Posts categorized “Restaurants”

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Spring Vacation 2009 with an ANGRY Surprise

I’ve been on vacation for the past week! But I’m back now. It was a really busy vacation. Let’s see:

FRIDAY
Carrie went shopping with a birthday girl, and we met up with another birthday girl (and a bunch of other Bead Babes & Boys) at Chalet Bowl. I did very poorly! The Chalet Bowl people were acting strangely, like they didn’t really want anybody to actually be in there, just to bowl and get out! I guess they had some big event later on? Randomly ran into @danaismyname there, but she (and her family) were also rushed out of there by the staff.

So instead of hanging out and spending our money there, after bowling we went over to the North End Tavern and spent money there by having beer and playing darts. I did very well!

SATURDAY
We went to Northwest Trek! With two Mels, a Jen, and a Lila. I took photos with my phone, which I instantly tweeted!

The best part of the whole trip was the last hour when Lila decided she was both an explorer and our Teacher, and that we were her “group.” She would tell us what the signs said, and give us specific instructions. My favorite were, “Okay, now everybody has to stand on the other side of this tree. Okay, now hold hands in a circle. Now walk backwards this way…”

She got really into her teacher/explorer character, but started getting tired towards the end of it and got a little too much into character. At one point when Jen called her Lila she shouted, “I’m not Lila!”

Carrie turned to one of the Mels and said in a low, creepy voice, “Lila isn’t here anymore.”

FOOLS PLAY
That evening I went down and performed our new Fools Play Easter format: Fools Play Egg Hunt. I ate 19 marshmallow peeps during the annual Peep Show. This year it was a Kung-Fu Peep Show:

A Young Man and his Mother work hard in their small farm in ancient rural China. They work hard but they get to reap all the rewards. One day the Mother sends the Young Man into town to “buy a bucket,” but while he is away the farm is attacked by a group of six Bandits lead by the Bandit Leader, who kill the Mother and take the food, burning the farm. When the Young Man comes upon this scene he vows revenge against those vandals.

Meanwhile in a tavern in town, a Drunkard drunkenly decapitates the bartender. Just then the Young Man enters, scaring the Drunkard’s Coward friend into hiding under the table. The Young Man asks for help in defeating the Bandits. The Drunkard is so disgusted by the Cowards cowardice that he kicks the Coward out from under the table. The Coward goes flying across the bar and right up to the Young Man, who mistakes the Coward’s being thrown across the room with real Kung-Fu prowess and begs the Coward to train him. The Coward is too cowardly to refuse.

And so the Coward, in the span of two hours, “trains” the Young Man to be a Kung-Fu master, even though Coward knows absolutely no Kung-Fu. Emboldened by his training, the Young Man goes off and finds the Bandits and challenges them. They promptly and humiliatingly kick the Young Man’s sorry ass, and don’t even have the courtesy to kill him.

The Young Man goes sulking back to the bar to confront the Coward, who hides again under his table. After a wacky conversation, some wacky action, and some vomit, the Drunkard “trains” the Young Man by getting him piss-drunk. The Drunkard then promptly dies of psoriasis of the liver. The Young Man is despondent until the Drunkard’s ghost shows up to encourage him. The Drunkard’s ghost then promptly dies of ghost psoriasis. The ghost of the ghost appears and tells the Young Man he should just get going because this is likely going to go on for some time.

The Young Man rushes back to the Bandits, challenges them, gets pissed drunk and promptly beheads one of them. He then vomits on another one, who dies from being “allergic to vomit.” The remaining three Bandits pounce on him simultaneously, but the Young Man manages to leap high up into the air and dispatch the three of them all at once. Now all that are left are the Young Man and the Bandit Leader, who have a classic showdown wherein they face off and then run past each other. A couple of seconds later the Bandit Leader falls down dead. The Young Man walks off, saying something presumably inspirational (my mouth was so full of peeps at this point that I was incomprehensible).

