Monday, June 27, 2016

Olympic Peninsula announces new Culinary Loop


Travel, dine and explore the beautiful
Olympic Peninsula of Washington
Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the north, and the Hood Canal on the east, the Olympic Peninsula – Washington’s popular destination for eco-conscious travelers and outdoor enthusiasts – has just announced that their Free Guide to food, wine, festivals, events and adventure is now available from the Olympic Peninsula Tourist Bureau.

The Culinary Loop takes visitors to places like Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, Lake Quinault, Hood Canal, and Gray’s Harbor to experience Farmer’s Markets, Food Festivals, Farm to Table Restaurants and wineries. A bonus is the “Ask a local expert” section for each region of the Peninsula. A visit to a local farm will educate guests about how to grow fruits, vegetables and maybe even lavender while attending the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival offers succulent tastes of the ocean. www.crabfestival.org

The Adventure Guide provides information about waterfall hikes, bike routes, sea kayaking venues, marinas where guests can enjoy water sports like sailing, fishing and boating. Additionally there are listings for lodging such as bed and breakfasts, hotels and lodges. Never miss a fun event or opportunity with this Guide which is available from the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau at www.olympicpeninsula.org. A mobile app for the Loop is available at www.OlympicCulinaryLoop.com.

 For a full schedule of events and festivals or to learn more about the Olympic Peninsula; and plan your next trip, please visit www.olympicpeninsula.org.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

LeChon South American Restaurant: Inspired cuisine, colorful atmosphere and outdoor dining


We stepped off the MAX light rail at Skidmore Fountain and walked an easy block to the historic Smith Block building on Naito Parkway. It was a mild summer evening in Portland. As we approached, we noticed that diners were sitting outside under red umbrellas, sipping cocktails and chatting, some in Spanish.

We were headed for a group wine dinner at LeChon which just opened last year. I’d been walking in this area many times but I had missed seeing this gem. Outside diners had views of the river and plenty of shade. LeChon had a lively vibe and I was looking forward to sampling their cuisine… Argentine and Chilean. Our wine dinner, hosted via a Meetup.com wine group, offered Spanish wines to sample. The combination turned out to be perfect.

The décor at LeChon is warm, inviting and vibrant. You’ll find a few surprises.  Inside I was amazed at the two massive saltwater aquariums. One had bright fish enjoying a natural seascape and in the other, jellyfish gracefully swam up and down, mesmerizing those at the bar.

But the real center of attention was the menu… all South American inspired and headed up by Chef Jaco Smith. Chef Smith brings to LeChon a world of culinary experience. He has worked as a Chef in Scotland, England, South Africa as well as top restaurants in the United States. 

Since I was with a group, I was able to see a variety of dishes from the menu. Two of our diners ordered the Chef’s Choice multi course meal for two and were wowed. I watched as the courses flowed from the kitchen and, when the lobster/pork dish arrived, realized the $45 price tag was very reasonable. At LeChon they don’t serve small plates with “tweezer food.” Meals are full of wood-fired meats and south of the border spicy sauces. The grilled octopus received rave reviews and even the burger was made special with a chimichurri sauce.

And, you’ll be surprised to find out that LeChon has menu items that would appeal to everyone in the family… offered at a variety of price points. I was sticking to my budget and chose two courses. The first was their farmers green salad, with champagne vinaigrette, cranberries, radishes, whipped goat cheese, and spiced pine nuts. It was a large salad, beautifully presented and the creamy goodness of the goat cheese and dressing enhanced the greens. I love cranberries so it was a perfect choice. ($11)
My dining companions raved over a variety of dishes, the empanadas arrived tucked into a wooden box and, since it was a wine dinner, wine flowed. 

My next course was a traditional cazuela dish (cazuela means pot in Spanish). I chose the locro stew, with grilled brisket, chorizo, corn, and potato. It was accompanied by slices of grilled baguette. It turned out to be very traditional with a chile-based spicy red sauce. The meat was tender and the dish was so hearty, I had to take half of it home. ($14)

I perused the menu and took mental notes of what I’d love to sample when I return… fresh fish, steak, empanadas. Each of the diners at my table vowed, also, to return. As we readied to leave, musicians arrived to entertain. 

