I don't enjoy going out with other couples, or seeing which pair can dominate at Scattegories. No, no, no. When I say Double-Date, I mean 2 dates, back-to-back, just me and my guy for a marathon of non-stop romantic extravagance!
Two nights ago, after working at Refuge until 6 AM and sleeping in past noon, Zac and I awoke to something we thought we had lost: a day off. We began by sitting on the couch, drinking obscene amounts of coffee, watching comedy selections from the On-Demand menu, and eating breakfast on Lisa's Porch. The spread was amazing. Baby potatoes, sweet yams, broccoli and egg quiche, organic yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, avocado, and soy milk. It was now freezing outside, as Septembers in Portland usually are, so all of us had our heavy jackets on and sat with our legs close to our bodies. I was happy to shiver, and have truly missed chilly mornings. We lounged around the house until the evening rolled around, where we headed to a Portland attraction called Edgefield. It's located 20 miles east of the city, and comes equipped with a golf course, hot spring, vineyard, theater, hotel, restaurant, pub, and the world's cheesiest oil paintings which line the walls of the hotel's main corridor.
Right before we left the house, Zac had perused around their website and saw that it was Oktoberfest at Edgefield, and there was going to be live music all night long. As soon as we got to the grounds and parked the van, we followed our ears. In the back garden of the hotel were white canopies lit with old vintage yellow lights. Under the far tent were home ground sausages and local ales on special. We went for the beer because wine in this part of the country all seems overpriced, and tastes like grape juice. The band that was playing was absolutely fantastic! They called themselves Sassperilla: 4 men and 1 woman, all somewhere in their thirties, and appropriately dressed for playing bluegrass on and old farm. Zac was ecstatic. The last month has revealed a lot of Zac to me, notably his love for jam bands. I could sit here and try to describe the instruments that were being played, but my words would fail any informed musician. So let me say this... if you look around your house for items made of tin and steel, fasten them to a variety of wooden dowels, and clink them rhythmically together, you have what appears to be a good cover of this band. Their set lasted two and half hours, which is a feat for anyone, nonetheless a band who plays at 200 beats a minute. Night fell and their reign ended, where we offered them ten dollars in exchange for one of their recordings. The lead singer heard that Zac was from Australia and gave him a copy of every single one of their albums, asking him to bring it down under. I love our luck that way.
By now, we were starving and went around to the other building which was glowing in the dark, like a circus at its prime. The band playing on the dinner stage was much younger, all male, and each member had hair longer and healthier than mine. We ordered dinner and bought tickets for the late-night showing of The Avengers at a Mcmeniman's theater on the property. For those of you who have never been to Oregon, Mcmenimans theaters allow you to order dinner, drink wine and beer, and usually provide full sized couches for your viewing pleasure. The movies that are shown at these theaters are usually 6 months old, but an enhanced cinematic experience at half the price is something we just cant turn down. It's a must-do for anyone rolling through Portland area. The food was great, the music was awesome, the movie was fantastically Marvel, and it was all-around the best day off I could have imagined. But it didn't stop there
The next day we woke up with two things on our list.
1. Go and see Maria (the owner of Refuge, and a great friend) to get paid and have breakfast
2. Get away from the city today
We got to Maria's a little before 11AM where we stuck our heads in the door and let ourselves in. We sat on her couch for the better half of an hour waiting for her to come out of the shower. Her one-eyed dog named Upgrade kept us company and dragged his butt on the floor while we waited. No one knows quite how Upgrade lost his eye, just that it happened while Maria was out of town, and that it makes him the orignal gangster of Tillamook Drive. After we all ate our overpriced (but ever-delicious) breakfast bagels, Maria handed us a bong, one hundred dollars, a tupperware of weed, and instructions to go to wine country since we got a late start on the coast. We took her advice and began driving east again.
Sixty miles later we found ourselves in a town called Hood River, a couple miles away from Mt. Hood, and smack in the middle of Oregon Wine Country. We spent the day enjoying the sunlight, slipping in an out of ever winery we passed. We walked slow and spoke less, enjoying the over-fruitful flavors of Northwestern vineyards. We bought fresh peaches and plums from the Gorge White House, took pictures of the bridges, rivers, and rusted out wagons on the side of the roads. Zac spoke to all of the women who served us the tasting flights, and I watched him in adornment. In Australia, Zac works for a wine company, and while I don't enjoy the one-upping that usually comes with wine connoisseurs, Zac knew more than most of them and I found it wildly entertaining. I have to say, I was very under-prepared for my first day touring wineries. If I had to do it again I would have worn nice shoes, pulled my hair back into a pretentious bun, and brought scoring cards to rate each wine. They would list as follows:
1- This tastes like blood. Please take it away from me before I break out my garlic.
2- A bearable tart, but leaves me wanting food to accompany (or wash out) the aftertaste.
3- This 40 dollar bottle tastes just as good as the 6 dollar bottle I'm accustomed to, kudos.
4- I will repeat the name of this wine to snobs in my future, as evidence that my pallete has "been places".
5- I would buy this if I could afford it, please give me more for free :D
Around our third tasting, and 15th glass of wine, our stomachs started growling so we went in search of food. We walked into the nearest pub where I looked the host in the eyes and said, "I am a vegetarian. Sell me on this place." Without a moment's hesitation he told me the specific family of each vegetable, and where it was grown in the 10-mile radius of Hood River County. Two "non-GMOs", and three "organics" later, I was sold. We then invested in a full-sized 8 piece truffle pizza, another two pints of local beer, an 18 dollar bottle of Goat Red Cascade wine, two Red-Box DVDs and a slice of Safeway brand carrot cake. Sounds like a party right? It was.