Also during this episode of Fools Play, and very excitingly for me, a new addition to the cast was revealed:

angry-beef-plush

That’s right! It’s ANGRY BEEF! We summoned him to fight off the Improv Spawn. But is this solution worse than the problem? We’ll find out in the weeks ahead!

I’m so very proud of this plush ANGRY BEEF, which I designed sewed all by myself. The bone actually runs all the way through a hole down the middle of the body, and if you pulled you could yank it right out! It might be nigh-impossible to put it back in if you did it, though. I would love to mass-produce and sell these, but this one took for-freakin’-ever to make, so unless I come up with a better system I’m not going to be able to make very many, and they’d have to be really expensive to make them worth it. We’ll see.

SUNDAY
Sunday was Easter, in case you forgot. In the early afternoon we took Suki over to Carrie’s folks’ house, where we hung out and played cards for a while. Then we headed over to my folks’ house for din-dins. After that we drove up to the Skylark Café in West Seattle to see Julia Massey and the Five-Finger Discount (including @rabbiddogg) play a set. It was fun! We really like that venue a lot.

MONDAY
We cleaned the house hard-core in the morning, and then in the afternoon we drove all the way up to the Semiahmoo Resort just a stone’s throw away from Canada (you can see Canada out the windows). I like taking long drives with Carrie ’cause she always packs really good snacks. But the weather was weird during the drive, including a bout of hail and a section of the freeway that had snow all up ons it.

We hung out in the bar up at Semiahmoo once we got there and I had frou-frou girly drinks. One of the reasons we went to Semiahmoo is because they had a “Ginger Snap Martini” that Carrie knew I would love. It basically has Goldschläger, Jägermeister, and Bailey’s Irish Cream all mixed together, and there might be some ginger vodka in it, too. Not entirely sure. It was good, though.

We took a dip in the hot tub and then headed back to the bar for din-dins, and I had another frou-frou girly drink that had a sugared rim. I’m such a girl.

Tuesday
Tuesday we had Crab Benedict for breakfast in bed, then headed back down south, stopping in my old stomping grounds of Old Fairhaven on the way. It’s changed quite a bit; it’s a lot nicer and has a lot more stuff in it than when I went to Western ten years ago. I liked it. For lunch we ate home-made chicken salad in the car before completing the return trip.

Wednesday
In my brain this is the only day of my vacation that I didn’t actually do anything except sit around and relax. This is of course ridiculous because I went to work in the morning, meaning my vacation ended. However, I got off at 1:00 in the afternoon, so it was almost like having an entire day to relax, so it still counts in my brain.

And as of… NOW I’m back and all done with vacation. I have much of work to get done.

Categories: Concerts/Shows, Fools Play, Holiday, Life, Links, Music, Pictures, Restaurants, Round-up, Vacation, Weather.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Weekend Awexomeness

So on Friday Carrie & I got our taxes done. We stumbled haphazardly onto a completely awesome accountant who not only cost only $87, but for the first time since we got Married we’re going to get a refund. Suh-weet! Anyway, apologies to all of my clients for not getting much work done last week, but tax prep took a lot of time.

Then over the course of the rest of the weekend I made the most awexomest thing EVAR. I can’t show it to you until it debuts at Fools Play this weekend. But after that you’ll never hear the end of its awexomeness.

SPEAKING of Fools Play, this up-coming weekend is our new Easter format, Fools Play Egg Hunt. And what happens every Easter show? That’s right—my annual Peep Show.

You KNOW you don’t wanna miss that.

The last night (Sunday) we went out for Masa happy hour to celebrate a birfday (not either of ours). Masa has good happy hour stuffs, although if you’re gonna get nachos I recommend getting the regular (huge) nachos.

Categories: Arts & Crafts, Fools Play, Life, Restaurants.

Monday, 30 March 2009

What a (Sky)Lark!

