Posts Tagged ‘gardens’


Photo from Petit Amuse.
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Product Description:

Most versatile of the Chaparral bunch, this vinegar is light with citrus notes.  It’s perfect for any type of salad, marinade, or sauce.

I received this sample bottle of vinegar in my November Petit Amuse sampler box.  You can subscribe to Petit Amuse here.

What I Think:

Happy New Year!

And what better way to ring in the new year than with some Champagne?  Well, since I am not much of a drinker, I think I’d prefer to go with this Champagne Vinegar from Chaparral Gardens, thank you!

For the purposes of this review, I used this vinegar as a salad dressing for a basic green salad of romaine lettuce, cucumber, radish and carrots.  I didn’t add any oil, nor did I add any extra spices – just Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

And really, I didn’t need any more than that to have a very enjoyable salad!  I think that’s what I like best about this vinegar, is that I can enjoy a salad without the extra fat and calories that oil would add.  This has a really lovely taste to it.  I can’t tell you that I’m tasting the difference here that the champagne adds to the vinegar, because, this doesn’t taste like champagne … at least, not to me it doesn’t.  It doesn’t even hint at champagne to me.  What I taste is a crisp, light vinegar taste that tangy, but also a little bit sweet.  I notice the citrus-y notes as described in the above description.

My Final Thoughts:

This is really good.  It’s light and refreshing, and I like it a lot more than I thought I would.  To tell you the truth, I wasn’t all that excited when I received this in my tasting box in November.  Not that I was disappointed, really, but, let’s face it, it’s not as exciting as the other items in the November box.  However, this turned out to be a very exciting way to enjoy a simple salad!

Recently, my daughter and I visited the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  I have been wanting to visit this place since I learned of it several years ago, however, this was my first visit … thanks to LivingSocial!  And guess what?  The Chinese Garden has a teahouse!  Well, you know we had to stop in during our visit…

Location:  239 NW Everett Street, Portland

What I Think:

Portland is a busy city, and there’s lots to do and see (and eat!)  I absolutely love Portland, but even with all the time that I’ve spend in Portland, I really had no idea that the Lan Su Chinese Garden was a beautiful, peaceful paradise right inside the city.  This gorgeous garden is confined to the space of a city block, but, it managed to transport me from the hustle and bustle of the city to a tranquil, inspiring wonderland!

even the “mosaic – like” rocks of the paths have significance at the Chinese Garden.

We arrived just in time for a tour.  I’m glad that we took time to take the tour, because I learned so much about the splendor and wonder of this garden – knowledge I would not have gained if we had journeyed through the gardens on our own.  If you do ever have a chance to visit these gardens (and I highly recommend that you do!), do take the tour.  You’ll have a much greater appreciation for the beauty that surrounds you as you walk through the gardens!

After the tour, my daughter and I took time to have some tea at the Tao of Tea teahouse (conveniently located in the garden, with a view that overlooks the pond).  Therefore the atmosphere of the teahouse very much reflected that of the serenity of the gardens.  The afternoon that we visited, there was live music featured in the teahouse, which seemed to enhance the sense of calm even further.

I enjoyed the Dragonwell tea, as we snacked on sweet and savory treats.  The sweet tray was brought out with our teas.  It included pieces of dried fruit (including a sliver of mango, a kumquat, a date, as well as a piece of the most delicious candied melon I think I’ve ever tasted), and a confection-like piece that looked like the inside of a petit four but seemed to actually be made of layers of fruit leather.  Also on this tray was a chestnut and a rice cake that was a bit like a rice crispy square only not as sweet.

After we finished all the delights on the sweet tray, our savory steamed bun tray was delivered to our table.  The pastry of the steamed bun was tender and moist, and concealed within it a green vegetable – I think it was spinach, but it was chopped very fine, and looked a bit like the steeped leaves of Gyokuro, and since this was a teahouse, I wouldn’t have been surprised it it was indeed tea leaves!  Either way, these steamed buns were tasty, I really enjoyed them.

We finished up our visit to the Lan Su Chinese Garden by stopping by the little gift shop just outside the garden, where you can pick up post cards, tea, and music that will help you bring a bit of the garden back to the home.

My Final Thoughts:

If you ever have the chance to visit the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in Portland – you should!  What amazed me, even while walking through these beautiful gardens, is just how much beauty they could pack into a city block.  It truly is a euphoric respite from the hurried, busy life that lies just outside the garden walls.