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Point Reyes Bay Blue Cheese – Chocolate, Cheese, & Booze

06.10.13

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across a Kickstarter campaign for a ‘community supported cheese club’ from Cyril’s at Clay Pigeon (a new Portland urban winery). Cheese? Intriguing. So I bought the $10 “I want to attend the party only” option, and then after tasting the amazing blue cheese – from Point Reyes – I upgraded to the “I’m taking a pound of this magic home” option.

Point Reyes Bay Blue Cheese

Point Reyes is a family farm on the Northern California coast. And of course, they have the most adorable story… Italian immigrant farmers, three generations later they were dairy farmers, raising four girls. All four girls came back to the farm after college and starting careers, to help with the dream of making an artisanal cheese. Hello, amazing blue cheese.

I think Sasha, from Cyril’s, put it quite well that it has kind of a ‘butterscotch’ taste to it. And it’s super smooth and delicious. Since I bought a pound of it, I had the chance to try out a lot of different things. My favorite may have been just snacking on it, but I also made blue cheese burgers with caramelized onions, omelettes, sandwiches, and more snacking.

Chocolate, Cheese, & Booze

Oh yeah! Last week, I stumbled across a design file that I’d done on a flight at some point last year called chocolate, cheese, & booze, with the idea that I’d highlight tasty items I’ve consumed that fall in this category. So here’s a start. Now I can move this to my ‘finished designs’ folder. Boom.

SeaWheeze Half Marathon – Vancouver, Here I Come!

2013 is the year I will run my first half marathon!

Back in January, I spontaneously signed up for the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half in Vancouver, BC. I heard about it last year and thought it sounded fun, and this year when I found out it was open for registration, I just signed up, almost without really thinking about it. And then I tried recruiting people to go with me, which was an epic failure and then a week or so later it sold out. So while I was a little disappointed that I won’t be running with a friend, and it would be super fun to have a training buddy, if I waited around for someone to say “yes!” to things, there’s a lot of cool adventures I would have missed thus far in my life. So to hell with you people (I kid, I kid) – I’m running a half alone (well not alone, I’m trying to think of it like travel – you might be solo, but you’re never alone)!

Also, instead of a finisher’s shirt, you get training shorts. Plaid + the Lululemon Speed Shorts? It doesn’t get better than this, people! ;)

lulu

Although I’ve been ramping back up to running for the past three months (previous IT band issues so I decided to do the Couch to 5k program first this time), the first “official” week of training started this week. And I’m loving the revamped SeaWheeze training app.

SeaWheeze training

10 weeks to go – this summer is going to fly by!

Have you done a half or a marathon? Any training tips?

Portland Spring: 31 Reasons To Make It Through Another Winter

03.29.13

Ah spring – the worst is over! Every year it’s the same feeling, like by the end of February you begin to believe that the grey and rain is just not going to end this time. But it does and it’s always worth it. Seeing blossoms all across the city makes me a little giddy.

Here are some things I love about spring in Portland…

cherry-blossoms-portland

  1. cherry blossoms at Waterfront Park
  2. blossoms in general, all around the city
  3. escaping the rain
  4. Japanese gardens
  5. last basketball games
  6. rum horchata at Por Que No
  7. rollerskating at Oaks Park
  8. Tulip Festival!
  9. fair weather biking
  10. cupcakes
  11. laughing yourself silly at Bridgetown Comedy Fest
  12. new bike accessory shopping or bike spring tuneup
  13. Mt Hood loop
  14. first PSU farmer’s market weekend (chard!)
  15. mud hiking at council crest
  16. Rose Festival
  17. spiced chai at Extracto
  18. first spring flowers
  19. cheese plates at The Observatory
  20. Omsi After Dark
  21. spring trips to the coast
  22. Cheers to Belgium beers festival
  23. antiquing in Sellwood
  24. spring sunsets
  25. outdoor brunch again!
  26. meandering the Eastbank Esplanade
  27. shows at Doug Fir or Miss Studios
  28. beers by the fire at Base Camp
  29. waterfall hikes in the Gorge
  30. the start of Pedalpalooza
  31. waving farewell to spring with summer equinox from the Hawthorne Bridge

What’s your favorite thing about spring?

blossoms

Car2go vs Zipcar

03.20.13

I’m a fan of alternate transportation methods. It makes life different, and cheaper, and sometimes more inconvenient, but definitely more interesting. One of the things I love about living in a little city, like Portland, is how it makes transportation easier. Whether you’re biking, walking, taking the Streetcar/MAX, riding the bus, car-sharing, or some combination, it doesn’t take ages to get to the “other side” of the city.

I’ve been using car-sharing (Zipcar to start) since January of 2008. At the time, I was just getting ready to go traveling for a year, so in preparation for selling my car, I signed up to try it out and have a backup just in case my car sold earlier than expected. When I got back to the States in 2009, I ended up not repurchasing a car, and have been using Zipcar, and Car2Go ever since.

