Thursday, July 31, 2008

College Station Visits the Left Coast

Scott (my bro), Ashley (his wife), Jeff & Ian (their sons) visited this past week from College Station, TX. Fun times...More pics surely to follow since Scott is the avid photographer...I tend to go into coast mode when he's around, knowing he's capturing more moments than I could ever dream of! He really has the knack for it. I promise to post some pics of his when I get 'em. But for now, here's a sampling of our week together...
Me, my bro, & my nephew rippin' it up on Disney's California Screamin'! Best Rollercoaster EVER!
Ashley with nephew, Ian & my love bug, Lucas.
First time ever to ride the Finding Nemo Submarine Ride!
Jeff dreams of going to Cal State Univ, Fullerton to play baseball. He tested out their field.

Me & Jeff at a coffehouse overlooking Lake Arrowhead (Arrowhead Queen paddleboat in the background).

Ian & Lucas get their own special table at the cabin and can't wait for some vittles for dinner!

My other little love bug, Miss Kate. Its really too bad she doesn't like much attention...especially when she's in the arms of a handsome young man ;o)

Big bro, Scott & Jeff enjoying a break from a serious morning session of wakeboarding. (Action shots to come as soon as I get them). Check out nephew Ian's blog (linked to mine) to see more shots of the week.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Outstanding Weekend!

What an Incredible Weekend! Jeff & I joined Anya & David deLancellotti along with David's brother, Paul & his wife, Kendall Bergstrom up in Portland, Oregon this weekend for our first Outstanding in the Field dinner. Jim Deneven started this a few years ago, bringing local growers, farmers, ranchers, cheesemakers, vitners, etc together with local chefs to create fantastic community dinners throughout the country. We chose Portland (Dundee region of the Willamette Valley) at David & Anya's suggestion since they were planning to be up there visiting their family at their vineyard & winery. Paul & Kendall were awesome hosts, showing us around Portland wine country's finest wineries which are mostly known for their Pinot Noir. We ate, drank, snacked, ate, drank and drank some more all weekend long. We HIGHLY recommend the dinner - wherever you can go to experience Jim's art. Enjoy the pics!

Jim & co's 1953 tour bus

Our B&B - The Black Walnut Inn...if you are ever in Portland wine country, try to stay at this incredible place. I got up at 5am and went for a hike around the vineyard, taking this shot as I was headed back to our room. Their breakfasts were off the charts good!

The view from the B&B of their lavender, vineyard and Hazelnut orchard.

Our host, Mark, at Drouhin Vineyards holds some of our tastings that day. He was an incredible tour guide explaining the process of creating a perfect Pinot!

At Drouhin, the vines are a meter apart, vs the normal measurement so the equipment all had to be brought in from France in order to work the vineyard. Something to do with the yield of the soil, stressing the vine to get a better fruit...(I was obviously more focused on the delicious wine, than paying attention to the technical aspects of winemaking).

Fresh new French Oak barrels, never used. Ready to receive a fresh batch this fall! We got to smell the insides which clearly influences the taste of the final product.
Paul & Kendall's barn at Bergstrom-deLancellotti vineyard. They have an incredible 360 degree view of the valley and are creating some amazing wines.

The lavender fields are so beautiful & fragrant! We had to buy one and bring it home (a single plant that is, not a whole field...although I wouldn't mind having a field of them).

L-R David & Anya deLancellotti, Paul deLancellotti & Kendall Bergstrom with the dinner's venue, Domaine Serene in the background.

Our appetizers, Freshly shucked oysters with trout caviar.

The man...Jim Denevan. He announced the way the dinner works and introduced our host, Domaine Serene winery, along with our growers who joined us that evening.

The mushroom farmer (they were OUTSTANDING ;o)

The lay of the land (and dinner table for 180 people).

Eugene, Oregon's finest pork, provided by Patrine, the pig lady (her description), and sliced by the owner of 10-01 - the restaurant who created our delicous dinner.

Yours truly, and Anya enjoy the event.
Like any good dinner, the memories & friendships are lasting...(Jeff & Paul)

Brothers David & Paul discuss "the possibilities of Soil....that's SO not Gretchen! (inside joke)

Domaine Serene's rep serves up a fine Pinot Noir with dinner
Jeff & I checkin' out the tour bus...

The pastry chef from 10-01 of Portland preparing our dessert.
Jim, 10-01's head chef (in red) and pastry chef enjoy the view and a good Pinot after the dinner

Jeff & I get our obligatory shot with the artist & founder of Outstanding in the Field

The MOST Outstanding guests of the dinner (as you will see in the following shots)

Something got us going...

Go Anya, go Anya...

I can't let Anya have ALL the fun...

David & Anya pay tribute to Patrine, the Pig Lady (who brought us the delicious pork loin for the entre).

Next year??? Austin? New York? Napa? Ojai? We'll be watching in March when the '09 dates are released and we hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Week of July Fourth

July Fourth '08...Fun Times with Family & Friends

The three musketeers, joining forces to take over the world!

A special Birthday celebration for Christian before heading up to Lake Arrowhead.

Did someone say boating??? Lake Arrowhead??? I'm in!

Well, I prefer just being "in" the boat, not the ice-cold lake, Dad!

Miss Kate enjoys a long holiday nap - the best kind - in Poppa's arms.

Argh! These are some really ferocious bears in these parts!

The Funderburks "bearing" a pose...

Now "That's what I'm talkin' about!" says Lucas of his Indy car-racing with Poppa.

Uncle Mike reads a really good book with Miss Kate on the deck. She's in heaven!

Some more S'Mores??? The special treat after the firework show at the Nataupsky-White lakehouse with Aunt Cynthia.

Miss Kate enjoys the cool night air - everyone was watching the bats come out at dusk! "I think I saw one, Aunt Cynthia!" (she coos).

Our dear friends, Stacey & Neal join us for the firework show at the lake. They set them off from a barge in the middle of the lake. Amazing display this year!

Late afternoon hike along the lakeshore. The boys REALLY want to get wet!

We left Lake Arrowhead and gave the boys their opportunity for some aqua-action at Crystal Cove beach. The water wasn't much warmer than the lake, but it sure was fun trying to jump the waves...
...and play in the surf!

Some serious baking going on. Aunt Cynthia shares the ancient chocolate chip cookie receipe from Mimi - it is impossible to eat just one...and if you try the cookie dough first, you will be hooked for life! They were SOOO yummy!

Have no fear, Cap'n Underpants is here! Lucas enjoys his new shark-fin goggles. They're actually pretty scary when he swims with his head underwater. The fin sticks up and looks like a shark is headed your way!

Stay tuned... Next Post: A Rather Outstanding Dinner coming up this weekend ;o)