wine and bridges.

Fall is like that girl you used to be friends with in high school, you really like her, but it’s probably best that you two don’t hang out that often. She reminds you of the old times, the good times, and times you would rather forget....but the nostalgia soon turns to indulgence, and before you know it you are four episodes into a thirtysomething marathon, wearing sweatpants, and eating a whole bag of cheese curls with a toothpick.

Because I'm  fancy that way.

Since we are celebrating Fall, and none of us had taken a vacation in four months, we decided it was time for a day trip. An entire day across the grape curtain, to Wine Country, aka “The Grand River Valley in the Heart of America.”

If you have never been to Wine County, let me tell you, it is snazzy. Besides the covered bridges and turning leaves, there are also equal opportunities for wine tasting, cheese tasting, and ice cream tasting. These people know how to prioritize! If there are any Califorians  non-Midwesterners reading this and thinking the whole Ohio Wine Region Thing is an act. Yeah, no. It’s all real. It’s all vineyards, all the time. And it is glorious. We went to this tiny church converted to a wine tasting room and it was so charming! 

The thing to do in a vineyard is to find a peaceful spot and order snacks and a wine tasting tray. There are plenty to choose from, I love The Lakehouse Inn, I would describe it as somewhere between a winery and a Bed and Breakfast with killer views of the water. but we always end up at the Harpersfield Winery, we save it for last, like dessert. So far, it's my favorite. I pretended I was back in Tuscany. Grape vines and trees and fountains and stuff. I'll bet they do nice events here. Plus they have the sweetest dogs there to greet you. so they don't actually have a No Kids Under 13 policy, but still, everyone there appeared to be 20-something or 60+. At one point I spotted four drunk happy grannies sitting on a corner patio table. So cool.

 Most of the beaches along Lake Erie are pebbles and rocks. But what they lack in sandy sprawling space, it makes up for in beauty. plus there are the covered bridges. It’s pretty much like Bridges of Madison County, except Robert and Francesca are wearing a Cleveland Browns gear, and without the ill fated love affair and death bed confession. okay, it's nothing like that but it's amazing. Now is as good of a time as any to tell you that I read way too many romance novels. I blame Emily Bronte and Jane Austin. cheeky little minxes.

 Earlier that day, we got stuck in a giant traffic jam watched the Grape Festival Parade we had front row seats and the time of our lives. I don’t know why more people don't get stuck in traffic. I highly recommend it. plus, we shared a huge funnel cake. between six of us and there were leftovers.  It was gigantic. I could not believe how big it was and the lady was all, "You guys are just in time! we just rolled in a fresh batch of dough! " and we were all "are they always that big?" and she was all "You aren't from around here areyanow?"

Are-ya-now! that is totally my new favorite word.

just sayin'.

concord grape cornmeal cake 
adapted just barely from Bon Appetit

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly, plus more
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour; more for grapes
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 pound Concord grapes (or black grapes), stemmed, seeds removed, divided 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch cast iron skillet (or an 8x8x2-inch baking dish). Whisk 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Whisk eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla in a large bowl to combine. Add oil and 2 tablespoons melted butter; whisk to blend. Whisk in flour mixture, then buttermilk. Stir in honey, being careful not to fully incorporate

Pour batter into prepared skillet. Toss about 2/3 of grapes with a large pinch of flour in a medium bowl until well coated. Scatter over cake batter.

Bake until cake turns light golden brown around the edges and starts to set, 15-17 minutes. Remove from oven and scatter remaining grapes over cake. Continue to bake until top is golden brown and cake springs back when pressed, 20-25 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool slightly in pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. yum.


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