Drinking

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And so it begins…

Breakfast in Pendleton:

Home of the Round-Up

Cabbage Hill View Point

Wallowa

Kombucha break in Lostine

Gazing upon the Wallowas

Toward Hell’s Canyon

Zumwalt Prairie:

Some fourteen miles of winding gravel wound us in and around one of the largest intact bunch grass prairies in the world. Vast, my friends, with us and the animals the only life for miles upon miles. I watched the hawk, a red-tail, I think, swoop down to seize it’s prey and carry it to the utility pole, the snake writhing and coiling some thirty feet from the ground. My heart quickened at the wonder and privilege of it all.

Filthy prairie feet

Wallowa Lake:

Our wee cabin was called the Fawn, and we loved it!

The baby robin was terribly sweet and let us get quite close before her unsteady wings carried her off.

I bought two books and some deliciously scented soaps at this gem of a shop!

Enterprise:

A sweet town full of kindly and hospitable strangers.

Arrowhead Chocolates

They gave us spoons dipped in chocolate while we waited for our treats. The hubster was in heaven!

Joseph:

Named for Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce (that last sculpture is his likeness), Joseph is a prince of a town. With a world famous foundry, beautiful landscape, friendly people, and Stein’s top notch distillery, it’s easy to find a reason to stay.

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Hey there! Just in case you were wondering what happened to me, this is it! We redecorated the office and guest room, and it occupied much of our waking (and my sleeping) hours for the last month. We’d been meaning to do it for ages, but you know how it goes: time; money better spent on food, shoes, an evening out; no real desire to spend weekends attached to paint brushes and rollers. Yadda, yadda, yadda, a few years go by.

A fire was finally lit under our arses and here we are, pretty snazzy! I should also mention that we cleaned out the house, top to bottom, in the process. Furniture, books, knick-knacks, clothes, the random and sundry, all in neat piles in the basement waiting for a sale and trips to the thrift store and Powell’s.  My pocketbook is also happy to report that the only new items in the office are the desk lamps (from IKEA) and the curtains, which I made because no one had the color I wanted. I shopped the house for the rest. Hoot and holler!

And then there’s the color! We’d had a peachy-orange before and really liked it for a time. As soon as we started rolling this on, we decided it was kind of psycho and felt an enormous sense of relief and calm at the new color, winter wheat by Benjamin Moore, if that’s your thing. Cream fleece is the trim color, just a shade darker.

We spent a bit more in the guest room, and mostly at IKEA (that place!), chest, organizers, tray, picture frames (filled with my photos!), curtain, lamp, bedding. Though that toss pillow is from Target, and the bedside table was $1 at a yard sale eons ago. We couldn’t be more pleased with how it all turned out!

And now, a break for fine art: The big painting above my desk and the small square on top of the bookshelf are by our super talented friend Jamee Linton. The three mountain paintings in the assemblage are by Tim Deibler. The wide landscape and the center painting are by Ann Hutchinson. The cicada was purchased on vacation, somewhere in the south of France, artist unknown.

But wait, there’s more! Imma break it down…

Which I got from this fab song of my youth. Bub, are you reading? You know you are the reason for my love of Eazy-E!

The salad: farro, shaved fennel, green onion, dried tart cherries, toasted walnuts, feta cheese, orange & sherry vinaigrette.

The cocktail: Ransom’s Old Tom Gin and Galliano. Heavy on the gin…

The sound: Jack White. That voice, guitar, look, the man captivates me. Turn it up.

The love: two of my favorite people are getting married! Congratulations Matt & Kelly!

One week ago today, gallivanting on Mississippi. Sunny and warm, the town ebullient and smiling and happy for a gentle breeze. Our bellies led us to Radar and were very, very pleased. It’s a delightful galley of a place, long and lean and filled with tip top service and lovely details, like cool decor (a painting of a ship!), eco-friendly towels in the loo, and flowers matching one of the owners names, Lily (super kind and lovely!), and wafting deliciously about. The food was mighty fine, too. Roasted radishes in brown butter (gasp!), deviled eggs done three ways, deep fried and glorious chick peas a whisper on the tongue, and knock out Manila clams. Wowie, not a complaint to be heard.

