Photo Essay: McMinnville, Oregon

by Irvin on September 26, 2016 · 3 comments

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This past summer we stayed at McMinnville, Oregon, an impossibly cute town in the Oregon Wine Country. We tasted wine and ate too much.

McMinnville, Oregon

This past summer AJ and I took to the road and wound our way from San Francisco through the Pacific Northwest. We eventually ended up in Vancouver to take a cruise up to Alaska, but before we did that, we visited Oregon and traveled down the Columbia River Scenic Highway from The Dalles to Portland. But before we headed up to Canada, we stopped for a couple of magical days in McMinnville, an adorably quirky little town about an hour west of Portland in the heart of the Oregon wine country. Our cute bed and breakfast was basically an entire in-law apartment and the town itself reminded me of a Pacific Northwest version of Stars Hollow (you KNOW how much I love my Gilmore Girls) nestled in the Oregon Wine Country.

We dined at fabulous restaurants like the Crescent Café where their breakfast was unbelievably good and I still crave their blueberry coffee cake. Valley Commissary had a gorgeous open kitchen and local seasonal focused menu of which I still dream of their deep fried cheese curds. And I can’t rave enough about our dinner at Thistle, which at one point was named the best restaurant in Portland. Which is hilarious because it’s not even in Portland. Their bread and fat starter (don’t you love that name) was the sort of thing you just can’t stop eating with crusty sourdough bread and a spoonful of lard and herbs along with cultured butter. Of course, I had to leave room for the pork rillette with pickles. So much good food! Of course, we wine tasted between dining, tasting fabulous reds and whites and bubbles at Elizabeth Chambers Cellars, R. Stuart & Co., and Coeur de Terre Vineyards. There was an even a local coffee roaster, Flag and Wire, that served coffee in pretty much any manner you wanted it. And we didn’t even scratch the surface. One local tried to give me an three day itinerary of places to eat and wine taste, and none of them were the ones that we tried! I can’t wait to go back. Just thinking of it makes me miss being on the road.

Special thanks to Travel Oregon and Visit McMinnville for providing lodging and meals. Though our two nights at the Galloway Place and the meals at Crescent Café, Valley Commissary and Thistle were all paid for by Travel Oregon and Visit McMinnville, all opinions above are my own.

Galloway Place

Galloway Place in McMinnville Oregon

Galloway Place

Downtown McMinnville, Oregon

A Park in McMinnville, Oregon

A Park in McMinnville, Oregon

Crescent Cafe in McMinnville Oregon

Crescent Cafe in McMinnville Oregon

Crescent Cafe in McMinnville Oregon

Elizabeth Chambers Cellar

Elizabeth Chambers Cellar

Elizabeth Chambers Cellar [click to continue…]

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These fun to make (and eat) Pumpkin Butter “Pop-Tarts” are the perfect Autumnal treat for breakfast or just a snack!

Homemade Pumpkin Butter Pop-Tarts are fun to make and eat!

I’m not ready for Fall. Mostly because it has been unreasonably cold here in San Francisco all Summer long and I want that sort of over-the-top oppressive heat that feels like a blanket you can’t crawl out from under. It sounds strange, but I never had the change to experience it this summer, not once, not even in our road trip (which, I guess, makes sense as we eventually drove up to Canada and then took a cruise to Alaska, the exact opposite direction of where a hot muggy summer day would be). (Jump directly to the recipe.)

Homemade Pumpkin Butter Pop-Tarts are fun to make and eat!

But still. Even though Summer is clearly over, with my partner AJ and I home from our road trip and settled back in and returning to our every day routine, I’m still in slight denial. But I can’t put off the Fall anymore, especially when I see the explosion of pumpkin and pumpkin spice everything, everywhere. So with that in mind, I headed into the kitchen and decided to embrace it. The result, Maple Pumpkin Butter Pop-Tarts, pretty much is the first of many Fall baked goods I see myself whipping up.

