...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.

2.04.2010

A Break from Wisconsin Weather

This doesn't exactly relate to the LeFort Urban Homestead, but a vacation, especially one that allows me to eat and drink adventurously, always inspires cooking on the homestead. It's not been terribly warm and sunny on our trip to Portland, OR, but it's certainly better than in Milwaukee. The 44-hour Amtrak trip was a good experience. We had a private sleeper car and although the first night with Vera was a little challenging, we did well overall. Spent a couple of nights in the Willamette Valley southwest of Portland eating and tasting wine. The hillsides of vineyards were beautiful as were the miles of hazelnut groves. We stayed at a supercool hotel in McMinnville, Hotel Oregon, part of the McMenamin's independent hotel group. Drove out to the Pacific coast on Wednesday and stopped in Tillamook to tour the well-known Tillamook cheese factory. We've been in Portland since then and are staying at the Ace Hotel very hip hotel near the Pearl District. We met up with Ben's friend Anna today. I didn't get to meet her chickens afterall, but I got the rundown on her poultry setup. Today we visited Chinatown and the Chinese Gardens and couldn't miss the famous Powell's City of Books--if any of you know about my "bookstore (and antique store) syndrome," you can imagine how this visit went. It was quite overwhelming, but I managed to narrow my search to one food preservation book with 400 new recipes. Very exciting! We've eaten at some amazing restaurants on our trip! Some of the most interesting and delicious things I've had: fried cornmeal with scallions and a poached egg, potato buttermilk toast and blood orange juice; fried chickpeas; crostini with candied Seville oranges, Nutella, and toasted hazelnuts; flourless chocolate cake with sweetened beet chips, beet ganache, and pistachio sauce; yuzu drinking vinegar; and Cynar Artichoke (a bitter aperitif distilled from artichokes). Tomorrow we're planning to visit Voodoo Doughnut and possibly track down an old Sanford coworker who has a coffee roasting business here. And of course, we're planning to enjoy more local food and beverages and most likely a brewery tour. One more day to savor! As of Saturday I'll get back to the LeFort homestead and start my first seeds of the season next week.

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