The glass garden at (Dale) Chihuly’s Garden and Glass Museum in Seattle, WA. All photos by Karen Kuzsel

The glass garden at (Dale) Chihuly’s Garden and Glass Museum in Seattle, WA. All photos by Karen Kuzsel

The best of intentions can go awry.
Maybe that’s why restaurants over-complicate recipes or hotels focus on the décor and not on guest services. I had the best of intentions to immediately follow up my blog story HOLY C.O.W! (The Wines of California, Oregon and Washington), published in September, with reviews of where to go, where to eat, and where to stay in those same states. Time slipped past like the shadow of an eclipsing moon. So, come into the light with me as I finally shine a spotlight on what places and activities are worth doing, and which ones you may want to forego.
Here’s the itinerary we followed. Russ and I began our trip in Seattle, WA, then moved on to Portland, OR before connecting with friends and family in Bend OR, Jacksonville OR, and then Oakland CA.
Renaissance Hotel downtown Seattle: Great location. Easy walking distance to many of the city’s main attractions. First impressions: dreary dark colors of burnt orange and muddy brown, especially for a lobby that had just been refurbished. We stayed in room 2308. Musty odor. Called for maintenance to get the AC running or to at least get the air in the room circulating to eliminate the stuffiness. Bottle water in room part of amenity. We had just travelled many hours and needed that water, but there wasn’t any. Both times calls to housekeeping brought prompt service but it wasn’t an Read more

To Wine or Not to Wine is Never the Question!

             Wine is like fine art. Can’t explain why I like it. Just do, or don’t. I studiously strive to understand the complexities, savor the nose, taste the underlying notes, or chew each velvety drop to assay whether it is fruit forward. I know what I like, which usually tends to be bold, brassy reds like cabs, merlots, zins and syrahs from California or Australia. My palette was recently tested during a tasting tour through Oregon, Napa and Sonoma Valley wineries.

Through these handcarved doors lies Reustle Prayer Rock Vineyards' wine cave. Photo by Russ Wagner

            Every couple years, my husband Russ and I visit my daughter, Gabrielle, and her husband, Steve, in the San Francisco area. As they are the ones who ultimately converted us to bolder wines, we inevitably make tasting treks to Sonoma County wineries they frequent. Occasionally Russ and I plan routes to wine regions with which we want to become much better acquainted. This trip we revisited some favorites, checked out some Napa Valley area wineries recommended highly by our friends, Julienne and Ross, and discovered gems in Oregon’s central coast. You already know I’m a foodie, so no surprise that our road trip likewise involved uncovering mouthwatering culinary delights.
            Grab a snack. Sip some wine. Read more