Walking Tour of Red Ridge Farms near Dundee (Home of Oregon Olive Mill, Durant Vineyards, and Red Ridge Farms)

What a delightful experience at Red Ridge Farms today!  I went on the 2-1/2 hour walking tour at Red Ridge Farms near Dundee.  They are the home of the Oregon Olive Mill and Durant Vineyard which is apparently one of the founders of the Oregon wine industry.  It was a bit rainy, however, it was still a great tour. It’s $40 per person and reservations and a credit card are required.

Our tour guide was Paul Durant who is the son of the owners.  The tour started out in the gift shop and then on to the Olive press where we sampled 3 types of their olive oils-Spanish, Greek, and Tuscan. We then hiked up the hill to one part of their vineyard and sampled Pinot Gris and Rose.  Then we hiked back down the hill to other sections of the vineyard and sampled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  I’m not a Chardonnay fan as they tend to be too “thick” and buttery for me.  I was pleasantly surprised as the Chardonnay was “crisp” and lighter and what our tour guide described as “neutral.”  Finally, we hiked up an extreme hill to return to the tasting room back by the gift shop.  We sampled a platter of meats and cheeses and a glass of the wine of our choosing.  I tried a bottle of the Pinot Noir from a different clone and region of their vineyard than what we had sampled earlier during the tour.

We learned a lot about the process of pressing olives into olive oil and the the importance of doing it as naturally as possible as opposed to adding chemicals.  We were fascinated that the olive trees were doing as well as they were for such a rainy region of the country vs. hotter areas like Spain, Italy, and Greece.  In their gift shop and their tasting room olive oil, wine, etc. can be purchased.  They also have a wine club that ships wine or olive oil or both twice a year-fall and spring.

When we first arrived at Red Ridge Farms, there was a beautiful view from the parking lot/gift shop of the rows upon rows of grape vines.

Red Ridge Farms

One of the Spanish olive trees near the Olive Mill.  We sampled the Spanish olive oil first.  It was grassy and bitey with a burn in the throat at the end.  It wasn’t my favorite.  We then sampled the Greek olive oil.  It was my favorite.  It was more mellow with good flavor.  Finally, we sampled the Tuscan/Italian olive oil.  It was my 2nd favorite of the 3.

Olive tree

This is not the BIG hill at the end of the tour, however, it’s the initial hill down into the sections of the vineyard with the Pinot Noir vines on the left and the Chardonnay vines on the right.  It was interesting to learn about the clones from France and California.

Hill

Rows of grape vines.  In some sections of the vineyard they rotated plowing the ground between the vines and planting grass and clover between.  They are a dry farm? and this keeps the soil as moist as possible.

Rows

I just realized that I forgot to take a photo of the new tasting room.  It’s quite a nice set up and has a wonderful view of parts of the vineyard.

After the tour it was time for lunch so we stopped at Red Hills Market in Dundee.  I had heard about this on Red Ridge Farm’s website from their Memorial weekend event.  They had catered pizza and other goodies during the event.

Red Hills Market

We decided to sample a veggie pizza and an Italian sandwich.  The pizza was delicious in its simplicity.  It both looked and tasted delicious.  It was primarily a margarita/peasant style style with a thin, flaky crust and the spring mix on top was interesting.

Pizza

The Italian sandwich was quite delicious as well.  The bread seemed homemade (similar to the pizza crust in some ways) and the salami, cheese, and spring mix were delightful with a dijon mustard on the bread.

Sandwich

At the tasting room at the vineyard, we had noticed that they sell a “soda” of their wines-chardonnay, pinot noir, etc.  We didn’t try any, but noticed that the market had the chardonnay version.  It was similar to a sparkling pear or apple and was a nice, unusual refreshment option.

Wine soda

While at the market, we purchased some peppered smoked salmon from Newman’s fish company.  It was a bit pricey at $16, however, it was delicious for dinner atop fresh tortellini with Alfredo sauce.  The shredded parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper finished the dish off nicely.  The Salmon was perfectly tender and the flavor was amazing!  It would have paired nicely with a glass of chardonnay.

Salmon tortellini

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Oregon zoo

We have lived in Portland for over 11 years and have not ever been to the Oregon zoo.  We are looking forward to checking out the concerts at the zoo this summer.  Hopefully we’ll have some non rainy weather.