So in an effort compare the current car-sharing services in Portland, here’s how they stack up:

Zipcar Review

zipcar.com
Annual Fee: $50
Initial Application/Setup Fee: $25
Rates: from $8.50/hour, from $69/day
Service Areas: 39 states/provinces in North America currently (& some in Spain/UK)
Availability: sprinkled all around the city
Membership info

When/why to use Zipcar:

  • Includes: insurance, gas, 180 ‘free’ miles
  • you want to drive a “real” car.
  • you want to go far, far away — like a 24hr trip to the coast
  • you’re going grocery shopping and you want that car to be there still when you come out
  • overnight rates (6pm to 8am)

The thing Zipcar has always had going for it, is the cars. Zipcar seemed pretty revolutionary when they started. You could rent a regular car with zero hassle. And if there was a zipcar parking spot close to you, you pretty much felt like you had a car for whenever you needed it, so long as the neighbors didn’t hog it.

Zipcar was recently acquired by Avis, so I’m expecting more fees to start creeping in at some point.
Car2go jail

Car2go Review

car2go.com
Annual Fee: $0
Initial Application/Setup Fee: $35
Rates: $0.38/min, $13.99/hour, $72.99/day
Service Areas: nine North American cities currently (& some in Europe)
Availability: currently 300 cars in Portland
Membership info

When/why to use car2go:

  • you want to get from Point A to Point B and ditch your car (hello, personal taxi!)
  • you’re going downtown (or somewhere else with metered parking) – yay free parking!
  • cheaper than the bus (especially with 2 people)
  • going to or from the airport (via public transit)
  • you want to use a car for less than 1 hour

I signed up for Car2go last summer, and one of the biggest selling points for me using Car2Go is that more often than not, I don’t need a car for exactly one hour or more. Plus, I don’t want to make a reservation for an exact time in the future. When I’m running to meet friends for happy hour, I want transportation that’s fast and flexible — I don’t want to have to agree to one hour of car rental etc, if I only need to drive 10 min in the rain, and I have a ride home. This is where Car2Go is awesome. You pull up the app, see that there’s a car a couple blocks away, reserve it (the reservation holds it for you for 15 min), and you’re on your way.

Another thing Car2go beats Zipcar on is location. I know off the top of my head that the closest Zipcar parking space is 2 blocks away, and is a more expensive vehicle type, so the closest car that I usually reserve is about 5 blocks away. With car2go, there could be one right outside my door, or a mile away. Obviously, I’m not pleased when I really want to car2go and the closest one is a really long walk in the opposite direction that I need to go. And of course, Car2go’s are little Smart cars so they don’t drive as smoothly as a “regular” car. It took a little bit of getting used. I thought like they felt kind of like a go-kart at first, but I don’t notice it anymore.

Car2go is a Daimler company, so not exactly the ‘startup’ that Zipcar felt like when they started, but fine by me. It feels like a very innovative project coming from a bigger company.

Car2Go wishlist: app notification that you can select ‘notify me when there’s a car within x distance from me’ so if I know I want to go somewhere at some point in the next few hours, I don’t have to keep pulling up the app to refresh.

Another newbie to the car sharing scene is Getaround — think Airbnb for your car. I haven’t used this service yet though.

Do you use a car-sharing service?

Photo by: atomictaco

Base Camp Brewing: Adventures in Beer

02.15.13

Living in a beer city, it can start to feel rather ordinary when a new brewery pops up. I love the beer/coffee/bike shop economy idea (ie. more isn’t competition, it’s just more growth for an industry/consumption) though, so I’m always happy to see more opening. I just might not jump up and down about every one.

One of Portland’s newest breweries, Base Camp Brewing, is my brewery crush at the moment though. The whole ‘outdoorsy’ decor might be a little over the top for some people — not this girl. String up a canoe to the ceiling anytime, please. Maybe it’s from living in Bend (it kind of has the Central Oregon vibe actually, if you replaced city folk with hardcore athletes). So I love the space – exposed beams, climbing gear (carabiners as coat hooks at the bar), all the nature photography, the “stars” on the ceiling that make it kind of seem like you’re in the country, and the outdoor ‘fire pits’.

Base Camp Brewing canoe

The Beer

Thankfully, the beer is also awesome. And for the couple times that I’ve been there, I keep ordering the taster tray. Feels a tad silly, but I kind of love not having to pick just one (or two, or three). They currently have nine beers:

Basecamp Taster Tray

Ripstop Rye Pilsner IBUs: 52 SRM: 3.7 OG/TG: 13.5/3.0°P ABV: 5.7% The Ripstop Rye Pils is our reinterpretation of the classic pilsner lager beer: aromas of European malt and noble-type hops mingle with a dignified, refreshing, and clean malt character that is further distinguished with a generous addition of spicy rye malt, creating a beer that is at once malty, zesty, crisp, hoppy, and incredibly drinkable.

