LB has this hair-brained idea that whenever women get together in a group with just the ladies, they have themselves a panty tickle fight, ie. they attempt to tickle each other, sans pants (not sans panties, mind you, just pants). I’ve tried repeatedly to convince him that this doesn’t actually occur, but he’ll hear none of it, preferring instead to live happily in his ignorance, imagining such an event occurring in its half-naked splendor. At first, I assumed this was purely an LB thing. I learned quickly, however, after being introduced to several of LB’s friends and catching snippets of conversation among other men when told my girls and I were about to have a “Girl’s Nite Out,” that this (or some variation on it) is actually a somewhat widespread phenomenon. In fact, it either came from, or at least is widespread enough to have garnished its very own Seinfeld episode:
- "What else did you two do?"
- "Oh, you know, girly stuff."
- "So, uh, flower shows, shopping for pretty bows, then back to her place, strip down to bra and panties for a tickle fight."
- "That's really what you think girls do, isn't it?"
- "Yes, I do."
- - Jerry and Elaine, in "The Pool Guy"
So, dear LB, let me just say that while I could possibly envision walking across a room wearing my panties and a t-shirt at some point during a weekend away with my Girls, “hanging out” like that is an entirely different story! And quite frankly my dear, the very thought of approaching my incredibly educated friends and trying to tickle them while I am not wearing any pants sounds just about like the most abnormal thing I can imagine!
Instead, here's what really occurred:
Being the fine, upstanding women that we are, my Girlfriends and I converged upon Willamette Valley wine country and got drunk off perfectly fermented grape juice instead. We gorged ourselves on lots of great vittles afterward. Then, we went shopping in the big city of Portland, just as any good women should do. So, sorry LB, instead of running around chasing each other in our panties, we were drinking, eating and shopping. And let me tell you, that was far better than any panty tickle fight you can imagine.
So here then, is where the food comes in and how I can justify flirting with a risqué post on my blog. You see, not only is this particular region of the Willamette Valley a veritable treasure trove of good wine, such notable and infamous Oregon restaurants that have pioneered local food movements in this region, notably The Painted Lady and Wildwood, are plentiful. We made our way to, count ‘em seven wineries during our trip. Thankfully, for the sake of our wallets, our figures and our wine tolerances, we learned quickly that the purchase of a single taste (usually $10) was plenty enough for three Girls to be able to have a few sips to taste the wine, talk about it and not get completely sh!t-faced by the seventh winery.
Ah, but the food. We had dinner at a lovely spot in downtown McMinnville called La Rambla, a tapas restaurant chosen because it was recommended by one of the tasting room pourers at Archery Summit Winery, which had the best Pinot Noir flight of the trip over-all. The food was delicious, especially the ham and manchego cheese croquetas with a smoked paprika sauce. The grilled artichoke hearts with lemon aoli (I full on plan on reproducing this at home! Someday when I have my pots and pans unpacked, perhaps, but still someday!) and the arugula, d'anjou pear, manchego and walnut salad with a Jerez vinaigrette (the “ensalada de arugala con peras”) were also excellent. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera on this trip, so I only have a single picture from the entire trip, borrowed from my friend...
Dinner was great, but breakfast was the real winner. When we asked the waitress at La Rambla where to eat breakfast, she didn’t even hesitate and said with a definitive nod, The Crescent Café. She quickly followed this recommendation up by saying, “they get in there at 2:00 AM to make their homemade bread and they even make their corned beef hash from scratch!!” Needless to say, I was sold, and so were my friends.
We ambled in there the next morning after a short 15 minute wait (considering that this was also a restaurant recommended in the February 2008 Gourmet magazine) and were pleasantly surprised at the cozy, homey nature of the place. There were probably 15 tables and all of the waiters and waitresses were cheery and helpful. The man that showed us our table informed us that the orange juice was freshly squeezed, that it was blood orange juice, and that it was the sweetest and most wonderful of the entire season that very day (so, we of course, ordered it, and it was true – a gorgeous ruby-colored little drink as sweet as it could be). He also said that if we liked eggs benedict, we were in luck because today the chef had decided to make it and his lemon hollandaise was absolutely fabulous (yeah, I ordered that too, and a side of house-made pork sausage). The Crescent Café sources all of their ingredients from local area farms and makes as much as possible from scratch using fresh ingredients whenever possible. All of the food was delicious, and the restaurant comes highly recommended from this food blogger.
I've listed my favorite wines from each of the wineries we visited below, should you end up in the area, wanting to have your own panty tickle figh...ahem...I mean, your own Girl’s (or otherwise) Weekend Away, in Willamette Valley wine country.
Lange Estate – 2005 Yamhill Vineyards Pinot Noir (this wine was my fave from the trip, and the view from the grounds is stunning - we had a picnic lunch, wine in hand)
Torii Mor – 2005 Temperance Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir (decent wine, but the service left much to be desired, and I'm not the only one who has noticed this)
Sokol Blosser – 2006 Rose' of Pinot Noir (beautiful grounds and friendly service abounds at this organic winery)
Archery Summit – 2005 Premier Cuvee Pinot Noir (excellent wines - almost all of them were delicious!)
Domaine Drouhin Oregon – 2004 Pinot Noir Laurene (run by the fourth generation of Drouhins - Robert Drouhin came over from France and helped begin the Pinot Noir revolution in Oregon)
Vista Hills – 2005 Treehouse Pinot Noir (cute boutique winery featuring wines made by two different winemakers from their family run vineyards)
De Ponte – 2006 Rose (small winery, features wines from one of the same winemakers as Vista Hills)