Sunday, September 12, 2010

an INSANELY awesome weekend

not all weekends bear special mention. but there are those weekends like this last one, that are so over the top fantastic they must be shared! actually, knowing how bad my memory is, chances are if i don't document it, i won't remember it, haha! :)

maybe it was because it came at the end of one of the most challenging work weeks i'd ever had.
maybe it was because it was the weekend before my birthday.
maybe it was the incredible weather that lasted all weekend long.

me thinks it was a combination of all the above and so much more!

friday evening began with dinner out with the hubby. it wasn't meant to be a special occasion dinner, it was more of a 'i don't want to fight rush-hour traffic so let's meet downtown' kind of dinner. after dinner, hubby said he had a surprise for dessert, so we hopped in his car and made our way there.

except that we didn't!

instead of dessert, he pulled up to the Benson Hotel a few miles away, grabbed a duffel bag from the backseat, and informed me that we had reservations at one of Portland's most fabulous hotels for the evening. ummm, wow-za!! he had even packed an overnight bag for me, complete with all the right stuff, which is in itself pretty impressive! :) first, let me say, the Benson is spectacular, really. however, it's so much more so when the price is right - thank you Priceline - i love me a good deal!!

it was just for one night, but it was perfect - watching back-to-back episodes of 'say yes to the dress' and '4 weddings' (oh, how i've missed cable!) from the comfort of the world's most plush bed. taking a bubble bath. running across the street to have second dinner around midnight. waking up completely refreshed, insane work week a distant memory. huge brownie points scored by the hubby!

friday would have been enough to make the weekend qualify as awesome.

but then there was saturday.

a day spent with two lovely friends who decided it was about time we all took advantage of the incredible wine country practically in our backyards! we made our way to Dundee, OR, where we toured, wine tasted and soaked in the views at the breathtaking 'Domaine Serene' winery. seriously, did not know we had a piece of Tuscany in our backyards! touring oregon wine country is definitely something i could get used to!

wine-tasting was followed by what i can only describe as one of the most incredible dinners i've ever experienced! we went to the Allison Inn & Spa, new to newberg and can i just say wow?! how does this kind of a place exist in newberg?! some of the highlights: the lavendar cosmo made with lavendar grown in their garden (divine!), Shawn - the world's best server, incredible cuisine made with ingredients grown in the vegetable and herb gardens behind the resort, dessert that literally had us licking our plates. i could go on, but i’m making myself hungry, so i’ll stop now. suffice to say, it was a most memorable dinner experience!

then sunday came along...i had every intention on catching up on errands and housework, but just couldn't bring myself to spend a beautiful day that way. instead, hubs and i took pups and drove to cannon beach at the oregon coast, a favorite of ours. think 70 degrees and sunny with a faint breeze - it was a perfect summer day at the beach, and we took full advantage! we walked cannon beach from one end to the other, had lunch at our fav spot, 'the lumberyard,' grabbed some caramel corn and a caramel apple for the drive back home, and ended our weekend feeling tired and refreshed at the same time.

the weekend was perfect. it was just what i needed, just when i needed it and i'm blessed to have shared it with loved ones.

here are a few snapshots...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

discovering sushi!

i had sushi for lunch yesterday
a few hours later, i had sushi for dinner

i’m discovering that i REALLY like sushi, something that held zero appeal for me a few months ago is becoming my new favorite.

i never understood the popularity of sushi and how just about everyone i know seems to be gaga for sushi. the idea of consuming raw fish and other critters that reside in bodies of water AND enjoying it was pretty much beyond my comprehension. i believe i have a fairly adventurous palette, but when i could be feasting on a cuisine that features such masterpieces as Pad Khee Mao or Panaeng Curry, why would i work hard at trying to like sushi??

well, a new sushi place opened up near our house a few months ago, and one recent evening when the hubby and i couldn’t decide on a dinner place (nothing new for us!), we decided to try the sushi place, thinking 'how bad can it be?!'

turns out, not bad at all!! yes, we totally felt like big dorks, not knowing what to pick up off the turnstile (?) and fumbling with our chopsticks (me more than him), because forks are NOT provided, but aside from a couple of weird looks we received from our server, we made it out excited to have survived our first sushi experience together! not only did we survive, but we had raw fish for the first time (salmon and tuna)…and again, it wasn’t half bad! in fact, it was pretty tasty!

next order of business – trying out new sushi places.

let me know if you have any sushi restaurant recommendations in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area!