Santa’s pinot glow, date plates, weekend wonders, New Year’s NOW!

Santa is a wine maker? Sometimes he is!

We got a chuckle to learn that Dick Reed, owner with wife Christie of one of our favorite local wineries, Wy’East, was playing Santa last week at downtown Hood River’s Santa Land, located in the shop that does primary duty during the summertime as Mike’s Ice Cream.

Pretty chilly, wasn’t it, Santa? And what was that in your cup, keeping your cheeks toasty warm? Could it have been Blue Chip Pinot Noir? Only Mrs. Santa knows for sure.

Bring your kids to Santa Land between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Dec. 3-5, Dec. 11-12, and Dec. 18-19), finish your holiday shopping downtown, then drop in for an early supper — and a bit of recuperation — at Nora’s Table, just around the corner from Santa Land (we open at 5, Tues-Sat). And how might you recuperate from a day of holiday dealing? With a taste of Blue Chip Pinot Noir, or one of 35 other local wines, while your kids order off the kiddy menu.

Our special Christmas treat: Every child who dines with us during December enjoys a free cookie and a glass of milk for dessert. Just because. (Well, it could have something to do with Kathy missing her grandson, and adding a little karma to the good grandma bank.)

This Wednesday, have it your way

For Cheap Date Night this Wednesday, we’ve got mussels and clams, and you can have them one of two ways:

  • Goan curry with grilled naan
  • Pancetta, herbs, white wine, saffron broth and a romesco crostini

And what’s that cost? Oh my: two bowls for $10.

‘Tis time for Christmas tree gathering, and our weekend menu

Lots of beautiful snow up in them thar hills, as we discovered on a delightful snowshoe outing this past weekend. And speaking of snowshoe outings, we aren’t going to name names, but friends of friends managed to get a bit turned around on a Thanksgiving Day snow romp, and when they didn’t show up on time for dinner, their friends started calling friends, and before you know it, a gaggle of people showed up at the trailhead in the dark with head lamps, ready to assist search and rescue. Who by then had found the lost friends, who appeared, a bit sheepish, only to be surrounded by friends and headlamps and happy faces. To which, one of the no-longer-lost adventurers said, “Boy, word travels fast in Hood River.” And that’s why we love it here, isn’t it?

So as you head out this weekend hunting for Christmas trees or just hoping for that high-pro snow glow, come back for dinner with us, and here’s what we’re serving up:

  • Potato masa sopes with grilled shrimp, chili de arbol salsa and cilantro crema
  • Ancho chili buttermilk fried chicken, ancho fries, and green chili arugula cream sauce
  • Lamb ribs in lacquered Sichuan Chinese BBQ sauce, ginger sesame egg noodles
  • Caramelized onion soup, blue cheese crumbles
  • Mountain Shadow ribeye, roasted sweet potatoes and parsnips in bourbon pan sauce, whipped sage crème fraiche
  • Quinault wild steelhead au poive, leeks, potatoes and pancetta, sauce of apple brandy, cream, horseradish and shallots

Too early to think about New Year’s Eve? We think not

Alas, we know it will happen again. You will want us to have lots of tenderloin and oysters and rack of lamb in our walk-in for New Year’s, but you won’t want to make reservations until December 30.

But really, early reservations help us so much, dear friends. With reservations, we know how many of those precious tenderloins and lamb racks to order and how many ducks to confit so you won’t be disappointed that we’ve sold them all out when you arrive.

So here’s a little incentive to those who will think ahead. Reserve for New Year’s Eve now, before December 20, and you can also reserve a special meal. Just check out the menu below, and let us know what you want. And we can guarantee it’ll be there for you.

Our New Year’s Menu:

Small plates

  • Celery root and crab bisque
  • Kumquat and frisee salad, goat cheese and cardamom walnuts
  • Cold crab and poached prawn timbales, baby spinach, grilled pineapple chutney, chat masala aioli, candied cashews
  • Oysters gratin on the half shell, crisp pork belly, spinach sherry cream and brioche toasts
  • Seared scallops, parsnips in maple Dijon cream, crispy parmesan pancetta rashers
  • Sweet potato samosas, red onion date chutney

Main courses

  • Rack of lamb, pinot noir pan sauce, fennel mirapoix, mushroom and potato tian
  • Beef filet mignon, candied red onion, pommes frites, fois gras butter
  • Pork shank osso bucco, gnocchi in brown butter
  • Catalan whole duck leg confit, hazelnut picada, roast pears and saffron Valencia rice
  • Vegetarian entrée: Gnocchi with roasted sweet potato puree, parsnips, hazelnuts, sage and blue cheese

And for dessert: Profiteroles, Chocolate Cherry bombe and a few other surprises.

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