Wednesday, December 22, 2010

turkey, basketball, and pinot noir

There's no use even trying to pretend that I'm really all that busy these days, not working and all - and yet ... I've been meaning to put up this blog post about the Portland trip for almost a month now! And, so far, just couldn't find the time. Well, better late than never, I suppose... Besides, Portland's as far as I've traveled in the past three months, and I've got to try and keep the blog exotic and entertaining somehow!

And so, we begin back where we left off last time - back here in Seattle over Thanksgiving:

The Mu's were hosting, the turkey was delicious, and I ate so much that I had to take a bit of a nap to recover in time for desert.

And having survived the feast of Thanksgiving turkey, it was time to move on to basketball and wine. Basketball being a Duke game, against the University of Oregon down in Portland, and the wine being the delicious Pinot Noir that Oregon's Willamette Valley is so famous for. I recruited Erica to come with me on the Oregon adventure (and to drive...) - the prospects of Pinot Noir doing most of the sales job (as well as my charming personality, obviously...)

Down in Portland, we met up with Shima, whom I knew back from Duke, and headed straight over to Voodoo doughnuts - one of Portland's must-see hole-in-the-wall attractions

In fact, Saturday was largely dedicated to exploring the sites of Portland, as the game was at one, which left plenty of time to wander around the city, yet not enough time to get anywhere out of town. I'd been through Portland a number of times before (most recently on the way to Burning Man just a couple of months ago), but had never actually spent any time in the city itself. So, this was a fun and novel adventure for all of us, but first things first: the game!

The Oregon mascot roaming through the crowds prior to tipoff. We had very good seats...

Duke's Mason Plumlee dominating the opening tip - Duke would go on to dominate the rest of the game too

Singler vs. Singler!

The game was sort of a big deal around these parts: Kyle Singler, Duke's All-American senior, is from Oregon, and his little brother, E.J. is a sophomore starter for Oregon's team. This gigantic poster, covering a side of a building in Portland's Pearl district and picturing both of the brothers Singler, was here to promote. Of course, Oregon's football team was busy being undefeated and ranked #1 in the country at this point in time, so the locals weren't really all that heart broken over the basketball team's loss, or really overly interested by the game - easily half of the crowd was featuring Duke garb on this afternoon. And the other half didn't have much to cheer about... (Let's Go Duke!)

After the game, more pretty shots of Portland

The wineries weren't on the schedule till the next day, but we got got in the mood by visiting Coalition Brewery Saturday night, one of many breweries in Portland; this one justifiably famous for its King Kitty Red (a beer which gracefully combines a funny name with its delicious taste)

Brunch the following morning (Portland's apparently, and deservedly, quite famous for brunch) at the Blossoming Lotus. It honestly didn't seem fair that all of their food could be so astonishingly good while remaining strictly vegan!

And then, it was time for the Pinot Noir! That sweet and delicious nectar that the Oregon wineries are ever so fond of producing. It was Wine Country Thanksgiving in the Willamette Valley this weekend, meaning our tastings were paired with a helping heaping of tasty snacks and some longer than usual winery tours. I approved! We got to visit six or seven wineries over the course of the day - keeping track was becoming difficult after a while, especially since I was forced to do more of the drinking, so as to keep Erica able to drive... you're right, it is a rough life:

The vines at White Rose, starting to wane as the weather gets a bit colder, but looking very dramatic against the bright blue skies

Archery Summit took us on a a tour through their tunnel maze where the barrels are kept

Rain coming down on the way out of Monk's Gate, coloring the scene in a very Renoir-esque French impressionist sort of hue. I liked Monk's Gate best - small and very friendly winery; excellent product!

The striking main house at Lenné, our last stop, as the darkness was starting to fall

Erica going 'wheeeee!' at Lenné

And with that, the weekend was over, it was time to head back to Portland and Seattle and get ready to go to work in the morning... or do whatever it is that I've been doing!

Dinner back in Portland on the way home at the New Old Lompoc Brewery, the maker of the Proletariat Red, which I found to be just right, comrade!

And on back to Seattle... where the Space Needle is getting into the Holiday spirit

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