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Frozen Food Month

Posted on: March 23rd, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Frozen Food Month, Chamoyada from Beaverton's Ome Calle

For Frozen Food Month, try a spicy-sweet Chamoyada from Beaverton’s Ome Calle.

Get ready for a brain freeze because it’s National Frozen Food Month! Whether it’s ice cold or perfectly slushy, the Tualatin Valley’s frozen food game is on point. The Greater Portland region ranks as the 10th top-consumers of ice cream (businessinsider.com). That stat alludes to even more frosty treats that Oregonians—and visitors!—eat here year-round. Start licking your lips for these cold confections:

Snowy Shaved Ice: Momo’s Hawaiian Shave Ice (2020 NW Alocleck Drive, Hillsboro)
Move over snow cone! The real deal shave ice is in town and you cannot compete. The superiority of shaved ice comes from the special equipment that finely shaves a solid block of ice into a snow-like fluffy dream. Because of its consistency, the “snow” absorbs flavored syrup fully and perfectly. At Momo’s, we go for the Tigers blood variety (don’t worry, it’s just strawberry coconut!) with a “snow cap” of sweetened condensed milk drizzled on top

Pretty Popsicles: Ome Calle (12795 SW Canyon Road, Beaverton and 19503 SW Boones Ferry Road, Tualatin)
Ome Calli is the purveyor of all things Mexican frozen treats. From ice cream to popsicles to the famous Chamoyadas, which is a spicy-sweet frozen fruit slush (think plum and apricot chamoy flavor with mango). The refreshing drink is topped with pickled fruit, Mexican gummy candies, and chili powder. As if that’s not a powerhouse dessert all on its own, the mega-drink is finished with a popsicle of your choosing dunked into the center of your cup. Voila!—frozen upon frozen goodness! For a more refreshing—and less sinful—dessert, get a popsicle on its own in a surprising flavor like hemp or cucumber.

Grand Gelato: Strada (10124 SW Washington Square Road, Tigard)
Of course when it comes to frozen treats, we cannot forget about gelato. Enter, the restaurant Strada. The concept? Street food of Italy. A no brainer? The salted caramel gelato. Afterward, hunt for Italian-inspired fashion at the nearby Washington Square.

Moo-rific Milkshakes: Smith Berry Barn (24500 SW Scholls Ferry Rd, Hillsboro)
Since this frozen treat comes out of a straw, beware of the brain freeze! Still, the milkshakes at Smith Berry Barn cannot be beat. Try a caffe umbria espresso milkshakes for a milky buzz. Come berry season, lookout for more fruit-packed options made from farm-fresh berries.

International Day of Happiness

Posted on: March 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Celebrate the International Day of Happiness on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route.

Celebrate the International Day of Happiness on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route.

What makes you happy? For the International Day of Happiness, now is as good a time as ever to ponder that question and make plans to do more of what makes you happy. Of course, we wish you many endorphin-producing days while visiting the Tualatin Valley. Whatever makes you happy, find it with us.

Meaningful Experiences with People You Love
Add to your memory bank with loved ones via new thrills in the Tualatin Valley. Hold hands—giving each other courage—to zip across the treetops at Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour or Tree to Tree Adventure Park. For an all-eyes-on-you endeavor, check out the Venomous Reptile Museum. You and your favorite traveling companion will feel more on display than the actual reptiles—an exhilarating experience you surely won’t forget!

Excite the Senses
What’s that amazing smell? This tastes delicious! The air feels so good. Oh yes—the Tualatin Valley is a delight for all five senses. Take a drive on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route for tastes, smells, sights and sounds from our vineyards, farms and restaurants.

The Mind-Body Connection
A happy body leads the way for a happy mind. Take care of yourself inside and out, even when on a trip! Exercise is never a chore on the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway. Cyclists pedal thru lush farmland, quaint downtowns and intriguing nature areas. Beginner cyclists (and walkers) may prefer the more mellow section of the bikeway, found on the Banks-Vernonia State Trail.

A Good Night’s Sleep
Get rest and get happy—it’s that simple sometimes. A good dose of the dream state can help individuals find happiness in waking life. For downright delectable sleep, book a room at one of the Tualatin Valley’s premier accommodations.  

