Wednesday, August 27, 2014

OREGON BOUNTY can be found at Feast 2014! All the info you need to attend, ship your wine and plan that perfect Feast get-away!

Oregon Is The New Bounty

Bounty Bounty Bounty Bounty Rockin' Everywhere
On Friday And Saturday Of Feast Portland

Feast Portland has over 30 uniquely delicious events, but our biggest showcase of Oregon’s best food and drink is the two-day Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting presented by Alaska Airlines onFriday, September 19th and Saturday, September 20th, featuring 38 wineries, 18 breweries, and more than 20 artisans and chefs. And it's not just Portland representing - this is a celebration of all of Oregon, and our friends at Travel Oregon have helped us bring together artisans and chefs from every region of the state, from Bandon to Eugene to Central Point and beyond.

While guests eat and drink their way through Oregon's bounty, they can take a seat and watch cooking demos from celebrated chefs like Paul Qui, Naomi Pomeroy, Jenn Louis, Chris Cosentino, and Hugh Acheson on the KitchenAid Main Stage.

All of this takes place in Downtown Portland’s beautiful Pioneer Courthouse Square, currently celebrating its 30th anniversary!

» Click here to buy Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting tickets

New Dinner Event Added!

Thanks to our friends at Rewards Network, Feast Portland has just added a new Dinner Series event to our 2014 Saturday night lineup: Chris Cosentino and Kyo Koo at Bluehour presented by Rewards Network! Tickets are available now through September 5th exclusively to Rewards Network's Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Dining members. It's completely free to sign up with Rewards Network, and you will earn 500 Bonus Miles with every ticket purchased for this event.

»  Click here to purchase tickets to Chris Cosentino and Kyo Koo at Bluehour

Team Feast Wants You

If you want to be part of the Northwest's flagship food and drink festival, become a Feast Portland volunteer!
With over 30 events throughout the weekend of September 18-21, we have lots of opportunities for you to get involved.
» Click here to fill out a Feast Volunteer Application

Bon Appetit's The Best New Restaurants In America 2014

With Bon Appétit'The Best New Restaurants in America 2014 issue hot off the press, Team Feast is excited to announce that we've adding one of the2014 Hot 10 winnersAaron Silverman of Rose's Luxury in Washington D.C., to our already stellar lineup at Feast Portland's sold-out Dinner Series event, The Hot 10 Dinner: Celebrating Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants in America!

Also, congratulations to Portland's pastry queenKristen Murray of Måurice Luncheonette for earning a coveted spot on Bon Appétit's The Hot 10 list! Taste for yourself why Måurice is one of the best restaurants of 2014 at Feast Portland Dinner Series: Dessert For Dinner at KitchenCru.

» Click here for Dinner Series: Dessert For Dinner tickets

Finally, props to Portland bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Pépé Le Moko for making Bon Appétit's The 5 Best New Cocktail Bars In America. Learn a thing or two from Jeffrey at Feast Portland's Tasting Panel: Beans and Booze.

» Click here for Tasting Panel: Beans and Booze

Oregon Wines Fly Free!

When you travel to Feast Portland, it’s easy to take a taste of Oregon home with you, thanks to the Oregon Wines Fly Free program offered by Alaska Airlines, Travel Oregon, Whole Foods Market and the Oregon Wine Board. Check a case of wine (6 or 12 bottles) for free on your flight home on Alaska Airlines from Eugene, Medford, Portland, Redmond or Walla Walla, WA. Mix and match or bring a whole case (6 or 12 bottles) from your favorite Oregon winery. If you don't have time to visit wine country, pop into one of seven Portland Metro Area Whole Foods Markets where you'll find a huge selection of Oregon wine as well as secure wine travel cases starting September 3rd.
» Click here to for more information about Wines Fly Free

Feast Travel Deals

It's not too late to save money on your travel to Feast Portland. Get great deals on your flight to Portland and your hotel stay during the festival thanks to our our fabulous sponsors.

