Busy Weekend – Back to work…and Rest!

This weekend was a busy one for Jess and I. We worked a little and we played a little. Here is the breakdown:

Friday – Both my wife and I like to try new places to eat especially new places around North Portland – NoPo. I have people call it NoPo but don’t recall if that made it kewl or not…eh – whatever.

We decided to try the place Cha Cha Cha! on Lombard. This is a sister restaurant to many around Portland. I have never been a single one but Jess loves mexican food and has eaten at one of the locations before.

The place was nice and bustling with people, fortunately they arrived about 15 minutes after we did, and our meal of burritos and margaritas was served before the wave of people trying to make happy hour. People still like to go out even during this economy so places with happy hours are ideal venues. We did a two-fer – we went during happy hour and had a Groupon. WARNING: Not all places allow you to use a Groupon during happy hour times. Verify ahead of time to make sure.

We did this early enough in the evening that we got home, took the Underdog “Undie” for a walk and settled in for a movie. Sadly I don’t recall what it was. Something from the streaming side of Netflix – Qwikster? Blargh!!

Saturday was the last day of the St. Johns farmers market so we grabbed Undie and headed out. We walk to most places around the immediate St. Johns downtown area since it is only around 5 blocks away and we get to keep up with walking Undie, which he LOVES more than just about anything! SERIOUSLY! He does a song and dance routine every time we get his leash out.

We shopped around and found the brazilian bread place was there so we grabbed some pizza dough plus some dough for rolls. This stuff is really great, light and crispy on the outside and almost chewy on the insides of the rolls. The pizza dough it too thin to be chewy on the interior but the outside is still crispy and wonderful.

At this point let me say that this weekend was perfect for everything we did, it was lightly chilly and crisp but clear. It made for the outside work almost enjoyable. More on that in a minute.

Once we got home I made my regular fried potatoes with the usual cast of characters, onions, garlic and lightly dusted with salt and pepper. While this is cooking on the range I have bacon broiling in the oven. Once both are done I topped my spuds off with a little fontina and Cholula hot sauce. Yummy!

Now I was ready for work. Since I had not cleaned the gutters or finished getting the moss of the roof that is what I set me mind to do. We live in a ranch style home so climbing a ladder to the roof is a small matter. The moss removal was another matter entirely. I have used tons of product on the roof, swept and have even tried cursing. They all worked to varying degrees. This time I manually scraped off the moss before use the remaining container of Moss-be-Gone or something equally plainly named.

I cleaned the gutters and made my way off the roof for hopefully the last time this year.

Feeling good about myself I showered and made ready to go out to a Sparkling Tasting by redslate wine company on 2nd & Washington in Portland lower waterfront industrial area on the west side.

We arrive early and staked out our seats on a far table for eight. We were greeted by the owner David Spear – who he told us was a sommelier on the national level and another level. He was not being bragadocious or anything merely explaining his credentials so that we all knew we weren’t being taken for a ride by someone who didn’t know what they were doing.

He was a thirty-something with kind of the hip thing going on with Fabio almost shoulder length wavy-curly hair that I am sure women love. He definitely tried to appeal to the party feel good sense of most people to draw them in and make them feel like they were at a party rather than a tasting.

We were joined by three other couples – Ginny(short for Virginia)/Doug(from England), Nancy and Bill (the stand-byes), Chris and Kathy (mother/daughter). We all introduced ourselves and made small talk during the evening.

There were seven in all:

Rive della Chiesa Prosecco NV Frizzante from Prosecco, Veneto and used the Glera grape.

Gruet Sauvage Blanc des Blanc NV from New Mexico and used the Chardonnay grape.

J Albin Blanc de Noirs 2007 from Willamette Valley, OR and used the Pinot Noir grape.

Chateau Langlois Cremant de Loira Bryt Rose NV from Loire, FR and used the Cabernet Franc grape.

Marques de Gelida Brut Exclusive Reserve 2006 fro Cava, ES and used the Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo, and Chardonnay grapes.

Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva 2006 from Cava, ES and used 50% Xarel-lo, 40% Macabeo and 10% Chardonnay grapes.

Andrea Clouet “Silver” Brut Nature NV from Champagne, FR and used Pinot Noir grapes.