Best dining companion, ever. Who am I kidding? Best companion, ever!

Oh, and the drink is spectacular as well. That’s a Gin Botanical hard cider by Seattle Cider, with a scent so clean and apple-y that I had a hard time deciding whether I liked it or the flavor better, a very close call. My drink, the European Union, was a quite perfect one, if I do say so.

Hello kitty!

A plethora of cool architecture and one stellar mural, Mississippi is good and great and awesome.

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Happy Cinco de Mayo! Which celebrates the Mexicans winning a war against the French, I think. But, like any other holiday, the celebrating comes down to food and drink. So some favorite Mexican food it is! This is at Taqueria Nueve, which I sorely missed during its five year absence, even though Tapalaya, also one of my favorite places, lives in its old location.  In particular, the Coctel del Pulpo, a sweet and spicy bit of ambrosia, haunted me. I literally had dreams about it and sought a replacement hither and yon, to no avail. I am most grateful I can get it once more, along with a mighty fine chile relleno and vegetarian tacos. Arriba!

On to La Taq (no website, but next door to Podnah’s and from the same owner), which is really Tex-Mex, but, to me, Mexican food is all in the family. They have super green chile, fantastic tacos, and a pretty spectacular queso, too. Unfortunately my food photos are blurry, probably because I was too hungry and excited to sit still. The kindly bartender is shaking my margarita, my favorite in town, I might add, with the perfect balance of sour and sweet. It’s pretty snazzy!

And back to Mi Casa. The hubster and I had a serious New Mexican food craving yesterday, so we walked to the market for provisions and whipped up a feast. There was green chile, of course, brown rice, smoky garlicky beans, guacamole, and home made tortillas, rolled into gut busting burritos. All turned out muy, muy delicioso, though my Dad would probably be disappointed to learn that I didn’t have any meat in mine. The older I get, the more vegetarian my leanings. Life is full of surprises!

P.S. I almost forgot! Have you tried Xochitl chips? Oh my goodness, they are the best. Thin and crispy, just like the package says and seriously good! A chip gone to heaven and back, maybe. The only problem? I feel like I’m cheating on the glistening chips made in Hood River with these Texas Wranglers. Sorry!

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Hi there! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Happy Birthday to my Great Aunt Mary, the kindest woman I ever knew, who would have been 106 today! I am not wearing green, but I do have a bowl of cauliflower soup with roasted jalapeno happily swimming in my belly. Does that count?

And now, a step back in time, to Saturday. We had brunch at Olympic Provisions to fortify us for the walk ahead. This is not your typical brunch, not in the least. Everything impressed. Service with a smile, a wink, a nod, and a laugh. Then there were the consumables. The Edith Piaf cocktail was as tasty as it was beautiful. The badass plate of food is the Braised Short Rib, with laser potatoes and lardons, because that hunk of meat was clearly not enough. The hubster, beyond pleased with his choice, devoured it in no time. I had the biscuits and gravy, and they were the best I’ve ever tasted. Boom! To top it off, the chefs were very kindly to us, engaging in conversation while they worked their tails off to make every last belly full and happy. They even gave us a plate of fresh house smoked trout, just because. Oh my, my…

buttercup winter hazel

blossoming quince

Like all of Laura O. Foster’s walks, we learned a little more history and saw Portland in a new light, despite having walked and driven by these buildings a thousand times. Take Jantzen, for instance, did you know they were originally manufacturers of sweaters and hosiery? When a local rowing team asked them if they could make a lightweight suit for winter, the world of bathing suits was forever changed.

Hi!

This bulldog, originally from a Mack Truck, is now happily ensconced on a Volkswagen. Or maybe not. I don’t suppose anyone can ever truly know the feelings of a hood ornament.

We stopped for a sweet at Alma. The icons are chocolate!

Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery – Funny how the clouds came just in time for the photo…

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