» Get 10% off your Alaska Airline flight to Feast Portland with discount code: ECMV395

» Book your "All You Can Feast" package with exclusive deals from Portland's Provenance Hotels

Travel Oregon Suggested Itinerary:
Riding The Oregon Fruit Loop

The Hood River Valley makes for great road biking. Take a two-wheeled journey on the quiet country backroads. Winding through them in the spring, you’ll witness an explosion of cherry, pear and apple blossoms. There’s low traffic, a constantly changing landscape, and tacos, pies and wine around every turn. What’s not to like?

» Click here to experience Hood River's culinary bounty as you bike The Oregon Fruit Loop.

» Interested in more tasty trips and all things deliciously Oregon? Click here to sign up for Travel Oregon’s culinary e-newsletter.
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note:  info courtesy of Feast Portland 2014

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Speaker Panels, Night Market, Brunch, Sandwiches, Grand Tastings, Coffee, Booze and more! Feast 2014… it's almost time!

Last year was my very first Feast event.  I received a blogger pass and along with the event tickets I purchased and the passes in to events I was covering.  Skipping in to food events that would stop a train filled with chef's from all over the world was quite amazing!  We are all interested in food and so it's no doubt that bringing that interest and combining it with swag city, plenty of party space, some of the world's top chefs and then adding a few thousand folks to shake things up a bit that you get  FEAST 2014!

I attended enough events last year that by the end of it all, I was rubbing my belly and smiling that silly grin that says, I ate and drank way too much, enjoyed every bite and bubble and learned so much about food!   Falling asleep that last night, I dreamt of doing it all again and having another chance to immerse myself in all that is food in Portland, the PNW and around the world!

Sandwich Invitational!

It's not too late to get in on all the fun and food so check out Feast 2014 and find your tickets. We've got rooms, airline tickets and plenty of space in Portland to have you for a visit.  Be sure to stay a few days and explore the city!  You will find some great itineraries and ideas for your visit right here on my blog.  Look back and find your fun!  And BTW… if you are staying at The Monaco, say hey to my son, Steven.  He's the cute one at the door when you arrive.

Chef Gregory Gourdet at Night Market last year!

Night Market, Feast 2013!

Hope to see you at some of the events and be sure say hello if you see me snapping away and probably munching my way in to oblivion!  I plan on enjoying every bite;)!!

Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting!

Speaker Panels!

Baby Got Beer-Back event at Feast 2013!
note:  Learn about how you can fight hunger where you live:  FIGHT HUNGER and join Feast 2014 and make a difference in a life.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Aufderheide Scenic Byway… a drive through Autumn in Oregon! Making plans for the season!

Our picnic at a campground on the Aufderheide Scenic Byway!

Are you looking forward to Autumn as much as I am… no, I didn't think so because I am the biggest fan of Autumn!  I dream of it, I smile at the thought of it and feel it in my soul every year about this time.  I am a lover of anything and everything Autumn!  So, it's no surprise that I have already made plans to make plans to make the most of this upcoming Fall season!

This is my itinerary so far… just in the planning stages.  I've been on the Aufderheide Scenic Byway twice before and fall more deeply in love with this winding road of heaven each time.  This year will be no exception.  Follow me and make your plans or take mine why don't ya.  See you on the byway!!

Lichen mustaches on trail!  Aufderheide 2013!

"Hey you gals... So, I am planning a fall trip this year and thought it would be nice to have you along Jeannie!!  Donetta and I have already agreed that a drive through the Aufderheide Scenic Byway would be fun and then a night in Oakridge and a ride out to Salt Creek Falls the next day in later October sounds like fun.  I have been twice already on this scenic byway but love going and it's always gorgeous in Autumn.  Plans thus far:

go later in October so the colors are more vibrant.. let me know any dates that don't work

take a picnic to enjoy at a campground on the byway which is a darling spot

stay at a cute place in Oakridge which I will secure once we decide on a date for sure and it'll be just one night:  and

And yes... this is a hostel however, I've stayed in many and love them.  Shared bathrooms aren't as gross as they sound and if you click on the second link, you will see how many stars they have rec'd and read the reviews as well.

