An in-city holiday

May 28, 2007 on 9:54 pm | By | In Food Musings | 3 Comments

food @ MichelleWhen you’re self-employed, you have to be selective about taking holidays. After all, there’s no such thing as a paid day off. Some holidays I’ll always observe: Christmas, Thanksgiving (and often the day after), New Year’s Day, 4th of July. Memorial and Labor days? Only if I can swing it (I have a weekly client on Mondays, so I’ll only take the day off if I have the following Tuesday open). Columbus and Veteran’s days? Get real! (I don’t recall getting those off even in the corporate world).

Given our upcoming 2-week trip to France and a couple of other travel plans, I knew I’d be working this Memorial Day. But as luck would have it, I had Friday off. My darling and I originally planned to visit friends in Portland (he too is self-employed), but they had to cancel at the last minute. So suddenly we were faced with something we haven’t experienced in quite a while: a 3-day weekend with no obligations; WOO HOO!

Knowing my darling is prone to over-scheduling, I admonished him to keep Friday entirely open for a date (I hoped the weather would behave for a bike ride to the winery for a picnic). But I then decided to take advantage of the day off and scheduled a hair appointment at 10:30 (“I’ll be done by 11:30, sweetie; I promise!”) I then had a potential client ask if I could meet with them that day as well; I scheduled a 1 p.m. appointment.

sigh I’m such a freakin’ hypocrite!!!

Given my transgressions, my darling felt no guilt whatsoever in spending the morning and early afternoon finishing up a few photo deadlines (we by now had decided to postpone the ride until Saturday). But by 4 p.m. our obligations were completed, and we headed to Matador for happy hour, followed by a tasty dessert at Cupcake Royale. A DVD of “Pan’s Labyrinth” was the perfect capper to the evening.

Saturday dawned, and although there wasn’t a hint of rain, it was rather cloudy and windy. But there were enough sun breaks to keep us motivated for our ride. We still needed to pick up our picnic provisions, and after hearing my darling rave about his recent breakfast at Le Pichet, we decided to head there first, then swing by Delaurenti in Pike Place Market for picnic fixin’s.

This was my first visit to Le Pichet, and I pretended we were already in Paris (although I hope to be able to speak a bit more French by our trip). We each had a cafe au lait, then shared the œfs plats, jambon et fromage (broiled eggs with ham and gruyere) and the rillons de porc et ses betteraves rôties (crisp pork belly confit on roasted beets with capers, parsley and crème fraîche). I lapped up the latter with gusto, leaving nary a caper bit on my plate.

We then headed down to the market, where it was buzzing with activity. I don’t make it down there as much as I should, and Saturday reminded me why: not only was it a weekend, it was a holiday to boot. Tourist season has also started, so the streets and market were packed to the gills. We wound our way through the crowds to Delaurenti, where we picked up a nice slab of truffled mousse pâté, a wedge of Morbier, a half pint of marinated fava beans, a baguette for my darling, a sour fiselle for me, plus a couple of fig caramels. After stopping by one of the produce stands for tomatoes we were on our way.

I considered picking up a bottle of wine at the Wine Outlet (I figured we’d save some money), but decided against it since we’d have to carry it on our bikes. Besides, if we were going to take advantage of Chateau Ste. Michelle’s picnic grounds, we should support them.

We got back home about 11, but we still had a bit of bike maintenance to do. My tires were almost completely flat; after spending several minutes trying to pump them up with my portable bike pump I remembered the CO2 cartridges I had in my pack. A few seconds later and my tires were nicely inflated. My darling, however, didn’t have as much luck. As he was adjusting his back breaks he grabbed what he thought was WD-40 to lubricate the break mechanism. Instead he grabbed Spray Mount, an aerosol glue. D’oh!

By 12:30 we finally had our bikes in order and I mounted my bike rack to the car. We had toyed with riding from our house to the winery and back, but decided 40+ miles — including the mile-long Stone Way hill toward the end — would be more than we could handle (it was, after all, the first bike ride of the season). So we drove to Tracy Owens Park, which is about 8 miles from the winery. We figured if we were up for a longer ride we’d just continue past the winery for a few miles, then head back to our picnic.

Although it was a holiday weekend, the trail wasn’t as busy as I had feared. Our stress melted away as the miles piled on. It was a glorious day for biking — sunny, but cool. The wind had thankfully died down as well. We sped along at about 16-18 miles per hour. As we approached the winery we saw a packed parking lot and figured there must be a concert. We weren’t quite ready to stop, so we continued on for another 4 miles before turning around.

By then things were really hopping, and several traffic guards were at the entrance turning cars away. Not a problem for us though — we just sailed right by them. As we entered the grounds we saw they were hosting the 2nd annual Washington Wine Highway, a tasting event featuring 70 wineries and 50 restaurants. But since the event was on their back field, the main grounds were virtually empty. We plopped our bikes down in a sunny spot and I headed into the chateau for our wine.

Glass clinkingAlthough my darling and I favor red wines, we often prefer a lighter option come summer. I’ve become enamored with dry rosés (not to be confused with those sickly sweet concoctions; white Zinfindel anyone?), and the Syrah Rosé looked promising. I grabbed a bottle from the cooler and headed back to our picnic spot, where my darling already had our food laid out. We brought some plastic wine glasses with us, and found that by removing the bottoms we could simply stick the glasses into the ground. Perfect! We spent a leisurely hour or so noshing on our goodies, sipping our wine and forgetting all about work.

We loved the wine so much we bought another bottle to bring home. And although we were slightly tipsy, we managed to peddle back to our car with nary a tumble.

Although the holiday was far too short, it was a welcome respite from our day-to-day work responsibilities. In fact, we’re already planning our next winery adventure!


  1. Hi Betsy,
    We, as well had more of an unsceduled weekend. After the farmer’s market of course on Saturday. Our fare was more humble. We drove down to Delta and planted hanging baskets for the wedding while sipping Patron Silver and cooked up some hot dogs and asparagus for dinner. Then it rained for the rest of the weekend but it was a restful weekend.Sunday and Monday and I put my jewelry business entirely aside, which gave me time to make Dave’s sandwiches for the week. he’s so easy to please!
    Love, Kim

    Comment by Kim Rogers — May 28, 2007 #

  2. Hot dogs and asparagus, huh? I’m sensing a trend. Did you have popsicles for dessert?

    Comment by ovens2betsy — May 29, 2007 #

  3. You know he proposed to me while I was preparing asparagus.
    It’s my secret about the rest.

    Comment by Kim Rogers — June 7, 2007 #

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