Last Friday evening the wife and I headed on up north to go to the Skylark Café & Club because our good friend Three Ninjas was playing there. Also there were @rabbiddogg, @tangentbot, @HeartFeltRobots, and @angierox. You can see most of us in this photo that Three Ninjas took from the stage during his set!

Three Ninjas is much brighter than the rest of us

Three Ninjas dee-jayed about 42 very entertaining minutes, then had enough time to perform “The Ecstacy of Mallard” at the end.

I also finally picked up a copy of the Three Ninjas album, Welcome to Boy Zone. It’s been out for a while, and I feel bad for taking so long to get my own copy!

The 2nd band was The Order of the Crimson Wizard. They were a fascinating classical/metal/fantasy blend. Carrie & I enjoyed them tremendously, but I’d spent all my moneys on the Three Ninjas CD, so we couldn’t pick up a copy of their CD.

They said they were from Bellingham, so I emailed Ryan (of The Wastelanders and Chuckanut Drive) to see if he knew of them. He said that they used to practice next door to them, and “it always sounded like someone was just playing Castlevania out of a PA main.” He also described them as “Hobbit Rock,” which I thought was funny.

The third act was French Miami, a weirdly psychedelic rock trio from San Francisco. They got really into their music while they were playing it. They had a cool setup: the guitarist and bassist both had keyboards that they’d play as well, sometimes even at the same time as they were playing their guitars. Interesting stuff.

But anyway, Three Ninjas recorded his entire set, both audio and video. The audio is available for you to download AND ENJOY. Here is the audio recording of the performance.

Categories: Concerts/Shows, Life, Links, Music, Restaurants.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

A New Frontier

Yesterday (Monday) Carrie & I went out and hung out with some Bead people at a local bar because it was a birfday party for one of them. That isn’t very unusual, but what was unusual was the fact that we didn’t head out until after 10:00 PM. It felt very strange… often we’re getting ready for bed at that time. ‘Cause we’re OLD, see.

Anyhoo, we picked @SphinxAkashaa up from his bus where it let him out on Commerce and met everybody down at the New Frontier Lounge, which we didn’t even know existed out there. They had a DJ who was spinning/mixing entirely reggae vinyl. It was interesting. The place is actually pretty cool, and it was nice to hang out with a bunch of Bead Babes & Boys.

We didn’t get back home until about Midnight:15, which is again very unusual for us. ‘Cause we’re OLD, see.

Categories: Life, Restaurants.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Three Birthdays and a Concert

This post spans two Fridays and one Saturday. Let’s begin.

Friday, 23 January 2009

This was kind of my Christmas present from Carrie. She had the day off, so in the afternoon after I got off work and we had lunch and all that, we drove up to downtown Seattle and spent an hour or so wandering around the fancy shops near Pacific Place and Westlake Center. Carrie didn’t end up getting anything. I know! Not a durned thing. But I ended up getting a Super Mario Bros. 3 T-shirt at Hot Topic, and some musical birthday cards at Daiso. We heart Daiso.

After that we had dinner reservations at The Dahlia Lounge. It’s a nice place, with dark mood lighting. Every meal includes an amuse-bouche, whatever the cook happens to whip up. For us it was tiny li’l open-faced pastrami sandwiches. They were very tasty, and had lots of complex flavors that opened in sequence. For our meals I got potato/leek ravioli in a smoked onion & sage butter sauce, topped with frisée, which was in turn topped with crème fraîche. Carrie got the crab cakes with cracked green olives and a romesco sauce. Both dishes were excellent, and we switched plates when we were each half-finished. For dessert we got freshly-made doughnut holes that were brought out to the table, then placed in a brown paper bag full of cinnamon and sugar and shaken up right in front of us. Our server then cut the top half off the bag so we wouldn’t have to reach down through all that sugar to get to the holes. They came with a jam and a vanilla mascarpone dipping sauces. I also had a really good cocktail made with blueberry vodka and something else, with a float of sparkling wine. Carrie had a margarita on the rocks. It was good and fancy stuff.