Homemade Pumpkin Butter Pop-Tarts are fun to make and eat! [click to continue…]

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Photo Essay: Oregon's Historic Columbia River Highway

Oregon is sort of magical wonderland. Though I often visit Portland (though sadly I’ll be missing this year’s Feast Portland) I rarely have a chance to explore the rest of the state. So when AJ and I were looking at places to visit this past summer, the Pacific Northwest was high on our list. Coordinating with my family, we ended up all the way up in Vancouver, BC where we took a cruise up the Alaska panhandle. But before we made it there, we drove through Oregon, a highlight of our trip. We didn’t have enough time to explore Oregon nearly as much as I wish we did.

A quick trip to Bend, Oregon to visit friends, then a drive up to The Dalles where we spent the night at the Celilo Inn in a room with a spectacular view of the Columbia River and The Dalles Bridge. We went wine tasting at the Sunshine Mill, a defunct grain mill that used to grind the wheat for Cheez-its and sampled beers at the newest brewery Freebridge Brewery! The next day we stopped at the Gorge White House to admire Mt. Hood as well as pick some flowers and fruit then breakfast at Hood River (an insanely cute town). Then we drove the Historic Columbia River Highway, where it was gorgeous waterfall after waterfall, with hiking galore in-between and spectacular view of the river at the Crown Point Vista House. If you were following along on my Snapchat you probably saw it all there. But in case you missed it, here’s what we saw, though photos just don’t do the state justice. And we barely scratched the surface too. I can’t wait to go back…

Special thanks to Travel Oregon for providing accommodations at The Dalles as well as providing an itinerary for The Dalles and Historic Columbia River Highway drive to Portland. Though our stay at the Celilo Inn was paid for by Travel Oregon, all opinions above are my own.

Oregon Highway

Bend Oregon

Bend Oregon

Celilo Inn at The Dalles

The Columbia River and The Dalles Bridge

Lewis and Clark Mural in The Dalles [click to continue…]

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BBQ Shrimp and Grits

by Irvin on August 29, 2016 · 4 comments

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BBQ Shrimp and Grits are an easy meal to make. Using stone-ground grits and cooking them slow and low brings out their savory flavor!

BBQ Shrimp and Grits Recipe. By Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

When AJ is away I eat awful. Box mac and cheese, instant ramen, and a lot of carry out, specifically of the cheap Chinese food type. I’m not sure why I devolve into such a horrible eater when he’s gone but it happens about once a year when he goes on the AIDS Lifecycle and all I can do it just resign myself to eating that way and then trying to clean myself up the following week when he comes back. (Jump directly to the BBQ Shrimp and Grits recipe.)

BBQ Shrimp and Grits Recipe. By Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

Lucky for me, AJ is usually gone only one week of the year. Sadly this year, a few months ago, he left me to my own devices for two whole back-to-back weeks. This meant I was left to fend for myself for every meal. After a week of eating garbage, I had enough. It was fun for a little bit but my hands were actually itching to get back into the kitchen and make some real food. And certainly my stomach was as well.

BBQ Shrimp and Grits Recipe. By Irvin Lin of Eat the Love. [click to continue…]

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Peach and Blackberry Pie

by Irvin on August 22, 2016 · 2 comments

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A Midwest Summer experience: learning to fire a gun, baking a peach and blackberry pie and how food brings us all together.

Peach and Blackberry Pie. Photo and recipe by Irvin Lin of Eat the Love.

“If you at any point feel uncomfortable, you should yell out ‘CEASE FIRE’ and everyone will put their guns down.” Said the man in the instruction video at the shooting range. We were watching an 8-minute safety video which was required before we could enter the shooting range and start learning how to fire. I turned to AJ and whispered “But I’m uncomfortable now and don’t really expect NOT to be uncomfortable during this experience. Can I really just yell out ‘Cease Fire’ right now?” AJ just chuckled nervously under his breath. (If you just want the recipe for the Peach and Blackberry Pie, jump directly there.)

We were visiting Indiana over the summertime and spend a couple of nights with AJ’s brother, a man who shares AJ’s love of cycling. AJ’s brother, a man built like a former football player (which he happens to be, having gone to college on a football scholarship) also happens to go cycling with a small pistol in the back of his cycling jersey because “sometimes we bike through dicey neighborhoods.” It’s not that I don’t believe him, but I also wonder as who would be foolish enough to try and mug him.

