ed note: Greetings, friends! We are coming back from our hiatus with a vengeance in November, much like a culinary, literary Bruce Willis, with hot festival coverage concerning two of our favorite things: cheese and adult beverages. Lena Webb and I will be reporting from Portland Cocktail Week, and the intrepid Marie-Laure has been busy attending glittering cheese festivals abroad in Europe. Tune in for the new coverage! Salut! And now, for a trailer-park missive

I’m sitting at the table in an extraordinarily tacky-but-lovable Cruise America RV, sipping a G&T while Nevada rolls by, and every once in a while catching a whiff of my 7 day old travelin’ pants. It’s a little hard to believe that by this time tomorrow I will be landing at PDX to hustle into the city for an incredible four days of what I’m calling “spiritual immersion” at the second annual Portland Cocktail Week. Would you just take a look at this schedule?

As pithy as it is, I am going to do my darndest to report on as much as I can. This will involve remembering, which will involve restraint. We’ll see how well I do with that. So much to taste, so much to learn. Since these seminars will be some of the first I’ve attended since dropping out of grad school, I’ll admit that my note-taking hand is getting a little itchy. I am particularly interested in eavesdropping on as many techniques-based sessions as possible, especially the “create your own bitters” workshop. In short, my lofty goal going into PCW is to soak up more knowledge than drink. Or at least equal amounts.

But tonight I will be hosting a pre-Cocktail Week party in an RV located just outside of Reno featuring drinks containing dregs of multiple spirits and limited mixers, served in a choice of our only three pieces of actual glassware (a mini French press, a pint mason jar, or a half pint jam jar). Bust up your pinkies!