Well, looking through my prior post, you’d never believe I won spelling bees as a child! I guess that is what fatigue will do to a girl!
Friday was spent day tripping to some of the culinary delights the Rogue Valley has to offer.
Our first stop was the Butte Creek Mill. This is working water mill that was built in 1872. This is where we got the scone mix that was so lovely on Thursday morning (it was my breakfast on Friday too!). http://www.buttecreekmill.com/
They have a great website were you can take a look at their products. They don’t use preservatives so many of their flours and milled products are in a refrigerator case.
Next we stopped at the Roxy Ann Winery
. We were planning to go to wineries on Sunday but since we were driving right by it, we had to stop! They offered a free tasting of their Pinot Gris. It had a nice mouth feel, bold crisp pear flavors but the taste after the swallow stuck onto the sides of my tongue with an acidic bite. Not what I want in a wine. The gal pouring the wine (steward? stewardess??) brought out some cheese to try with the wine. The cheese was from the local favorite Rogue Creamery, Lemon Artichoke Cheddar. I took a bite of cheese and followed with the wine…amazingly it cleaned up after itself completely when paired with the cheese. We decided to bring the boys back on Sunday when we were doing our wine tasting.
As a side note, we discussed this Pinot Gris compared with the one at Paschal Winery (another local) and decided the Paschal was still better. It cleans up after itself with no accompaniment. This is my current favorite wine to cool of on the hot summer day, very crisp and refreshing. Here is the link for them: Paschal Winery
Harry & David is a catalogue company featuring fresh fruits and vegetable as well as baked goods, jams and other culinary treats. It is well known through most of the country, but mostly back east. They are headquartered in Medford Oregon. They make a fantastic Moose Munch which is popcorn drizzled with goodies like chocolate, caramel, tossed with nuts. Delish! We took a tour of their facilities and got some interesting information and free samples. Its all about the samples babe! They are most famous for their pears. The tour drove by one of their groves, it was interesting to learn that they grow their famous pears on small trees about 10’ in size and they “double plant” them. The trees are planted side by side along the row (in pairs!!!) and the root systems actually combine and help sustain each other.
I won’t bore you with all the photos, but here are a few:
50 lb blocks of BUTTUH!
tiny button cookies (sorry blurry!)
red & green cherries for fruitcake: they are just starting to make them for the holidays and they make a few different varieties.
We stopped popped into a little deli that was next to the Harry & David grocery store and shared a yummy turkey avocado melt sandwich for lunch.
Our day was winding down so our last stop was the Rogue Creamery
. This is literally blocks off of Jackie’s normal trip route and she had never been so it was a nice find for her as well. Unfortunately I was tired out by now and didn’t take any photos. There wasn’t a whole lot to see really anyway. The small white stucco building is nestled on a “busy” thoroughfare and you have to keep your eyes peeled to find it! I had contacted them prior to my visit to try to get a tour but they said they are not set up for tours and were unable to accommodate my request. Oh well!
The sales shop was 2 rooms. The main room on the left had a couple refrigerators with the cheeses for purchase on the right hand wall and some tables on the back and left walls containing various cheeses to taste, cheese gadgetry and other locally made food stuffs. We tried a chocolate marbled cheddar (eh), a pesto cheddar (good) a pepper marbled cheddar (eh) the lemon artichoke cheddar (yummy), a smoked blue (too smoky for us), their Crater Lake Blue (very good), Oregonzola Blue (good), Oregon Blue Vein (outstanding!), chipotle cheddar (good). In the room to your right was another cheese case, a closet of wines. The cheeses in the cheese case were Italian and French imports.
One of the neat things about the local merchants is that they cross-sell each other’s products. One of the places I had wanted to visit was Gary West Smoked Meats. The Harry & David tour took quite some time from our day though so we were going to miss this one. Luckily the Rogue Creamery also had meats from Gary West to try. I purchased a package of Elk Jerky for us to try. There was also Beef and Buffalo jerky. Also at the creamery were some fantastically beautiful breads made by Applegate Artisan Bakery.
We ended up getting some of the Blue Vein, Lemon Artichoke Cheddar, an Italian cheese that was like a mild Parmesan (sorry folks, I didn’t write the name down!) and 2 loaves of bread, Country French Boule and a whole grain boule with sunflower seeds on top.
Dinner was at the Jacksonville Inn
. This is one of the places I will explore more the next trip out. It is a cute old west town with lots of charm. We sat at the very table President Bush had when he dined at the Jacksonville Inn, next to the wine cellar, Dad with his back to the brick wall.
Our party also included my SIL, her SO and his son. This was a really fun night, the company was fantastic and that is a great enhancement to any fine meal. No photos of the food here, there was just too much going on.
We started out with a bottle of Moet Chandon. The menu here is extensive. There are 3 pages of salads, appetizers, fish and seafood, carnivorous options plus a page of specials. It takes a while to get through the voluminous offerings. And the selection is both modern and classic. To give you an idea: I started with an Ahi Carpaccio with crispy cold papaya salad and lumpia chips. The ahi was fresh and clean and incredibly tender, it just melted in my mouth. The papaya salad also had sprouts that popped in my mouth, this was very good.
