Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mimi and Bubba's first night in Portland

For Mimi and Bubba's (my folks nicknames given to them by Alex and Brandon - my nephews) first night in Portland, we went to a great tapas restaurant called Toro Bravo.

We ordered tons of food, highlighted by fried sardines, asparagus and morel "bruscetta", paella and much more.

While ordering dessert, Bubba thought it would be a good idea to try a local grappa since he really enjoyed some he had at a restaurant in NY. Let's just say this decision was made after drinking most the pitcher of Sangria. Here are some pictures of their Portland grappa experience. I am just glad I was driving and did not need to help finish it :)

This night was just the beginning of their first North West experience and it only got better from here. They also enjoyed spending time with Namir and Lavi, except when Namir got out of the house and we scoured the neighborhood for almost an hour looking for him. Lavi on the other hand was happy to have some more people to love her since Matt is still away.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wine Tasting Oregon's amazing Pinot Noir

We decided to take a wine tasting tour and were very glad we did since none of us had to drive. We were promptly picked up a 10:15 and in the Willamette Valley by 11 am. Our first stop was at Anderson Family Vineyards, a beautiful small vineyard located on top of one of the hills in Dundee. The owner and wine maker, Cliff, was there to greet us and first took us to see some of the new grapes on the vine that will eventually become one of their white wines. We then tasted 5 wines, some of which were fantastic. Cliff then took us on a tour and amazed us by the lack of high-tech machinery. Everything they use is simple and takes advantage of nature and what was already there. This whole experience felt like a labor of love, with amazing wines as the end product.

After lunch at the Dundee Hills Bistro, our next stop was at Lemelson. Lemelson was very state of the art and had some nice wines as well.

Next we visited Domaine Drouhin, a French style winery owned and operated by a French family. The wines were wonderful but the view was spectacular. We wish we had more time to relax on the deck but it was off to our next and last stop.

Our last stop was at Erath (not pictured) but by that point we were pretty much done. It was a long, wonderful day filled with fantastic wines, beautiful scenery and a DRIVER!!

Multnomah Falls and Hood River

On our way out to Hood River, we made a quick stop at Multnomah Falls. It never fails to amaze.

We then drove the rest of the way to Hood River and enjoyed lunch at the 6th Street Bistro - very good! Now that we were refueled, it was off to drive the "Fruit Loop" a 30+ mile drive through farms and a great view of Mt Hood. We could also see Mt Saint Helens in the opposite direction. We made several stops to try more wine, buy strawberries and cherries and pick our own lavender. Then it was off to try more wine and some great fruit flavored ports.

Portland Int'l Rose Test Garden

After a little rain this morning, we headed out to the Rose Test Garden and were rendered speechless. WOW - it looked like a garden on steriods. Flowers in ever color imaginable, sizes varying from minature to larger than our heads, as well as a beautiful bride and wedding party.

Afterwards we walked over to the Japanese garden, which was a bit anti-climatic after the menagerie of color we had already walked through.

On our way back to the car, I was excited to see these beautiful purple roses. For those of you who remember the wedding, I carried a bouquet of red roses but that was only because these were not available at the time. They are everything I could dream of in a flower :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Lavi howling

Here is Lavi howling in response to Merlin (the bird). It has taken a while to catch it on video. It is very funny. Not sure if she is telling him to shut up or just flexing her "voice"??

Friday, June 13, 2008

Father's day cards and book

Well, after all the hoopla of the Mother's day books, I had a request for Father's day. This book was created with cardboard and a Bind-it-all machine. I made it to stand up like a flip book. These are just some of my favorite pages.

And here is one of the Father's day cards I made as well.

Have a happy Dad's Day!! I am very excited to see my dad and mom next week for their first real visit to Portland. We have a lot on the agenda...

Strawberry pickin' on Sauvie Island

After much anticipation, I finally made it out to pick some of these highly-regarded Oregon strawberries. It was a beautiful day and I was able to see Sauvie Island for the first time in all of its glory. Not only is it scenic, but they have u-pick berry farms for $1.75 a pound!
Since this was my first berry picking experience, I needed to learn the ropes. After about 5 minutes, I was in my groove. It is still pretty early in the season so there were a lot of not-so-ripe berries, but there were some gems to be found. Here are some photos of the berries and the busy patch.

And the result of all my hardwork

Stay tuned for the resulting strawberry ice cream...yumm!
This was really just a warm up for my favorite berry of all time - the BLUEBERRY! I can't wait for July.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dinner @ Simpatica

Just wanted to post a link to my latest dining experience with my friends Jen and Beth. Check it out on Jen's website Table Talk Portland. She is a hoot.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Namir's Quest

Here's a few shots of the Num-nut in his quest of finding a comfortable spot. He continues to amaze me. :)

Jr. Rose Parade

My first Rose Festival Parade experience was great. I joined Liza at the Junior Rose Parade to watch Nathaniel in his very first parade. Chances are he is not going to remember this one. At about 7 months, he had the pleasure of strolling down the road with his daycare friends. The theme for the daycare was Princesses and Princes. Nathaniel is the one with the crown on. Liza and I also had the pleasure of walking with them for the first few blocks. It was great fun! Maybe next year I can get Lavi in the "Critter" category.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Merlin's newest visitor

Merlin seems to be a big hit in the neighborhood. Although his favorite spot is in the dining room window, he has had almost every cat visit him from the window ledge. So today when I heard him "flip out", I suspected he had a visitor. Much to my surprise, this little fellow hung out for a while.

We have some ballsy squirrels in these parts :)