Dinner at Brewer's Union:

This pub is very sweet and I have been several times and with Patty once as well.  BTW... Patty lived in Oakridge for over 20 yrs. so she'll be a great resource for what the city is like and I'm sure she has some juicy gossip and stories about it's inhabitants as well!!

go to Salt Creek Falls the day after Aufderheide

maybe a lunch in Eugene when we are done at The Barn Light:

drive home via 99E or W or whatever and hit Coburg and the big red barn on the way back to Albany

I have five seats in my car and happy to drive unless someone else would like to drive.  I have a big trunk for luggage, picnic baskets, etc.

This will be fun and I hope you all can go.  Again, late October is best so just give me dates that absolutely don't work.


Sorry, my car isn't big enough for all of you but you get the idea… load up yours and pack your picnic basket and head out this fall to the Aufderheide Scenic Byway!

Always beer after a hike or scenic byway… Brewer's Union in Oakridge!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Portland Oregon… a doughnut tour, shopping trip, food cart lunch and an organic frozen yogurt ending!

Pip's Original! 

After spending five days showing friends Portland, the Oregon Coast and Seattle, we had a few hours to scrub and re-make beds and plan an itinerary for the next batch coming to town!  So… we, planned this little doughnut tour here in Portland and it turned out quite nicely.  We added a garden tour, some antique shopping, lunch in a 'new to us' food cart pod and a nice finish at a local organic frozen yogurt shop.  All in all… it was exhausting but so much fun and delicious!

The Emmylou… housemade chai tea!

First stop was Pip's Original on Fremont!  We didn't even know till the next day that Pip's had become the number one place to have a doughnut in Portland so we felt very lucky to have been there and tasted these goodies.  Everyone that comes to Portland and sees us, gets a trip to Pip's.  Sometimes we drive over but more recently we've enjoyed a walk through some of the gorgeous historic neighborhoods nearby.  From the Alberta Street area, Pip's is only about a mile and a half away and on a nice cool perfect Portland day, you can really work up an appetite for Pip's.

We ordered a dozen little ones to share with the six of us however, the good folks at Pip's said they thought we needed more and donated 14 more to help the doughnut tour cause.  Thanks so much for that by the way!  And… did I mention they make all their own Chai as well??  I always get the Emmylou because it's like a soft pillow that smells sweet of lavender and honey and yes… that's how it tastes too!

A mixture of heaven!  Pip's Original!

Next stop was Coco Donuts on Broadway!  Of the three we visited, this one is more like a typical doughnut shop than any of the others.  The scents and wafting coffee through the air as we entered drew us in to order four regular sized doughnuts to share!  Pictured below is our treasure and the light fluff of these doughnuts was perfect and the best way to come from and move on to our last stop!

I only had a bite of that chocolate doughnut with sprinkles and am still amazed at just how light and fluffy these are.  I believe I heard somewhere that Coco Doughnuts is famous for a blueberry doughnut.  I think we were too late.. next time!

Chocolate with sprinkles at Coco Donuts on Broadway!

Recouping from lots of donuts!

Our last stop was Blue Star on Hawthorne Blvd.  Walking in to the bright, white and European style decor, the doughnuts were not plentiful like in a stacked rack at some of the more typical doughnut shops.  These puppies were placed on cute trays, cake plates and stacked for style and taste!  We ordered the Blueberry Bourbon Basil, the Champagne Peach and Lime Curd and high tailed it to a secret garden to devour these in private!!

Blueberry Bourbon Basil, Lime Curd and Champagne Peach from Blue Star Doughnuts!

So, let me tell you about this secret garden.  I found this place with a friend over a year ago.  It's called Elk Rock Garden or the Bishops Close.  It is located in SW Portland on the way to or from Lake Oswego.  It was a home to a family long ago that was donated to the Episcopal Church at one time.  It's open every day from about 8-5pm.  No food is allowed as well as professional photography but as always, I'm not a good rule follower because I always assume they are meant for someone besides me.  Well, so I'm bad but we snuck in these delights and sliced them up to share on an old garden altar out in this beautiful garden.  We picked up all our garbage and actually followed the scout code and left the place cleaner than we found it!

I asked everyone in our group which place was their favorite.  I got three different answers so they all win!  This was only three doughnut shops but folks… if you want a simple tasting where you don't get sick of doughnuts, three is really enough!

From the garden, we headed to Westmoreland and enjoyed walking through Stars Antiques and then headed to Rejuvenation on Grand.  Spent some time there letting the doughnuts settle before heading to the food cart pod on Sandy Blvd. I've read so much about!

