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I've been in the Pacific Northwest for almost three weeks now, and even while on vacation, I tried to at least keep a running commentary on Facebook about some of the places we've gone and the things we've eaten.

But for those of you who have not kept up, let me see if I can recap some of it for you...

• A terrific day in the Pacific Northwest ... first a hike along the Boundary Trail near Mount St. Helens ... then a drive through the mountains, where, at our destination, the Suncadia Resort, we celebrated with margaritas by the fireplace as the sun set...


• A good day in the Pacific Northwest. Started with an egg sandwich and coffee at the always dependable Grand Central Bakery, then a drive out to the Columbia River Gorge for a hike up Multnomah Falls and then a backwoods hike over to Wahkeena Falls, which was utterly delightful - quiet, majestic, and encouraging of deep thoughts. Then, a drive to Hood River for the reward - an Oyster Po Boy and the appropriately named "Slainte Stout" at the Full Sail Brewing Co. Then, it was a visit to the Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood, and then back to Portland. Life is filled with possibility.

• One of the nicest surprises I've ever gotten. Stopped into a Haggen store today on our way to Vancouver, to pick up a sandwich for lunch, and saw, on the rack next to the checkout, something amazing: "The Big Picture: Essential Business lessons from the Movies." Wow! Way to go, Haggen! (The store and the sandwich were great, too...)

• Today, it was a road trip from Vancouver to Whistler. Gorgeous drive. Scenery was awe-inspiring. Then, at Whistler, it was a series of gondola and ski lift rides that I toughed out despite my fear of heights. (Actually, I whimpered, closed my eyes and buried my head in Mrs. Content Guy's shoulder during the ski lift rides. Nothing tough about it or me.) The gondola rides, however, were amazing - especially the peak 2 Peak ride from the top of Whistler to the top of Blackcomb, which is, I think, the longest such "unsupported" ride in the world. At the end of it all, however, came the reward...Kootenay True Ale.

• We started our morning in Vancouver with a visit to a small, unpretentious Belgian restaurant called Cafe Medina, which had been highly recommended by an MNB reader. We were not disappointed - in fact, we were served one of the best - and most unusual - breakfasts of our lives.

Mrs. Content Guy had the Fricasse, which consisted of two fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, balsamic onions, watercress and smoked applewood cheddar, all served with grilled foccacia. And I settled on the Les Boulettes - 2 poached eggs, spicy Moroccan lamb and beef meatballs, cilantro, houmus, raita, also served with grilled foccacia. (When I say I 'settled,' what I mean is that I couldn't make up my mind between several dishes, so I listed them for the waitress and told her to choose for me, and to surprise me. I was both surprised and delighted ... so much so that I'll be looking for excuses to return to Vancouver just to have another meal there.)

If you ever get the chance to visit Cafe Medina, I recommend it passionately - the food is out of this world, the service excellent, and the space perfect for a casual yet enormously satisfying meal.

• Tonight, we were actually alone for an evening. (Kids start showing up in Portland tomorrow, which makes us very happy.) But nothing wrong with a little alone time... and so we went off for a romantic supper at Irving Street Kitchen, a place we'd never been to before. The meal was fantastic - started with Spicy Garlic Steamed Clams, Sweet Potato, Bacon Wrapped Quail ... then Laura had the Smoked Teres Major Steak, served with Artichoke Hash, Blue Cheese, Bacon Madeira, Egg - and it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. My meal was Squid Ink Risotto, served with Blue Mussels and Manilla Clams ... Wow! The wine was a delicious Pinot Blanc from the Brooks Vineyard in the Willamette Valley (of course!), and because we couldn't help ourselves, we shared a dessert...Butterscotch Pudding, served with Salted Caramel Sauce. (Great service, too, by Dave ... natch.) Just a fabulous dinner ... and then, a stroll back, from the Pearl District, to the apartment just a block from the PSU campus. (I still had MNB writing to do.) A lovely evening in Portland, with the girl of my dreams, as we enjoy a summer here even better than last year's.

Al I can say is, it is a good thing that I'm getting a lot of exercise....and that so far, at least, I've managed to avoid Voodoo Doughnuts.

Have a great weekend. I know I will. And I'll see you Monday.

Fins Up!
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