LeChon is open for brunch, lunch and dinner as well as late night dining. They are offering a special Sunday Supper series with cuisine from a range of countries (not just South America). At the Supper Series, food will be served family style.

Address:
113 SW Naito Parkway Portland, OR 97204
Phone: 503-219-9000


Hours:
HAPPY HOUR: Tues-Sun: 3p-6p; Monday: 3p-close
LUNCH: Mon-Fri: 11a-3p
BRUNCH: Sat-Sun: 9a-3p
DINNER: Every Day: 5p-10p
LATE NIGHT: Mon-Sat: 9p-close

Website

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Liz’s News and Views from the Portland Area: Food, Churro Collabo, and Recyled Arts


There's so much going on in the Portland/Vancouver area. Some events are happening this weekend and others are coming up soon.

Portland’s newest Indian restaurant, Open Tandoor, will debut in The Wilmore Apartments on North Williams Avenue in mid-August 2016. Located at 4311 N. Williams on the corner of North Skidmore, the new restaurant will feature healthy Indian cuisine inspired by the food mecca of Chef Kinder Gill’s native Punjab and her family’s traditional recipes. The restaurant will feature dishes such as Garbanzo Bean Curry, Red Lentil Curry, Saag, Ground Lamb Curry, Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken, Kebabs, Naan Bites with Housemade Dipping Sauce and Naan Wraps. 

All dishes will feature hand selected, freshly ground spices and be prepared without corn, soy, food coloring or MSG. There will be vegan, gluten free and vegetarian options.

For more opening details, please follow her on Facebook at @opentandoorpdx and Twitter and Instagram at @opentandoor.

Huge Recycled Art Fair: Clark County will hold the 11th annual Recycled Arts Festival in Esther Short Park downtown. The event showcases artwork made of recycled materials. The free festival runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 25; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 26. Attendees who show reusable mugs or water bottles at the Information Tent will be entered in a special drawing.

More than 145 artists will display and sell items such as metal and glass garden art, sculptures, mosaics, jewelry, clothing, furniture, bird feeders and wall art made with 70 percent or more recycled material. Additional highlights include music on the main stage, a sculpture garden with large pieces of recycled art, environmental education activities, tours of a tiny house, food vendors, free tours on Couve Cycle, and much more. For more information, visit RecycledArtsFestival.com

Churro Collabo - 180, Portland’s first Spanish xurreria, launched the Chef Xurro Collaboration series in April, welcoming local chefs each month to create their own xurro creations, inspired by their favorite sweets and memories from childhood.

180 continues the popular series this July with Sarah Marshall, owner of Marshall’s Haute Sauce.  Her Strawberry, Cucumber and Thai-Chili Jam-Stuffed Xurro Relleno is made with Marshall’s Strawberry, Cucumber and Thai-Chili Jam which is prepared with local strawberries, cucumbers and a touch of heat from the Thai chiles.

This collaboration will be available beginning Friday, July 1st through Sunday, July 31st. 180 is open daily weekdays 12 to 8 p.m., and weekends 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information visit http://www.180pdx.com/

Portland Flea and Food - It's time for the first summer weekend block party at #pdxflea. Hunt for finds and chill with a Bunk cocktail in the lounge styled by Something Borrowed PDX this Sunday, June 26th, 11-4pm at the intersection of SE 6th + Salmon. 50+ vendors of vintage + well-designed goods, local food purveyors + trucks, pints, and live sets.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Discover Spokane's Cork District: Historic Buildings and Washington Wines


The downtown Nectar Tasting Room is located
in one of Spokane's historic brick buildings
Spokane, Washington is a great getaway destination for wine enthusiasts. With an ever-growing number of tasting rooms in the vibrant downtown area, the Spokane Cork District will provide you with opportunities to taste Washington wines and talk with Spokane wine experts.

While the Cork District extends to the surrounding areas, the 20+ downtown wineries and tasting rooms will keep you busy tasting, appreciating and discovering some reasonably priced fine wines. Two interesting, and very different, tasting experiences on a recent visit ensured our desire to return and experience more of the Cork District.

