Got back late last night from a little trip to Portland with our best friends. Natasha’s husband was turning 50, and he’s a wine lover as I am, so the four of us set off for a foodie and wine excursion.

There are things I hate about Portland, and things I love. In the hate column is the fact that their circular crisscrossing freeways are a nightmare for someone with no sense of direction. More than once, I’ve ended up almost LEAVING Oregon again without ever exiting the freeway, something that is near impossible in most cities. In the serious love column is the shopping and dining scene. Portlandia seriously loves their handcrafted cocktails, indie brews, small farms and now micro-distilleries.

We stayed near 23rd Avenue, which is a nice little few blocks to walk along, shop and nibble. I had remarkable sea-salt caramel macarones from Papa Haydn’s, and I never thought I’d call any preparation of roasted chicken all that special, but Veritable Quandry has it down to a beautiful science.

Then it was winery time – we had time for three in a single day, Adelsheim, Lange and then Stoller. Stoller is relatively new on the wine scene, having only started up in (if memory serves) around 2003 with their first vintage. They do a nice pinot noir, and a beautiful pinot rose. Lange ended up having my favorite pinot of all the tastings we did, in their 2008 Yamhill. Delicious! We splurged on a 3 litre bottle for our upcoming anniversary, ’cause Natasha and I are both planning “seven year itch” parties, since we’ll both have been married for 7 years in the Spring. It was her idea, but she’s letting me steal it. :)

The only bad thing about a Portland trip is the drive home. The traffic is almost always terrible (it didn’t disappoint those expectations this time) and the weather here at home is a good 10 degrees colder.

Home for a few days now, before we head out to the islands this weekend to race our little boat again.

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