OH, THE PLACES WE WILL GO

October 17, 2019


If you have been reading my posts you know my wife and I recently traveled to Oregon.  Beautiful state!  One of the cities we visited was at the most northern end of the Willamette Valley, McMinnville. 

The map above will give you some idea as to where McMinnville is located.  If you look closely, you can see it is just southeast of Portland.  (I know this is difficult to see so just trust me on this one.)  You never know what you will find when you travel to a place you have never been before but this little city was a great and pleasant surprise. 

Their “official” web site indicates the following:

“McMinnville, Oregon is a warmhearted city of about 33,000 residents located in the heart of Oregon wine country, not too close — or too far– from the bustle of Oregon’s largest cities, Portland and Salem. Our Willamette Valley town is the seat of Yamhill County and officially became a city in 1882. Fast forward to today, McMinnville is a hub for those who appreciate the laid-back style of a small town with great taste. With over 220 wineries to sip at and an overwhelming amount of farm-to-table and artisan dining experiences to be had, you’ll find yourself having little time left to discover the rest of McMinnville’s attractions and charm.  The historic downtown area is the heart of the city and is “Oregon’s Favorite Main Street,” also known as Third Street. Downtown McMinnville is a stroll worthy stop with its tree-lined streets anchored by quaint boutiques, cool coffeehouses, and kitschy antiquaries punctuated with wine tasting rooms, craft breweries and bars, and a tasty mix of award-winning restaurants. Voted among the best main streets in America, the downtown core hosts a variety of events and community celebrations from the annual UFO Festival and Turkey Rama to weekly farmer’s markets. “

I have left the hyperlinks in their web site so you may gain additional information.  Given below is what we first saw when we entered the hamlet.

A little overcast when we got there, nevertheless, a beautiful little town.  Since McMinnville is somewhat of a tourist town, there were many really good restaurants waiting to be explored.  One such was La Rambla.  It was great and so great we ate there twice during our three-day visit.  Let’s take a look.

La Rambla:

I would invite you to take a look at their menu.  Hyperlink:  https://laramblaonthird.com/menu/. I won’t print out the entire menu but trust me, it’s worth taking a look.

The first thing you see when you walk in is the bar.

Well stocked with most of the wine produced in the Valley as well as the “hard stuff”.  The entire restaurant was furnished with oak, teak, and mahogany with craftsmanship you would find in historic residences.  It took time to look at the furnishings and wall hangings so we were there about thirty minutes after our meal was served and consumed.  The picture below shows a dining room that accommodates small parties. 

We had the paella and it was simply MARVELOUS.  The dish is shown below.  Our order served two people but a larger order, three or four. 

The following note is given on the menu so you will know you have a slight wait before you can sample the wonderful flavors.

It did take every bit of forty-five minutes but the wait was definitely worth it.  For those of you who need to be refreshed as to the origins of paella:

Paella (Valencian pronunciation: [paˈeʎa]; Spanish: [paˈeʎa]) is a Valencian rice dish that has ancient roots, but its modern form traces origins in the mid-19th century in the area around the Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain adjacent to the city of Valencia.  It originated in the fields of a region called Valencia on the eastern coast of Spain. Today paella is made in every region of Spain; using just about any ingredient that goes well with rice.

The dish Paella is said to be a perfect union between two cultures from Spain, the Romans, for the pan and the Arab, that brought rice.

There is an old story of how the Moorish kings’ servants created rice dishes by mixing the left-overs from royal banquets in large pots to take home. It is said by some that that word paella originates from the Arab word “baqiyah” meaning left-overs. The term Paella actually refers to the pan that it is cooked in. All the way back to the ancient Sanskrit language the term Pa means …to drink, and the Roman culture from the Latin made words like Patera, Patina, Patella which could mean a container to drink, or perform other culinary functions.