Nectar Tasting Room (Main and Stevens)
A tasting of Washington wines at Nectar Tasting Room in downtown Spokane, Washington not only was a convenient way to discover very drinkable and affordable Washington wines we found that it is housed in a historic Spokane building as are many of the tasting rooms in the Cork District.
Josh Wade, owner of Nectar Tasting Room,
and local wine expert, shares winery stories
with us as he pours Washington wines.

Nectar Tasting Room is a co-op of five Washington wineries. They offer over 40 wines by the glass or bottle, the largest selection of Washington wine by the glass in the Spokane area. Wine tastings are only $5 for a flight of five. They also have food available through a local caterer. Friday nights, look for live music.

We enjoyed our time at the modern, light-filled tasting room. The room is available for special events.

You'll love the historic building by the
railroad tracks housing the
Barrister Tasting Room
Barrister Winery - W Railroad Avenue
Barrister Winery is housed in a fascinating 100 year old brick building practically track-side in the Davenport Arts District of downtown Spokane. The award-winning winery was created by two attorneys with a true love of wine. Interestingly they started their adventure into wine-making by purchasing a home wine-making kit. And things took off from there.

The historic building where the winery is located has indoor meeting and event space and an outdoor patio. The 25,000 square foot facility houses production, a large single-stack barrel room, an expansive tasting room and a one-of-a-kind event venue.  The old brick and massive timber structure creates a unique ambiance that nicely blends a bit of Spokane history with the historic art of wine making. The building was once used to work on cars delivered by train on the tracks just across from the building.

We were treated to a dinner in their barrel room. We arrived at the basement room via freight elevator and were entranced by the atmosphere created by flickering candles set on the French Oak barrels. The glow against the timbers and and basalt rock walls make this room a romantic wine and dine setting for small groups.
The Barrel Room at Barrister Winery
provides an enchanting venue
for small gatherings.

The Barrel Room at Barrister Winery provides an enchanting venue for small gatherings.

Barrister's also has a tasting room downtown, across from the Davenport Grand Hotel.

Visiting the Cork District
You can walk to many of the tasting rooms from your downtown hotel.

Spokane's Cork District website lists the wineries and tasting rooms, features special events, has an online brochure with map and is a great place to find out about events and package deals for wine tasting getaways.

The District also features two additional wine tasting clusters.  A short drive to the northeast you’ll find the Mount Spokane Cluster and just minutes east of downtown, the Spokane Valley Cluster, both featuring award winning wineries.

And, if you are flying Alaska Airlines, look for their Alaska Wine Pass.

More Information
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary meals/tastings  for the purpose of review. While this has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Summer in Santa Fe: Arts Calendar - Don't miss an art market or show this year


Here we go again! It’s summer and Santa Fe has an excellent line up of art exhibits and markets. Mark your calendars!

Santa Fe is poised for yet another one-of-a-kind summer season of the city’s centuries-old dedication to the arts. Local art collective Meow Wolf’s exceptionally successful opening of the “House of Eternal Return”—a project backed by best-selling author and resident George R.R. Martin—is just one of many special new opportunities for travelers of all backgrounds.

This summer, Santa Fe hosts dozens of new and traditional markets that showcase a spectrum of artwork to thrill all tastes. Mainstay events such as the Santa Fe Indian Market celebrating a 95th anniversary and younger but rapidly-expanding and socially-impactful events such as the International Folk Art Market, voted #1 Best Art Festival in the U.S., provide visitors with unrivaled cultural immersion. 

Find a full calendar of events on www.santafe.org including:

This magical ten-day summer stretch is known as the “Santa Fe Art Trifecta” and consists of ART Santa Fe, the International Folk Art Market and SITE Santa Fe. Two of three were voted #1 and #4 in a 2015 USA Today 10Best Reader’s Choice poll for Best U.S. Art Festival and all three provide visitors with a glimpse into why the city is universally renowned as both a traditional and contemporary mecca for the arts.

ART Santa Fe (July 7-10)
ART Santa Fe brings collectors together with artists and representatives from dozens of galleries around the world. This event—a four-day juried contemporary art show featuring extraordinary global art, specially curated programming, special events, and entertainment—showcases a variety of modern and contemporary work by both acclaimed masters as well as emerging artists. 

