The very first day we spent in Lisbon we walked the waterfront and watched the sun go down. It was bustling with locals and tourists a like. Families walking around between work and dinner. It seemed like the entire city was out enjoying the fresh air brought up the Tangas river from the Atlantic Ocean.
Throughout the rest of our stay we found ourselves coming back night after night, and not quite on purpose. We walked it when we went up to Belem, we had dinner there, my mom found a boat serving drinks, and a wine cart the rattles around the waterfront serving up wine to passerby’s. My husband found a hotdog vendor claiming to sell American Hot Dogs, it looked more German to me but he seemed to enjoy it.
Maybe we were drawn to it because we all are used to being by water, living in costal towns or on fishing boats most of our lives. But looking around and seeing everyone else made me think maybe it is just primal, the freedom of being on water, the openness and possibility.
Lisbon is without a doubt one of the most magical places I have ever been. I would go back there in a heart beat, I would agree to live there without a second thought. It is the most home I have ever felt in another country.
One of these days we will go back, but for now this post brings us to the close of my journey to Portugal, which happens to be almost a year from when first got there.
For our anniversary this last year we decided not to do anything big. Instead we spent a weekend in a small town just south of where we live that happens to house one of my all time favorite restaurants in the world.
I discovered La Rambla a number of years ago, right around the time my parents and I were discussing spending Christmas in Barcelona. I had started researching things to do and places to eat in Barcelona and as Google has a tendency to do, it pointed me to a restaurant near me (in Oregon) that was named after one of the attractions we were looking at in Spain. So I had to try it. The rest is history.
La Rambla is a small tapas restaurant in McMinnville Oregon. Frequented by locals and wine enthusiasts alike the restaurant has never been anything but packed regardless of day or time I have visited. The small intimate restaurant offers a wine list that is 7 pages long and a small but comprehensive list of snacks, entrees and desserts. And of course cheese.
As luck would have it (or perhaps my one track mind when it comes to a decent cheese plate) I forgot to take any pictures of our latest visit. Except the one of the cheese menu. Which I took so that I could remember the name of the goat cheese that knocked my socks off (Cana de Cabra in case you were wondering).
For our meal we shared a bottle of wine, a few cheeses, a small flat bread ending the meal with churros and chocolate. We were happily stuffed and also slightly disappointed we didn’t get to try more from their outstanding seasonal menu. I guess that just means we will have to go back. I think I would be pretty okay with that.
There are so many wineries in the Portland/Willamette Valley area it can be overwhelming. Since moving out of the city I am now within 5 miles of about 25. I plan to make visits to all of them at some point, but you know what they say about best laid plans…..
I visited Adiri for the first time on the hottest day of the year after spending all morning at an antique sidewalk fair. I was hot, I was tired, I was likely sun stroked. And I wasn’t exactly looking forward to drinking wine but my company wanted to go, so we forged on.
I love Adiri. When we pulled up we were above the valley, overlooking the hills, there was a slight breeze and a shaded covered porch with comfortable deck furniture. The tasting room was small and crowded but my mom just dashed in and grabbed a bottle of rose while the rest of us settled into the shade with cups of complimentary lemon cucumber water.
The wine was chilled to perfection, the staff was so kind, the experience was perfect. While we were sitting and sipping I noticed a bunch of small parties at the other tables, all with different types of snacks celebrating baby showers, weddings, and anniversaries. It was lovely.
A few months later I took one of my best friends to the winery. Armed with a picnic and ready to revisit that amazing rose we headed out into the hills. The day was a bit chilly and gloomy but the covered porch area has warmers and fires going. Even in October it was crowded. They were out of the rose, sold out a month earlier but I was promised they would have more ready by February. We tried to gold which was one of the best whites I have ever had and enjoyed a perfect day looking over the hills and chatting with good company.
I will be going back sometime this month for the rose, and probably another bottle of the Chehalem Gold.
Are there any local wineries in your area that you love to visit?