After dinner we walked over to The Moore to see a Jonathan Coulton concert.

The opening act was a comedy/musical duo called Paul and Storm. They were very likable geeks, and I thought they did a good job of being funny. My favorite bits were the commercial jingles and the conditional impressions. By that I mean they did impressions of musicians who influenced them growing up, but then they added arbitrary conditions, like “Bob Dylan… in a well” or “James Taylor… on fire.” You could tell that they were honestly awed by the size and intensity of the crowd. It sure seemed like it was the largest audience they’d ever played in front of, and they were very excited. They completely underestimated the Seattle audience, though. Watch as they try to get through a very simple song:

Then it was time for Jonathan Coulton to perform. He did a bunch of songs solo and a bunch of songs with Paul & Storm as backup, as well as Molly, who is famous on teh intarwebs as SweetAfton23. I took all the videos I could find on YouTube of this show and made a handy playlist for you to enjoy. So enjoy:

Molly got to do a solo number, and she did a cover of Britney Spears’s “Toxic” on the ukulele, which I, as a fellow ukulele-player, appreciated a whole bunches.

At the show we ran into Jack, aka “John Hippogriff” from Under the Mailbox Theater. Hadn’t seen him in years, and he looks exactly the same. He came and saw Fools Play the very next day, so it was cool to hang out with him.

Friday, 30 January 2009

This was the day of the triple-birthday party for (using their internet names) HeartFeltRobots, TeezyWeezy, and Jeff the Fish. They were all born in the span of the same week, so they decided to make it easy on all of us and have their birthday parties at the same time and place.

Now, I couldn’t go to their party without bringing them presents, could I? COULD I? I… think… NOT. So I made HeartFeltRobots and TeezyWeezy necklaces. TeezyWeezy likes ghosts, so I made her a Ghostie pendant:

Ghostie is a happy ghost!

I dangled a teardrop black bead from the bottom of the pendant and strung it on black cording.

For HeartFeltRobots I made a double-sided pendant so she could wear it with any outfit.  On one side: TAKO!

tako

And on the other side: IKA!

ika

Tako being, of course, the Japanese word for “octopus,” and ika being the Japanese word for “squid.”  Anyhoo, I strung this double-sided pendant on black cord as well, but couldn’t find a bead I liked amongst Carrie’s copious collection.  So I went down to The Bead Factory to get one and, man, that place was hoppin’!  Being a nice guy, I let everyone checkout before I made my $2.10 purchase.  I found a small lampwork bead with dots all over it that looked kinda like a sliced-up tentacle with suckers on it.  Poifect!

For Jeff the Fish I made a plush narwhal.  I don’t have any pictures of it because I’m an IDIOT and forgot to take any.  I’m bugging Jeff the Fish to take a photo and upload it to his site or something.  When he does that I’ll add it to this post as kind of a retcon.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

This was TeezyWeezy’s ACTUAL, REAL-LIFE birthday, and at Fools Play we always do a special format whenever a Fool’s birthday lands on a performance date: “Fools Play Birthday Party!”

This format includes a part where the other Fools give the birthday person some funny presents that somehow lead to a funny bit or are introduced by a funny bit or something like that.  I’d already given TeezyWeezy that awesome pendant on Friday, so I decided to do something simple.  It, of course, didn’t end up being simple.

There were two parts to my present.  First, since I know she gets lonely way out there in Wenatchee, and I know she likes ghosts, I made her a ghost finger puppet to keep her company.  But wouldn’t it be better if you couldn’t not only see the ghost, but also TALK WITH the ghost?  So I recorded myself saying a whole bunch of random things in a ghostly voice, with enough space in between so that one could have a “conversation” with the ghostly voice.  I then chopped up each phrase into its own MP3 file, which I burned onto an audio CD so that she could put it on shuffle and it’d be like having a new conversation EVERY TIME!  There ended up being over seven minutes total of ghostly phrases.  Here are a couple of examples:

  1. taishas-ghost-08
  2. taishas-ghost-18
  3. taishas-ghost-28

leiapico came to Fools Play, which was awexome.  I hadn’t seen her in months because now she’s a big-wig science teacher and is too important to hang out with lowly improvisers like me.  *sniff*

Anyway, that’s my story of three birthdays and a concert.  I enjoyed it much more than Four Weddings and a Funeral, mainly because I didn’t have to sit through an Andie MacDowell performance.  Yech.