AJ firing a gun. [click to continue…]

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Cheeseburger Pasta

August 1, 2016

This made-from-scratch Cheeseburger Pasta is loosely inspired by a box mix that I used to make in college, but is WAY better! True confession time. Growing up my mom was a pretty awesome cook making sure that we had a hot homemade meal at home every single night. And though I took a class in […]

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Sponsored Post: Mocha Pots de Creme

July 25, 2016

These easy-to-make mocha pots de creme are perfect meal ending on a warm summer evening. “I would have eaten more of this if I could…” said my friend Annie as she handed off the rest of the mocha pots de creme to my partner AJ. He finished the half empty mason jar without a thought […]

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Pretzel Buns

July 11, 2016

These easy-to-make pretzel buns use baking soda to “pretzel-fy” the dough. They’re my favorite burger buns! This whole food blogging thing came about accidentally for me. When people ask me how I became a recipe developer, food writer and photographer I usually tell them that I stumbled into it. I was former a graphic designer […]

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Earl Grey Blueberry Coffee Cake

June 27, 2016

An easy infusion of tea in scalded milk, makes this Earl Grey Blueberry Coffee Cake incredibly delicious and a snap to make. I have a new obsession and its name is Snapchat. Part of me wants to curl up in a ball and hide under a rock when I admit that. I want to call […]

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A Minute To Be Ourselves (with a Plum and Rhubarb Cobbler)

June 20, 2016

In times of crisis and grief, the only thing I could do was go into the kitchen and bake. This Plum and Rhubarb Cobbler is the result. This past week has been pretty devastating. I picked up my partner AJ in L.A. on Saturday, after the AIDS Lifecycle only to wake up the next morning […]

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Sponsored Post: Potato Chip Zucchini Sticks with Marinara Sauce

June 9, 2016

This post was sponsored by Frito-Lay. I’m teaming up with Frito-Lay this summer to bring you recipes using LAY’S potato chips. I was compensated for this post and for developing the recipe. However all opinions below are completely my own and not endorsed by Frito-Lay. These easy & tasty Potato Chip Zucchini Sticks are perfect […]

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Photo Essay: Cook N Scribble, Los Angeles 2016

June 6, 2016

A Cook N Scribble Evening with Molly O’Neill in Los Angeles In a different life, years ago, I was a bookseller. From mall bookstores to independent shops I was a dedicated bookseller for years before I started doing graphic design, which later morphed into photography and writing. There’s a lot of romanticism in selling books, […]

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Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 31, 2016

These chewy mint chocolate chip cookies are reminiscent of a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream, only in cookie form! I moved to San Francisco 18 years ago and when I moved here, an acquaintance warned me within the first couple of months of my arrival that this wasn’t a city most people stick […]

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Photo Essay: Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016 (part 2)

May 23, 2016

The second of two photo essays for the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala fundraiser of 2016. The chefs and cooks moved in a silent rhythm to a beat only they could really hear and feel as AJ and I watched. They were plating food for the annual Meals on Wheels Star Chefs […]

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Sponsored Post: Potato Chip Chicken Tenders

May 15, 2016

This post was sponsored by Frito-Lay. I’m teaming up with Frito-Lay this summer to bring you recipes using Lay’s potato chips. I was compensated for this post and for developing the recipe. However all opinions below are completely my own and not endorsed by Frito-Lay. These Potato Chip Chicken Tenders are as easy to make […]

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Cookies and Cream Cookies

May 2, 2016

Looking for Oreo Recipes? These cookies and cream cookies are crispy on the edges and chewy in the center cookies with Oreos baked right into them! “It’s the Inception of cookies.” I explained to my friends when they asked me at the picnic what sort of cookies these were. They just looked at me confused […]

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Photo Essay: Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala 2016 (part 1)

April 25, 2016

The first of two photo essays for the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintners Gala fundraiser of 2016. As usual, AJ and I were stuffed before we even got halfway through the room. We were at the annual Meals on Wheels Star Chefs and Vintner’s Gala event and we were trying our best to […]

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