It would seem that paella might be a natural dish, since rice is grown in Spain, and all meats, and seafood in some regions are plentiful.  Since there are many workers in the fields, cooking it over an open fire also would be the most practical. Spain is not known for forests and lots of timber, so the small available twigs and branches from pruning that are green gave a quick hot fire instead of a slow burning one from logs.


So, the size of the pan grew instead of the depth, so you could get a hot fire a maximum evaporation.

The pan, shown above, is characterized by being round with a flat bottom.
The pan can be anywhere from a LP record 12 inches in diameter to several feet. The one thing that doesn’t change is the height. It is about first joint in the thumb deep as the Spanish would say, so that the rice has maximum contact with the bottom of the pan.  It evolved, starting with a rounded bottom, designed to hang over a fire. It is thought that as soon as some sort of grill or flat top burner was invented that the pans started to become flatter at the bottom.

Our paella was served in the pan it was cooked in and it was HOT with a capital “H”.  I mean we cooled each bit when we started to keep from visiting the local ER.  Our entire meal took well over an hour to eat but that was just fine.  Paella, wine, great bread, great atmosphere, what else could  you want on a vacation?


There’s a little something for everyone at Magnolia Market at the Silos. Shopping, games, the garden and even a bite to eat. The Market itself is staged and set up with one goal in mind: to inspire you to own the space you’re in. We hope that you’ll come to visit and leave excited about your home. It’s with a grateful heart that I welcome you to magnolia.com. Chip and I run a few businesses here in Waco, Texas, but Magnolia Market holds a special place in my heart. This entire business idea was born completely out of a dream I didn’t know could ever come to life. It’s truly only because a fiercely faithful, brave and bold husband pushed me to pursue my dream that it ever came to be.

In 2003, we bought our “Little Shop on Bosque” and opened the first Magnolia Market. In that store, I developed and sharpened my design style and skills, grew as a business owner, and gained much needed confidence in Magnolia Market and myself.”

Those words were uttered Joanna Gains of Waco, Texas. Magnolia Market at the Silos is a thriving business with very upscale merchandise for the home.  Chip and Joanna are shown in the digital below.

While visiting our son, daughter-in-law and grandson in Dallas this past week, my wife, our third granddaughter (shown below) and I traveled to Waco to take a look at the “Silos”.  The trip from Dallas is a little over an hour and thirty minutes.  Not bad with great interstate roads.

You know you are here by the sign on the gift shop.

I think Chip and Joanna selected a perfect location for their facility.  The vacant silos give a very distinct appearance to the location and can be seen from several blocks away.

A very nice and usable map of the Silo District locates everything within the grounds.  Everything is within walking distance and no motorized vehicles are permitted on the grounds.  They would be absolutely unnecessary anyway.

The entrance way runs just to the left of the silos.  Their size and height relative to people visiting the facility shows how massive they actually are.

When taking a left turn after the silos, you see an open “game” area.  There are bins located to the left of the game area where balls, Frisbees, and other toys are located for the benefit of anyone wishing to spend time while the family is shopping.

If you visit Magnolia at the Silos you are interested in shopping, eating and visiting the newly opened bakery.

There is food and a great variety, BUT it all comes from food trucks located just behind the game area. There is a Magnolia Restaurant but that facility is off-site.  We did not visit the restaurant.

The next three digital photographs show the shopping area.  It is a huge area and the pictures really do not do the size justice.   The merchandise is top quality and not cheap.   No Walmart here.  You get what you pay for and people were lined up at the cash registers.  People were definitely buying.

I thought it was interesting that Chip had his own small space and I do mean small.  You get the picture from below.  The overwhelming number of items available for sale relate to decorating home interiors.

“We can’t wait to welcome you to Silos Baking Co., our on-site bakery filled with Joanna’s personal recipes and hand-picked favorites—like “The Silos Cookie”, “The Prize Pig” bacon and cheddar biscuit, and the “Nuts & Bolts” cupcake. We don’t want you to miss this little corner of the Silos—it’s definitely the sweetest!”