Categories: Arts & Crafts, Concerts/Shows, Fools Play, Life, Links, Music, Restaurants, Round-up, Shopping, Videos.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Stormpocalypse Snowmageddon 2008

(or “Snowpocalypse Stormageddon” if you prefer)


I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t somehow write a blog entry on this rather unusual bout of snow that we’ve gotten here in the Pacific Northwest over the past week. Therefore this blog entry is what you might call “obligatory.”

Yes: it snowed here much, much more than it usually snows, and it has stayed much, much longer than it usually stays. And therefore much of the Pacific Northwest has gone into a panic the likes of which must seem hilarious to the upper Midwest and Northeast parts of the country, where long-lasting snow is a common happening.

The fact is that Seattleites, Tacomans, and to a lesser extent Olympians have possibly the worst weather memory in the entire country. You see, it rains well over 100 days out of the year here, so you’d think we’d all be accustomed to driving whenever it rained, right? Well, just imagine that there are more than five consecutive days without rain. For some reason it seems like the entire population suddenly forgets how to drive in the rain when it starts pouring again! I’ve lived here my whole life and this phenomenon never ceases to amaze me.

So you can imagine what it must be like if it happens to snow, which it does very infrequently. Maybe two or three times a year, tops, and it generally sticks around less than two days if indeed it does last at all. Here’s an example of the hilarity: one day last week many Tacoma schools were canceled because it was snowing… even though it was much too warm to stick to the ground. Yes, Tacoma schools were canceled because there was snow in the air. There wasn’t even any ice on the roads!

So you can imagine how the whole area basically shut down when a couple of days later the snow really did begin to accumulate on the ground.

Carrie & I have a tradition of night-walking through the snow on the first evening that it accumulates. So late that evening after Carrie got home from work we decided to take Suki with us. We also live within easy walking distance of Alice and Rufus, two Boston Terrier friends of Suki’s (and their owners, who are friends of our). We thought it’d be fun to all go for a walk, which it was. But it was also rather embarrassing, because Suki got so extremely excited by the snow and the presence of the Bostons that she kept on spontaneously barking for joy. Loudly. At 11:00 at night outside people’s houses.

Another evening a bunch of us who live close by all trudged to the nearby Engine House 9 (“E-9” as it’s called around here) for a nommy din-dins.

On Saturday Laura came over and she, Carrie, and I all went down to the Parkway Tavern to meet with Steph, Jamie, and law-school Katie for lunch, ’cause we were excited she was back in town. Well, right before we arrived a group of about 20 overly-well-dressed professionals had spontaneously shown up demanding food and drink. And only two people were working that afternoon: one bartender and one cook. So we had to wait quite a while for our foodstuffs, but it was okay because there was good company and copious amounts of pear cider. That night Fools Play was canceled due to a rather large burst of afternoon/evening snow (the owner of Mud Bay Coffee couldn’t find anyone who was willing to keep the place open late enough for us). Instead we all played Animal Crossing and we baked cookies and stayed in. Laura even ended up crashing on our couch.

Carrie had to work all day Sunday. Laura & I walked down to Starbucks and had breakfast sammitches for breakfast. The snow was like crème brûlée: a thin, hard crust over a lot of soft stuff. It was crazy to walk through it. But for lunch we walked again, this time to Wild Orchid to meet with Carrie, Christine, & Lawrence. Here’s a tip: if you eat at Wild Orchid, try the Rama Noodles. Very tasty.