Rose City Food Park is really as clean as they tout and they have lots of choices for really good food!  I had Greek with a locally brewed beer and others had lamb kabobs and a burrito.  So, yeah, there's lots of carts there with lots of choices for food!


Half eaten organic frozen yogurt from Eb & Bean!

I jokingly said something about this organic frozen yogurt place I had been to recently, Eb & Bean.  I assumed everyone in our group was filled and ready to hurl but no… they said, "let's go!" So, we did! I had the strawberry with hard shell and sprinkles but I tasted a pistachio with a salted caramel sauce topped with dark chocolate chips.  That's what I am getting next time!

I think this day was pretty amazing and ended well with dessert.  I am looking forward to sharing this itinerary with others and having a great time playing tour guide in the city that I love!

Tips for an itinerary like this one:

Plan ahead and don't eat a big breakfast but some protein is a great beginning before a day of doughnuts!

Take and drink plenty of water during the day.

Take your time at each place and if you are too full, taking the doughnuts to go is a great idea because then you get to discover somewhere fun to have them.  Although, don't ever take Pip's to go… they are so good when they are just made, hot and delicious with that Chai Tea so have them there!

Be sure to shop in-between because it's not only good to spend money in Portland, there's so many cute places to shop!!!!  Westmoreland, Sellwood, Hawthorne Blvd., Fremont St., Alberta St… I have a list in case you want it.

Finally… always end with something cold like Eb & Bean or Salt & Straw.  I don't know why but it's just a good way to end a food day in Portland!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Eagle Creek Trail to Punchbowl Falls… a Columbia Gorge hike!

It was only five days after that epic hike to Ramona Falls that we decided to take this shorter hike from the gorge on the Eagle Creek Trail to end up at Punchbowl Falls.  I was recovered from my 7 miles by Friday and had a new pack to try out so we had to go!

I had done some reading about the trail as I always do so I can have some sort of idea of what to expect.  One part of the reading really struck me and I thought it was weird coming after how I had just read that this hike is one of the most popular and easier trails and is a real draw to a lot of people living here and visiting Oregon and then I read that many people have fallen to their deaths from the cliffs that this trail is notorious for.  Yikes!  For some reason that really stuck in my head the whole time on the trail and so being extra careful was a no brainer.

Now this is the part where I tell you that I tripped and fell.  I am alive of course so no, I didn't fly off a cliff or take a nose dive in to that punch bowl to never return but I did however, take a nose dive or rather a head dive on the soil packed trail on our way back to the trail head after seeing the magnificent Punchbowl Falls.

I cannot even tell you how it happened.  I am fine now with some bumps and bruises and a purplish black eye that gets looks from people that see me every single day.  They laugh and tease but do so because they love me and are sure I am ok.  So… I am ok and have learned that watching my step on any trail is really important.  I will pay more attention to where my feet are and what I am doing and probably keep my mouth shut a little more too.

Let's talk about Eagle Creek and this trail.  It is an easy trail.  The elevation is only about 500 ft. over a few miles in and of course a few miles out which is mostly a slight downhill.  We saw many people on this trail and what I've heard is, is that the weekends in summertime is crazy!  Once we got to the falls, there were people sunbathing, swimming and even a few jumping in which is by the way against the law.  So, I highly recommend you don't do that!  For the most part, it was a warm sunny day and the perfect day for a hike in the Columbia Gorge so it was really no surprise to see this trail alive with smiling faces and fast treks to the water.

You will read about this trail and find that some of it is pretty dangerous.  There are cliffs and drop offs and in one particular area, the drop off is amazingly narrow and I'm surprised there hasn't been some sort of closure for repair here.  But, you will find cables to hold on to and that's all good till someone comes the opposite direction.  Someone has to back up or scoot around to get around safely.  If you're going to ask if I recommend this trail for small children… my answer will be no!  If my kiddos were smallish, I would choose a much safer trail.  Having said this, there were surprisingly many kids at the falls and so I assume their parents were very clear about the dangers and in complete control of their children's doings on the trail and in the water.

