Mussels, brussels and local ‘shrooms

The baboon has left the building

Many of you have come to enjoy our South African chef, Christiaan Erasmus, whose family nickname is Kees, Afrikaans for baboon. You may remember, too, that he was planning to leave us this fall to open his own place in White Salmon. So say a prayer for him because he is now entering the deep, dark hole of restaurant remodeling. We wish him and his family well. We’ll let you know when he’s ready to hang out the open sign.

Brussels, mussels and local ‘shrooms

For the fall, Kathy is back in the kitchen, and she and Nathan are playing a fun game of “I can top that!” A little friendly competition is good for you, dear diner, because it stretches us to come up with the most creative and flavor-packed dishes.

Even if we don’t cook the one you asked for. Saturday night, in the middle of a slammer, Nathan asked Kathy, “Fire one brussels” as in braised Brussels sprouts with guanciale on polenta, but Kathy heard, “Fire one mussels.”  And you wondered what rhymes with brussels. Now you know.

Lucky for us, we don’t have to do all this creating and miss-firing alone. We do have a secret weapon: our kitchen magician Rainbow McIntyre, who spends all day chopping, roasting, mixing and baking.

This week, Kathy was thinking we should have a fried pie for Harvest Fest (nothing says fall like fruit and pastry, unless you put it in the fryer, and then it says fall ecstasy.) So Nathan developed the pastry, Rainbow crafted the warm, spicy pear filing. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Rainbow now has to make a stack of them everyday. We’re serving them with caramel sauce and whip cream, and if that doesn’t get you over the shock of seeing snow on October 13, we don’t know what will.

Did you get a taste of the ice cream and sorbet made from fresh wine-grape juices provided to us by wine maker Rich Cushman? If you didn’t, you’ve got another chance this weekend when we turn the rosy juice of Sangiovese grapes into ice cream. And what else would you serve with an Italian-wine varietal ice cream? Chocolate salami, of course. No, really.

Nathan is giving us a wonderful rib eye this weekend. We’re searing it, filleting it, and serving it with a rich beef and red wine sauce, surrounded by local porcini mushrooms, and the most delightful fall root vegetables.

Yes, we’ve got more of those great lamb and pork shanks.

Our fresh fish entrée this week is Pacific Rock Sole, a very sweet little fish that we’re serving with pumpkin risotto and hazelnut sage brown butter sauce.  After serving over 1,000 plates of salmon this summer, we are feeling a bit queasy at the thought of pink fish, so pardon us if we grinned when that spanking-white rock sole arrived this week.

On our small plates this week, we’ll have Moroccan spiced pork crepinette, served on a salad of fennel, dates and almonds, with honey and fig vin cotto.  Or try our pork sugo, bite-sized pieces of slow-cooked pork shoulder, in a rich buttery sauce on Nathan’s handmade noodles.

Two-for-one? Not quite yet

Long time winter devotees of Nora’s are wondering when we’ll go to our “two-fer” Wednesday nights. We’re thinking November, when you need a darn good reason to leave the house. But one slight change, friends. With the huge fan base we have for our fish tacos, with tortillas made to order, we’ve decided that our “two fer” this year is: Fish Tacos!  Ole! We’ll make sure and give you at least a week’s notice.

We’re bringing back the Chef’s Tasting menu soon, too.

See you around Nora’s Table.

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