We were so inspired by Wild Orchid that we decided to make our own Thai chicken soup for dinner, so Laura, Lawrence & I stopped by the Neighborhood Market on the way back to the house and bought coconut milk and an onion while everyone else went back to work. Lawrence continued on to his house, and Laura decided to drive back to hers before it got dark. Carrie made the soup when she got off of work, and Christine, Lawrence, and the Bostons all came over and ate it (well, the Bostons didn’t eat it) while watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated version, not that live-action crap).

Let me just say: onion, chicken, garlic, curry paste, coconut milk, chicken stock, cilantro, basil, salt & pepper (in that order) FTW.

By Monday morning the snow had pretty much stopped falling, but it was still very much there. I managed to get my car out of it and got to work with little incident.

I think my car is under there somewhere

And that’s about it. There are still about six to nine inches of snow around here. According to weather people the snow is supposed to stick around for the rest of the week, so there might be some form of white Christmas (which would be an absolute shock to the people of the Pacific Northwest; I only recall one white Christmas here in my entire 31 years of existence). I would also just like to say that it is very nice to live within easy walking distance of so many good restaurants and bars.

I hope you have a safe and festive holiday season. Until next time… adiós.

And to all a good night.

Categories: Cooking, Life, Pictures, Restaurants, TV, Weather.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Where They Filmed Bits of The Goonies

HAVE BEEN BUSY

Last week was our 4-year wedding anniversarary! Hooray! To celebrate, we both took the whole week off and went on vacation.

The weekend before the vacation we had a big ol’ yard sale. I followed the advice of my own article about Garage Sale Etiquette, and the whole thing went swimmingly. Carrie actually did most of the work during the actual hours of operation due to the fact that I was working on the big Bead Factory Fashion Show handouts, as I had been doing the entire week leading up to that weekend.

I should say that Saturday went very well; Sunday was pretty much dead. We made enough moneys to buy lunch. Carrie did get to hang out in the front yard with Laura & Lawrence and play backgammon while drinking margaritas, so the day wasn’t a bust by any means (I once again spent much of the day working on handouts). After it was all over we loaded everything that was left into my car and I ran up to Goodwill and gave it all to them.

The next day we left for vacation. We rented a house in a tiny little town called Tierra Del Mar, Oregon. We found the house through homeaway.com. We actually stayed at this house. Tierra Del Mar is sewiously small; it consists of about 12 streets branching off from the main thoroughfare. If you sneezed you would practically drive through it without noticing. It’s about halfway between Tillamook and Pacific City.

Wait, did I say Tillamook? If you know me, then you know that I loves me the cheese, and Tillamook happens to have a great big ol’ factory that just pumps out the stuff. So that was the second stop on our journey.

What was the first stop? A Burgerville in southern Washington. They (coincidentally?) have a fantastic bacon burger with Tillamook cheese all up on it. They also have sweet-potato fries and very delicious milkshakes. Y’know, I shouldn’t say that Burgerville was our first stop because we didn’t actually stop there; we just hit the drive-through. We stopped at a rest stop a ways down I-5 and ate our yummy foodstuffs at a picnic table OM NOM NOM. Burgervile is kind of a tradition whenever we drive to Oregon. There was also a dog area at the rest stop, so we let Suki run around in it for a bit.

Then we headed on down to the Tillamook Cheese Factory using this route. It wound up through the “mountains” between Portland and the coast. It was very pretty. But naught so pretty as the pretty cheese in that factory.

We, as is our custom, bought the packaged odds-and-ends. When they carve cheese into those brick shapes, what do you think happens to all the leftover bits? They shrink-wrap them and sell ’em at the factory for a reduced price! They only had one style that day, a garlic white cheddar. That was okay with us!

