Travel Thursday: NOLA and a Stay-Cation

Travel Thursday: NOLA and a Stay-Cation

I’m adding a new feature to the blog – Travel Thursday.  I doubt this will be every week, but occasionally, I’ll recap some of my recent travels, both local and afar, along with any tips I gain along the way about making travel more comfortable.  You’ll likely see many photos here as well.

For this first one, I’m doing a re-cap of the last week.  In the last week, I traveled to New Orleans for a conference, to Salem for meetings, and then did a stay-cation in the Portland/Vancouver area.

I’ll start with New Orleans, sort of.  I’ll really start with the top reason why Portland International Airport is my favorite airport in the entire United States: the Oregon local store sells Oregon wine.  The Oregon local store is past security, which means it’s possible to buy a bottle of wine, take it on the plane (the clerks there are great about carefully bubble wrapping the wine), and have a great bottle of wine at your end destination.  Given that I lived in the Umpqua Valley region for six years, I have a soft-spot for Umpqua Valley wines.  I was thrilled to spy a bottle of Abacela’s Abariῆo.  Here’s the bottle posed with my traveling black sheep in my hotel in NOLA:

abacela and black sheep

This was a light and fruity white wine, which paired great with my two room service meals while I was in NOLA.  The problem for me of traveling for work is that I’m often fully ensconced in a conference all day long while, which was the case this last go around.  I’m a sufficient enough introvert that after I’ve been around people all day long, I kind of just want to hide.  So while it was so very tempting to go seek out good food (and New Orleans really does have good food), it was also tempting to land in front of the t.v. and have food brought to me (and enjoy a great view of the city from my hotel room).

NOLA sunset NOLA French Quarter1

Fortunately, the Marriot where I stayed had decent food that represented the region, so on night one I had a shrimp and oyster Po Boy and some fried green tomatoes:

shrimp and oyster po boy fried green tomato

And on night two, I had a seafood omelet with soft shell crab, shrimp and crawfish tails:

seafood omelette

The Marriot also had really good snacks during the conference:

macaron and praline

On the way to New Orleans, I had all my snack food (see a recap here).  On the way back, I bought a really awful chicken sandwich at a restaurant in the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and ate just the bread, cheese and tomato off of it.  No pictures – it was ghastly.  Fortunately, there is a Burgerville near PDX (this is a regional chain of happily farmed food with seasonal favorites, like fried asparagus, Walla Walla onion rings, and so on).

The next day, I was off to Salem, Oregon, for more meetings.  Fortunately, I have a favorite government building deli in Salem, so had this Cobb Salad for lunch:

salem favorite cafeteria cobb salad

The rest of the week and weekend was stay-cation time.  The primary highlight that I want to showcase here was a wine tasting adventure in Clark County, Washington. Clark County includes Vancouver, but also includes some smaller towns, including Battle Ground, Camas, Ridgefield, Yacolt, and Washougal.   It’s also an up and coming region for vineyards and wineries.  Two of the three we went to are small endeavors – one has a temporary tasting room in a tent while they build their permanent tasting room.  The third, the Rusty Grape, is a bit more established and has a great snack/tapas style menu to enjoy with the wine.

tasting room three white wines

red and white vineyard 3

vineyard and umbrella three wines

From left to right, the wine bottles are Northwest Gold and a 2009 Pinot Noir (both from Rezabek Vineyards).  The third is Reformation Red from The Rusty Grape.  We also tasted at Heisen House Vineyard.  Their wines were a little sharp for me – though I really enjoyed their ciders.

Last, but not least, for the stay-cation was a trip into Portland.  This was a nostalgia trip for me.  For many, many, many years, I’ve traveled to Portland on business, vacation, and to visit family.  These trips have always been quick turnaround affairs – a few days at the most and are usually coupled with something else: the Portland Marathon, a conference, a holiday.  Now that we live in the Portland Metro area, we can spend a day in Portland without breaking the bank and enjoy some of the things we’ve not had a chance to do before (or have done, but always felt rushed doing so).  In this case, we had a busy day of brunch at the Tin Shed, where there is always a long wait, but it is always worth it for their biscuits and gravy:

tin shed biscuits and gravy

And then wandering the stacks at Powell’s (which is my favorite, favorite bookstore – no photos here – was too busy browsing), and going to the Oregon Zoo (which for some reason, I only snapped pictures of the condor exhibit and some fish).

oregon zoo condor oregon zoo fish

On Wednesday, it was business as usual and back to work.  Fortunately, I had good food prepared for a little lunch so all was right with the world.

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