Thursday, August 05, 2010

Food Revolution Road Trip Day 16: Green

Places to go, things to do!
-hike the big obsidian flow
-people watch all the cool chefs at our hotel for the Sagebrush Classic and wish we were going.

Food Revolution Challenge
-get locked out of hotel room with NO access to our food. We're hungry. Do we cave?
-eavesdrop as someone proves you can take the guy out of the kitchen, but they are always a chef

This morning, we linger over breakfast this morning as we enjoy the music, the food, and the sun outside that promises it's going to be another beautiful day. I've discovered in discussion with the hotel that the eggs are actually Egg Beaters , and while I don't know much about the product, I can tell you they are yummy. The potatoes are from a bag, but they are real potatoes, and they taste delicious too. Hey at this point I'll take what I can get! Even with those revelations, this is the most delicious and healthiest breakfast we scored yet.

A man arrives in the breakfast room-chef pants, clogs, and a t-shirt that says something about oysters. He looks familiar. Have I seen him on Food Network? I'm not sure but somehow, I know I've seen this man before. He is carrying a tray of blueberries and sits with two other people who we have already deduced are chefs from their conversation.

I know it's rude to eavesdrop, but we can't help it. We sip coffee and listen intently as they discuss menus, the state of Louisiana oysters and seafood, or how one of their fellow chefs lost his business because of the oil spill. All three of us are completely fascinated.

The chefs, as it turns out, are Bill Marinelli of Marinelli Oysters, and Greg and Mari Sonnier. What we didn't know at the time was that Greg and Mary Sonnier's restaurant Gabrielle was flooded during hurricane Katrina, and they have been unable to re-open. We watch and listen, completely transfixed.

(read a transcript of an interview with Greg Sonnier, and recipes from Mary Sonnier)

Mr. Marinelli is so friendly, his enthusiasm about food so infectious, that all three of us can't help but smile. Offering blueberries to his fellow chefs and then, when one arrives to breakfast, he even stirs some into the waffle batter and begins making...you guessed it, blueberry waffles in the hotel waffle maker.

Hey, and people thought *I* was adventurous for sneaking in Multigrain Cheerios? Here's a guy actually whipping up some blueberry waffles! Not just that but he's asking his friends if they'd like some blueberries over..is that ricotta? He calls it "breakfast cheese".

Jake giggles as the waffles become stuck to the pan and Mr. Marinelli pries them out with a plastic fork, serving them up with a flourish. Watching him is like an episode of Food Network right there in the hotel breakfast room.

It's official now; Jake and I are completely green with envy at the people who are going to the Sagebrush Classic. GREEN. Dark, evil, jealous green. I want to go to an event with all these cool chef people and have them cook and talk to ME. (*grumble grumble*).

The plan for the day is to pack up our stuff because we have to change rooms, and while we're out and about the hotel staff will move it all for us. Easy. We pack up, then head off to JC Penny's and try to find Jake school jeans, which is challenging. The boy is tall and skinny, which apparently jeans people don't make a lot of styles for. I spot a Trader Joe's and try, with all my girly wiles, to convince Hubs that we need to check it out. He won't bite and nixes the idea. I plead and whine, but he refuses to budge. Instead we find ourselves at some western store that is closing out and I'm trying on cowboy boots that are marked at 50% off.

I've never worn cowboy boots. How did that happen?

By lunchtime, we're back at the hotel. Things should be moved by now, right? Mmm, not so much. The people in our new room haven't checked out. We lounge in the lobby, play on the computer, have a coffee, and wait.

*crickets*

The Ameritel lobby, because I was really bored and that's one HUGE fireplace.

We wait some more. Finally after an hour or so we are ravenously hungry and getting cranky, so we decide to leave. What now? All our food is in our room, being held hostage, and we have no access to it. This is seriously putting a kink in our plans.

I suggest a restaurant. I know, I'm lame. But I really don't see any other option.

"NO! We said last night was the last restaurant, and we meant it. We're almost finished the road trip-you can't cave NOW." Hubs shakes his finger at me. "We will find food, but it's not going to be a restaurant."

We find ourselves at the Fred Meyer deli again but this time, we're smart about it. I order sandwiches made from scratch, with only the deli turkey and vegetables on them, and no extras like fattening sauces or other junky things. There's pints of non fat plain milk and some fruit, too. Not bad, really. We've learned!

After lunch, we decide to do a hike of the Big Obsidian Flow out at the Newberry Volcanic National Monument. The walk is short but steep, climbing over pumice and giant hunks of obsidian. The rock feels like it sucks up the heat and radiates it back, because before long we're all sweating. The views are gorgeous though, and it's hard to believe that a volcano created this landscape.

View from the Big Obsidian Flow Trail at the Newberry Volcanic Monument.


Jake and I resting near the top-completely windblown and roasting a little.

The hike gives us all a good workout. Worn out by the heat and the exercise, Jake snores all the way back to Bend. Our room is finally moved and we make a small dinner of cheese, crackers, fruit, and soup-those sandwiches were so big that we're not even really hungry.

Steve Miller band is playing down in the amphitheater and the strains reach our hotel room, serenading me into slumber. Jake has a second wind and wants to brave the crowds of the Old Mill District, but now I'm snoring, fully clothed, on the hotel bed.

Holidays have a way of wearing you out sometimes.

Tomorrow: We make the trek back to Canada! Do we get stopped at the border again?

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