Pinots and Puppeteers

The Krass family knows how to pack in some good times. My in-laws, Bob and Chris Krass, swung through Portland last weekend, and I think I’m still recovering from all the action. From wine-tastings to a bizarre fashion event, it was a weekend to remember.

Paul Basile of Great Elk playing at Al's Den

Paul Basile of Great Elk playing at Al’s Den

Bob and Chris arrived Friday evening, and we immediately kicked off a pub crawl after the Tigers’ game was rained out. We took advantage of Brix Tavern’s $3 surprise beers in a bag (Jeff pulled the worst: Natural Ice), we had fancy cocktails at Blue Hour, we listened to the amazing acoustic stylings of the David Gray-sounding Paul Basile in Al’s Den, and capped off the night with beer tastings at Rogue Ales. Whew!

Saturday morning, our neighbors Lindsay and Daniel joined us for some pastry goodness at Ken’s Artisan Bakery and then the Portland Farmers Market. Although it was downcast, the market was still hopping as always, with samples galore (I think Bob tried them all) and a jazzy band of senior citizens. We dropped off Lindsay and Daniel and headed to the retro sports bar Spirit of 77 to catch the Michigan State/Ohio State game. (MSU won!) After snagging some PBJs from the food cart around the corner from home, we had a quick rest before the crazy night ahead: Content 11, a live fashion installation in the second-floor rooms of the downtown Ace Hotel. Daniel had read about it in the New York Times, but since he and Lindsay had a wedding that evening we Krasses ventured there on our own. And what an experience it was.

The event felt like a hot, wild party in the hall of a college dorm. Local fashion designers overhauled each hotel room – some a little tamer, with obvious displays of their clothing or jewelry, and then some were totally whacked out. Performance art: keyboards droning as a girl lay passed out on a bed, puppeteers in strobe-light rooms with bongo-players, strange clowns roaming the hallways. It was pretty trippy (but cool). I even had some Project Runways sightings, with Season 8 winner Gretchen Jones organizing the event and recent Season 9 castoff Bryce Black checking out the scene. We finished the night with an excellent meal at the nearby Little Bird and laughed about our adventures.

Tasting the Ken Wright wines in Carlton, Oregon

Tasting the Ken Wright wines in Carlton, Oregon

The whirlwind of activities continued on Sunday, with a bloody mary at Kelly’s Olympian as we waited for a table at Mother’s. (LOVE their Belgian waffles.) Then it was off to wine country, with Daniel and Lindsay along for the ride. Pinot noir reigns supreme in the Willamette Valley, so we tasted lots of great ones (plus others) at Patton Valley Vineyard, Carlton Winemakers Studio and Tyrus Evan/Ken Wright Winery. Chris and Bob were in heaven, and they snatched up some cases to send back to Michigan.

After some great pasta at Piazza Italia, we closed the weekend with a little downtime watching Date Night. Ahh…

Chris and I with our fancy cocktails at Blue Hour

Chris and I with our fancy cocktails at Blue Hour

Enjoying the mild evening outside at Blue Hour

Enjoying the mild evening outside at Blue Hour

Bob joining the crowd at Al's Den

Bob joining the crowd at Al’s Den

Going overboard on Rogue beers

Going overboard on Rogue beers

Bob testing some vegan soups at Portland Farmers Market

Bob tasting some vegan soups at Portland Farmers Market

A bounty of flowers at Portland Farmers Market

A bounty of flowers at Portland Farmers Market

The crew at Portland Farmers Market

The crew at Portland Farmers Market

Tomatoes galore at Portland Farmers Market

Tomatoes galore at Portland Farmers Market

Teacher Lindsay demonstrating her scolding skills in front of a Spartacus store display

Teacher Lindsay demonstrating her scolding skills in front of a Spartacus store display

Bob, Jeff and Chris posted up to the bar, watching the Michigan State game

Bob, Jeff and Chris posted up to the bar, watching the Michigan State game

Chris shooting some hoops at Spirit of 77

Chris shooting some hoops at Spirit of 77

In the packed hallway of Ace Hotel at Content 11

In the packed hallway of Ace Hotel at Content 11

Bob checking out some weirdo clown in one designer's room

Bob checking out some weirdo clown in one designer’s room

Girl passed out on bed, other girl playing the keyboards. Very normal.

Girl passed out on bed, other girl playing the keyboards. Very normal.

Another designer's room at Content 11. (Not sure what their product is?)

Another designer’s room at Content 11 (Not sure what their product is?)

The puppeteers in yet another trippy room at Content 11

The puppeteers in yet another trippy room at Content 11

Little more straightforward fashion display at Content 11

Little more straightforward fashion display at Content 11

Kelly's Olympian, with a dozen vintage motor cycles hanging from the ceilings

Kelly’s Olympian, with a dozen vintage motor cycles hanging from the ceilings

The lush Willamette Valley vineyards

Taking in the lush Willamette Valley vineyards

The crew tasting at Patton Valley Vineyards

The crew tasting at Patton Valley Vineyards

Good tip from Patton Valley Vineyards: 2008 was a great year for local pinots

Good tip from Patton Valley Vineyards: 2008 was a great year for local pinots

Tasting some of the 11 vintners' wines at Carlton Winemakers Studio

Tasting some of the 11 vintners’ wines at Carlton Winemakers Studio

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Krasses in the House « Our Oregon Trail

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