Methven Winery and the case of the stolen pinot noir

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Last weekend I was fortunate enough to help represent my company at an open house for Painted Hills Natural Beef. While Painted Hills beef is from Fossil, OR, the company had paired up with Methven Family Wines in Dayton for the event — which meant a trip out to wine country!

Oregon wine country, as you have seen before, is a beautiful place and knowing that a fabulous — and free! — dinner was waiting made the gorgeous drive from Portland all the better. I won’t mention that gorgeous drive included an hour of terrible traffic — let’s just focus on the pretty (and delicious) stuff!

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This was what greeted us when we arrived…

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I never say no to pinot!

After checking out the scenery, my co-worker Ariel and I went to check out the food — always a high priority for us. The dinner was served buffet style, but what a feast there was: Painted Hills striploin, scalloped potatoes, grilled veggies and a salad of spinach, blue cheese and pears.

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A plate full of happy.

Now here’s where the fun starts. Everyone chose their seats prior to lining up for food. So when returned to our chairs, Ariel and I noticed something that had slipped past us before, each table came with a bottle of wine, snuggled up in a burlap bag. Since drinks had to be purchased, we were very excited at the prospect of free wine.

However, on our table sat a bottle of white wine, which wasn’t cold and didn’t sound like the best pairing for our steak. So while our neighboring table was at the buffet, we convinced another co-worker to swap out their bottle of pinot noir for our pinot gris. After all, they had only dropped their jackets there, surely they hadn’t even noticed if their table had red or white wine. Right?

Nope. We were totally busted! Luckily after giving us a hard time, they seemed to forgive us, which was good because we had already cracked it open and started drinking. The bottle was dry when all the ‘thank you for coming’ speeches were over and then someone got on the microphone and said, “Everyone flip your chairs over, if you have a sticker on the bottom of your chair, you get to take home the bottle of wine on your table!”

Uh….

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The (very empty) evidence of our dishonesty

Good thing for us my boss won the bottle at our table. We just let him know he had treated us to his wine and thanked him. I’m not too sure if he was pleased by that but what can you do?

Go outside and enjoy more pretty!

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Rainbow at Methven Family Wines

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Just another lovely evening in wine country.

Wild About Game: The meatiest culinary event in the NW!

If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’re well aware that I work as a meat distributor. You might even know that every year the company I work for hosts a huge meaty gathering where our vendors and other friends (think people involved with salt, cheese, and alcohol) get to mingle with our chefs. Four and a half hours later, everyone — staff included — is full of beer and booze and practically shaking from the meat sweats.

This year I even gave away two tickets to the event on my Facebook page. I would say it was a huge success — I’m pretty sure I saw the winner and his guest still hanging out at the after party bonfire around midnight.

What can I say? We know how to have a good time!

Anyways here’s some pictures I took of the day event to give you an idea of how deliciously awesome it was:

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The grand prize winning dish of the cooking competition. Guinea fowl leg stuffed with guinea fowl sausage, plum sauce, pea tendrils and carrots. By Chef Aaron Barnett of St. Jacks, Portland, OR.

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The view of Mt. Hood from the Timberline Lodge

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Foie gras ice cream in sugar cones, by Chef Chris Carriker of 23 Hoyt, Portland.

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Foie gras pastry cream stuffed doughnuts…Yes, you read that right.

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Foie gras doughnuts for days!

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Foie Gras chocolate from Xocolatl de David. He also had a pig’s blood chocolate but this is my favorite.

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Portland Creamery goat cheese with roasted beets

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This is nothing unusual….

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Oregon at its finest: Rabbit and Chantrelle Terrine

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A table full of salt, by Mark Bitterman of The Meadow

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People’s Choice winning dish: Water buffalo adobo with coconut sticky rice and padron peppers. Chef Joey Serquinia of Harvest Vine, Seattle.

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Water buffalo sirloin, liver, and rib with Maderia and elderberries. By Chef Chris Diminno of Clyde Common, Portland.

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Seared Kobe beef, black garlic, dried tomatoes and crispy nori. There was always a line for this plate! Sampler by Chef Gregory Gourdet of Departure, Portland.

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The Commons Brewery Gose — pretty color, delicious beer.

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Manchester Farms Quail Egg Shak-Shuka.

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It’s hard to beat this view!

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A beautiful glass of Burnside Brew’s saison

The Alyeska Tram: Seeing Alaska from a different level

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The view of the mountains from the Alyeska Tram

The fun thing about coming back to your home state after a long absence is being able to play tourist. I was excited to check out the Alyeska Resort — a place I don’t know if I’ve ever been — especially after hearing about the tram that could take us to the top of the mountain. It was a short excursion but totally worth it, so gorgeous!

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Looking up from the bottom of the Alyeska Tram

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All the way up, please!

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Looking down from the top

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View from inside the tram — I’ve missed mountains like these!

Things I miss already…

I’m suffering from serious vacation withdrawal. The good news is that it’s absolutely gorgeous in Portland right now and I can sit in my backyard with a beer and a book and pretend I’m still in the Caribbean (kind of). And, in my travels, I discovered two delicious things that I can’t wait to indulge in again, this time on domestic soil.

1. A Mojito Royale. All the minty goodness of a rum-filled mojito…copiously topped with Champagne. Yes please!

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Mojito Royale from the Rainbow Club in Grand Case, St Martin

2. Johnny Cakes. How have I never eaten these before?? They are the stuff dreams are made of!

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Shrimp Skewer and Johnny Cakes, Talk of the Town, Grand Case, St. Martin

Vacation Cooking: Why I Married a Chef

The main reason we rented the place we did in St. Martin is because it has a fully equipped kitchen. One trip to the Grand Marche and we were all set to make a few meals “at home” instead of eating out. Luckily I got to sit out on the balcony while my husband did the cooking!

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Soft Boiled Egg, Mache, Lemon Zest Salad…with some Foie Gras and Proscuitto thrown in for fudsc_0056

I love a perfectly cooked egg!

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Lamb Leg, Raviolis and Mint/Parsley Salsa Verde

Lesson Learned: Smoked Meat at Schwartz’s

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So a while ago I posted about a colossal mistake I made while in New York City. I committed a sin that I still have a hard time thinking about. On our final day in the city, we made the pilgrimage to Katz’s Deli where I ordered a cheeseburger. Yes, yes, I know. It was a terrible idea but I was really too hungover to think straight and so I ordered poorly.

Today I knew better.

Schwartz’s is on everyone’s list of places you must eat while visiting Montreal, and my husband and I were determined to eat there at some point on our vacation. So today we headed straight from our hotel to St. Laurent and waited in a short line to get our food to go. Our order was simple: two smoked meat sandwiches and a cherry soda. Of course, it should be noted, Schwartz’s doesn’t even give you the opportunity to make a regretful decision. Their menu is concise.

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We walked out ten minutes later, past the huge line of people waiting to be seated, clutching a brown bag full of meat gold. We meandered over to the entrance of the Parc du Mont-Royal and then took a nice seat in the shade to enjoy our lunch.

It was divine.

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When the meat is this tender and juicy, all you need is a squirt of mustard.