Next was the Escargot with Garlic and Butter. Can I tell you how much I love escargot? I get it about once every 5 years and it is such an occasion to find it on a classic menu. My SIL also ordered this. It came in the classic porcelain dish with the little cups for each individual tender morsel of meat, each filled to the brim with buttuh. They were cooked absolutely perfect! Tender, not chewy at all. Although it may be nitpicky, they were completely unsalted and the garlic could only be found in a few of the cups. I’ve never prepared this but I would assume the assembly would be to scoop a little of the garlic into each of the cups, top it with a snail and fill all the cups with the remaining butter…and the butter should be salted at some point in time…am I wrong here? Well, this definitely brought to mind the discussion on the boards about bringing your own salt. I don’t and didn’t so I was shaking the salt shaker like it was a maraca! Then my SIL did the same :grin: She said she experience the lack of salt on her previous visit as well.
My main course was Wild Pacific Salmon topped with Dungeness crab with Brie and béarnaise sauce. Talk about gilding the lily! This was served with a garlic mash and plump asparagus. The crab was decadent, naturally. I got to the salmon though and it was so overcooked it was inedible. It literally stuck in my throat! I was sitting next to Dad and he tasted it, called the server over and sent it back. My next piece was RAW in the middle. I know, I know, I had just had the RAW ahi, and I like raw salmon too, but not when it is supposed to be cooked! My bad “mojo” again. I ate up this crab too, and the asparagus so that was fine. I felt bad for the kitchen, I figured for a top place like this to screw up twice on the same plate, they must be in the weeds. I just left it alone. Oh, wine with dinner was Groth 1998, Napa Valley Merlot.
Dessert (can you believe it???) I was stuffed for sure. But I have a sweet tooth the size of Texas, it ain’t pretty. Its rare that I turn sweets down. I had a pretty Tiramisu that was built in a martini glass. It was fine, but nothing memorable. Dad had the chocolate mouse cake and it was luscious, I’d definitely recommend it!
My very happy SIL with her beau:
Breakfast the next morning was some of the French boule toasted and served with butter, my homemade rhubarb and cherry jam that I brought up for Dad & Jackie and also sliced tomatoes. I think we had this with the fresh squeezed OJ made into screw drivers.
Lance and I put dinner together for us this evening. Lance grills a mean Cornish Game Hen and I put together buttermilk mashed potatoes and salads. For dessert I made Pavlova with fresh whipped cream and local strawberries macerated in Contreau. MMMMM. This was a big airy dessert that looks bigger than it feels in the tummy. I used the recipe from The Silver Palette cookbook, the Pavlova itself was a wee bit too sweet (for me that is saying something!) but it was good and was all gobbled up- no problem!
Sunday was wine tasting. The Rogue Valley is pretty big so we decided to start out over in Ashland. Ashland is an incredibly cute community, quaint down town that reminds me of Los Gatos, CA. I will definitely want to spend some more time there on my next visit.
Our first stop was at Weisinger's winery
. This was an absolutely beautiful winery overlooking rolling hills. They have a nice wood deck and on Sundays there is Jazz on the deck. When we were there a gal was playing a synthesizer at one end. The wines we tasted were all very strong in tannins. They weren’t entirely unpleasant, but too much for our palates.
Our next winery was Ashland Winery
. There was road construction and a detour to get to it. Once we found it we weren’t sure we really wanted to go in. There were berry thickets about 14 feet high, the road was dirt and unkempt, awfully bumpy. The vineyard itself appeared to be overrun with weeds and the “house” that had a sign that read “Wine Tasting Room” looked like it had seen better days. We timidly entered and it wasn’t much better indoors. There were signs boasting of awards as recent as 1999. I was skeptical to say the least! We bellied up to the bar and were engaged by Phil Kodak, one of the owners. This turned out to be a fun hour spent well. The winery is 100% organic, vegan even according to Phil. He explained about his varietals and we sipped and chatted away. The ones we purchased were the 1998 Henry VIII Cabernet Sauvignon and the white varietal mix Shakespear’s Love 2001. A very happy find indeed! An item of note, we have opened a bottle of each since returning home, the Shakespear’s Love is still great but the bottle of Cab never really opened up, we are wondering if there could be bottling inconsistencies due to the organic nature of the wines.
Unfortunately the labels are super cheesy. I think they need some marketing help!
Dinner this night was nosh on the cheeses purchased from the Rogue Creamery, the rest of the lovely bread we bought there too, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, peas and Jackie’s homemade double chocolate chocolate chip cookies, a recipe from Cook’s Country magazine. This went perfect with a couple games of Hand and Foot!
Monday was our last day there and jut a day to hang out until we flew out. Nothing special really. Lunch at the airport diner, the burger was pretty OK. Surprising since it was serving a captive audience!
Oh, I almost forgot! Here is a picture of me learning how to interact with my equine siblings. This is Torrie, she is a sweet 3 year old and I am scratching her just right, thus the stupid look of ecstasy on her face. The little one behind me is 6 week old Prince, he became my little buddy. Perhaps Jackie will actually get me on a horse in 5 years or so! That she got me this far is an accomplishment.
A view of the rolling hills through a horses ears. (Not me taking this one!) If you love horses, Mystic is a working ranch and they teach natural horsemanship. PM me if you want contact information.
And although not a great photo, here is sweet Milo kitty. Such a lover!
I sincerely hope you have enjoyed my trip report. I don’t get out much so this was a real treat for me and my hubby.
Let me know if you have any questions about my trip!