Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wine Tasting in the West Hills

Ah, wine, how I love thee!

For my sister's birthday last weekend she decided she'd like to go on a tour of our local wineries. We've both done some wine tours in Napa and Sonoma wine country down in California, but hadn't really done a nice winery tour around our own famed Willamette Valley wineries.

We did a little internet research ahead of time and found that the tasting rooms just west of Salem are MUCH more reasonably priced for tastings than the ones to the north towards Yamhill and Dundee. Most of the wine tastings we did were in the $5 range for a flight of 5-10 wines. The Yamhill county wineries tended to be somewhere around $10-$15 per flight.

We found about 5 tasting rooms we wanted to try out and mapped out our journey. We hired a friend to drive us and my sister packed a cooler of snacks, which turned out to be the most excellent idea EVER. We got pretty hungry along the way and there is no place to stop for a bite to eat once you are out there in wine country.  There are, however, many vineyards and wineries that provide picnic tables, so it worked out well.

We ended up going to Orchard Heights, Cubanisimo, Redhawk, and Stangeland. We really wanted to try Bethel Heights as well because we had heard lots of great stuff about it, but we didn't make it there before they closed. Each winery we visited was unique, but they were all great and had delicious wines, so its difficult for me to pick a favorite. Orchard Heights had some great wines, Cubanisimo had a beautiful tasting room, Redhawk had amazing views from the tasting room counter, and Stangeland was a friendly little spot with a great Rose wine (which I normally don't like).

There were so many other wineries that we didn't make it to, that we all decided we'd have to do it again sometime. I figure by the time we get through all the wineries in the area, they'll have wines from a new year and we'll have to start over and try them all again. Oh well! I think I can handle that just fine.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Culture Shock!

Have you seen zombies, goblins, and ghosts out and about in the streets of Salem lately? Well, don't worry. Salem hasn't been completely taken over by otherworldly creatures. It's just that some people are excited about Halloween. In fact, so excited that they have started a series of events called "The Thirteen Nights of Halloween."

Culture Shock is a local, grassroots organization that is behind things like Cherry City Derby Girls and Clockworks Cafe. And they are some of those people that get really excited about Halloween.

Personally, the event I'm looking forward to the most is the Friday night Ghost & Underground Tours at the Reed Opera House. Or should I say, UNDER the Reed Opera House. Oooooooohhh. Scary!

Culture Shock has been an integral part of the changes that are occurring the Salem lifestyle. They aren't the only ones looking to make Salem a cooler, more interesting place to live, but they have definitely made a huge contribution to a cooler culture in Salem.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Torta Report - Part 3

Okay, folks, I think I found it! The best torta in Salem, Oregon. It is so delicious that I want to go back for dinner. Every night. Seriously.
I ordered the pastor (pork) torta and the flavor in the meat was amazing! So delicious and spicy. Also, the bread was perfectly toasted to a golden brown color. I believe that the ability to get the toast perfectly toasted and crispy might be one of the main keys to making great tortas.
Thanks to VegansNightmare for telling be about this delicious cart. It's called Ricky's Taqueria although it's difficult to see the name even when you're standing at the cart. It's parked on State St. Behind Knecht's Auto Parts which is behind the Walgreen's on State and Lancaster. It's a shiny silver truck and it's pretty visible from the street.
They also have tacos and some pretty delicious looking burritos, but I'll be hard pressed to order anything other than the torta after this first sampling!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Salem Tweetup: Where all the cool kids in Salem are

Yeah for tweetups!

For those of you who haven't attended a tweetup before, it is basically a meeting of local online folks that started on Twitter (hence, the name). All the coolest folks in Salem show up for these. You should be cool and come too!

Here's the info:
When - Thursday, October 7th at 7 PM (or 6:30 if you are extra hungry!)
Where - La Margarita Express on Chemeketa St, downtown (back room)
Who - All the cool online kids in Salem!

And when I say kids, that's metaphorical. The range of ages is quite impressive. I love the mixture of people who interact in the Salem online world.

For more info on the tweetup and to RSVP (so everyone knows that you, too, are cool!) visit @robmguire on his blog.

Oh, and that drink up there? I think its called a Cazuela. Or something like that. I can never remember exactly after I've had one of these fruity, delicious cocktails. I plan to have one...or two...or...yeah, anyway. See you on Thursday night!