Wishing you lots of happy!

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Celebrating Agriculture in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: March 18th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Celebrate agriculture in the Tualatin Valley!

Celebrate agriculture in the Tualatin Valley!

Happy National Agriculture Week! In the locavore-minded community of the Tualatin Valley, our farmers, chefs and food servers are supremely tied to the land, the food our area produces, and the farm-to-table experience that food provides for locals and visitors alike. We’d tell you to make a point to explore the agricultural wonders of the Tualatin Valley during your visit, but the truth is that we don’t have to—our farming and food culture is an organic (pun intended) part of any person’s stay.

Chew on this: the Beaverton Farmers Market is the largest all-agricultural market in the state of Oregon. Throughout the seasons, you can ogle at onions, gawk at gourds, chomp on chives and ruminate on raspberries. The final dates of the winter market are March 21, April 4 and April 18. The weekly summer market begins May 2. As each market runs Saturdays (through November) from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., you can partake in some brunch and lunch from the local farm and food artisan offerings. For those traveling from far away, there are plenty of locally made goods that won’t spoil on your journey home. Head to the Unger Farms booth for jams that keep the juicy punch of their berries intact. Our markets reach beyond just Beaverton. In the summer, you can find a farmers’ market in one of our towns or cities almost any day of the week!

In addition to markets, take a drive on the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route for a self-guided tour of the Tualatin Valley’s agricultural bounty. The tour route includes roadside crop signs, summer u-pick farms, charming taverns and classic general stores. Come July, the route’s road will be fragrant with the scent of not only fruits and vegetables, but herbs as well. Cruise into lavender farms for purple picture-ops and aromatic souvenirs.

Of course, the wineries of the northern Willamette Valley fit into our agricultural story, too. For a new take on wine tasting, plan a day traveling the sustainable wine trail. Not only do all of our winemakers make outstanding varietals, but many do so by organic and biodynamic standards—no small feat!

We hope you enjoy the bounty of the Tualatin Valley as much as our farms and markets enjoy growing and sharing it.

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April’s North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend

Posted on: March 11th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Enjoy wine from the glass (and straight from the barrel!) during the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend.

Enjoy wine from the glass (and straight from the barrel!) during the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend.

Forget spring cleaning—let’s jump into spring drinking! While we love visiting wineries rain-or-shine, spring days give steam to our wine tasting game. With the North Willamette Wine Trail Weekend April 11-12, the wineries of Oregon’s Washington County are daring us to a marathon wine weekend.  

From the North Willamette Vintners, the Wine Trail invites wine lovers to experience over a dozen wineries over two jam-packed days. What’s more, the Wine Trail weekend is actually about so much more than wine. It’s truly about our culinary community, from Oregon wine to cheese to other creative noshes. With this in mind, the Wine Trail pairs each winery with a thoughtful and unique food pairings.

One such pairing is the Apolloni Vineyards sharing some favorite Pinot Grigio, Rosé and Mélange Noir wines alongside tastes from Laurine Apolloni’s cooking demo with seasonal herbs. Additionally, Blizzard Wines defies its namesake by serving wood fired pizza from Maiale di Volo alongside its local wine blends.

Tickets can be purchased here, where you’ll be asked to identify your starting winery. A wine kit—including a glass, map, and brochure of each winery and its accompanying activity—will be waiting for you at that winery on April 11. Lunch options will also be available for purchase at many of the wineries.

Here’s the skinny on tickets:

  • $45 per person includes the two-day Wine Trail weekend with activities, wine tastings, food pairings, and wine glass.
  • $30 per person for Sunday-only ticket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; ticket includes glass, activities, wine tastings, and light food pairings.
  • $10 for a designated driver ticket

Turn the Wine Trail into a full-blown weekend getaway by booking a room at one of the awesome hotels partnering with the North Willamette Vintners:

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Barbershop Ballad Town Itinerary

Posted on: March 9th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Sound the harmonica—the 69th Annual All Northwest Barbershop Ballad Contest  is coming to Forest Grove March 20-21! Spend a melodic getaway weekend in the Tualatin Valley to find out exactly why Forest Grove is known as Ballad Town USA. With tickets between $20 and $22, you can see two days of top-notch singers for a song. See below for a weekend itinerary for you’re a capella themed weekend.

