Yikes! I thought I’d lost a good chunk of my post.
Finally, I figured out what the heck was wrong, and my panic attack is over.
I can breathe.
If you haven’t noticed yet from the previous post, we are serious foodies. We love to try new things. It’s amazing to me how many people we talk to who are not as adventurous with food.
We are often trying to push Doraville eateries to friends, most sell themselves successfully. We love to share our adventures in food with them. But there is definitely one thing, of many we are not as educated in, wines.
I know I like Pinots Grigios and Ryan Cabernets, could we be more opposite on the taste scale?
Who goes to Portland (with so much time) and doesn’t at least give the valley a drive thru?
So wines were definitely on our Portland bucket list. Before we made it out there we were given a hearty list by an acquaintance, Steve G., who also happens to be a sommelier.
We’d heard and read that the Willamette (pronounced by natives something like this: why-lah-met) were a different breed of winemakers. For good reason, we agree whole heartedly.
As wine novices, we were so impressed by the beauty of the valley, the relaxed approach and the ease of the people.
We are not wine experts, so you don’t have to take our word for it but if what you are looking for is people with a fresh and passionate perspective about their wine making, do Willamette.
What is breakfast with out donuts?
We walked to the most bad ass donut place, Voodoo Donuts. I say that because who plays garage rock at 6:00 in the morning? And they have the most unusual flavors and names for their donuts, i.e. dirty snow ball and old dirty bastard. I’m stopping there to keep it G rated. On the way out, several people in the PDX airport had boxes of donuts with them.
The wine tasting rooms did not open till noon so we took our donuts over to the Tom McCall waterfront park. It sits along the Willamette River and a close walk from the hotel. It was quite busy with bikes, people running and us; drinking coffee and eating donuts in secret while everyone worked out, ha!
Eventually we made it back to the hotel and enjoyed a decent persons breakfast at Urban Farmer. Nothing out of the ordinary. But enjoyable.
Wineries here we come!
About an 1.5 hours away from the Nines, our first stop was Cristom Vineyards in Salem.
First on the list that was bestowed on us by Steve G., and man it did not disappoint.
After a bit of soaking in the views. We decided we would stay there. Forever.
The views of the Willamette Valley are amazing, Darcy our wine pourer and source of all good information made it extra special. Specially when we told her this was our first time wine tasting. She took it easy on us.
After 2 hours of harassing Darcy with our ignorance, and placing a wine order. I went for the Vigonier and Ryan the Syrah.
We left a little more educated.
We took it into McMinville for lunch. Be warned. The majority of the places do not offer a menu.
Lunch was edible. After talking it over we decided we should take Darcy’s suggestion and drive back to visit Brooks Vineyards. One of her favorites, and down the street from Cristom.
We pulled in and knew we would enjoy this place. First things first. Their label is a dragon eating its own tail. If that doesn’t tell you this is gonna be good, I don’t know what will?!
Gerry our wine extraordinaire was stellar. He gave us the complete history of the winery and the story is amazing worth looking up. There is a great documentary out called American Wine Story or just follow the link. Hit me up if u wanna borrow it 😉
We did accompany our wine with a beautiful Charcuterie plate. I think this was my first experience with pate. Not bad. We decided on the Pomona flight, a flight of 3 whites and 3 pinot noirs. They also do lots of great food events with chef Abby.
Most of the wineries closed at 5 for tastings. So I can’t see how you can do more than 2-3 a day. The guide book we picked up from the concierge is 32 pages long. 23 of those are dedicated to tasting rooms, cellars, and vineyards.
We really only, barely, touched the surface of the Willamette. 1 day was enough just to tease the palette. We will absolutely be going back.
We pushed out of Willamette and back to Portland, we needed food that would really satisfy.
Steve G., also recommended that we stop at Pok Pok.
There was a long wait but it was totally worth it. Pok Pok is not your classic American Thai place. As a fan of Thai food, I was pretty blown away by the different options and flavors. A great mix of street food and home cooking you don’t normally find outside of Thailand.
Don’t let the names of the dishes scare you off. Our waitress was glad to help. And the menu is very clear and helpful to understanding the root of the dishes and how to best enjoy them.
We started with some of Ike’s (massive) Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings. Not your classic American wings. Followed by a very spicy dish of Muu Paa Kham Waan served with fresh leafy greens to cool down the heat. And a perfect portion of sticky white rice, swoon… and sleep.
More coming your way…
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