Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oregon Summer Food Adventures

Well, Jen and I have been gallivanting all over Oregon this summer and have lagged on posting... as I am sure you can tell! I have been having my own culinary adventures, so in the interest of efficiency I am going to tell you all about it in one loooong posting.

The summer started out with camping at Trillium Lake by Mount Hood.

Yes, I camp, but I do typical Michelle style- bringing my posturepedic queen side mattress pad, amazing food, row boats, and tent warmers. The BF catches fish and I love to cook them over the camp fire with just simple slices of lemon and salt and pepper.

Camping is the type of vacation that I always need a vacation when I get back, so the BF and I decided that we needed to explore Oregon's wine country more.

We booked an amazing B&B called Tuscan Estates in McMinnville and they had the best full breakfast prepared by chef, author (The Food Encyclopedia and The Cooks Essential Kitchen Dictionary) and sommelier Jaques Rolland. We really lucked out that Jaques was a sommelier from France, because he gave us his opinion on where to go for the best wines of Willamette Valley. The following were some of his suggestions:

We knew we couldn't hit them all, but we made an all out effort!

We started with Winter's Hill, because Jaques said they had one of the best rosé at the best price and to top it off he said that the winemaker Emily was a young genius from France. This is a darling family run winery and Emily is the daughter-in-law who met the owners son while working at a winery and now they live happily making wine. We ended up purchasing a case of the rosé for $8 per bottle (I love rosé in the summer) and a bottle of the Early Muscat. I am not typically a fan of Muscat, but this one is very dry and it smells like a bouquet of flowers.

We moved on to Walnut City WineWorks, which is housed in an old Walnut Factory and they partner with other wineries (Z'IVO Wines, Robinson Reserve, Bernard Machado and their own Walnut City Wineworks) to make world class Pinot Noir. We bought a bottle of the 2005 Piont Noir Reserve.

After all the tasting we were feeling famished and the onset of slight intoxication, so we decided to head of to Cana's Feast to get some lunch. The meal consisted of cold spring pea soup, chicken liver pate, and a bottle of their rosé and a beautiful view of the vineyard.

After lunch we headed to Beaux Freres, which is a winery owned by Robert Parker and two brothers. This was by far our most expensive winery that we visited (bottles ranged from $50-$90) and Jacques told us that this is one of his splurge wines. They did produce amazing Pinot and the BF and I did splurge on a special occasion bottle.

We decided we could hit one more winery and chose Laurel Ridge, which they do everything from bubbles to Tempranillo to Port at incredibly reasonable prices. The lady who runs it is a hoot and we ended up spending hours tasting and talking. We loved the Port, Estate Reserve Pinot Noir, and Dry Gewurztraminer.
Well after the long day of tasting it was off to a nap and then a late dinner at Bistro Maison in McMinnville. This place is adorable and has an amazing patio.
It was a relaxing dinner, where we dined on house made mozzarella with tomato salad.
Then followed it up with braised duck with an orange cognac sauce and the most amazing pomme frites served with saffron aioli.
We ended up having to take our desserts (creme carmel and lemon cake) to go, so we could catch the July 4th fireworks.
The next morning we awoke with slight hangovers and decided that we just wanted to sit somewhere quiet and relax and we found the PERFECT place...Red Ridge Farms . It happens to an herb and plant nursery, but they also do their own olive oil and serve lunch. The grounds are absolutely amazing.

We ended up ordering a meat and cheese plate and sat for hours under a canopy of vines drinking a bottle of rosé.

It has been a great summer so far... much better than last summer when Jen broke my foot!!! (Just kidding sis!) This coming weekend Jen and I are headed back to wine country for Plate and Pitchfork at Domain Serene.


  1. This makes me want to skip outta work right now and head down to wine country. Great post.

  2. Thanks for the inspiration! We need to get out there, and I didn't know that Cana's Feast prepared lunch. Good to know!

  3. These are all the very famous and eminent places and all destinations are very popular and attractive as well.