Friday, March 20 at 5 p.m.
Before jumping into action, check into your room. There are plenty of great lodging options that are close to the singing main event. Perform a quick change into some festive gear while tonight’s vocalists warm up. Here are some especially nearby hotel offerings:

Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m.
In addition to the competitive rounds of singing, the comedic quartet group, Snafu, will also perform giggle-worthy tunes.

Friday, March 20 at 9 p.m.
After tonight’s show, discuss your favorite quartet groups over a pint of beer at the King’s Head Pub. While nibbling on house-made Scotch egg or English pasty, you might be inspired to hum some English pub songs.  

Saturday, March 20 at 10 a.m.
Start your day off in the All-American way. Maggie’s Buns serves up classic breakfast plates, including gigantic cinnamon buns. Bonus: The cozy brunch spot is the perfect starting location for an early afternoon wine tasting session. Head to Apolloni Vineyards and David Hill Vineyard & Winery next.

Saturday, March 20 at 1:00 p.m.
Before heading to the 2 p.m. round of the Barbershop Ballad Contest, pay a visit to the world’s tallest barber pole. In 1973, locals to crafted and installed a 70-foot tall barber pole, which still holds the title as the world’s tallest one today.

Saturday, March 20 at 5:00 p.m.
Fuel up before the intense final round of the contest at 7 p.m. with a soul-satisfying meal at 1910 Main. Using local ingredients, this favorite spot updates American classics with a modern, upscale twist.

Sunday, March 21
Before heading home, play a game of disc-golf at McMenamins Grand Lodge. If you work up enough of a sweat, then you’ll be able to justify a sweet treat from Sugar Mommas’ Bake Shop (pssst…get the red velvet cupcake!).

Celebrate Irish Culture in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: March 6th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Finnegan, the bar dog at Three Mugs Brewing, is an Irishman (err, Irishdog) at heart.

Finnegan, the bar dog at Three Mugs Brewing, is an Irishman (err, Irishdog) at heart.

The saying goes “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough.” Whether or not your lineage can be traced back to the Emerald Isle, double your luck—Irish style—in the Tualatin Valley. The greater Portland region holds strong ties to Ireland as many Irish families escaping famine immigrated to America and eventually traversed the Oregon Trail. The late 1800s marked the Irish community as the largest foreign-born community in the Portland region.* Celebrate Irish culture year-round with these local haunts.

For an Irish Jig
The Winds of Donegal Ceili teaches a new Irish dance every Friday, October through May. The drop-in class welcomes beginners and is open to all, ages 8 and older. Admission is $5, which is a steal considering the class includes live Irish music.

For Irish Flare in a Nano-Brewery
Three Mugs Brewing Co. brews seriously good beer in an unpretentious, quirkily-Irish taproom. The husband, wife and son team has lived all over the world, but remembers to pay tribute to their Irish roots with patriotic posters and a bar dog named Finnegan. The Fiery Wench Imperial Red gives a playful nod in name, color and taste to the family’s Irish heritage.

For the Sports-Crazed Irishman

J.B. O’Brien’s Irish Pub revels in its Irish roots. Pairing Irish pub fare with American pro sports is a long-loved bar standard that JB O’Brien’s does just right.

For Chasing the Rainbow
Henry Hagg Lake—it’s one of the best places to catch a rainbow. If the multi-colored arch doesn’t peek through the clouds, then fish for rainbow trout instead. We cannot promise a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or fishing line, but the golden-hour sunsets shimmering off the lake is just as good.

For St. Patrick’s Day Events
With Friday the 13th and St. Patrick’s Day falling within a week’s span of each other, there’s no better time to take a fortuitous foray into Oregon’s Washington County. If you’re lucky enough to visit in the coming weeks, then be sure to check out the many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

*Irish in Oregon history via www.oregonirish.org

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Dog-Friendly Places in the Tualatin Valley

Posted on: February 20th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
ghost and wine glass

Ghost, Plum Hill Winery & Vineyard’s dog, takes a sniff of wine!