All in all, I'm glad I got to do this trail even with the little dirt pounding I received.  I'll heal quickly and be back on another trek soon enough.  I think I'll stick with Hoyt and Forest Park for the next week or so and enjoy my backyard hiking trails for a change.

To find out more about the Eagle Creek Trail and Punchbowl Falls, click on the link!  Once again some suggestions for hiking in Oregon…

wear comfy steady hiking boots or sneakers

bring plenty of water and snacks

wear and bring sunscreen

think about safety when bringing pets and children on trails with risks

read ahead so you'll know what to expect on the trail

always let someone know where you are and what your plans are

lastly… don't forget your camera.  There are some spectacular shots to be taken on the trail!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Enchanting, Romantic and Awe Inspiring Oregon… this trail is my new favorite! Ramona Falls!

The silty Sandy River near Mt. Hood!

Every now and then when I'm out on a hike or experiencing some new adventure in Oregon, I come across some place that just consumes my thoughts and my mind completely.  Yesterday, Ramona Falls was that place.  Enchanting and romantic and an awe inspiring hike with falls that will stun the seasoned falls hiker to no end, Ramona Falls in the Mt. Hood region is an unbelievable beauty and will always be one of my top favorite hikes in Oregon!

Me and my boots!  7 miles round trip!

Enchanting mosses, foliage and rushing water along the trail!
The trail is 7 miles round trip with an incline of 1100 ft. encompassing hard pack soil, some rocks and forest, streams and green covered topography for most of the trek.  I am a hiker however, had just been on a trip that exhausted me but this is exactly what I needed to unwind and regroup. Romping along this route, I couldn't help but compare it to the McDonald Dunn Old Growth Forest trail near Corvallis. That is my all time favorite because of the trees frosted in moss, the overgrowth of ferns and blooming foliage in which I have personally dubbed an enchanted fairy land.  The Ramona Falls Trail reminds me so much of that hike but on a much bigger level.  Much more of everything that makes me love Oregon even more every single day, more of the beauty that draws me and my fellow hikers to trek farther to see the places that are unbelievably one of a kind.  Ramona Falls is clearly one of those places.

I found this unbelievable display at the end of this trail.  I love Oregon!

Everyone resting  before trekking back enjoyed these falls!
One question I recently received asked how a young child would do on this hike.  I did see families with small children on the trail and again later near the falls resting on blankets or perched on flat rocks enjoying the cool air streaming toward them.  I would be prepared for a slower trek when taking small children.

We took our lunch along and enjoyed our peanut butter and jelly with a captivating view.  Some things I would do differently… take more water, take sodium replacement or salty snacks since it's summer and sweating was inevitable. And, I would probably take a blanket or large towel to spread out and sit and enjoy the view for a while.

Hard pack, rocks and an easy climb kind of trail.
On the return hike, we encountered areas along the stream where we were able to sit on soft ground where moss grew like weeds.  Taking off our hiking boots and soaking our sore feet in freezing water was like heaven.  I would suggest beginning this hike earlier than we did so you have more time for this type of relaxation on your hike.  There are lots of places to soak and enjoy such beauty along most of the trail.

Back over the Sandy River… heading back!
The bridge that crosses the Sandy River early on is accessible only during the summer months. It is removed around October for the season.  We did see campers and this very sweet small blue tent set among the tall trees at one point.  It was then that I wished we had camped as well. Too bad our version of camping involves a real bed and running water complete with a kitchen and bathroom.  It did look like fun though.

Some more suggestions include that you be sure to wear good supporting hiking boots.  Taking lunch and snacks with extra water as I mentioned is a must especially in the summer months. Take time to enjoy every part of this trail.  The topography changes along the route along with the scenery of course.  Be sure to stop at the Zig Zag Ranger Station to get a map of the area and ask questions there if you have any before heading out.  Seven miles doesn't sound long to the avid hiker however, I found that I wished I had begun earlier in the day so I could dawdle longer on the return.  As it was, it took us almost four hours to get to the falls and back.

I am a slow hiker, a photographer of my adventures and a lover of everything Oregon wants to show me.  Ramona Falls and the hike there will always have my heart and I suggest you get up there and enjoy it too!

Short trek on the Pacific Crest Trail!