Paölschenbier
IBUs: 40 SRM: 5.0 OG/TG: 13.5/2.6°P ABV: 5.8%
Base Camp’s Paölschenbier is a stand-out pale that is both approachable and nuanced. Dry-hopped for lots of lemony citrus aroma without a mouthpuckering bitterness, well-balanced by its slightly bready malt and yeast profiles. Our house ale yeast strain does some of its best work in this beer, making for a light ale that is truly unique.

Northwest Fest
IBUs: 28 SRM: 8.0 OG/TG: 13.8/3.5°P ABV: 5.6%
Our take on the maltforward fest biers of Bavaria. Extensive malt aroma and taste trials over the last two years led us in crafting this recipe, a subtly-hopped amber lager that walks the line between dry and full-bodied, not too sweet but definitely not lacking in malty goodness. Lagered on our in-house toasted oak to round out this brew’s flavor profile.

Belgian Session Ale
IBUs: 14 SRM: 9.7 OG/TG: 11.6/2.4°P ABV: 4.9%
Base Camp’s Belgian Session Ale showcases a thick, white head atop a golden honey-colored beer. Aromas of spicy clove and a hint of camp fire smoke accompany its wheaty malt taste. The BSA’s medium-light body is well-balanced by this beer’s tartness. Low gravity and huge taste, making for a great sessionable beer.

In-Tents India Pale Lager
IBUs: 55 SRM: 15.4 OG/TG: 16.5/4.0°P ABV: 6.8%
Our flagship India Pale Lager showcases a copper color that gives way to a crisp, clean lager beer perfectly balanced in its massive complexity. Dry-hopped and aged on an in-house toasted blend of white and red oaks. The IPL finishes clean and smooth, with hop aromas of wild flowers and pine, and a unique maltiness highlighted by the subtle oak character.

Out-of-Bounds Brown
IBUs: 45 SRM: 15.8 OG/TG: 15.3/3.8°P ABV: 6.2%
A fun, refreshing take on the oft-maligned brown ale, Base Camp’s Out-of-Bounds Brown has a light brown color with big aromas of citrusy Cascade dry hops which meld into a highly distinct malt character. It has a clean yet full mouthfeel that makes it both satisfying and drinkable. Light and crisp, the O.o.B. restores faith in what brown ales can aspire to.

Prime Meridian India Pale Ale
IBUs: 56 SRM: 11.3 OG/TG: 15.3/3.1°P ABV: 6.7%
This deep golden-colored beer is topped by a dense rocky crown that kicks off a punchy American IPA hop aroma. The unique tropical fruit nose of Meridian hops follows through in the taste. For balance, a Flemish saison-inspired malt bill; well-attenuated yet maintaining a full body. We ferment it at high temps to make the most of our house yeast strain, creating a late fruity tartness that plays out nicely with the lingering hop character.

S’more Stout
IBUs: 70 SRM: 55.2 OG/TG: 19.2/5.3°P ABV: 7.7%
The S’more Stout is an absolute all-star: Aromas of chocolate, coffee, fig, and smoke invite you in to a gigantic maltiness that is distinct in its smooth and refined character, with flavors of chocolate and hints of smoke mingling with rich caramel, fruit, and warming alcohol. Top with a roasted marshmallow and you have the ultimate S’more experience!

Acclimator Doppelbock
IBUs: 30 SRM: 20.4 OG/TG: 17.4/3.6°P ABV: 7.6%
The Acclimator presents a rich smoothness that we balance out with just enough crisp hop character to make for an extremely quaffable strong lager. Doppelbocks are traditionally brewed with Pilsner or Munich malts, but we chose to showcase the awesomeness of Maris Otter and Belgian dark crystal malts. Result? A totally unique and drinkable beer.
Base Camp Brewing

Must-Try:

Basecamp Brewing Smore Stout
S’more Stout – I’m usually more of an IPA person, but I really love the s’more stout — it comes with an adorable little marshmallow on the side, and is kind of mocha-esque and like drinking dessert.

The Acclimator Doppelbock and In-Tents India Pale Lager (see what they did there?) are also awesome beers.

Now if there’s a 2nd annual Beer & Cheese Festival, Base Camp had better be there, with their Stout and… maybe a blue cheese? Also, this weekend is Zwickelmania, so if you’re in Portland, you really have no excuse for not checking out a brewery near you!

Have you been to Base Camp yet?

Olivia Raymer
Things I ♥: travel, food (I'm a pescatarian), the Pacific Northwest, bikes (I ride an orange mixte), beer (IPAs), summer, coffee, lists, and kitties. Travel enthusiast, former product manager, dabbler, and currently helping small businesses with digital strategy at Early Bird Strategy.

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