Fairs and Wine

She Said

Tonight’s Agenda:  Wine:  30,  Milwaukie, OR.

Highlights:

I’ve decided my final resting place is going to be Milwaukie, OR.  This quaint village is so damn cute. It has antique shops, an old fashioned ice cream fountain, cafes, a chocolate shop and my favorite Farmer’s Market.  It reminds me a little of a smaller Sellwood, except that you can find better parking here.  We often roam the main street on our way to the Farmer’s Market and finally kept our promise to try out this little wine bar one evening.

Wine: 30  recently built a little patio that sits on the across the other side of the side walk from the bar, where there used to be parking spaces. 

Outside Wine:30

Outside Wine:30

I can’t imagine any area in Portland that could sacrifice parking spaces for a wine bar.  Unlike many loud main streets where you wouldn’t be able to carry on a conversation because of traffic going by,  it  was perfectly peaceful for  patrons choosing to share a glass of wine on a warm starry summer evening.  Since the outdoors seats were taken, we sat inside.  It’s a cool place. The front wall lifts open to the sidewalk and street, so one feels very connected to the outdoors and the outside deck on the other side of the sidewalk.  There is a fireplace fronted with a comfortable couch and chairs. 

wine bar 30 in

Inside Wine:30

Inside Wine:30

Ahhh.  Finally a comfortable seating option!  At my age it’s all about the cushy. It’s gotten to the point that when we are being seated at restaurants, my husband and I race for the cushioned seat when we have choose between the wooden chair or the cushioned bench—for the record, I usually win.

It is easy to converse here;  no competing with the background noise.  There is a nice wine list, not overwhelming in choices or expense.  There service is pleasant.   There are small plates and appetizers, but tonight, I’ve chosen a simple glass of wine only.

The summer breeze is soft and warm,  the darkened sky is beginning to lighten with twinkling stars and a white moon, and I am sharing a glass of wine with the love of my life.  Cheers.

He Said

We go to either the Clackamas County or Oregon State fair every year.

Kerry grew up on a farm in rural Minnesota and she likes environment of the fair. I am a city boy, if PDX is a city, but I also enjoy a day at the fair.

About a decade ago we went to the Minnesota State Fair, and the Oregon fairs are a firecracker next to the bunker buster of Minnesota .

In Minnesota they know how to offer food: deep fired turkey drumsticks and bucket o’ cookies (literally a bucket full of chocolate chip cookies) were the most popular offerings judging from the crowds. Oregon is in minor leagues in comparison.

Still, it is nice to wander the fairgrounds. Listen to the chickens crow, watch the pigs fight, marvel at the ever so pungent smell of animal urine on a hot day. Yes, it is very clear that urea degrades into ammonia and pig shit degrades into a noxious vapor most foul that should be investigated by the EPA. How can future bacon smell so awful. And how can baby pigs, future BBQ, be so adorable?

This year there were no ducks due to fears of avian flu. A real worry since ducks are relatively resistant to avian flu and migrate in and out of areas with bird flu, bring the virus to chickens and turkeys that are easily killed by influenza.

As Dr. Bartlett noted at a conference, “You can’t stop the ducks” and he was not talking about football. It may be part of the reason this might be a turkey free thanksgiving this year.

The fair seemed less this year: fewer animals, less food, fewer displays, less of everything. One of my favorites is always the weird vegetables; this year the display of mutant produce was underwhelming with two sad potatoes.

Perhaps Clackamas county is going the way of Multnomah, with less farming and so less at the fair, but it remains a pleasant way to spend a summer afternoon, wandering the booths and eating fried food.

On the way home from the fair we decided to go to the Wine:30 bar in downtown Milwaukee.

I tend to shy away from wine bars. I like to drink wine with a meal, where beer and cocktail  can be enjoyed all by their lonesome.  False dichotomy I know, but we all have our dining quirks.

It is a pleasant wine bar, good atmosphere with open windows and outside seating.  They have a broad selection of wines and snack food. Unfortunately they were out of Lemon Bars from Painted Lady (an incredible restaurant), so I opted for the cheesecake and a glass of Tess, blend of red and white wines served, like revenge, cold.

And like revenge, it was delicious. I am more gourmand than gourmet, or perhaps just glutton, but I like my drinks cold. My son notes that freezing glasses for beer makes the beer too cold to taste. Perhaps. But a cold wine is better than room temperature, especially when room temperature is in the high 80’s. My father used to carry an instant read thermometer to restaurants and would check the wine to see if it was being served at the correct temperature.  I sure hope he was a good tipper.

The Tess was good enough that I went on-line the next day and ordered 6 bottles, in part as a housewarming gift for friends.

Wine:30 is not all there is in downtown Milwaukee. It has one of the best of  farmers markets on Sunday. Here is some advice.  Find the Portland Creamery booth.  Get the goat cheese and the goat milk caramel sauce.  You will think, 12 bucks for that small amount of caramel sauce?  Really?  Really.  Best chevre and caramel sauce on the planet.  Trust me. Then get some peaches.  Slice the peaches (if you are ambitious grill them firest) and add the goat cheese and caramel.  Best thing you can do with your mouth in public.

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