Spokane - Walla Walla - Portland - Seaside - Seattle
4th of July 2010 ANNIVERSARY - YEAR 2
Chaps - If you have a craving for an apple fritter then this is your place. Most likely the best frittata I have ever eaten. Perfectly baked with moist fritterness and slight crispy texture and a delectable amount of glaze. On our way, excited we headed south on 195 to wine country. We took our goods to go. Goods to go: House-made blueberry french toast with a cinnamon roll icing that was not too sweet and just the right amount. This is a great option since most serve french toast with some kind of maple syrup. It came with bacon and rib baby red potatoes, completing the dish. Also, I had a bacon mushroom and cheddar scramble that was good and fluffy, served with baby reds again in a perfectly made biscuit and gravy. That was again well-balanced, seasoned and texture wise. Great for a perfectly baked biscuit- yum. Altogether a great experience in a thoughtful, beautifully decorated new bakery custom built into the already well-know Chaps restaurant in Spokane. The only thing wrong were the styrofoam to-go containers, but that's another blog. Either way that's not enough to keep me from keeping me coming back... see you soon Chaps.
The Palouse empire- on our way through the rolling wheat and an occasional cow, chicken, and horse, the drive was perfect with green rolling hills and deep blue sky, and an abundance of perfectly spaced white cumulus clouds. The road was up and down and slightly windy through Colfax, Dayton, Waitsburg, Dixie, and into Walla Walla.
Walla Walla - A small but classy town with unique boutique stores and a large variety of wine shops. Those who frequent Walla Walla enough to know the usuals for tasting and I suppose we hit a few of them except Cayuse. I really wanted to try their wine but it was sold out and leaves me to wait for the next vintage. After wandering the streets downtown, we discovered a new wine maker for a tasting, all reds had a pleasant nose and body to them and comes with a higher-end price tag. Worth it and we may have a few cases for Santé. In the dead center of town, we tasted Rotie, a newer winery as well with complex quality wines at great prices. We even featured them in our last 15 dinner. Again great wines, great wine maker, great view of the city streets, and by talking to Rotie they are excited for their new vintages. With a drive to the park to check it out, a breathtaking cruise through the vineyards during sunset and quick stops at PhoSho and Saffron, we decided with a culinary mind and with all the closures for the 4th of July in Walla Walla, to keep driving on to Portland.
Portland - We drove through our old stomping grounds of 5 years and made a stop at our favorite place, Kornblatt's on NW 23rd for a tasty treat of a Kosher breakfast serving latkes, matza balls, ginormous eclairs, and other tasty treats. I strongly recommend this style if ever waking in Portland. After a quick stop at Trader Joe's on NW 21st and Glisan for olive oil and balsamic, we eagerly head west to the coast to celebrate a special anniversary.
Seaside - For the fireworks show of a lifetime, Seaside Oregon's display of explosions, rockets, sparklers, smokebombs, m80's, fire fountains, bright lights, and high pitched screaming noises and the mortar bombs that blast into the air only to explode again a hundred times over. At least 3 hours of non-stop of 360 degree radius pure American culture. It was beautiful. While my beautiful bride and I snack on Santé charcuterie, french cheeses, mustards, fruit, and crispy baguettes, and satiated with cured meats and artisan food and seeing this spectacle all with a tasty glass of champagne was just amazing. The cracks and booms went off all through the night until morning and with sandy feet and blanket, we go back to our luckily found last room in town with an ocean view that we sleep only to wake to a peaceful drive to Seattle. Before we leave, we had to stop at our favorite breakfast place on the coast: McGowan's. Another must-eat breakfast spot, they offer a menu that is both fresh and tasty, the chef uses quality products and shows skill in cooking techniques. After a mimosa it was off to Seattle for more exploring and culture.
Seattle - 2 nights at a little boutique called Ace Hotel, placed in the heart of Belltown we slept in a corner room with windows on both sides, wide open. We focused on the memories of living in downtown Portland where the people of the streets interact with each other - sometimes good and sometimes bad. This night was not much of either but it was great to be back in the mix of it all again. We went off the beaten path to find the much acclaimed Salumi, which was closed for the week. Any place with a picture of Julia Child in their window is OK with me. After was a walk around the city street food (chicken on a stick- delicious) at the Pike Street Market, Mariners game, and drinks at the Cyclops with the largest Belltown Pizza slices ever, another great day in Seattle.
Day 2 in Seattle - coffee at Vivace on Captital Hill, window shopping and people watching to get the full effect of the streets were crowded with people, rainbows and signs that read 'come as you are.' What a great way to start your day. Next stop: University District. Where the culture is plentiful with a diverse selection of food, in the mood for thai food for lunch. We passed on a couple, and stopped at one that serves everything for $6.99. Called AppeThai, usually when you see play-off words on restaurants it is pretty damn good. This one was the usual American wanna-be Thai stuff - don't waste your Thyme. Anyway, the U District is a great place to shop for cheap quality second-hand clothes and an unusual keep-sake finds. Very cool for people-watching as well. A short hike and some sun on the top of the Sundial hill in Gas works park later, we travel back to the hotel to park for the evening and wandered over to our main destinations, a Bolivian restaurant on the second level of the Pike Market called 'Copacabanna' for cocktails and 'Le Pichet' for dinner in Belltown. A true french restaurant with traditional house-cured charcuterie featuring mostly paté's, rillettes, and salamis, not to mention house cheeses, we tried everything. My favorite was foie gras with a mousse like texture and lightly airy seasoning of fleur de sel. The tounge was impressive as were the house cheeses and ambiance. Another great weekend of food and year of marriage in the books with my wife. I know its september but I have been busy and still love to write and I'll do my best to keep it going so peace to all.