Saturday, December 22, 2012

February 2013 Valentine's in Wine Country

Wine Country Valentine’s
February 15-16, 2013
Celebrate Love on a special weekend in wine country
$695 all inclusive
(All suites are first come, first choice!)

Our Culinary Romance Package includes 
  • Friday & Saturday 2-night’s stay with gourmet breakfast each morning.
  • Seven of Hearts Wine, Honest Chocolates and flowers on arrival
  • Following breakfast on Saturday, go at your own pace.  Enjoy our local wineries with complimentary tasting cards, relax in your room, take a stroll in a nearby park.  The day is yours together!
  • Start your Saturday evening with a Wine Country Cooking Studio Class - Located over top of Red Hills Market in Dundee, enjoy Chef Wendy Bennett and the romance of cooking a great meal together!
  • Wine-paired dinner with Byron Dooley and featuring Seven of Hearts/Luminous Hills wines.  Transportation to/from class & dinner is included.
Optional add-ons: 
  • Monday 18th is President’s Day - so add Sunday night stay at 50% off standard rate of your selected suite, valid with total 3 night's stay only.
  • Saturday or Sunday afternoon : add on-site 60 minute massage ($85/person and $160/couple) Must stay Sunday night to schedule massage on Sunday!
(Note: Friday dinner is on your own)

Contact:  Lea Duffy (503) 554-9528 or
20300 NE Hwy 240 Newberg, OR 97132 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Le Puy Inn Pain Perdu (Oven Baked French Toast)

Hi everyone,

Here is the recipe for our oven baked French toast since you've been asking!  It is a favorite of mine from my childhood.  My mother used to make it the night before and I'd see it in the fridge and have sweet dreams till morning!  Pain Perdu is French for 'lost bread' and is what the French do with their older baguettes!

For 12 servings:
Three 1/2 lb baguettes cut into 1 1/2" thick slices (we use whole wheat, a few days old and crusty the better!)
6 eggs
3 cups almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Grease 9"x13" baking pan.  Fill dish with bread slices.  Mix milk, eggs, vanilla and spices.  Pour over bread.  Refrigerate overnight.

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 cup pecans
1 banana, sliced
fruit of the season - blueberries, strawberries, apples, blackberries etc.
Cut butter, sugar, syrup and pecans together.  Sprinkle on top of the bread.  Top evenly with the fruit.

Bake 45-50 minutes at 350 degrees.  let stand 5 minutes.  Approx. 3 slices per serving.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Day Trips from Le Puy - our valley

We had friends visiting and a light weekend at the inn, so we decided to be tourists in the valley for a day.

Our friends were wine club members at Solena, so we started our day there.  Solena's tasting room is spectacular.  The open air fermentation room presents an impressive profile as you drive up to the winery.  Solena is biodynamic as well as featuring a prominent solar array.  The wines from the Pinot Gris to Pinot Noir to some deeper red varietals will satisfy any palette!

From Solena, we went to WillaKenzie Estate.  This is a favorite spot of ours since we first started coming to the valley.  WillaKenzie offers the opportunity to taste the subtleties of pinot noir due to clones, soil and location in the valley.  The winery itself, also biodynamic, is a beautiful new structure offering plenty of space inside and outside to enjoy the views and wines.

Then it was off to one of the valleys newest winery buildings, Alexana.  With sweeping views of the coastal range, wonderful wines and a terrace with indoor/outdoor fireplace - it is a not to miss in any season.

From there, we drove to the top of the Dundee Hills - White Rose.  Jesus, the winemaker, will win you over with his smile and beaming happiness at making wine.  His wines are as lovely as he is!

Finally, we needed a palette break and some food.  So, down to the town of Dundee and Red Hills Market for a late lunch.  The open face roast beef sandwich is the best with its creamy blue cheese sauce!  I recommend drinking water with lunch in order to squeeze in one more winery!

Utopia, sitting on Ribbon Ridge, is open until 6pm, so it offered the final winery to an incredible day.  The views from Utopia are spectacular and Dan and Kathy have just added a nice wrap-around terrace where you can enjoy wine, a picnic or just a peaceful escape!

Paulee, for dinner - a new restaurant in Dundee at the site of the former farm to fork.  We tasted from the raw bar menu as well as shared plates from each menu course.  Their sommelier expertly paired a glass of wine with each course as well.

So much bounty in our valley!

Friday, May 11, 2012

New Additions to Le Puy

The new entry to the Saumur Room
Saumur Room with courtyard and inn beyond.

Our weather is so lovely today and all the plants have perked up.  Birds are nesting and flitting about.  Our second peak season is upon us and we are so excited about our new additions.  

Saumur Room - named for the city closest to the village of Le Puy Notre Dame.  We have renovated our barn to create the perfect venue for weddings, seminars and other celebrations.  It comfortably holds up to 40 people and with a wood stove is ready for any weather Oregon has to offer!  The renovation was a creative re-use project.  Our cork wall is made from weathered scaffolding left over from the roofing installation, offcuts from the arbor and 1200 corks saved over time and some donated by our winery friends.  There is a mix of antique chairs and tables Andy is making from left over flooring.  Wineries donated old wine barrels and our ornamental grasses adorn the unfinished walls.  The lighting is on hog fence hung from the trusses.  Finally, we are creating the Oregon Wall of Wine - our goal to fill each of the bays of the barn with all of the wonderful Oregon wine labels!
My winter art project - over 1200 corks!

Andy in front of the expanding Oregon Wall of Wine!

Anjou Terrace - named for the region along the Loire in which Le Puy Notre Dame is located.  The terrace is an expansion/enhancement of the firepit area.  We added a sitting wall, reclaimed wood arbor and about 500 plants to the hillside. There is, of course, espaliered D'anjou pears to complete the setting.  It works ideally for bocce, sitting by the firepit and as a wedding venue.  

We are looking forward to our guests discovering our new spaces and ... filling the wine wall too!

The Anjou Terrace
Ready for bocce!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Explore - McMinnville!

To help the slower off-season pass by and to become more familiar with the array of things to do in and about the Willamette, we have taken to becoming 'guests' on Wednesdays.  One of the best parts of this idea, is we act like guests...we sleep in, eat a leisurely breakfast (except we have to make it!) and then decide what to do based on the weather and our mood.

Our first adventure took us to McMinnville.  We had not yet visited Panther Creek winery, so that was the first stop.  They have a nice tasting room off of downtown in a beautiful old warehouse type structure.  We tasted through some lovely wines and stocked up on a few bottles.  From there, we walked into town and visited Fino in Fondo - a new salumeria with 4 kinds of housemade salami and an array of italian culinary compliments.  Open Thursday - Sunday 10-7, guests can enjoy a tasting of the salamis as well as small bites.  Le Puy features their salami in our Taste of Willamette packages.

McMinnville has a wide array of shops and food offerings.  On Saturdays, the farmer's market is a year round destination for locals and visitors alike.  If you are looking for more wine tasting, McMinnville has a dozen or so tasting rooms within walking distance.  If beer is more your style, try Golden Valley Brewery or make an appointment at Heater Allen.

For food, there is Spanish style tapas at La Rambla, casual rooftop dining at McMenamins, French style cuisine at Bistor Maison or city chic at Thistle.  Mac's most popular lunch destination is the Crescent CafĂ©.  But, we wanted to try something new, so our destination was Community Plate.  We had heard about its mantra of fresh and local and wanted to try it out.  The atmosphere is swanky industrial casual.  Don't expect to get anything other than local NW here including the beverages.  I was impressed with that level of detail!  We had a thick chili soup and I had one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever!  A great atmosphere and nice price, it is now one of our favorites.  Scott Cunningham has taken a great concept and made it real!

Community Plate
We then enjoyed a walk down 3rd to the large city park to exercise off that cheese sandwich.  A lovely 20's library sits at the entry to the park and the multi-level green space has a creek running through it and some nice spots to sit in the sun.  The neighborhood north of the park is filled with beautiful craftsman homes and we wandered around these streets for a bit admiring the architecture and gardens.
McMinnville City Park

Our final destination was the McMinnville Antique Mall.  It is also a short walk from the main drag.  If you are not a professional 'antiquer' - which we are not, then try playing this game.  Decide, before you go in, on something really specific - best if it is a small item.  Then it becomes like a scavenger hunt!  We were looking for the individual table setting salt&pepper crystal shakers.  We looked through what felt like miles of shelving and ended up with 4 sets for the inn!  We also stocked up on some more DVD's for the inn's library at great prices.

On the way back to the inn, we stopped at the Lafayette School - another antique wonderland.  With 3 full floors of 'stuff', it is an antique fan's dream.  We did find 3 more salt & pepper shakers here after looking at every single shelf in the place!  So, tired but happy, we headed back to the inn for that glass of Pinot!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Oregon Coast Get-a-ways!

It is 2012 and the quiet season in the valley.  The end of January is a great time to get out to the valley and experience wine but also to visit the coast.  We lucked into a gorgeous weekend forecast and could not resist heading west!

We began our day just before 11am by heading to the southern Willamette Valley for a tasting at Johan Vineyards and Van Duzer.  Both wineries have beautiful views and a variety of wines to please any palate.  We stocked up on a case and moved on toward the shore.  Lunch brought us to Dallas.  A small, rustic town, we were worried the only place to eat might be a tavern.  But, we happened on Ugo's Pizza and found friendly service, great prices and good pizza - but don't order mushrooms for topping - they are canned.  Canned in Oregon - sacrilidge!  Other than that, the crust and pepperoni were great!

We took 223 south to 20 and out to the coast.  A winding road but with some lovely views of forested hills and valleys.  We reached Newport, just before sunset around 4:30.  It was an incredible sunset too!  We stayed at the Tyee Lodge B&B.  The rooms are small but feature wonderful beach and ocean views as well as a gas fireplace in each.  The inn is under new ownership and the couple Dee and Doug are very enthusiastic about their new venture.  The warmth and cheer rubs off on their guests and the atmosphere is cozy.  We had eaten lunch so late, that we just nestled up in our room with a few snacks and a bottle of Johan and played games.  Very relaxing!

The next day, the weather was still perfect, so around 10:30, after breakfast, we set off on a day long hiking adventure.  From the inn, there is a fairly steep trail down to the beach.  The river that runs from Agate Beach State Park winds north along the beach cutting access to the ocean off except for a brief but icy cold (6-12" deep) crossing!  Once our feet were thoroughly numbed, we continued down the beach to the State Park.  From there, we went inland.  At the east side of the parking lot, there is a city trail head through a wetland area.  It is a nice 1/4 mile hike on well maintained trails and boardwalks.  When we got to the end of the trail, we were in a neighborhood.  Not sure which way to go from here, we followed what looked like it would be a main road back toward town called NE Big Creek Road which starts at Frank Wade Park.  The road had been washed out in several spots but was a perfect walking trail.  Mostly gravel but in good shape it turned out to be a beautiful way to wind back toward 101.  We crossed 101 at 15th and headed along Spring Street into the Nye Neighborhood. A beautiful turn-of-the century neighborhood, there are a myriad of shops and restaurants as well as great access to the beach.  From here we headed up over the hill toward the Yaquina River and Bay Blvd - destination Rogue Ale House.  We took Alder across 101 into the Deco neighborhood and followed down Fall Street to Bay.  This is an awesome, lively and very active seaport with fisheries, shops and restaurants galore.  (If we go back, saffron salmon and the noodle cafe are on our list for location alone!).  It was about noon, so we stopped at the Rogue Ale Pub for lunch and beer.  Not fancy and very authentic in feel, there is a tap list to suit every beer palate!  The food was good, hearty pub style and not terribly pricey.

After lunch, we headed toward the beautiful bridge and Yaquina State Park. From here, we climbed down the beach and began our trek back to the inn - about 4 miles. But, along the way you enjoy people, boats, birds, rock formations, little creeks and just the beautiful sandy beach and Pacific!  We arrived back at the inn around 4pm, legs tired - but with a glass of chardonnay and a seat in the adirondacks, we were in heaven!  We figure we hiked a total of about 10 miles but the diversity of beach, wetland, neighborhood and town made the day interesting and fun.  After a rest, some more games and a refresh, we headed out to Nana's Irish Pub in Nye Beach neighborhood.  There was live music and close quarters and Guiness - exactly the ingredients for a perfect Irish pub!

Newport was a great adventure and we'll definitely be back!

Where to stay:  Tyee Lodge

Where to eat:  Ugo's Pizza, Dallas - not bad!
Rogue Ale House - authentic!, Nana's Irish Pub

Where to go: the beach (duh!), City wetland trail (starts at Agate Beach), Nye Beach, Bay Blvd