From there we got on 101 and headed on south to Tierra Del Mar. It was after 4:00 by the time we arrived, so we quickly hauled everything out of the car and then walked Suki down to the end of the road where there was a big, huge, northwest-coast-style beach. A few miles to the south was a big ol’ Haystack Rock, though not the Haystack rock—that was up north many miles out of view near Cannon Beach, where they filmed bits of The Goonies. This Haystack Rock was not in the movie The Goonies. Don’t know why they couldn’t give both rocks different names.

We played fetch with Suki. She seemed to like the beach quite a bit, and didn’t mind getting her entire mouth completely coated with sand. It woulda bothered me. Ah, well.

Suki at the Beach

I took a short video of the beach so you could see just how crowded it was there:

Yeah. After fun in the surf and sand we headed back to the house where I hosed Suki down (she didn’t like that). For din-dins that evening we made clam chowder from scratch (it just seemed right to make clam chowder while you’re staying at the beach).

Carrie made this really fascinating bread product. I’ll see if I can describe it:

For this recipe you will need: 

  • (2) cans of buttermilk biscuit dough
  • Bacon
  • Shredded cheese

Instructions:

  1. Cook the bacon until it’s crispy, then crumble it to bits.
  2. remove all of the biscuits from the cans. Cut them up into little 1″ – 2″ triangles.
  3. Arrange half the biscuit bits in a single layer (as best you can) in the bottom of a greased baking pan (it’s supposed to be a fluted bunt pan, but they didn’t have one there so we just used 2 regular 9″ square pans). The triangles don’t have to be tightly interlocked; it works better if they’re just loosely arranged.
  4. Sprinkle half the crumbled bacon and half the shredded cheese on top of the layer of biscuits.
  5. Make another layer of biscuit bits on top of the bacon/cheese layer.
  6. Sprinkle the rest of the bacon and cheese on top.
  7. Bake in an oven at an appropriate temperature (??) until the biscuits are cooked to a nice, golden brown.

The cheese seeps into all the cracks between the biscuit triangles as it melts, and then when it cools it creates this matrix-like glue holding the whole thing together. To it it, you just rip off a triangle or two and pop it in your mouth. You can dip it in your chowder first if you’d like!

After that first evening, the low clouds rolled in and stayed for the remainder of the vacation. When I say low, I mean like 50-100-feet-off-the-ground low. Fog unless you were at sea level. It was actually kinda nice because it kept the weather very, very moderate. It weren’t too hot and it weren’t too cold. It weren’t too windy, neither.

The rest of the days of the trip were spent exploring all the little towns along the Oregon coast. We went as far south as Newport, where we had some beer inside the “Brewers on the Bay” pub at the Rogue Brewery. That place was really cool; you had to actually walk through the distillery (guided by arrows on the floor and taped-off areas) to get to the pub. It almost felt like you were trespassing. We went as far north as Seaside, which we did not like very much; it had a strange, aggressive, “angry carnie” energy about it.

Our favorite town was Cannon Beach, which was clean, well-maintained, and tourist friendly. Lots and lots and lots of cute shops full of cute stuff. I didn’t buy anything.

An interesting thing to note about our trip: we didn’t ever eat out at a restaurant. We had beer at the Rogue brewpub, but not food. We cooked our own breakfasts and dinners, and we packed picnic-style lunches that we took with us. It was really tasty and a much less-expensive way to have a vacation than to eat out for every meal. We made horribly delicious things from scratch, such as beef fajitas, chicken salad, burgers stuffed with bleu cheese and covered with garlic cheese, etc. We made way too much; we brought home leftovers from pretty much every single meal we made (except for the breakfasts, which we usually scarfed right down).

Another interesting thing to note was that there was neither TV nor internet tubes at our vacation house. We brought my MacBook, though, and it has a nice media player. So we watched a lot of My Boys and Veronica Mars and some Anthony Bourdain while we ate our breakfasts and dinners and relaxed in the evening. We also brought some books but didn’t actually end up reading them!

