We realized recently that we were due for a getaway with our good friends Jack and La Verne – we did Walla Walla together a couple of years ago, met up in Portugal during our European vacation last year, and, in keeping with our common interest in delicious food and good wine, picked Portland as our 2010 destination.  We checked into our cozy little backyard cottage rental near Mount Tabor on Friday night and kicked off our epic weekend with drinks and nibbles at The Whiskey Soda Lounge.  We had hoped to score a table at Pok Pok, but given the 2-hour wait, this place was a perfect alternative, owned by the same owners of Pok Pok and offering much of the same food.  Good food, good drinks, good ambiance, good conversation – the night was good.

Saturday began with coffee at Barista – reputed to be one of Portland’s finest coffee shops.  I went with the standard latte (although it was much better than ‘standard’), but Jack pulled out the big guns and ordered a cup of their specialty vacuum pot coffee.  Watching the barista brew this cup of coffee was like taking part in a chemistry experiment – I couldn’t begin to explain the entire process, but I can tell you that these people take their coffee seriously.

Post-caffeine fix, we headed over to the Portland Farmers Market to pick up the fixin’s for an afternoon picnic.  This market is a-mazing.  Row after row of brightly colored berries, mouth-watering baked goods, artisan cheeses, yum, yum, yum…

We walked away with a bag full of goodies and pointed the car south – destination: wine country!  The region just south of Portland is home to some of the Northwest’s most beautiful vineyards, and we spent the afternoon sipping some fantastic Pinot Noirs amidst the rolling hills of vines.

We headed back into the city late afternoon and spent some time just lounging on the grass at a nice little part in Northwest Portland, people-watching, sun-soaking, and building up our hunger for our much-anticipated dinner at Tanuki.  This tiny little restaurant, tucked away among all the other storefronts on NW 21st, doesn’t look like anything special from the outside.  In fact, even after a round of drinks and happy hour appetizers, I was not overly impressed.  Then we ordered our dinner (actually, we didn’t really even ‘order’ dinner – we just told our server what we wanted to spend as a group and asked her to bring us a compilation of things that would fit that bill).  And then the food started coming.  And coming.  And coming.  She must have brought us 12 to 15 different plates, from Unagi to quail eggs to Chinese sausage, to a whole slew of things that I didn’t recognize, but readily ate.  We finally had to ask our server to just stop bringing us food – otherwise, we were in danger of not fitting out the door.  That was a meal.

We ended the evening with drinks with Mitch at Crowbar on Mississippi – wonderfully chill, after such a full day.  I fell into bed that night with a perfection-induced smile on my face.

Jack and La V headed back to Seattle early this morning, and Shane and I stuck around for awhile to spend some time with my brother and his family.  Elise is turning into such a beautiful little girl, full of new questions and new expressions.  She still adores her Uncle Shane – while running around at the playground, she bonked her head and began to cry.  She ran right past everyone’s offers to comfort her and right into Shane’s lap, gazing up at him with that irresistible little smile through her tears.  Precious.

And far too soon, it was time to hop back in the car and head back to Seattle.  Au revoir, weekend…

One Comment

  1. la v says:

    perfection indeed! thanks for a super fun weekend! long live the chen/schnell vino getaways!!