Nothing like a month off to reset your brain waves and prime your taste buds, and Kathy and crew have a great menu waiting for you this Wednesday, February 2, when we re-open at 5:00. Here’s some of what’s awaiting you:
- Lentil dumplings in tamarind tomato broth
- Celeriac, parsley and caper salad with house-made seared pork sausage, mustard crème fraiche dressing, salt cured radicchio
- Kashmiri batter-fried lamb ribs, cherry gastrique, cilantro and toasted pistachios
- Seared scallops with fresh California baby artichokes in brown butter, preserved lemon and olives, smoked ricotta salata
- Mountain Shadow 6 ounce-ribeye, chili lime sweet potato frites, avocado salsa
- Pan roasted Oregon black cod, butternut squash and smoked cheddar gratin, braised greens and pancetta
- Whole leg duck confit, roasted Portobello and winter root vegetable and farro risotto
- Vegetarian pot pie of Portobello mushrooms, celeriac, parsnips, Jerusalem artichokes, carrots, leeks, cream and herbs $17
No, of course we haven’t forgotten about your love life!
Yes, Wednesdays are still Cheap Date Night, and for our first night back in biz, Wednesday, Feb 2, choose our fab fish tacos, or, just to prove you aren’t addicted to them, branch out! Instead, get duck confit tacos with grilled poblano chilis, sweet onions, red pepper mango slaw and cotija cheese. That’s two orders of tacos for $8.
Yes, we are open for Valentine’s Day
We’ve decided that Cupid must not be in charge of the universe, or he wouldn’t have let Valentine’s Day fall on a Monday, for heaven’s sake. But there it is. And so, we’ll be ready for you with some cool love-inducing dishes on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 11 and 12, but if you really insist on being out on Valentine’s Day proper, we’re open for your dining pleasure, even though we are usually closed that night. So call for reservations whenever you wish.
Good news: great food is alive and well in Oregon
Have you missed us? We are cruising toward our re-opening and we just want you to know: we’ve been eating our way across Oregon, and it’s all good. Pretty darn good, actually.
In Astoria, we dined at a surprising find: a Bosnian restaurant called Drina Daisy. The come-on for this place is whole-roasted lamb, sliced thin, and served with the restaurant’s trade-mark plate of elegantly organized fresh fruit. And while that’s nice, what’s really the best thing of all are cabbage leaves stuffed with silky beef and Italian risotto rice, braised in beef stock and roasted sweet peppers, and slathered with sour cream. We fell in love with the starter platters of Bosanski, a smoked beef Bosnian sausage, and subo meso, lean dry smoked beef a bit like Italian bressola.
On a visit to Willamette Valley wine country, we couldn’t resist sitting at the chef’s bar at Thistle. Chef Eric Bechard and his beautiful wife Emily Howard, took care of us through two hours of eventful eating, where everything we tasted had been harvested, caught or raised within a few hours’ drive of our plates. No shallots growing in the Willamette Valley right now? Then you won’t be eating them. If you want to understand what it was like in the old world, where chefs only cooked what arrived on their doorsteps that morning, then make a pilgrimage to Thistle, and marvel at what one man can do at a small stove with a ton of ingenuity and skill. Menu? Never you mind. Whatever we tell you about won’t be there tomorrow anyway.
In Portland, two memorable meals: Kin, and Bleaker and Flask.
Kin is, well … fusion seems such a hollow term. Chef Kevin Shikami just cooks what he loves, and sometimes that means Asian to the max, and sometimes, it crosses into France, and sometimes, it’s like Thailand, China, Japan and France had an illicit affair and produced amazing offspring. Who woulda thunk you could put roasted quail in hoisin, Chinese sausage, toasted garlic, bok choy, spice peanuts, black bean and goat cheese gnocchi together and it would be an ecstatically happy marriage? But happy it is, and so were we.
And Beaker and Flask. Tucked into a nearly vacant street on Portland’s close-in eastside industrial area, its bar filled with a huge assortment of yard-sale glasswear (how DOES Dave the bartender pour each cocktail right up the lip of each one of those odd glasses?) you can settle for the “insane” (as Dave our amazing mixologist described it) fried chicken sandwich off the Snacks menu, or dive into the dinner menu of sweetbreads, pork cheeks, tails and trotters, stuffed trout, or braised beef shoulder. Best wait staff we’ve encountered in a long time, too, elegantly handling a pile of hungry people at the door.
A sad goodbye
We are so very sad to say goodbye to the crew at Sophie’s Restaurant. Sophie’s was another great reason to dine in Hood River, to make this place a stop or a destination. John and Jon brought refined excellence to our dining experience here, and we will miss them all, including Marcie and the front of the house staff. We understand Jon is going to join Celilo, which is great news. John and Marcie are still thinking about the future, but we can hope they will stay locally. Thanks for some great food, guys. You will definitely be missed.
There’s no place like home
We leave every year for January, and gosh, we need the rest. And we travel off, all of us, tilting to other climates, bluer air, a different horizon. But as Dorothy discovered under those stormy Kansas skies, there’s no place like The Hood. We are so glad to be home, and looking forward to feeding you again. See you soon around Nora’s Table.