Food Trucks

Our first week here in Walla Walla isn’t lacking in things to do. We haven’t been here in the summer in 10 plus years, it’s a nice change from the cold winters. It’s far from cold, the days are hitting the hundred degree mark but in the shade it doesn’t feel that hot.

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We spent the day wandering Main street and tasted some wines we have never had and some we have.

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If you know the Avester, she is a water hungry fool, but she MUST have ice. So for her birthday she joined the Hydro Flask club and she couldn’t be more excited. Happy birthday girl.

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The first Monday of each month in the summer is food truck night. I am not one to be blown away by the food from trucks but some people sure are. Held at the incubators by the airport, I was impressed by the turnout. The incubators hold three wineries, a brewery and a distillery that weren’t lacking in customers that evening.

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We ate, drank and talked the night away .It doesn’t get dark until 9 pm up here so the girls are staying up way past their normal bedtime these days.

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Final Leg

The one day we were in no rush to get on the road was the one day the girls were up before 6:00, never fails. They through a wrench in our lunch plans since Full Sail brewery didn’t open for lunch until 11:00 and we were only an hour or so away…. After a light breakfast we packed up and made our way to Washington. Since time was on our side we made a few stops to take in some of the historical sights.

Multnomah Falls

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Bridge of the Gods and the Columbia river

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Maryhill Stonehenge

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This was an interesting find. It’s an almost exact full scale replica of the ancient structure that is in England, which we failed to see when we were across the pond. Just a few miles off of the highway lies this memorial that sits over the bluffs of the river.

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I won’t bore you with historical facts but in a nutshell On July 4, 1918 this structure of stone was dedicated with a plaque that reads:”To the memory of the soldiers and sailors of Klickitat County who gave their lives in defense of their country. This monument is erected in hope that others inspired by the example of their valor and their heroism may share in that love of liberty and burn with that fire of patriotism which death alone can quench.”

“Stonehenge Memorial was completed in 1929 and re-dedicated on Memorial Day of that year, when 14 local service men were honored by having their names placed on the pillars of the Memorial.”

We putzed around, took some pictures and then headed back down the hill.

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At the bottom lies a cozy little log cabin that doubled as a tasting room.

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Waving Tree winery had a sufficient library of wines which were actually quite good. I don’t know why I was surprised with how much we liked them, but I was.

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Once we finished our last sip we hopped back in the truck to finish our way to Walla Walla. However we had a few stops to make first. Zerba winery in Milton Freewater is a favorite that we don’t get to enough. We grabbed a couple of bottles and then we went to the one and only Iceberg for lunch. The girls were excited to see Grandma and Grandpa and I was especially happy to be done with the car for awhile.

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A Day in Oregon

The first plan for our day was to reach Lincoln city before lunch. Mo’s clam chowder has been on my mind for months. The weather proved perfect for a cup of hot soup.

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Our second plan was to find a hotel with a pool near Dundee and then taste some Oregon wines. Once we arrived and our room was booked we made our way to Archery Summit, a highly anticipated winery as well as a VERY pricey one.

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To taste Oregon’s finest Pinot’s they wanted $30 per person and $45 for their reserve tasting, um…..and it’s waived if you buy $150 worth, cough! The wines were really good, we are not huge pinot fans so there would be no way we would ever buy a bottle at that price. But if you are a Pinot Noir lover, I would say it’s a must try if you are ever in the Willamette valley.

Next we moved on to Hyland Estate. Their wines were pretty good with a little more of a  reasonable tasting fee of $15 per flight which is waived with a purchase of  a bottle.

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Next we went to Hawkins winery which was settled next to two other tasting rooms, making it convenient and a break from the car.  Hawkins wines were quite good and the couple pouring were very friendly and unpretentious. Then we walked to Cathedral Ridge and were shockingly turned away because the “their permit doesn’t allow it”. Now let me just say that Kaili has been to more wineries than most adults. She has been to tasting rooms from San Diego County all the up from Santa Ynez, Paso Robles to the Columbia Valley. Never once have we been turned down. They could have just told us they were not a kid friendly establishment instead of lying about a code. With a bad taste in our mouth we went across the way to Rizzo winery where we were graciously welcomed.

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The girls kept busy with You Tube while we went on with our tasting. We left with almost a case of wine and as we were walking back to the car I wanted to walk back into Cathedral Ridge saying “big mistake, big, HUGE!”

That was our last winery of the day so we headed north to our hotel for a swim. Averi has wanted nothing to do with pools or even hot tubs, so while she played with towels, we swam.

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For dinner we made the mistake of going to a chain, I know, I know. We went with McCormick and Schmick’s in a shopping mall. Having never been we thought it was a tad on the higher end but it was like a glorified Black Angus. Needless to say we will not be returning to that restaurant. We were back in the room with the lights out by 9:00.

Walla Walla or bust.

 

Out the Door

Kaili and I got home from swim lessons around 12:30 and then we were all out the door, final destination Walla Walla. Fearing our worst traffic would be in LA we were surprised when we cruised right through. We had great music and Averi even fell asleep.

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Then…..the inevitable happened. A big rig went off the highway on the way up the Grapevine and traffic was at a dead stop, putting us way behind schedule. Our plan was to stop for the night in Sausalito, just north of San Fran. We decided to stick with our plan and we tucked in for the rest of the evening grabbing a gourmet gas station dinner for the road.

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We made it into the city right as the sun was setting.

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Once we were all checked in, it was way past the girls bedtime. Kaili slept with me so needless to say with all her limbs  nudging me throughout the night, I didn’t sleep well.