What do you love most about your pet? It’s Love Your Pet Day—and one of the best ways to make your pet tail-wagging happy is by taking him or her on vacation to the Tualatin Valley. Oh yes, your dog will relish all the new smells and spots that are perfect for a mid-day frolic!

Dog-Friendly Hotels
Think beyond camping when it comes to taking your pet on vacation. Why not?—there are affordable and plush hotel options waiting for you here. Book a room at one of our pet friendly hotels.

Dog-Friendly Nature Spots
Get ready for an epic game of fetch at L.L. Stub Stewart State Park. Open year-round from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, an off-leash dog park provides the perfect romping grounds for pooches of all sizes and breeds. Set atop a steep-sloped hill, your dog can run up-and-down-up-and-down to his or her heart’s delight.

If an on-leash nature walk is more your style, take your four-legged friend on a stroll through the Fanno Creek Trail. Afterward, the nearby Max’s Fanno Creek Brew Pub has a dog-friendly patio where your pooch can relax and you can unwind with a brew or two.

Dog-Friendly Vineyards
While there won’t be any Pinot in the doggy bowl, many of the tasting rooms in the northern Willamette Valley are either pet friendly or have dogs of their own. If you’re planning to bring your dog wine tasting, then please call ahead to check each winery’s pet policy. If you’re traveling sans pup, but need your dog fix while visiting, then come give some pats to Ghost at Plum Hill Winery and Vineyard.

Looking ahead into the summer, look out for the dog-friendly, bi-weekly concerts at Oak Knoll Winery, as well as August’s Canines Uncorked event with thirteen wineries waiting with wine for you and treats for the furry companions.

We know that, truly, every day is Love Your Pet Day and the dog-lovers of the Tualatin Valley are ready to help you celebrate.

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Lunar New Year in Oregon’s Tualatin Valley

Posted on: February 18th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
Meet some goats at Heart 2 Heart Farm in honor of the upcoming Lunar New Year's zodiac sign.

Meet some goats at Heart 2 Heart Farm in honor of the upcoming Lunar New Year’s zodiac sign.

As the Tualatin Valley is one of Oregon’s most culturally diverse regions, we cannot help but jump into the coming Lunar New Year festivities. Look below for some ways to celebrate the Year of the Sheep!

Lion Dance
To fully embrace and welcome the Year of the Sheep, take part in the Lunar New Year Lion Dance at Uwajimaya (February 22, noon to 3 p.m.). The beloved spot for all foods and goods from Asia partakes in the Lunar New Year with a traditional Chinese Lion Dance—it’s a joyous affair! While you’re there, pick up some red envelopes and delicious, imported candy to give to loved ones for good luck in the New Year. The red envelope is especially important this year as Chinese culture often regards a Year of the Sheep as one that promises prosperity.

New Year’s Meal
A traditional Lunar New Year meal is either fish or dumplings. A quick drive from Uwajimaya, some of Oregon’s best dumplings await. Du Kuh Bee specializes in both Chinese and Korean homemade dumplings. Get a taste of the pork and chive goodness waiting inside the perfectly cooked dumpling dough. The pan-fried fish offers a nice balance and variety of texture to your New Year dining experience.

Meet Some Sheep!
As it is the Year of the Sheep—which also includes goats and rams—why not visit the farms of the Tualatin Valley and meet some furry friends? After all, the Year of the Sheep is often considered the zodiac sign that is nature’s special child with its gentle blooms and winds.

At Heart 2 Heart Farm, a gaggle of cute goats are eager to meet new friends. This sustainably-minded farm and homestead includes four goats—all of different breeds. So, come say hello to Poppy, Princess, Hoppy and Nibbles.

Whatever you do for the Lunar New Year, we wish you a happy and prosperous Year of the Sheep, that includes a trip or two to the Tualatin Valley!

 

Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Uwajimaya.

Celebrate the Lunar New Year at Uwajimaya.

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Founding Fathers Food Tour

Posted on: February 16th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments
The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route would remind President Washington of Mt. Vernon!

The Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route is as beautiful as Mt. Vernon!

Did you know that George Washington was a foodie? During his presidency, Washington hosted an official dinner at 4 p.m. sharp every other Thursday, often inviting legislators of all different regions and stances. In spite of his wooden dentures, the president and his wife would serve lavish courses, accompanied by good wine and beer. In honor of President’s Day, we’ve put together a Tualatin Valley food tour with America’s founding fathers in mind.

