It’s fall, when thoughts to turn to … tamales, soup and pork shank

“Look Harvey, Mexican tamales”

Readers of a certain age (i.e.: over 50) may remember an Alka Seltzer commercial back in the day that began with the above-quoted line. Two unwitting Americans in Mexico, who just happen to encounter, with their Jersey accents, something they pronounced “ta males”, kinda like “da bears” if you’re from Chicago.

Nora’s diners will not need the effervescent white tablets after dining with us on Wednesday, even if they do enjoy our two-plates-for-the-price-of-one hand-made pork and smoked goat cheese tamales with red chili mole. Yep, that’s our Cheap Date Night special this week. Two plates (four tamales) for $10. See you then.

The bad news at Multnomah Falls

We occasionally become a second home to Insitu contractors or advisors who are in town for just a few weeks. They come sit at our bar, wearing that hang-dog look of guys who might rather be home coaching Little League or even, when they’re really lonely, taking out the trash, somewhere in Suburban Los Angeles or Houston or Virginia.

So we’ve come to enjoy visiting, recently, with one such fellah, Wayne, who first fell in love with our pork chop, then became a devoted follower of seafood curry, then fish tacos and lamb chops and lamb tagine, and is sure, this week, to swoon over the pork shank (more on that later).

So last week on Saturday, he took Stu aside and said he had stopped at Multnomah Falls, and just by chance, had struck up a conversation with some folks who, after weeks of planning and anticipation, had driven to Hood River to have dinner with us. On Friday night. The night we were closed for a private party.

Wayne said they were quite disappointed, but told him they will be back. We’re guessing they don’t yet subscribe to this newsletter, so they missed last week’s announcement to our dedicated regulars (that would be you) of that pending closure. Despite all the communications tools at our latter-day disposal, we haven’t yet figured out how to connect with people to whom we are not yet … connected. Surely there’s an iPad app out there that would loop through Twitter to facebook to Foursquare to Digg and LinkedIn and … well, you get our point.

We did have a grand time on Friday, preparing a wedding rehearsal dinner for a great group, and we know you found other terrific Hood River spots for your Friday night out. But we’re back this Friday. And here’s what you can eat.

Soup weather, no Nazi in sight

Yep, we’ll have some soup (for you) each night now, and this week, we’re starting with curried creamy spinach soup with lemon ginger crème fraiche.

For a big, whopping fall delight, we’ve got a whole braised pork shank with crispy pork belly, red cabbage and pears, pork jus, and sweet potato garlic mashers.

It’ll be our last week for seared scallops with chanterelles, apples and sage, with the end to chanterelles in sight. And it’s likely our last week for fresh salmon. Tis the season.

This week’s salmon: Hawaiian beurre blanc, pan roasted sweet potatoes, tomato ginger relish.

Other highlights include:
•    Grilled romaine salad, gorgonzola cream dressing, toasted pine nuts and herbs
•    Northwest paella with duck confit, chorizo, shrimp and mussels
•    Mountain Shadow rib-eye, gratin of butternut and patty pan squash, smoked cheddar and pancetta, with braised baby greens and oxtail gravy
•    Lamb tagine with roasted butternut, sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, sultanas, Israeli couscous
•    And two new small plates: warm tart of Italian two-milk cheese and roasted garlic, fig and pine nut conserve; pappadams with tamarind-glazed pork belly and carrot cilantro chutney

See you around Nora’s Table.

Thoughts? Questions? Compliments? Write Chef Kathy Watson.


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