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A Weekend in Astoria Featuring Tasty Food, Oregon State Parks, and the Voodoo Room

Astoria, Oregon

Continuing my whole summer of laziness theme, here are some photos from our trip at the end of last month to Astoria, Oregon. We stayed at the Commodore Hotel, ate and drank at Buoy Beer and the Blue Scorcher Bakery, went to Fort Stevens State Park, and spent a couple of nights at the Voodoo Room.

An excellent weekend trip, even if the weather didn’t cooperate until the day we left.

Commodore Hotel
Rooms with private and shared bathrooms. We had a deluxe cabin (private bathroom). Pros: Great location, cozy lobby downstairs. Modern, Scandinavian aesthetic. Cons: lacking in amenities for the price — at least for the “deluxe” rooms (no in-room coffeemaker or refrigerator, no towel hooks in the bathroom).
258 14th Street
Astoria, OR 97103

Buoy Beer
No. 1 Eighth (8th) Street
Astoria, OR 97103
Awesome beer and food. Great waterfront location!

Blue Scorcher Bakery & Cafe
1493 Duane Street
Astoria, Oregon 97103
This is always a good breakfast or lunch choice.

Fort Stevens State Park
West of Astoria, off Highway 101. Both Pacific Ocean and Columbia River beaches.

The Voodoo Room
This is always a good drinking choice. Sometimes there is live music — we saw Daric Moore the first night and the Slow Poisoner the second night.

The . . . → Read More: A Weekend in Astoria Featuring Tasty Food, Oregon State Parks, and the Voodoo Room

Win a $10 Whole Foods Giftcard, also Malbecs!

Win a $10 Whole Foods Giftcard; Also, Malbecs!

This post is fairly short and sweet and to the point. Do you want to win a $10 Whole Foods giftcard? And why wouldn’t you – it’s a free $10 to spend on hummus, bagels, rhubarb, wine (may I suggest a malbec?), or even put towards some fancy steak, salmon, or tuna for dinner.

I recently attended a fun and free Malbec wine tasting last week and I got the $10 card from Whole Foods to give away on my blog. At this event, myself, a couple other food bloggers, and some unsuspecting shoppers got to sample seven malbecs at the Hollywood Whole Foods (that’s the neighborhood in Portland, not LA). They were priced from $9.99 – $21.99 and, I thought, all were quite good. My favorites were probably the Marchiori & Barraud ($21.99), Waterbrook – from nearby Washington ($12.99), and the Don Valentin ($9.99).

Here’s how to win: Leave a comment below letting me know your favorite wine (can be as simple as “red” or “white”, to an exact producer and year) before Friday, April 4th at noon, Pacific Time. I’ll pick a winner at random, email you, get your . . . → Read More: Win a $10 Whole Foods Giftcard, also Malbecs!

IFBC 2013 in Seattle, Chateau Ste. Michelle + Asian Honey Spiced Salmon

IFBC 2013 in Seattle, Chateau Ste. Michelle + Asian Honey Spiced Salmon

For my last International Food Bloggers Conference post, I’d like to talk about Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodinville, WA.

There was an optional trip on Thursday, before the conference started, to visit the winery and taste some wines. It was a lot of fun and everyone was treated to a tour, wine samples, and accompanying food pairings. But one of the best surprises of the event, was that each attendee was presented with a complimentary copy of Chateau Ste. Michelle Culinary Director John Sarich’s cookbook, Chef in the Vineyard: Fresh & Simple Recipes from Great Wine Estates to take home. I’ve already made one recipe from it (my adaption posted below).

In addition, John Sarich of Chateau Ste. Michelle also presented a session at the conference: Food & Wine – practical advice for pairing wine and food, from classic pairings to unexpected surprises.

I attended that (part of a wine tasting double-header along with Wine & Writing: Live Blogging – An Exercise in Writing with Bordeaux Wines right before). During this Chateau Ste. Michelle presentation, I learned a couple of interesting things:

1. Old world grapes . . . → Read More: IFBC 2013 in Seattle, Chateau Ste. Michelle + Asian Honey Spiced Salmon

Guinness Braised Lamb Shanks for St. Patrick’s Day

Guinness Braised Lamb Shanks for St. Patrick's Day

Over the next couple of days I’m going to be posting two ideas for St. Patrick’s Day meals and this first one uses two very Irish ingredients — Guinness stout and lamb. It does take awhile to cook but the reward is worth it.

Of course, there’s also the challenge of finding a pot big enough to fit the lamb shanks in (usually my downfall), which is definitely tricky, but again, very much worth it in the end. If you have leftover braising sauce (and you probably will), it’s great used in lentil soup. Just thin with a little more chicken broth and cook your lentils in it. Mmmmm….lamb-y.

On the side — Polenta & Cabbage: This is sort of a colcannon-type dish but with polenta instead of potatoes. Just cook up a batch of polenta like usual (one part polenta whisked into four parts boiling liquid), and when it’s almost done, saute some sliced cabbage in separate pan, using about a tablespoon of butter. Add salt and pepper and let it get a little golden in places. Add the cooked cabbage and butter to the polenta and stir in . . . → Read More: Guinness Braised Lamb Shanks for St. Patrick’s Day

Whiskey Glazed Flat Iron Steaks with Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Whiskey-Glazed Flat Iron Steaks with Grilled Sweet Potatoes

I just learned that December 5th (today) is Repeal Day! That’s when Prohibition was repealed way back on December 5, 1933 after 13 long, sad years of no booze. Let’s all rejoice and not only drink alcohol, but cook with it too. Hooray!

Are you in the mood for a steak? How about whiskey? Hey, here’s an idea — how about we combine them into an awesome, red meaty meal? Really, you should do this because it was pretty satisfying. I am always looking for an excuse to try a steak recipe since, honestly, we don’t eat red meat very often (2-3 times a month, if that). It’s a steak adventure, if you will.

I am also happy to find a recipe that incorporates alcohol into food…because that is pretty fun. A little for the food, a little for the chef. But I digress. This is as good as it sounds (and looks) — a slightly sweet, complex glaze and tender, juicy, medium-rare meat. Roasted brussels sprouts on the side complete the plate.

Whiskey Glazed Flat Iron Steaks with Grilled Sweet Potatoes
Recipe adapted from Food Network
1/4 cup whiskey, I used Ransom’s . . . → Read More: Whiskey Glazed Flat Iron Steaks with Grilled Sweet Potatoes