The tulips are officially open up here in Skagit, and the annual Tulip Festival street fair came and went without any major disasters. The weather was a mite iffy, but there were enough sunbreaks to keep things lively and the traffic thick – and most importantly, it didn’t snow. We had to venture out onto the flats so I could tear down my photography and weaving displays at Pleasant Ridge Gallery, but otherwise we stuck to walking in town. We tasted curry sauce, admired handmade hats, and bought new hose guides from our favorite metalwork artist at Red Grass. It was too cold for ice cream, so we stuck to our primary mission of corn dogs.
As I’ve written before, every year our local wine shop features a flight of Pinot Gris, available to anyone who walks in with a corn dog during the street fair. I personally can’t resist this, and the pairings are generally amazingly successful. Haven’t tried drinking wine with a corn dog? You should.
Our corn dogs this year turned out to be oddly sugary, which was problematic with the drier wines, but we had excellent luck with a slightly oaky Oregon pinot gris – the oak and the sugar sort of cancelled each other out. Next year I feel like we should do a full testing of all the corn dogs on offer, though, so we can pin down the best ones ahead of time. Sugar in a corn dog is really weird.
Unfortunately for Maggie the Wine Shop Dog, we did not drop anything.
Sundays should be reserved for reading comics, don’t you think? If you have a slightly twisted sense of humor, like me, you should get to know Toothpaste for Dinner: an online comic that is low on artistic finesse but big on sarcasm. I have three on my refrigerator at this very moment.
The new season at Gretchen’s Cooking School has been going for a while, but we just had our first volunteer night last week. It was a wine tasting featuring Washington State wines, brought in by James and Brian from Dickerson Distributors.
I know it’s taken me all week to get this post up, but our Labor Day weekend wasn’t the kind you recover from quickly. As usual, my band (comprised of me, my husband and my parents) went on its annual pilgrimage to the Tumbleweed Music Festival by way of a lot of wineries. Not to mention two brewpubs and a truly fantastic diner.
We visited the dogs at Two Mountain, Chinook and Hightower – all just as cute as ever. I highly recommend all three wineries for their juice as well. We also visited Portteus, Bookwalter, Tefft, and Blackwood Canyon.
Amid all the winery visits, though, we needed food. And really, when you’re overloaded with high quality red wine, what you really need is a burger, or pizza. And a beer.
Take a long dram with me
of California wine, of California wine.
And the wine, it tastes so sweet
as we lay our eyes to wander,
and the sky, it stretches deep.
Will we rest our heads to slumber
beneath the vines of California wine?
Beneath the sun of California One.
– the Decemberists
Despite being a Washington State native and rather uninclined to live anywhere else, I really like visiting California. We lived briefly in Santa Barbara after we were married, and this was the first time we’ve been back to visit. So nice to see the live oaks and the dry grassy hills (at least the ones not recently burnt black) and smell the eucalyptus.
To boil down our Memorial Day weekend to a few sentences: we drank wine and ate barbecue. Then we went to a wedding and had more wine, and oysters, and more barbecue. Then a lot more wine. Whee! Many thanks to our friend Deron who drove us all the way out to Foxen Winery. I loved Foxen’s porch tasting room.
Six wineries, one brewpub, four espresso milkshakes, one musical performance, and a lot of dogs: we’re back from our trip! This was our annual trip to the Tri-Cities, ostensibly to play at an outdoor music festival, but mostly an excuse to go wine tasting.
Our first (very important) stop was in Ellensburg. The rodeo parade was going on, but it didn’t stop us from getting our usual round of espresso milkshakes at Winegar’s Dairy drive-thru. Who needs lunch when you can get a milkshake like that?
Our first stop, and one of our favorites, was Two Mountain Winery in Zillah. The wine was good (the Tribute was especially fabuliferous), and the dogs were adorable – especially Bentley the Basset hound (I love Basset hound ears, they’re so soft). The winery was having “Dinner and a Movie” that night, with hamburgers and fresh local corn. If it hadn’t been such a drive back from Richland that night, we would’ve been there!