We’re back, and you’re hungry

Stu and Kathy returned Saturday from Belize, Nathan and Andrew and Rainbow are here, and we’re trying to hold on to that Zen-like calm for a few more days. When Kathy came in to find the ice machine no longer makes ice (and doesn’t seem to have any sort of relationship to water, for that mater) she almost lost the Zen, but then she found some really nice cheddar cheese in the fridge, and after eating that, the Zen was back. If only our Buddhist friends had known that cheese was the key ….

Well, anyhow, we re-open on Wednesday, Feb. 3, at 5:00, and yes, Nora’s Table fans, you are correct, Wednesday IS two-for-one fish taco night. But that’s not all! Boy, do we have lots in store for you.

What you’ve been missing

Just so you know what 30 days of rest and relaxation can do for our creativity level, here’s SOME of what you’ll find on our menu this week:

Small plates:

  • Our beloved pickle plate is growing: now it’ll include a couple of artisan cheeses and our house-made chorizo.
  • Roasted root vegetable salad with rutabaga, parsnip, sweet potato, and fingerling potato with a sage  molasses vinaigrette and candied bacon
  • Mussel and crab curry with grilled naan
  • Seared scallops on cucumber noodles, ginger oxtail consommé and toasted almonds
  • Skewers of grilled prawns, chorizo, pearly onions and olives on romesco sauce
  • Braised lamb with gnocchi, fennel and olives

Main courses:

  • Arctic char with mole verde, spinach and local new potatoes
  • Pork ribs vindaloo with saffron rice and spinach radish raita
  • Seared 12 ounce rib eye on pinots peperade with back egg and salad of swiss chard and ricotta
  • Goan curry with scallop, rockfish, crab and mussels

Desserts

  • Cheese cake with a chocolate masa crust and brandied figs, ancho chili honey sauce
  • Cappuccino crème brulee
  • Profiteroles with crème anglaise, chocolate and caramel sauces

And now, a word about Belize

Right about now, dear readers, Novel is pulling into the dock on Caye Caulker, his boat loaded with grouper, red fish, conch and spiny lobster. If we were still there, hanging out on shore on our cruiser bikes, waiting for our favorite fisherman, we’d have our little plastic bag and $2.50, ready for the day’s catch. Novel, in his torn and faded pork pie hat, and Romero his sidekick, will stand in the water and clean our fish, joking with us, throwing the heads (unless Kathy wants them for stock) over their shoulders to the pelicans, who show up at about the same time we do, because they know it’s about time for Novel’s boat.

With our catch over our handlebars, we ride our cruiser bikes back along the sand roads (no cars, just bikes and golf carts) to China Town Grocery for a few limes, perhaps some papaya, maybe another bottle of rum, and then on to our little cabin in the middle of a tropical garden. As the sun sets and the breeze comes up, we fill a pitcher with rum punch, and take the bikes out along a sandy trail to a little-used dock, to watch the day give way to evening, drink the rum, and josh each other a bit. Then, in the half-moon light, we ride back to the cottage, fireflies all around, and think up another way to  curry, jerk, or pan fry that fish, make ceviche of the conch, or pair that rum with another combination of fresh juice, coconut, and yes, Marie Sharp’s hot sauce.

It was hard to keep up this pace for 30 days, but darn, we did it. Belize gets two thumbs up. And coming home to Hood River gets a standing ovation.

See you around Nora’s Table.

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