was doing but my fears were cleared up almost immediately. It was so much fun!

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They gave me a mini lesson and then the three of us set off in the Puget Sound. We stayed fairly close to shore and never went deeper than 5 feet or so. I never felt unsafe while I was out there. We paddled down (South of Phil’s house) with the wind at our backs and the water pretty calm. I was starting to get the rhythm and hang of paddling and was actually doing pretty well!

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I had no sense of time and no sense of distance while we were out on the Sound. The sun was warm and there was a cool breeze and we just paddled down the coast. After a bit we turned around because the wind was picking up and the water was super choppy.

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Any skill I developed on the paddle down, went out the window on the way back. We were paddling into the wind, the water was rough and no matter how hard I paddled, it felt like I was going backwards!! It wasn’t as bad as I make it sound–it was still fun just REALLY HARD WORK. I was getting tired, even though I’m in pretty good shape. The rough waves started splashing into the kayak, the salty sea water drying into salt on my face, hands and legs.

We finally made it back and I let the kayak just drift a little by the shore. I was tired but not ready to quit yet. Two little kids sharing a kayak paddled by me and then we got a visit from two sea lions! They poked their little heads out of the water and looked at us curiously. It was such a cool moment.

Rachel and Phil were still paddling up the shore to meet me so I got out of the kayak and did a little shell collecting while I waited. It turned out we were out on the water for two hours. Longer than we planned or thought we’d do! Rachel got pretty sunburned and I got a little sun burn on my legs. Oooops!

After that we said goodbye to Phil and then went back to the hotel to check into our new and upgraded room to clean up. Our new upgraded room was fantastic!

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It was about 3:30 at this point and we had just enough time to go out to Woodinville for some wine tasting. Rachel ordered us a car from Uber — something I’d never heard of before but it turned out to be pretty cool. It’s like a car service you can book on your iPhone app. I’m glad we got a car service to go wine tasting.

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Woodinville is a great place for wine tasting because there’s so many wineries and tasting rooms right next to each other. Part of it is very walkable, too, so you don’t need a car once you get out there (which is a good idea). The first place we went to was Mark Ryan and we weren’t huge fans of their wines. Rachel and I split our tastings (also a good idea).

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The next place we went to was Village Wines, which turned out to be a wine store and tasting room–which meant they didn’t waive the tasting fee if you bought a bottle and the wines weren’t just from Washington. I liked several of the wines I tried but didn’t end up buying any. I was super surprised that my favorite wine I tasted there was a Merlot (Novelty Hill Merlot). It was rich and smooth with hints of chocolate.

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Guess what? You get pretty tipsy when you drink wine after kayaking for 2 hours and skipping lunch! Ooops! We got some food at Village Wines to help with that. We got the hummus and veggie plate and an order of their tortellini. The pasta was cold and seasoned with a lemon aioli sauce. It was my favorite snack! I loved it.

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The next place we went to is my favorite winery in Washington. It’s called Brian Carter Cellars and I’ve been there twice now and wish both times that I could buy every single one of their wines.

The first wine we tried was the Oriana (51% Viognier, 35% Roussanne, 14% Riesling). Rachel does not like white wines but even she loved it so much she bought a bottle! That says a lot, I think. I bought a bottle of Oriana because I loved it to so much. It was slightly sweet and very crisp. I tasted pear and melons. It was such a refreshing, light wine on a hot a summer day.

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The service is always friendly and like I said, the wines are delicious. Our last stop was to Trust. It was a fun tasting room and I bought a bottle from there, too! I needed more snacks because skipping lunch and having wine instead was a bad idea!

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I’m really glad we took a car service. It was easy and made it a much more relaxed experience; no stress! Man, what a busy day! Saturday I worked out, had a great breakfast, checked out Pike Place Market, went kayaking, wine tasting and then back to the room to totally crash!

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On Sunday it was much more relaxed. Rachel and I had our free breakfast, went to the Fremont Sunday Market and then to the Ballard Locks.

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Rachel and I parted ways and I went to my Grandma’s house to spend some time with her. We went through some of her old photo albums and just hung out. It was so nice to spend some time with her and I wished I had more time.

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My Grandma was so glamorous looking!!  After that I had a late lunch with my parents for Father’s Day, had time to get a swim in and then picked up Michael. Okay never-mind, Sunday wasn’t relaxing, it was just as busy as Saturday! We didn’t get home to Portland until 10pm. Exhausting weekend? For sure. But so much fun and definitely an adventure!

