Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Crater Lake

Behold the beauty that is Crater Lake:

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Crater Lake in Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Last month, several friends from Boston visited us in Oregon so we could explore Crater Lake. We drove from Portland to Bend, then Crater Lake, then up to the Coast for a few days of road trippin', camping, and hiking.

Crater Lake, as you can see, is a sight to behold, and a must-visit if and when you're in Oregon. (It's a little over four hours from Portland). Mazama Village Campground was perfect for our "glamping" adventure - once you reserve a spot ahead of time, you can drive to find a vacant campsite, park your car right there, and unload accordingly. (The only odd thing is that, even though we reserved a spot, we still had to drive around to find a vacant one versus having our own spot pre-claimed).

Many hikes are within a short driving distance from Mazama, boasting gorgeous views at all angles of the mighty lake.

It was a fantastic trip - one I wish we had time to do again before we leave! (More on that soon...).

Have you taken any fun trips lately?

Friday, September 23, 2016

Beer Friday: Fresh IPA by Fort George Brewery

On most Fridays, I'll share a beer I particularly enjoy, and think you might as well. This series will feature beers from all over the U.S. (and when we're lucky, the world). Cheers! 

Fort George Fresh IPA | A Hoppy Medium

Um, apparently I haven't written a Beer Friday post in over a month? I promise, at some point, this will be a regular thing again...

But for today, we're talking about fresh hops (sometimes called "wet hops"). Fresh hops are bold and unblemished hop oils, and they only drop in Oregon once a year - but they go quickly - so I've been trying to get my hands on #allofthebeers before they disappear!

One particular fresh hop beer I've enjoyed so far is Fort George's Fresh IPA (we actually visited the brewery in Astoria a few weeks ago). Here's why it rocks:

What: Fresh IPA by Fort George Brewery

Style: Wet Hop IPA

ABV: 6.4%

Tasting Notes: Super clean, and borderline crushable, this is a fantastic IPA for those of you who might not love the hop bombs. It's also a great transitional IPA from summer to fall - still light and slightly citrus-y, with a bit more malt flavor and floral, grassy notes.

Pairing Suggestion: Although this beer is nicely complex and flavorful, it's still on the lighter side - so I'd pair it with something a little more bold, like spicy Thai (or Indian) food. It can also stand up to the heaviness (read: grease) of a great bar go ahead and treat yo self.

Where Can I Find It? For my Oregon friends, this beer is widely available in 16-ounce cans and on-tap throughout the state - but only for a limited time! Click here to see where it's available near you.

What have you been drinking lately?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

PaaDee | SE Portland

One of our dear, fellow food-obsessed friends here in Portland has been giving us the same "demand" since we moved here: "Go to PaaDee."

After almost a year of being here, we finally gave into his orders a few weeks ago.

PaaDee (which means "to bring good things") serves up modern Thai dishes in an intimate, bustling setting in SE Portland. The decor's a little funky, the employees are friendly, and everything from the food to the cocktails is inventive yet familiar.

Cocktail at PaaDee in Portland, OR | A Hoppy Medium

Our meal on this particular night kicked off with cocktails (naturally). Since we dined here so long ago - and I'm the worst blogger ever - I don't remember what cocktail I ordered, but it was delightfully strong and delicious. (As was Z's).

PaaDee in Portland, OR | A Hoppy Medium

For an appetizer, we went with a Brussels sprouts dish (a special that night) that was fantastic. The Brussels sprouts were cooked perfectly, and the flavor was wonderfully savory and interesting. I could eat this every night.

PaaDee's dinner menu is organized by Snacks, Soup & Salad, Noodles & More, Entrees, and Vegetables (vegetarian-friendly entrees). I went with the Pad Ma Khua ($10), and added wild prawns for an extra $3. The original dish consists of Japanese eggplant, red bell pepper, scallions, onions, basil, and sweet chile paste. (It was also served with rice on the side).

PaaDee in Portland, OR | A Hoppy Medium

This dish was seasoned perfectly, and I loved how vibrant all of the colors were! If you're a seafood fan, definitely add the wild prawns - they helped add additional flavor, texture, and some protein to the dish.

Overall, we loved our first visit to PaaDee. Our only regret is not taking our friend's advice sooner!

Where have you had a great meal lately?

PaaDee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Exploring Astoria, Oregon

Before I had to fly back to Boston (on Labor Day) for work, Z and I took full advantage of our holiday weekend. We kicked things off Friday afternoon, first stopping at de Garde Brewing in Tillamook, and then making the gorgeous sunset ride into Astoria (about 1.5 hours away).

The Oregon Coast | A Hoppy Medium

The Oregon Coast | A Hoppy Medium

Astoria is a place I've wanted to check out for a while now. Z and I love the Oregon Coast, and Astoria is saturated with history (and the house from The Goonies is there, which is extra cool).

We stayed at an Airbnb Friday night, which was located right in downtown Astoria...AKA only a short walk to the breweries we wanted to visit. Astoria's downtown is located right on the water, so everywhere we went during our short stay had lovely, ship-filled views.

Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Some of our most noteworthy stops in Astoria included:

Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

The Riverwalk in Astoria stretches for over 6 miles, but we enjoyed walking just a short distance of that after our breakfast (see below). The Riverwalk was a nice way to get around the downtown area on a beautiful day - right along the water, with lovely views everywhere you look.

Fort George Brewery, Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Fort George Brewery, Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

Fort George Brewery & Taproom, Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium
Inside the Taproom.

Fort George was high on our must-visit list. The brewery has two different settings, including their Public House (with an upstairs and downstairs menu) and, right next door, their Lovell Brewery & Taproom. We had dinner upstairs in the Public House Friday night, where mason jars full of beer and delicious pizzas (and a just OK tofu banh mi) hit the spot. On Saturday afternoon, we hit up the taproom, where the beer list was more "special" (i.e., featured several brewery-only beers, which the Public House lacked). Oh, and the bartender at the taproom put fresh hops in my 3-Way IPA sample (pictured above). Winning!

Buoy Beer Company, Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

To be honest, I wasn't a big fan of the beer I tried at Buoy (their IPA). However, their taproom floor is open to the water below - where several seals were sleeping! It was really cool to drink a pint and watch the show below us. We checked out Buoy right before it closed Friday night, but I'd be open to going back during the day time to enjoy their views of the river (and more seals, obviously).

Columbian Cafe, Astoria, Oregon | A Hoppy Medium

It looks incredibly unimpressive from the outside, but this teeny little joint pushes out some incredible breakfast dishes - with plenty of vegetarian options to boot. There are only a few booths, as well as bar stools overlooking the one chef/griddle, which is where we delightfully sat and enjoyed the show. We were lucky to go here on an unusually quiet weekend, but expect some wait time (it's worth it!) if you're not as fortunate as we were.

There are many other places to visit in Astoria, but we made the most of our short trip!

How did you spend the last long weekend of summer?

Columbian Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato