Willamette Valley Wonder Woman

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Feast Portland in Photos: Day One

#FEASTPDX

I came, I saw, I feasted. I'm sure you've heard me talking about Feast Portland at some point or another over the past month, and this last weekend it finally arrived. I felt like one of the lucky chosen bloggers who received a blogger pass to attend many of the main Feast events. I've been to quite a few food events over the past year thanks to this little online space I've created, but I've learned that each event is slightly different and has it's own vibe, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect this time. 

I got up bright and early Friday morning and headed up to the Urban Farmer for a media only breakfast. Every kind of tasty treat you could ask for was calling my name, and I had the most delicious eggs Benedict and cinnamon rolls around. 

#FEASTPDX
#FEASTPDX

After my leisurely breakfast I checked in and officially got my blogger pass, then decided to tag along with a couple of my fellow blogger friends to check out the Yahoo Food Media lounge, since we had a little downtime before the Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting

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We arrived in between their breakfast and lunch setup, all provided by Imperial catering. I was still stuffed from breakfast, but I had to sample a few bites anyways. There were plenty of charging stations, overly-comfortable couches provided by Boys Fort, and a full bar (of course, right?) Out of all of the events I've been to, I have to say, Feast really did the best job making sure their media folks were comfy and happy!

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After all our phones were charged we headed over to Pioneer Courthouse Square, where the main (and most affordable) event was held - The Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting. For $60 you could eat and sip as many tastings as you'd like from noon to five, which really is a terrific price considering! There were a bunch of local wineries and restaurants, seriously a little something for everyone here. There was also live cooking demonstrations that you could watch as well as some other fun surprises like USA Pears who did a little pop up restaurant which seated guests every 15 minutes and allowed people to sit around their bar and be served several courses to try.

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And then of course there were photo booths for entertainment, this one thanks to Travel Oregon.

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One of my most memorable bites definitely came from the collaboration of Salt and Straw with Cacao drinking chocolate. Cacao drinking chocolate was poured over a scoopful of Salt and Straw's vanilla ice cream and topped with cookie crumbles and it was a match made in heaven. 

#FEASTPDX
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After a couple of hours spent at the Grand Tasting, I headed over to the Red Star Tavern where I was invited to a media Washington Wines Tasting, where of course more delicious hors d'oeuvres were served. I seriously wasn't even able to visit everyone, but I did sample a few wines from Woodward Canyon, Pacific Rim and Terra Blanca. I loved Woodward Canyon's 2011 Estate Reserve Red Bordeaux Blend, and I had no idea that Pacific Rim made so many Rieslings - which have always been a favorite of mine. I sampled their sparkling Riesling and was pleasantly surprised how much I liked it. It was dry and really well balanced.

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 After I spent an hour meeting new Washington friends, I made my way back to the Yahoo Food media lounge where a happy hour was being served and even though I didn't try everything, I had a plate full of some delicious morsels.

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Many people continued their food celebrations on into the night with one of the many dinners around town or the USA Pears Night Market and all of the after parties, but I headed home around 4:30 to pick up the kiddos because Wayne was helping harvest grapes and hey, someone has to tuck them in, right? :) Plus Saturday I was heading back up for more Feast celebrations and had decided to make a date night out of it with Wayne for our anniversary....and boy did I celebrate! Stay tuned for my Feast in photos: day two tomorrow! 



~Melissa
*Full Disclosure: I was given a complimentary blogger pass to Feast Portland events in exchange for my event coverage. No other compensation was received and as always all opinions are my own. 


Friday, September 19, 2014

Encompass // Eola Amity Hills


A couple of weeks ago I ended up winning a pair of tickets to Encompass from Portland Monthly Magazine. I rarely win anything so I was pretty stoked, especially since the event was literally a ten minute drive from my house.

Encompass is weekend wine event held over Labor Day weekend that's designed to bring awareness to the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Twenty two participating wineries in the area opened up their doors to welcome visitors for the event. Participants purchased guide books that included maps and winery information and in return each winery gave complimentary wine tastings 


We had our friend's wedding to attend on Saturday, so we were only able to sneak out of the house for two hours Sunday afternoon to go tasting. We ended up stopping at one of Argyle Winery's vineyards names the Lone Star vineyard. Argyle has a nice tasting room in Dundee, but had staff directly out in the vineyard pouring their three Rieslings - Argyle Riesling, Nuthouse Riesling, and Minus Five Riesling as well as their Nuthouse Pinot Noir. I'm a huge fan of Riesling so it was nice to get to sample such a nice variety, and both Wayne and I absolutely loved their Nuthouse Pinot Noir. We ended up purchasing a bottle of their Nuthouse Riesling...which I may or may not be drinking as I type. :)


We looked around and really took in the view up there. It still amazes me how beautiful and serene life can be only a few miles out of town. For those of you who don't know, my husband is a vineyard manager and has worked in the the industry pretty much since the beginning here in Oregon. I though knew absolutely nothing about wine prior to meeting him, so I'm definitely what I would call still a beginning wine connoisseur, but I'm thoroughly enjoying learning more. Wayne took me around the plants and showed me how you can tell that they were Chardonnay grapes by how the veins on the leaf were. 


Afterwards we drove over to Redhawk Vineyard and Winery which is just outside of West Salem. There we had the opportunity to sample a flight of nine of their wines, from their Riesling, Pinot Gris, several Pinot Noirs, a Merlot, and even an Italian wine that I haven't tried before, their 2012 Nebbiolo. I think my favorite was their 2012 Pinot Noir Pataccoli Family Vineyard. The wine is produced from vines over 30 years old and it has a description of "cinnamon and spice on the nose and a cranberry, raspberry core." 


There were also some hors d'oeurves to sample so Wayne and I took a seat and enjoyed the gorgeous view. The Eola Amity Hills are so amazing because on a clear day you can see all four of our local mountains - Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Jefferson. While we were sitting there two women came up and sat in front of us and I just could help but snap some photos of their gorgeous silhouettes in front of the sky. I only wished I would have brought along my camera so the photo quality was better. 


Sometimes even getting a break for two hours really helps refuel me for the rest of the week. I feel so blessed to live in a valley that's so pretty. I love the rolling hills, vineyards, farms and fruit stands. I love that we are an hour from the beach, an hour and a half from the snow (Mt. Hood) and  I only live 30 miles from Portland, yet live in a small town in the country. Yup, I'm pretty lucky to live in the Willamette Valley.

                                                                                             ~Melissa