Once again, the words of Chip and Joanna.  The bakery is truly a must-see.  Be prepared to wait in line about twenty to thirty minutes.  The bakery goods are top quality, fresh, made that day and very well displayed.

My wife and our granddaughter indicate shopping was good.  Hopefully you can see the menu from the picture below.

CONCLUSIONS:

I think Magnolia at the Silos is a marvelous success story and a wonderful place to visit.  It’s truly a fun place.  You can spend all day or as much time as you wish.  Parking in their lot is ten dollars with the lot definitely in walking distance of the facility.

 

BELA LISBOA

October 21, 2017


My wife and I heard rave reviews about a new restaurant in Chattanooga called Bela Lisboa so we decided to visit very early this past Friday afternoon.  (When I say early I mean early.  It was just past five o’clock as they were opening the doors.)  We were their first customers so please do not be put off by the vacant tables.  Bela Lisboa has been open for approximately three (3) months.  Our server, YaYa indicated their busiest hours were from seven to nine in the evening.  One very important note:  there is “free” parking in the back.  The location is 417 Frazier Avenue in the North Shore area and parking can be a real problem during the evening hours.  Park in back.

It was a MARVELOUS experience and an unexpected surprise. The food was excellent, the service was flawless—every dish was extremely well-repaired.  If I may, let me give you a digital tour of the evening.

As I mentioned, we were their first customers although people began entering as we were finishing our meal.  You can get a feel for the seating arrangement and decorations from above.  There are additional tables to the left of the photograph and tables positioned towards the front of the establishment.  There is also a bar which is not shown in the picture.

Our server was a young lady named YaYa.  She was very knowledgeable regarding the menu items and the specials for the evening and very attentive and yet not “hovering”.  (We don’t like hovering!) Not a native of Chattanooga but resident for ten (10) years and was one of the first employees of Bela Lisboa.

OK, let’s go to the food.  We decided that since we had not been there before, we would order multiple dishes from the “starter” menu.  That turned out to be the best thing we could have done.

Let me state emphatically—I do not like HUMMUS—never have for some reason.  This dish was the first served and it was wonderfully well prepared.  I am now a believer—at least in the hummus served by Bela Lisboa.  As you can see, the bread served was based with olive oil.

Breaded Calamari Rings with House Spicy Marinara. Notice the yellow pepper added to the dish.  I do love calamari which is one of the favorite dishes in Portugal.  The spicy sauce was great but not “three alarm”.  It was delicious on top of the rings.

Fig-infused Goat Cheese with Honey, Walnut, and Balsamic Reduction.  OK, this is a mouth full.  Once again, I’m not really a fan of goat cheese but this was truly good with a capital “G”.  This could have been my meal alone.

Poached Shrimp in Garlic & Olive Oil. Who does not like shrimp? Served in a skillet and piping hot.

Salmon Tartare With Red Onion, Mango, Coriander, Olive Oil. In years past, I had a bad experience with steak tartare so I was a little nervous about this one also but it was fabulous.  I mean really fabulous.

The owner and chef of Bela Lisboa is David Filippini.  He is from Portugal and has owned restaurants in Portugal prior to coming to the United States. We did not meet him this evening but we meet the manager during dinner and had a conversation with him as we were leaving.  We certainly indicated what a great experience this was.  Bela Lisboa is the only restaurant serving Portuguese food in Chattanooga even though our city is becoming much more oriented to food from other parts of the world.

Now, I would like to show you reviews from others who have enjoyed the experience.  Take a look at the several given below.

CONCLUSIONS:

The good news is—Bela Lisboa is in Chattanooga.  The bad news is-Bela Lisboa is in Chattanooga and most of you reading this post are not in Chattanooga.  One good reason to make the visit to the “sunny south”.  Also, I want to portray the fact that Chattanooga is a marvelous town and one which has become a “destination city” simply due to the great scenery, the wonderful and welcoming people, marvelous restaurants such as Bela Lisboa, and just plenty of “stuff” to do.  When visiting, you MUST try Bela Lisboa!  Please come take a look for yourself.

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