The International Folk Art Market, ranked as the “Best Art Festival in America,” is a colorful festival at which hundreds of master folk artists from dozens of countries in addition to tens of thousands of visitors and volunteers congregate on the city’s Museum Hill in what has blossomed into the largest event of its kind. 

As the goal of the Market is to preserve living folk art traditions while creating economic opportunities for folk artists, approximately 90 percent of the sales are allocated to return home with the artists to their native countries. This year, the Market is estimated to generate $3 million in sales, in addition to an $11 million impact for the local economy.

SITE Santa Fe (July 7-17)
This celebrated gallery established the country’s first global contemporary art biennial and in 2016 will open “Much Wider Than a Line,” the second installment in its biennial series “SITElines: New Perspectives on Art of the Americas.” The exhibition will feature 35 artists from 16 countries and 11 new commissions brought together by a team of five international curators. “Much Wider Than a Line” is an articulation of the interconnectedness of the Americas and various shared experiences such as the recognition of colonial legacies, expressions of the vernacular, the influence of indigenous understandings and our relationship to the land.

The Traditional Spanish Market is celebrating its 65th year and features a wide variety of stunning artwork all handmade in traditional Spanish Colonial style by hundreds of local Hispanic artists. The Market also showcases live music, dance, art demonstrations and delectable regional cuisine.  

The Contemporary Hispanic Market showcases original work and individual expression in the mediums of painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, furniture, jewelry, ceramics, weaving and more. Both the Traditional Spanish Market and Contemporary Hispanic Market are held in the area surrounding Santa Fe’s historic downtown plaza and draw many thousands of visitors to the city formerly known as “New Spain.”

Objects of Art Santa Fe (August 11-14)
Objects of Art Santa Fe is held in Santa Fe’s Railyard district at El Museo Cultural to showcase a wide variety of work including furniture, jewelry, textiles and more courtesy of more than 70 prestigious galleries and exhibitors. 

These annual shows celebrate their 38th anniversaries and feature the finest in ethnographic art and historic antique Indian art. Each boasts more than 100 dealers and features a collection of merchandise not found anywhere else in the world.  

The Antique American Indian Art Show Santa Fe is the most anticipated show and sale of historic Indian art of the summer art season and brings together nearly 70 of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in American Indian art and thousands of select historic art objects from indigenous cultures throughout North America. The show is in its third year and is the largest of its kind in the world.

The Indigenous Fine Art Movement is the Native-owned nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for Native artists by building and promoting market places so artists can sell directly to their clients in beautiful outdoor and indoor settings. IFAM is about sharing the Native narrative with the world through the connections and relationships made with those who experience the art. IFAM’s events and youth, music and literary programs create a greater understanding of the complexity and beauty of Native American culture and people as they evolve and exist today.

Santa Fe Indian Market (August 20-21)
Santa Fe Indian Market, organized by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), celebrates its 95th anniversary in 2016 and is the largest event of its kind. The market draws more than 100,000 collectors and gallery owners to Santa Fe’s historic downtown plaza as they meet with thousands of artists representing dozens of tribes. Artwork includes a wide selection of jewelry, textiles, baskets, beadwork, quillwork, pueblo wooden carvings, sculptures, drums, hides, leather goods and more. The Market also includes an awards ceremony and a Live Auction Gala, as well as a Native American fashion show, Native Cinema Showcase and performances of indigenous music, dance, storytelling and comedy. An absolute Bucket List event for any traveler.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Native Fashion Now at the Portland Art Museum - Photo Album

Look up... and be entranced
Patricia Michaels Parasols


Patricia Michaels
Taos Pueblo


Louis Gong's (Nooksack) Eighth Generation
Blankets
Watch out Pendleton!
  
Louis Gong is known for his shoe art
with Northwest Native designs.
Amazing weaving and owl mask by
Margaret Roach Wheeler (Chicasaw).
I'd love to see this one dance!





Bethany Yellowtail (Crow/Northern Cheyenne)
Amazing applique dress with elk tooth detail.
Only drawing from one's culture would yield such a look.