Early on in our stay we were were heading south through the fog along a big, forested cliff over the ocean. I needed to find a restroom (a side effect of having no large intestines), so we pulled over at this one touristy landmark type place that had a gift shop. It didn’t have any restrooms, but there was a lookout outside where you could stand at the top of a 500′ cliff and look out over the ocean. It was so foggy that you could only see maybe halfway down the cliff. It was like Silent Hill. Still looking for the bathroom we continued up a ways to the Devil’s Punch Bowl area of the Oregon coast, where we just happened to stumble upon a winery at the edge of another (smaller) cliff: Flying Dutchman Winery.

After quickly ascertaining they did not have a public restroom and backtracking to some port-a-potties we’d spotted, we came back and did a tasting. They had really, really tasty berry wines. We bought half a case of blackberry and raspberry wines. We’d never have known about this place if I hadn’t had to go to the bathroom!

While driving through Pacific City we noticed something familiar about the place. We’d eaten at a restaurant there and stayed at a motel there many, many years ago on an overnight trip we’d taken with Geoff, Josh, and Melissa! It was the trip where Josh and Carrie both tried to learn how to drive stick with Melissa’s car. Ah, nostalgia.

There was also a cute little town to the north called Nehalem. It had like two blocks of cute little shops, all linked up with covered walkways. It also had a bead shop (we stopped at at least two bead shops during this trip) that had a going-out-of-business sale happening. Hey, I just learned that there’s a Google Street View of Nahalem, of all places! Go take a look.

Eventually it was time to head back home. But just because it was our last day didn’t mean we were done with our vacation! Not by a long shot! It was time for wine. Wine time!

Instead of going back the way we came, we jutted south and then headed east on Highway 18 towards McMinnville, towards the heart of Willamette Valley wine country.

Traveling generally northeast on 99, we hit the following wineries:

Yamhill Valley
Had a cool koi pond out front. We bought a couple of whites.
Anne Amie
Very classy place. We bought three bottles, including a shockingly tasty Müller Thurgau and an easy red blend they called Amrita. We ate a picnic lunch at a table on their patio
Archery Summit
Least-expensive bottle there was $48. We didn’t buy any but did the full tasting (generous amounts). Got to drink some $100 pinot noir. It was easily the best wine there, but honestly not $75 better than a good $25 bottle of pinot noir.
Erath
Our perennial favorite. We got a couple of interesting whites, including a dry Gewurztraminer (which was kinda fascinating). We tried to have a snack on their patio but were driven away by bees.
Argyle
Interesting little place, had an unusual selection. We got a bottle of sparkling rose wine (the most expensive single bottle we got on our trip) and a very delicious ice wine.

Carrie did the driving so I did most of the drinking, and I was a little tipsy by the end, I tell you what. But still—still—we weren’t quite done!

Late afternoon, following phone directions, we wound ourselves into that strange hilly area directly south of downtown Portland to the apartment of Heather & Chris. They took us all up curvy roads towards the top of the hill.

The roads skirted around huge, forested chasms, along the sides of which were many terribly expensive houses built on stilts hanging over these chasms. It was kinda crazy. One house was only connected to the hillside by its driveway; the rest of it was supported by stilts. The road was actually level with the TOP floors of these houses. Often they extended three or four stories down into the chasms. Is Portland a more geologically stable area than Seattle? ‘Cause it’d be suicide to build like that up here, what with this being earthquake country ‘n’ all.

Anyway, we did not fall into any chasms on the way to Council Crest Park, which is basically at the summit of the hill. It’s a pretty cool park with a big watertower in it. There’s a steep hill on the southeast side of it that dogs can run around in, so Suki ran around in it with us all.

After that we got back on the freeway and headed north for home. About the only thing we missed on the whole trip was a jaunt to Voodoo Doughnut in downtown Portland, but we didn’t feel like stopping either time we drove through the area.

It was plenty dark by the time we got home. But get home we did.

As a P.S. of sorts, this post wins the record of having the most labels of any of my posts!

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