There were fascinating animals throughout the African and Asian parts of the zoo.  We are saving the Northwest for another visit.  Likely it will be in August when Pink Martini will be there for a concert!

We particularly enjoyed the zebra (brown and white not black and white) and giraffe.

zebra  giraffe

One of the hippos accommodated our interest by opening up its mouth to show off its teeth.

hippo

We were enthralled with the polar bears.  This was partly because they were such varying sized-extra large and “small” and partly because it was mesmerizing to watch the larger one swim back and forth doing laps as if training for a triathlon while looking thoroughly peaceful.  We also couldn’t figure out the neurotic, repetitive behavior of the smaller one.  He was walking forward and then backward in one short area.  Was it to obtain more food since they had just been fed?  Was it due to boredom?  Was it some type of communication between the bears?  There was a sign outside of their area that commented about this very behavior and that it’s not known what causes it.

polar bear

Trying out blueberry smoothies!

Trying out blueberry smoothies!

I am experimenting with smoothie recipes to find just what I like.  I tend to like smoothies on the “icier” side (i.e. ice) rather than the “creamier” side (i.e. yogurt).  I do like a lot of smoothies from Jamba Juice-particularly those with sherbet rather than yogurt.  The “Pomegranate pick me up” is my recent favorite.  According to the Jamba Juice website, it contains the following ingredients:  pomegranate juice blend, mixed berry juice blend, strawberries, raspberry sherbet (contains milk), blueberries, and ice.

Smoothie #1:  Antioxidant smoothie

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of this smoothie, but there is one at the recipe link.

Link to recipe

Smoothie #2: Blueberry-flax smoothie

smoothie

Link to recipe

Adjustments to the recipe:

I didn’t have a banana so just left it out.

I substituted blue agave instead of honey.

I found this one to be thicker with the yogurt.

The recipe serves 2 and cut in ½ without the banana was only a ½ glass.

Smoothie #3:  Blueberry and green tea smoothie

smoothie

Link to recipe

I used a 20 fluid ounce bottle of Sobe green tea from the market and 2 cups was almost the entire bottle.

I popped it all in the blender before carefully reading the directions and didn’t freeze the blueberries and green tea into ice cubes.  I don’t own ice cubes trays any longer anyway, so I just added 14 ice cubes from the freezer into my blender mix.

Unfortunately, within minutes the ice separated from the juice at the top.  I imagine this is why the tea and berries must be frozen together rather than adding ice.  I still like the green tea flavor to this drink.

From these 3 choices, I prefer the simplicity and flavor combination of the 1st one!

Anniversary celebration at the Chinese garden and Portland city grill

My husband and I celebrated our anniversary (18 years) a week ago by strolling through the Chinese garden and dinner at Portland City Grill.

The Chinese garden was amazing.  The architecture of the buildings and the Lake Thai rock configurations were so wonderfully artistic.  The water features were relaxing with colorful koi? fish in them.  The 5 elements (rocks, water, plants, architecture, and literary transcriptions) were an amazing contrast throughout.

garden

We indulged in a bit of tea at the Tao of Tea teahouse in front of a delightful window seat that opened up to view the garden.

Tao of tea

I had the “Tea forest green” green tea and Scott had the “White dragon”? white tea.  Unfortunately, we didn’t receive the more artistic and delicate teaware that some received so it felt a bit like drinking tea out of a clay pot.

tea

Our entire experience at Portland city grill was perfect from start to finish.  From the details at the table to the dessert at the end, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Portland city grill

While we didn’t reserve a window seat, the view from the 30th floor of the bank tower is amazing.

view from 30th floor of Portland city grill

We started out with a the “Apple, Candied Hazelnuts, & Gorgonzola Salad.”  I enjoy candied walnuts, but these candied hazelnuts were amazing!

salad

We also indulged in a bottle of wine from Spain-Luis Canas Rioja Reserva 2004.  It didn’t really pair with my salmon, but it was delicious anyway.  My new favorite wine is Tempranillo and this was excellent as well.

wine

I had the salmon and Scott had steak.  Both were cooked to perfection and quite flavorful.  The pesto-like “sauce” was absolutely delicious with the salmon and asparagus.

salmon          steak

We were too full for dessert, however, the restaurant served a bit of mousse in honor of our celebration.