FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Our Own Lundi Gras Celebration

by Patricia Vanikiotis

Feb 29, 2020

This past Monday (Lundi Gras . . . it’s actually a thing, at least in New Orleans; check it out!) a group of our longtime friends joined us in Portland, Oregon, at the Leftbank Annex for a wonderful wine tasting experience. The Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance came to town, with nearly 50 of its member wineries pouring an average of three or four wines each. For several years now the Alliance has held its Walla Walla Wine in Portland event to increase exposure to the region’s products. It provides a great opportunity for Portland-area wine lovers to try some great wines without having to travel more than 4 hours to far southeastern Washington to do so.

We got there just before the doors opened at 5:30 p.m., and the large event space, housed in an old industrial building, quickly filled up. We enjoyed revisiting wineries and winemakers we were well-acquainted with from several past visits to Walla Walla, but we also made sure to take the opportunity to try wineries and wines that were new to us. We did our best to taste as much as we could in two and a half hours, and I can honestly say there wasn’t a wine I didn’t like!

After the tasting, we made our way to the boutique Hotel Eastlund for dinner on its top floor at Altabira City Tavern. It’s a short distance from the Oregon Convention Center and the Moda Center and offers several options for dining and meeting space. Aside from the main dining room, private spaces accommodate groups as small as 10, with the Cosmopolitan Grand Ballroom able to handle up to 300. All feature floor-to-ceiling windows and lovely views of the Willamette River and the downtown skyline. In pleasant weather the outdoor patio offers similar views and a casual vibe.

Our table in the main dining space offered us a beautiful view out the large windows over the brightly lit spires of the Convention Center and the city lights beyond. Altabira City TavernThe menu, while not extensive, offers a nice range of items, with starters, sides, salads, desserts and entrées (from $19–32). Drinks range from cocktails, bottled wine and beer, draft beers (more than a dozen) and local distilled spirits. Our group of twelve ordered a range of items, from the beef and beer shepherd’s pie to soup and salad. My husband and I shared a side of Brussels sprouts with crispy quinoa, Altabira City Tavern   and then he ordered the French onion short ribs with glazed parsnips and sour cream mashed potatoes, Altabira City Tavern  while I opted for the house-made tagliatelle served with a rich and savory lamb ragu with pecorino. Altabira City Tavern

I’m sorry to say we were far too full to try any of the very tempting desserts, but I’m looking forward to a return visit sometime this spring or summer so we can enjoy a table on the patio, a draft beer and perhaps one of those desserts! All in all, between the wine, the fine meal, prompt service, great ambience and, above all, time spent with wonderful friends, the evening provided a great celebration right before the start of Lent.

— Patty Vanikiotis, associate editor/copy editor

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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