I recently got back from a week long trip split between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington. Gillie, my friend from University, and I spent the week walking around and eating. On average, we ate five meals a day. This was mainly due to Gillies h-angry (angry when hungry), so we always kept her tummy happy. It worked out great, and I got to try some awesome food and wine (none of which is featured here, unfortunately).
Portlandia was correct; the dream of the nineties is alive in Portland. Not only does everyone work in coffee shops, but they are all so relaxed, friendly, and helpful. It started when a lady on our flight gave us a ride into town. She wanted to make sure we would be ok, so she drove us by our Airbnb house, gave us a general tour of the area, and dropped us off at Voodoo Donuts. The woman at the candy shop wanted to know our entire life story, even if we didn't ask any questions about her life. Everyone drives 5-10 miles under the speed limit, and always let their neighbors merge into their lane. One car even paced Gillie across the street so another car wouldn't hit her (she is a little on the small side). But what threw me off the most was the Tin Shed Restaurant. When we asked what was in the salad dressing, the waitress brought us their entire recipe binder, and told us to take a picture, but to remember that the recipe makes 1.5 quarts of dressing. What is going on in Portland?
WE LEFT OUR LITTLE BROTHER IN SEATTLE
The second half of the trip was in Seattle, Washington, where we met an 18-yr old Australian boy named Andrew, or otherwise known as 'little brother'. I met him at breakfast, and told him our city plans for the day. When Gillie and I were finally ready to leave, he was still in the common room, and asked to come with us. None of us had any idea what we were getting ourselves into.
The first day we dragged him to the farmers market, and the aquarium. Both Biotechnology majors, Gillie and I nerd-ed out on the marine life. We obsessed over the starfish, and how they digest their food outside of their bodies. I made us go to all of the animal feedings, and got a little too emotional over the sea otters. Did you know they store their food under their arms and fat rolls, so they can have snacks all day? Gillie and I found this idea very tempting.
On the second day, little brother was supposed to meet another friend he met on a bus, but ended up hanging out with us again. We dragged him to the farmers market again, the library, and an art museum all the way across town. Andrew was starting to gain confidence and become a little sassy, truly embodying a little brother. He made fun of us all day long, but we dished it right back. We even took him to Anthropology, and made him pose for pictures with the bridal mannequins (its on my Instagram).
Our last day was spent on an island across from Seattle. Andrew was supposed to go to the music festival, but opted last minute to hang out with us one last time. Everything was about girls, cars, and tinder (a.k.a. more girls). We taught him how to accurately eat chocolate, by stopping at three different chocolate shops and bakeries, and then eating all our goodies at once. After the chocolate attack, we all passed out at the park, but not until after we took a family picture. Unfortunately, we had to leave our little brother in Seattle. He did say goodbye, but wouldn't let us come out and meet his Tinder date before we left.
I was given this 2010 Ledgewood Creek Syrah before I left for Argentina, six months ago. The Ledgewood Creek Winery has recently been bought by Gallo and is undergoing a transformation. This Syrah was made while the winery was still a small family owned operation. The wine itself was nice and meaty, full of oak and vanilla, and felt like velvet on the tongue. It felt heavy like syrup. It was smooth with medium tannins, and filled with blackberries.
Pairing a meal with this wine in the middle of the summer was a challenge. I wanted something that could stand up to this lovely Syrah, but still felt refreshing on a summer evening. Once again I turned to soup, as I am addicted to its diversity and adaptability. A chilled, yet hearty vegetable soup, and some grilled vegetables from the garden, would do just fine.
SUMMER TOMATO SOUP
I fell in love with the tomatoe soup because it was so easy to make, and spices up the traditional tomato soup. The recipe is originally from the cookbook Soup; superb ways with a classic dish.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
2 pounds ripe tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves
4 sprigs of fresh thyme
5 sprigs of oregano
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chop the onions and carrots. Mince the garlic. Peal and quarter the tomatoes.
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Once hot, add the onion and carrot. Over medium heat, cook for 3-4 minutes, until tender.
Add the tomatoes, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, and oregano. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the bay leaf. Add the cooked contents to a blender or food processor. Puree the soup.
Let the soup cool, or place in the refrigerator. Best served around room temperature.
Place a dot of yogurt into each bowl, garnish with thyme and/or oregano. Add salt and pepper, to taste.