QUESTION: Have you ever been kayaking? What was your favorite experience?

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Mar 202013
 

Remember in my last Hood River post I mentioned I’d been craving Buffalo wings? Yeah, Michael and I ended up getting them the next day! We went to Full Sail Brewery for a small snack since neither of us were that hungry for a big lunch after our breakfast that morning. We were a bit chilled from our hike, but the wings warmed us up immediately. We split one appetizer of them:

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Now THESE hit the spot! They were so freakin’ spicy and it finally satisfied my craving for Buffalo wings. The one downside was that the carrots and celery were old. I know that most people don’t want the carrots and celery when they get wings but I kinda do…and they were nasty. If the chef was on Top Chef and plated those old veggies on the plate, they’d be sent home!

The wings were so hot, Michael said his face was on fire after eating them. I had a Full Sail Classic IPA with my wings. I’m glad I got a half pint of the beer because I wasn’t a huge fan of it.

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One of my favorite activities in Hood River is wine tasting. It’s such a fantastic place to wine taste. It’s cheaper than the Willamette Valley tastings and less pretentious. It’s also better wine, in my opinion. We hit a few of my absolute favorite Gorge wineries. Part of our Groupon deal included a free bottle of wine at one of the local wineries. We went to Cathedral Ridge first and that’s where we got our bottle.

I’ve been a fan of Cathedral Ridge wine for years. I have noticed that they are getting stingier and stingier on their pours each visit I’m there. It’s not like I’m expecting a full pour by any means, but Cathedral is just so skimpy. It’s also very crowded. I wish they’d revamp their wine tasting room to make it a little easier for people to enjoy themselves.

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After Cathedral, we went to my new favorite winery: Marchesi. I first discovered it last summer and LOVED all of their wines. It’s not often that I go find a vineyard where I love every single wine they offer. Their tasting room is super comfortable and fun and they had enclosed outdoor seating with heaters for the winter time. So smart! The place was packed, probably because it was such a nice place to relax and drink good wine. And have some snacks.

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When Michael and I go wine tasting we split one tasting. It works best for us. It gives us both a chance to taste the pour once or twice but without getting wasted. I’m a lightweight so if I drank my own tasting, I wouldn’t make it to very many vineyards!

There was also a winery dog and two cats! One was perched on a seat in the tasting room and had no intention of moving. I had to scratch this kitty’s ears because she was so adorable and soft. Still didn’t move. She was very comfortable where she was.

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Lastly we hit up Pheasant Valley, which I haven’t been to before. I wasn’t a huge fan, honestly. There was only one wine I really liked and we liked it so much we got a bottle.

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In the end we went home with four bottles, one courtesy of Groupon. I am really really excited to open up that bottle of Uvaggio from Marchesi! I think I will save it for this summer.

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After a lovely afternoon wine tasting, we snuggled into our hotel room to watch some movies. We ended up watching “Looper” (really good, but really weird) and a few episodes of “Boardwalk Empire” before it was dinner time. I wasn’t super hungry. Even though I hadn’t eaten a whole lot at breakfast and lunch, the bread and cheese at Marchesi filled me up. We did end up at The Waucoma Club for dinner that night.

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I stuck with water (and drank an entire pitcher of it) and ordered a small cup of their black bean chili. That was about all I was hungry for! The Portland vs. Seattle soccer game was going on while we ate. The club was cute–part sports bar, part concert hall. It had a cool vibe but I was ready to go back to the hotel and relax.

Sadly the next morning we had to check out of our hotel and head home. Michael remarked that he didn’t want to leave and I agreed. Going back to reality is harsh. It’s so much better to escape and just eat and drink wine. ;)

We went to the Egg River Cafe for breakfast on our way out of town. It was a cute place and the food was okay. I got the Mexican Skillet –2 scrambled eggs with cheese, onions and peppers and chorizo. It came with sourdough toast and potatoes.

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It was rather bland and I add tabasco to it to spice it up. The chorizo was great but the potatoes were undercooked. I skipped the potatoes and stuck to the scramble. It was enough food to last me until dinner at 7pm that night!

Back home in Portland I went for a swim. It was good to be home because I missed my furry family. Fat Kitty was excited that we were home and was glued to my side the rest of the night. I had a nice visit to Hood River and always have a good time wine tasting (that was definitely the highlight for me). If you ever visit Oregon or Washington, definitely find some time to try the wines. You won’t be disappointed!

QUESTION: What’s your favorite wine? Do you go wine tasting?

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