I preferred the Cateau Langlois Cremant de Loire and Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva best of all while I believe Jess preferred the Gramona Imperial Gran Reserva best. We both liked the “Champagne” least of all. Maybe that is a good thing as it was $43/bottle.

Afterwards we decided since we were in the neighborhood we would visit Rimsky-Korsakoffee House for dessert.

The place is one of the old houses that has been converted into a specialty shop, in this case it is desserts and coffee items. They were celebrating their 31st year on October 3rd and had tassels hanging from the ceiling ending in “31’s” all of the place. Jess told me that one of the tables around the corner from us actually turns VERY slowly so that you would put your cup down and when you came back to it a minute or two later would be a couple of inches away from where you set it down. Kind of kewl if you ask me. Messing with people’s minds is fun. They also like to mess with people when they go to use the rest room. You go upstairs, like the sign downstairs tells you to do, and each door you come to says “Not this one”, or “Nope, not this one either”, and finally “Don’t even think about going in this one.” Ultimately you make your way to the bathroom and as you open the door there is a chester-drawer with a large mirror on top of it showing you a man laying down on the other side of the door inside the room. It was a little freaky to say the least. But again, very kewl. I like their sense of humor.

I ordered a hot fudge brownie sundae and a double mocha. Jess ordered the Raspberry Fool, which is their way of saying Raspberries and whip cream, and an espresso.

Sadly their espresso maker is the second oldest in Portland and from Italy and needs parts so they are using a “loaner”. Jess said it “tasted like “licking a dogs a$$hole.” That can’t be good right, unless you are a dog since they are always doing that all the time.

Sunday I got out of the house as soon as I could and started cutting the yard debris made by the couple hazelnut trees that we cut down several weeks ago because they were rotting from the inside. One of them had already fallen against the house and gutter but was being supported and held up by another hazelnut tree that was also rotting from the inside out. I wanted to get to this before it started to rain so that job would be less of a pain in the ass.

Once finished I showered and we headed out to Beaters, a dining establishment that uses all sorts of car parts and even whole junked cars as part of their decor and theme. Again we were ready with a Groupon that was $25 off a $50 order. After our adult breakfast drinks for three and brunch for four we sat at $49, so we ordered more bacon, I mean common it’s bacon.

Once we finished we all came back to our house, which is generally in a constant state of reorganization/messiness. We got to show off our new garage door and the “Man Hole”, yes I realize most people call it a “Man Cave” but my wife saw a picture of a man-hole cover and printed it out a dubbed the TV/my vice room, the “Man Hole” as a funny.

After some time with Vivian and Vincent inside the house we went to the backyard to see what was left of the garden and see to Lilly, Becky and Carry’s labradoodle. When we were inspecting the garden boxes Jess spotted a massive zucchini  – like 18 inches long and weighing 8 lbs or something like that. Jess took a couple great pics of me holding Vince in one arm and the zucchini in the other, alternately looking adoringly at each of them.

After Becky, Carrie, Vivian, Vincent and Lilly left I got out the electric leaf blower/sucker that was  gift from Donna and Phil last year, since I hate raking leaves from our bark-dust front yard, and started to remove the leaves that have started to proliferate upon the ground all around the house. I have only one word, “AWSEOME!” Most of the leaves came up without a struggle and were then in turn mulched and caught in a bag I carried over my shoulder like I was an old-fashioned newspaper delivery boy. Very little bark-dust came up with the leaves. I am not sure how things will work when things are wet but for now it is awesome.

Thanks Donna and Phil.

Ultimately as time passes I started laundry and Jess was boiling all the ripe tomatoes from the garden, peppers that were frozen and in our freezer from last year, and a couple of onions for additional flavor that she would later put through the hand cranked food mixer. This removed all the seeds and skins and left a tomato sauce we used for our spaghetti dinner. Jess also browned some italian sausage and made focaccia bread to round it out. All in all another awesome meal.

We sat down with a wonderful meal, a glass of red wine that I cannot remember off the top of my head to watch the Kings Speech where in Collin Firth gives his oscar worthy performance of King George VI of Briatain taking place right before and during the second world war.

Geoffrey Rush plays an excellent role or maybe he is just an excellent actor and makes the roles he plays excellent. 

I digress.

It summary, it was a very busy weekend with equal parts work, fun , awesome and autumn-like weather.

More to come…

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