I just got back from Cambodia. Er, well, a couple weeks ago now. Why not drive all the way across the state of Washington to taste some wine? Exactly.
Like a good traveler I mapped the route and estimated the time and duration of driving (it should have been about 4.5 hours) - I was only about 2.5 hours off, as we met a complete stand still just after the pass on the way through the mountains. Two hours later we were on our way for the rest of our journey - 4.5 hours is the new seven hour drive. Needless to say the small mountain town of Cle Elum, just after the pass, was hopping when we arrived for a much needed bathroom stop.
By the time we got to our super cute airbnb apartment in Walla Walla all the wineries were closed and it was late. There was only one thing left to do (after taking pictures of Jimbo and Mr. T. Rex in the apartment)
go out to eat at the local French restaurant and Washington wine seller.
We engaged in all the tasty items, like calamari, and salmon tartare
and beet and fennel salad. And wine, definitely wine,
We also went to just hang out and relax. At least that was Mr. T. Rex's intentions. Here you see him and Diana in deep morning conversation plotting out our wine tasting route.
They decided to start our day at the Walla Walla Farmer's market where we found many amazing delights - from cherries to
to berries of all colors of the rainbow
to fresh cheese curds and cinnamon bread. The cheese curds were so fresh they squeaked in my teeth when I chewed them. Armed with our farmer's market bounty it was time to check out some of the wine Walla Walla had to offer.
We made some friends, we accomplished some tastings and we took a cute picture.
We had a tasty picnic on some winery grounds
and took in some Walla Walla scenic beauty. Then it was time to make our way to the grounds of Castillo de Feliciana for their annual paella dinner. Last year I joined Castillo de Feliciana's wine club in Woodinville, Washington and when talking to the winemaker and his wife and other members was completely convinced that this event was not one to miss. Having never been to Walla Walla, it was as good of reason as any to go, and Diana was game to come with me.
There was a lot of wine, appetizers and food. Eventually our table mates showed up and there was a lot of fun conversation, tango dancing and paella, lots of paella.
At our table was a farmer, a nurse, and a school teacher. The teacher moved to Walla Walla to be with the farmer, the farmer was a very nice man who I tried to not get into a political argument with about pesticides and organic standards. Meanwhile, there was a beautiful sunset.
We made our exit with an ingenious play on the giant Jenga board, leaving the well watered players wondering what happened. Upon safe arrival to our airbnb, we promptly passed out in our chairs while watching the US gymnastic trials. The next morning came quite soon, and it was time to enjoy the benefits of the bracelet that was placed on our wrists the night before with no explanation.
Mr. T. Rex was ready for full on social engagement because we left him in the car the night before. So we brought him to Basel Cellars bright and early as we explored the benefits of the Southern Walla Walla Vineyards Exploration pass on our wrists.
He took full advantage of all the entertainment and wine options the winery had to offer. Diana and I enjoyed the wine and cheese pairings.
The morning passed quickly as Mr. T. Rex made more friends and found more photo opportunities.
He was served everyplace we went. As if he could do more than just stare at the glass with his tiny little arms and permanently smiling mouth. Diana and I took in the conversation piece to meet winery owners, operators, winemakers and their dogs. The clock struck 1pm and it was time to head west for the Yakima Valley. We had one stop before going home to Seattle - to see an old friend at Cultura Winery in Zilla, Washington.
Here, our friend, the Cultura winemaker is photo bombing Mr. T. Rex's epic wine glass eating shot.
We had a final Yakima Valley supper/picnic on Cultura's grounds, taking in the familiarity of being part of a small family - and before we knew it, it was after 5pm and time to head back over the mountains to Seattle. Our Walla Walla weekend of fun and adventure had come to an end - well it would at midnight after all the traffic through the mountains on the way home to Seattle. The moral of the story is - take Monday off next time.