After a tired and tasteless hotel breakfast we continued our way up the coast. It was my idea to take highway 1 all the way up since it has been years since we’ve done that drive. The last time was in the Fall, so I thought having the daylight later into the evening it would allow us more time to see sights. Turns out most of highway 1 has construction going on, lending to many detours and traffic stops.

The day started out well, we were making good time.

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We stopped for lunch in Fort Bragg, food wasn’t great and Averi was a hot mess. It was not very enjoyable. Turns out this area was used in the film Overboard. I have seen that movie a hundred times and would never have realized it, so there is my movie knowledge.

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If I would have known what lied ahead in terms of traffic, we would have skipped lunch all together.

Then there was a shimmer of hope. We ran into  Pacific Star winery nestled right on the Mendocino coast.

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It was a nice break from the car with amazing views.

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It wasn’t long after being back on the road that we started hitting all the road construction traffic and with that we realized we wouldn’t be hitting our destination at the time we were hoping to.

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We also had zero cel service 90% of the time. This made trying to get a hotel reservation on the road pretty difficult. We decided to  push on to Oregon and stay at a hotel on the coast that we had been to before. Luckily, they had a room available and we made it before the sun went down.

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After check in, we hopped across the street for dinner, made it back to the room and got the girls bathed and in bed by 9:00.

Tomorrow we plan on only being in the car half of the day, fingers are crossed.

Summer Moments

Kaili is finally getting comfortable in the pool. Between swimming with her friends and swim lessons, I am hoping she becomes a very strong swimmer.

We had a nice visit with friends and it took the sun going down to finally get everyone out of the pool.

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The weather has been spectacular, making it very difficult to stay inside.

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I made an Indian feast for family using this recipe as my always go to for Chicken Tikka Masala. I made some Dal and Raita and bought Trader Joe’s frozen Naan and Samosa’s. We were all happily stuffed at the end of the night.

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I also made Chrissy Teigen’s Pineapple Grilled Shortribs and you guys, they were Ahhhhmazing. I will describe them as candied meat or a very tender and sweet beef jerky.

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Kaili has her last swim class, it’s bittersweet. She really loves it and asked me if she could have a playdate with her instructor. Every day she gets a little bit braver.

Farewell Kindergarten

 

Well that was quick wasn’t it? Doesn’t seem very long ago that we walked her to school for the first day of Kindergarten. She loved it, made great friends and had wonderful teachers. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to kick off the elementary years.

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I won’t lie, having her in school from 9:am -3:45 pm everyday was pretty sweet. So now having her home all day is going to be an interesting challenge. I might  will have to call in my trusty helper wine to make the days go by a little easier. In reality it should be a pretty good summer with a nice break from the mundane as we take a trip up to Washington state…..For more wine!

I made the teachers a fun little gift bag that I’ve had saved on my Pinterest board for years. I am finally finding a reason to make some of these cute gift ideas.

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Inside I put a beach towel, sunscreen, chapstick, coconut body wipes, a fruit infuser water bottle, a magazine and a bottle of rosé.

We have enrolled Kaili back in swim lessons and although she’s only been to two of them so far, I am definitely seeing improvements. We’ve got to get this girl to swim or at least not drown, that is a great start.

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And to kick off summer, I took her to the salon for a new haircut.

Taking a few inches off and adding layers, I think it looks great. She is now ready for hot sunshiney days

Tomato Galette with Honey, Goat Cheese and Caramelized Shallots

I have made a few versions of a tomato tart but I have to say that as much as I love puff pastry, it’s hard to beat a good pastry crust. Now….don’t freak out and go buy a refrigerated pie dough. It takes less than 10 minutes and you have everything you need in your kitchen. If you don’t have flour, butter and salt on hand, then maybe you shouldn’t be making a recipe with the word “galette” in it, you catch my drift?

Galette is a French word describing a free form pie or pastry, basically saving you time and effort of fitting the dough perfectly into a pie tin. Also allowing you to pull off a fancy yet rustic and mouthwatering dish without much effort.

These ingredients all together make the perfect meal to kick off summer. Don’t forget your glass of wine.

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Ingredients

PASTRY DOUGH

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 to 5 tablespoons ice water

FILLING

4 Shallots, diced (about 1 cup)

2 tsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil + more for drizzling

8 oz Goat Cheese

2 – 3 Tbs Honey

3 – 4 Heirloom Tomatoes, sliced

1/2 tsp Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

2 Tbs Fresh Thyme

1 Large Egg, beaten

Directions

Blend together flour, butter, and salt in a bowl with your fingertips or a pastry blender  just until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-size butter lumps.

Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over mixture and gently stir with a fork until incorporated.

When the dough begins to hold together (If it doesn’t hold together, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring  until incorporated, then check again)  turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Gather the dough and gather into a ball and then shape into a flattened disc. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least one hour.

While the dough chills, in a skillet combine shallots and 2 tsp of olive oil. Saute over medium-high heat until shallots are lightly caramelized (about 10 minutes), then remove from heat to cool.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkling the top with a touch of flour.

Using  a floured rolling-pin, roll out the chilled dough into a 1/8″ thick sheet, then transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Crumble goat cheese in all over the rolled-out dough but leaving a rough 2 inch border along the edges. Drizzle a good serving of honey over goat cheese, then evenly top with caramelized shallots. Layer the sliced tomatoes over the goat cheese and honey and then liberally season them with salt and pepper. Give a good drizzle of additional olive oil over the tomatoes, and then sprinkle with the thyme.

Fold up the edges of the pastry dough around the tomatoes, then brush the crust with the beaten egg. Bake galette for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the crust is golden and the tomatoes have begun to char, then cool for 10 minutes before serving.