Soup Starter
Turns out, the first president was a peanut lover! A common course at his Thursday dinners was a savory peanut stew. So, we’re pretty sure good ol’ Washington would be delighted by the African peanut stew from the Native Foods Café at Bridgeport Village. This nutty stew includes one of Washington’s other favorite ingredients: sweet potatoes!

Fresh Fish Main Course
The showstopper dish on the presidential table was often roasted fish. If George Washington could magically travel in time to today’s Tualatin Valley, then he’d surely be a fan of the char-grilled pacific swordfish at Hall Street Grill. The accompanying butternut squash puree would remind Washington of the winter squashes grown at Mt. Vernon.

Cherry on Top
We all know the folktale of George Washington and the cherry tree. Well—no lying—there are amazing tastes of cherry all over the Tualatin Valley! Beaverton’s decarli restaurant often creatively works cherries into the menu with cherry compotes, house-candied cherries in its charcuterie or balsamic roasted cherries over a perfectly-cooked pork chop.

Aperitif
Washington’s diaries say that the president preferred port wine, which even stained his dentures. For a decadent treat, try A Blooming Hill Vineyard’s Pinot in a Port-style, VXX. The raised sugar with a Pinot Noir concentrate creates a smooth aperitif with yummy raisin flavor.

While George Washington himself can’t experience the delicious wonders of the Tualatin Valley, you certainly can! And while you’re at it, take a drive along the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route!

Information about George Washington sourced from Smithsonian Magazine’s “Dining with George Washington.”

P.S. Play a President’s Day Two Truths & a Lie with us!

Plan Your Wedding in Oregon’s Wine Country

Posted on: February 13th, 2015 by Jackie Luskey No Comments

Valentine’s Day is a big deal, beyond just the roses and chocolate. Nearly a quarter of a million couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day. Couples from near and far choose Oregon’s Washington County: The Tualatin Valley as their place to say “I do.” And for good reason with gorgeous views, special venues, and all the accoutrement for the best day of your life.

Kick-off wedding planning with the Grand Lodge Wedding Open House (March 7, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., free). Here, couples can envision their upcoming nuptials, from primping at the Ruby Spa, toasting at the Doctor’s Office Bar, and concocting signature cocktails options. For a glimpse into the magic: watch the video below:

McMenamins Grand Lodge Weddings from Candy Glass Productions on Vimeo.

Rustic Charm
We love the creative spirit of our brides, which shines through in their choice of venues: rustic beauty whimsically intertwines with modern style. Such is the case with historic downtown Sherwood’s Bella Via, as well as Hillsboro’s McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall. The 1850s roadhouse includes an octagonal barn that is darn right magical when laced with twinkle lights.

Au Natural
For a joyous, boho wedding day, look no further than Horning’s Hideout. Exchange vows by the lake, along a tree-lined creek, or on a large outdoor stage with room for 700 of your closest friends. With 24 hour rentals, guests can celebrate into the night and to camp under the stars.

Vineyard Views
With great Pinot, Oregon’s Washington County ensures some of the best wedding bars. Wineries like A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery host intimate wedding parties and rehearsal dinners.

Hole-In-One
The Reserve Vineyards & Golf Club promises a picturesque black-tie affair. Lovebirds tie-the-knot on the wildflower-bordered patio. For the party, the clubhouse is like celebrating in an Oregon-style castle.

All in the Details
Nowadays, it seems like no wedding is complete without a photobooth, such as local vendor Cheesy Mugs, or an after-party food truck. Guests can chow down on the ever-popular bulgogi tacos of Koi Fusion PDX food truck. For a fun twist on Oregon wine, rent the Union Wine Company’s wine truck!

It was rustic all around at this celebration

A romantic, whimsical and outdoorsy wedding awaits, just minutes from Portland

Start planning your wedding! Get more resources on our Wedding Wonderland page–and figuring out room blocks for your guests with one of our stunning hotels!

And find more venues for your wedding, no matter your style: rustic charm, nature settings, golf courses, and vineyards and wineries.