How to outsmart a goat

Did you miss us?

We have been on a bit of a writing hiatus while we flew around to family weddings in Alabama and served up a big dinner for the annual wine auction at Maryhill Museum. And so here are some things you should know:

  • Windshield wipers come in really handy all the time in Alabama, where the humidity is so high that you must use them … even when it isn’t raining and it’s 90 degrees outside. Just remember that, if you’re thinking of moving to the “sun belt.” Because it actually should be called the “sauna belt.”
  • Summer weddings in Alabama are all over by May 15. No human can actually put on a tux or a 40 pound wedding dress, let alone walk around in one, on any date after that, until November 15.
  • In some parts of the country, fried pickles are considered gourmet dishes. True story.
  • Don’t ever believe Tim Copeland from Maryhill Museum if he tells you the big tent will be on the northeast side of the museum, because it will be on the southwest side. Thankfully, it’s hard to hide a big tent.  Inside joke. Seriously Tim, we love your museum, and we love feeding you and listening to that auctioneer. Wow. Congratulations on a great event.
  • Back at the farm (that would be Nora’s Table) Nathan, Andrew and Rainbow have been blowing the lid off everyone’s expectations, once again, about how good food can be. Yes, it is better than you ever thought.
  • And finally, just to set the record straight, even though we love pork, and are passionate about the local pork from Mountain Shadow Natural Meats, and the little red wattle piggies growing up right here in our valley, we have never gotten into punching matches about it.  You may have read about the fisticuffs that broke out in Portland at last week’s Cochon 555 event. As Nathan says, only in Portland would chefs and foodies get into a knock-down-drag-out in front of a strip club about the unholy, imported pork that won the show. Bless you, Portland.

We have our reservations about reservations

Restaurants have a love/hate relationship with reservations. We want to provide the service, and help you plan your evening. However, when we are really busy, reservations make it very difficult for us to serve all the people who come in the door. Why? Well, because we’re holding tables for people who will be in soon, so the table sits vacant, while people wait at the door for open seats.

So, after much discussion and thought, we are putting some constraints on our “any reservation, any time” policy for summer only.  Come June 1 (we’re giving you fair warning!) we will only take reservations for parties of six or more, and we will only reserve for those parties between 5:00 pm and 6:00 pm, or after 8:00 pm. And for the remainder of the summer, we will not be taking reservations on any First Friday.

We actually think this will give you a better chance overall of getting a table with us, since we won’t be holding tables open and empty, just waiting.

And of course, when the crush of summer is over, we’ll be more than happy to take any reservation, any time.

Please call and talk to us if you have questions about this.

What to come in for this week

So while you can still snag a reservation for two at 7:00, here’s what you might want to eat this week:

  • Nothing’s better than a nice hand-made crispy-brown sausage, hot from the pan. This week, ours is pork, duck and veal sweetbreads sausage with mash potatoes, Madeira caramelized onions and mustard oxtail sauce.
  • The lower Columbia River springer salmon is still glorious, and you can eat it two ways: our small plate comes decked out on chipotle and tomatillo sauce, sautéed spinach and green onions. Or choose our main course on pepperade with grilled asparagus and fennel frites.
  • Nathan has been having a blast with his cured pork dishes, and one of our favorites right now is the bocadillo, a tasty Spanish sandwich on our grilled bread with seared pork belly, pepperade and al pimentino cheese.
  • If you are a fan of our curries, you’ll love the Keralan sweet and sour pork curry with grilled naan.
  • Forget everything you’ve ever experienced eating dusty-dry pork chops. We’re brining a thick bone-in chop from Mountain Shadow and serving it with roasted potatoes, red wine braised red onions, grilled asparagus and port apple jam. Take that, Cochon 555.
  • For you veg heads out there, we’re serving up a feast: Vegetarian dry curry with potatoes, snap peas, asparagus, carrots and fennel with grilled naan bread
  • In case you need a reason to eat dessert first, Rainbow has your sweet jones covered: warm chocolate tart with raspberry sorbet; amaretto panna cotta, apricot coulis and almond Florentine; warm lemon pudding cakes with cassis. Yikes.

It’s the farm life for Nathan and Jennifer

Not too long ago, our chef de cuisine Nathan and his lovely wife Jennifer, one of our fantastic servers, moved a ways out of town. They are living on a small farm, where the farm’s owner has graciously offered them the opportunity to husband some plants and animals, and generally commune with nature.

Did we mention that this story involves goats? Nowhere in the Bible did God ever say that the lion will lie down with the goat in peace. Ain’t gonna happen, and God and the lions know that. Goats are, shall we say, a bit rebellious, not to mention occasionally downright demonic.

So recently, the farmer asked Jennifer to move the goats back into their pen. This was the point at which Jennifer should have held up the garlic and shouted, “Get thee behind me Satan!” But no, in her helpful way, she said, “Sure!”

When it came time to move the goats, they were all pretty willing to head for the barn. All except for one. Try as she might, Jennifer chased that goat from one end of the farm to the other, to no avail.  Breathless and trying to calm down, she went in the house for a drink of water, and racked her brain about what to do next. And the only thing she could think was, “Jen, be smarter than the goat.” Turns out demonic goats can be tempted into the pen with a little grain, but only if they think they are pulling something over on you, and stealing the grain.

Crisis averted. And we think Jen has latched onto an important bit of wisdom. If you’ve got a problem, just be smarter than the goat. Try that next time, and let us know how it works for you, when we see you around Nora’s Table.

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