Rogue beers

Leftover for Lunch

I spent the weekend leading up to New Year’s Eve manically cleaning my house. I took down all the Christmas decorations (sad) and reorganized them. Then I tackled the garage and spare bedroom. I cleaned and organized and purged. I have so much to donate now! About four big bags and a few boxes, too.

I rewarded my hard work with some things, too. I had lunch with my friend Star and then we got pedicures. We also played with another friends new puppy! Oh my gosh, she was so adorable! Only 7 weeks old, teeny tiny and still a little wobbly on her feet. She was such a sweetheart though. When I held her she tried to kiss my face and nuzzled my neck. She was very playful, too.

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Can you STAND the cuteness?? OMG I wanted to keep her! She was a poodle schnauzer mix and so well behaved. Our friend Bob was a dog trainer so I think the little pup is in good hands. I’m sure when Michael and I get a dog we’ll use Bob for training help.

I also got in a few great workouts. I discovered that if I warm up on the bike before trying to run, I don’t have any pain. Or maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Time will tell. Either way, I ran 1.10 miles and felt fantastic!

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On Sunday I had the opportunity to meet another blogger! I’ve followed Leah’s blog, Leftover for Lunch, for a few years now. I loved her website because she posted recipes that were usually pretty simple and delicious. I’ve tried many of her recipes. She’s also done a few guest posts for me. If you missed them, check them out here: The Battle of The Calorie Counters and Half Marathon Tips for N00bs.

We’ve talked about meeting in real life a few times. She lives near Seattle and it would have been fun to meet up with her when I visit family. Unfortunately, those weekend trips to Seattle end up being packed full trying to see everyone so we never met. Until now! Leah and her husband were in Portland eating and drinking their way into the New Year and Michael and I met them for lunch.

We met at the Rogue Pub in downtown Portland. I’ve never been to the one here in town, only the one at Newport. I was excited to try it and hang out with new friends. It’s always kind of strange meeting someone you know online in person. It’s like you’re old friends, but new at the same time. There wasn’t any awkwardness, so that was good.

Beer tasting! I got 4 samplers. The red, the Chipotle ale and two IPAs. I loved the two IPAs on the right end. I believe one was called Brutal IPA (so damn good). If I’d ordered a full pint it would have been of that one. Leah was drinking the stouts (too dark for me) and her hubby was an IPA fan like us. It was fun to talk about beer with them since they were essentially in town touring all the breweries. 🙂

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Michael went big and ordered a full drink. He wasn’t messing around with little samplers. 🙂 I ordered the chicken pita sandwich. It came with chips and a pickle. It was pretty good, but a tad dry and could have used a little more dressing in it.

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Michael got the mac n’ cheese. He said it was okay but obviously it doesn’t compare to his–they rarely do! We chatted a bit and finished up our lunch and beers and then parted ways. They had lots of sightseeing to do. And I had a garage to finish cleaning.

Robyn's Birthday

Dinner was a pork chop, baked squash and steamed veggies. We ended Sunday with a blissful and very much needed 90 minute massage. My muscles have been crying lately!

QUESTION: Have you ever had a puppy? Tell me about it!

Beach Comber

My boyfriend is the hardest person to shop for. Buying gifts is often difficult and this year for his birthday I decided to skip the torture of trying to shop and just take him out of town for a surprise adventure. After our successful purchase of a Groupon vacation deal, I tried it again and got a fantastic price on an oceanfront room at the beach. The last trip to the beach was for our anniversary last year and sadly, I’d gotten food poisoning and couldn’t enjoy it. I told Michael to pack typical Oregon clothing and we hit the road Saturday morning after I went to the gym (and he went for a bike ride).

The destination: Newport Beach. We arrived to a rather gray welcoming but it wasn’t too cold and it wasn’t raining, so I was happy.

We stayed at the Best Western Agate Inn right on the beach. The deal I bought included a “picnic” basket with two wine glasses, a bottle opener, an insulated bag, a wine topper and a bottle of wine. We immediately opened the wine and enjoyed a leisurely glass before heading down to the beach for a walk.

Agate Beach was really nice, quiet and smaller than some of the other Oregon Coast beaches. Sadly, I did not find any agates.

We walked back to the hotel and then decided to go into Newport in the “old town” area. It was a touristy boardwalk with piers that had views of the massive bridge.

We did some window shopping and then got totally sidetracked by the California Sea Lions that were giving quite the show in the water. There was a group of them lounging in the sun on a wood platform. One of them looked like it weighed about 800 pounds–he was an old one. There were a few other big ones, not as big as him, and then some smallers one that were playing in the water.

The little Sea Lions gave everyone a show, and the big ones bellowed their bark that echoed throughout the downtown area. Crowds were forming to watch the free show. I have to admit, the Sea Lions were probably my favorite part of the weekend. They were so cute and playful.

The little one was frolicking, splashing, doing acrobatics and then would kiss one of the other lions. What beautiful and graceful creatures.

After the sea lion show, we headed up the street to the Rogue Brewery for dinner. It was one of the destinations I had planned for the weekend and I’m glad we were able to go. I can’t say that I am familiar with the Rogue beers, but after my tasting on Saturday night, I love them!

THE BEERS

Morimoto Pilsner: it was summery and light, like lavender perfume.

Chipotle Ale: smokey finish. We both loved this one. It did not taste like peppers. I want to find bottles of this one. Damn, it was good.

Juniper Pale Ale: smelled like a lemon, smooth, nothing very distinctive about it.

Brutal IPA: tasted like orange, smooth finish, not bitter.

Double Dead Guy: tasted like alcohol, candy and had a slight coffee finish to it.

New Crusty Triple IPA: syrupy and very hoppy.

Michael and I decided to split a few things for dinner. The first was the “bleu balls”– three meatballs made of a local, organic beef with blue cheese baked inside the meatballs and then scattered around the plate. The blue cheese went perfectly with it. I had 1.5 meatballs (kind of the perfect amount).

Next was the halibut fish and chips. We split that, thankfully. It was pretty big. We each had 1.5 of the fillet and shared the fries. I have fish n’ chips about once or twice a year–and usually at the beach. It’s not something I crave very frequently and giving in annually is about right for me.

Michael was still hungry, so he ordered the black bean dip with freshly made tortilla chips. I munched on a little bit of it but I was pretty full after the dinner and the beer.

We finished up our beers and then decided to do the most logical thing while slightly drunk! Go hiking. 😛

Okay. It wasn’t really hiking. We went to the lighthouse park on the hill not far from downtown Newport, and then walked down the trail to the beach. There was a trail through the trees and brush, and then stairs down to the beach. I admit, my legs were screaming at me after working out that morning and already walking on the beach!

We walked out toward the jetty. That particular beach was almost like Mars–quiet, empty except for us, with big sand dunes. It was also really windy. Michael and I didn’t make it very far.

Walking for about 20 minutes or so, then getting to the jetty to find it gated off, we turned around and headed back up the beach to the stairs.

It was a really nice evening, romantic and busy at the same time, and I fell asleep to the deafening sound of the ocean waves rolling into the shore. I truly think that if I listened to a CD of roaring waves every night, I’d never suffer from insomnia.

QUESTION: What is your favorite beach activity?