Street (or is it Rez) art was strongly represented by
artists like Jered Yazzie (Navajo)
His work can be found on the Beyond Buckskin website.
Jered with his MIS-REP design
Raven the Trickster and Eagle
Skate Board Art
Rico Worl (Athabaskan/Tlinget)

I didn't know about N7. Did you?
The N7 Fund is committed to creating early positive experiences in sport and physical activity for Native American and Aboriginal youth in North America.
Last but not least. How could we not be amazed
by Orlando Dugi's (Navajo) gown and porcupine quill headpiece.



Native Fashion Now at the Portland Art Museum runs through September 4th, 2016. These photos represent my initial impressions of the show, but there is so much more!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Discoveries in the Lloyd District of Portland: Art, history and food with a view

On a Positively Portland Walking Tour, I learned about the history of the Lloyd District in Portland, found a few remnants of Portland’s past and learned that the Lloyd District is slated to become Portland’s eastside downtown.

Interesting sculptures can be found at
Holladay Park adjacent to Lloyd Center Mall in Portland
You probably know the Lloyd District as the locale of the Lloyd Center Mall and Moda Center sports complex. But what was the area used for before urban renewal and the razing of the area for freeways? It was slated to be an upscale east-side neighborhood. And, it was home to many Portland families.

The Lloyd District is named after Ralph Lloyd (1875–1953), a California rancher, oilman, and real estate developer who moved to Portland and started the development of the area.

We began our walking tour at the small but vibrant Holladay Park adjacent to Lloyd Center Mall.

The MAX light rail line stops at the park so it made for a convenient start to our explorations.
This park is named after Benjamin Holladay (1819-1887), known to many as an unethical businessman. Holladay also worked to develop the area. He came to Portland to get into the railroad business. He also built two large hotels in the area where the park bearing his name is now located.

Much of the area was demolished due to freeway development and the construction of tall office and residential buildings but there are a few historic gems to see. Pointed out to us was the Holy Rosary Catholic Church, a historic place of worship once nestled in a community of single-family homes. The church actually was moved by horses and rolling logs to the current location in 1893 after a neighborhood dispute arguing that no gathering places such as churches should be built in their area.

Holy Family Church
back at the Lloyd District history continued as we walked past the amazing “Mission Revival” building that once was the home of the William E. Field Tile Company. The Spanish style tiles adorned the building which houses various shops including a delightful Chocolate shop. While Mission Revival, or California style architecture seems out of place in the Pacific Northwest, you’ll find the style dotted throughout Portland. It seems as though it was “the thing to do” in the 1920’s.

Our architectural tour took us into the present with a walk by the striking Jorge Pardo sculpture which provides shelter with a “rainy on the outside, sunny on the inside” experience for those waiting for the streetcar. For some reason, the shelter reminded me of a mid-century modern design... the orange, perhaps? The bright colors will certainly lift the spirits of those seeking shelter on a rainy Portland day.

Jose Pardo functional art. My favorite sighting of the day.
We also went by the Coliseum and Moda Center stopping to comment on the architecture and reflecting on the importance of both buildings.

The tour ended with a look at the recently opened Hotel Eastlund offering boutique accommodations within blocks of the Oregon Convention Center and the Moda Center on Portland’s east side. The hotel's airy lobby was decorated in mid-century modern with pops of color, especially orange.

Altabira at Hotel Eastlund... What a view!
best part of the new Hotel Eastlund is Altabira, the rooftop bar and restaurant with a fantastic view of the Convention Center glass towers and the city of Portland beyond. Excellent sandwiches and an Oregon brew brought the morning to a close.

More Information

Hotel Eastlund
1021 NE Grand Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97232
Phone: 503.235.2100
Website

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Spray Can Art - Mesa Arizona

The city of Mesa, Arizona actually commissions aerosol artists to paint murals on downtown walls. There are murals, like this one that relates to the cultures of Arizona. This young woman is wearing her hair in the traditional Navajo bun.

On another street artists depicted some vintage neon signs familiar to locals who have been around awhile. Both nearby Tempe and Phoenix are supporting mural art. There's no need to have a blank wall! Learn more about public art in Mesa.