Friday, April 24, 2009

4 Days in Review--with more to follow....

I flew into Seattle. I only saw the view from the airport. My friend, Jean, picked me up and we drove to Mossy Rock where she and her husband own a lake home. It was beautiful, peaceful and relaxing. Immediately, I understood the reason they purchased the lake home.
We stopped in Olympia and ate at the Oyster House, on the waterfront. Although beautiful, the food was not. We wanted seafood, but not something too heavy. I know, the clam chowder didn't fit the bill, but I was on water and so I opted to get a cup of New England clam chowder and Jean tried the Manhattan chowder. She has a gluten allergy (truthfully) and so I don't each much bread/breading/flour while with her. Eating sauteed calamari just isn't the same. I have done it though, for her, on a few occasions.
I could survive on chips and salsa and so we ordered that, too. Our server told us that the guacamole was made in house, but the salsa was store bought. We decided to get chips and a side of guacamole. It tasted like Costco's and the chowder was okay, but not terrific. I will say that the Bloody Mary's were on point.
We arrived at her home and it was stunning. We unloaded the car and she made us mojitios. It was sunny and she had a burn pile that she wanted to tackle. So, out we went, mojitos in hand, and tried to get the fire pit started. After a few tries, I got one side up and running. I enjoyed the burning and we b.s.'d out lives.
I met Jean in college and we have been friends since. We spent a summer in Mexico together, trying to learn spanish. When she lived in Minneapolis, I spent time with her and her family. I spent a few days with them before heading to Wisconsin to attend Brian's service. I have spent a lot of time with Jean over the years.
Still, until Tuesday, I had never met her twin sister, Jan. Finally, we met in Walla Walla. She was a riot and the two of them together, was a little overwhelming. They feed off of each other's energy and it was wonderful to spend time with both of them.
We had 5 wine tastings in Walla Walla. We started at Woodward, Le Cole, Cougar Crest, Waters and Va Piano. I wasn't that impressed with Woodward; although, the tasting room lady was helpful with dinner suggestions. I enjoyed Brandon at Le Cole and the wine, too. He was insightful and had fantastic recommendations for wine and food. Cougar Crest was good and name recognition is always somewhat nice. We got lost en route to Waters---we ended up in Oregon. It was the blonde leading the blonde for most of this trip! Waters was nice and the lady, Robbi, went to DU and so she was familiar with the Bull and Bush. Va Piano was a lovely surprise. We went to pick up wine for Jean's neighbor, met the owner and sat outside with him, as he opened up new bottles for us. It was an ideal way to end the day.
Of course, we needed food.
Everyone told us--you must go to Saffron. I made reservations and we went to Saffron. The atmosphere was engaging and we were seated at a wonderful table. I ordered a syrah, from Washington--of course, and we tried a few appetizers and shared a few entrees. Overall, I wasn't impressed. I poured most of our wine and although, the bread was great, I was the only one to enjoy it. The twins are both gluton free. The scallops were lame and uninspired. We did all agree that the braised cabbage was awesome. I ordered that and we all enjoyed that side dish.
Afterwards, we still wanted to continue our night, but Walla Walla shuts down except for the Vintage Cellars bar, which doesn't offer booze--only beer and wine, or our hotel bar, which we had already been to. We returned to the hotel bar and the girls ordered martinis and I stuck with wine. No visit to a bar would be complete without being hit on by an older man. I was seated by this 60+ cowboy. I was watching basketball and Jean began talking to him. It was done. I was forced to engage with this man that I had no interest in conversing with. I left since I was intoxicated and didn't want to talk to this man.
This is so long and so I am concluding it for now. While with Jean, I started to realize that I could be doing more with my life. I love my job and my ability to travel, but I could utilize more of the traveling and write about it. I have learned a lot about traveling and feel I should pass it on. For instance, how often have you went somewhere, wanted a local restaurant, and all you can find is Chili's. I know that Saffron was disappointing, but I would return and give it a second chance. It had a lovely atmosphere and the possibility for greatness. Plus, everyone has an offnight. I can forgive it. There were a few other restaurants mentioned and I wish we would have tried T Mararone's. The following day, we perused the menu and I think it would have been a better fit for us.
Until later, I need to reflect on our foray into the mexican market, the mexican food we tried and the wineries in Yakima Valley. Oh, and Jean severely undercooked our halibut on Monday--fun times........

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