Eat vegetables, find happiness

Eat a vegetable, get happy

 “Only vegetables are happy.”  — William Faulkner

Well maybe that explains it, Mr. Faulkner. When we eat vegetables … extremely fresh and local farm vegetables … it makes us very happy.

And we are certainly doing the happy dance right now because we’re seeing the glowing (and slightly farm-dirty) faces of our farmers in the restaurant again. The Hood River farmers market is now open, too, on Thursday at May Street School.

And this year, for the first time, Stu and Kathy bought a CSA share from Wildwood Farm. We’re not sure why it took us so long (hint: could have something to do with the luxury of fresh things delivered right to the restaurant) but we are so happy to have beautiful French breakfast radishes, salad turnips, kale, tat soi, spinach, spring garlic, and salad greens nestled right into our home refrigerator. And all spring, summer and fall, we’ll enjoy this bounty. All at the ridiculously low price of $25 a week.

If you want to get exceptionally happy yourself, don’t just enjoy this amazing local harvest when you come to Nora’s. Get some happy at home. There’s still time to sign up with a local farmer for a weekly farm share (called a CSA). Visit the farmers market this week and ask about it at the information desk.

And here’s our deal: support a local farmer, and you’ve got our permission to come up to the kitchen bar at Nora’s and say, “I bought a CSA share. What should I do with my kale raab this week?” We promise we’ll divulge amazing culinary secrets.

On … and off … the menu this week

We know you are devoted fans of our rib eye. We’ve been serving it all winter on Rainbow’s gnocchi with Hood River Organic mushrooms and a kale salad. But that was just feeling a bit too winterish to us, so it’s going away, to be replaced with:

Mountain Shadow rib eye on creamed corn with spring garlic, bacon-crusted buttermilk onion rings, Hood River Organic arugula salad with horseradish crème fraiche vinaigrette. Still the same great price, though.

When you eat fish, especially our wonderful Pacific salmon, it’s important for you to ask a few questions. Like: what do you do with what gets trimmed from those lovely filet pieces? Because that fish lived and died for you to eat, right? And tossing away the trim just seems wrong to us. Even if it DOES go into Dirt Huggers compost.

So we try to create dishes with that trim. Sometimes it’s smoked salmon spring rolls. This week, we’re slicing the belly of that Copper River salmon very thin, and serving it, carpaccio style, on miso citrus vinaigrette, with thinly sliced spring onions and Italian sea salt. So nice, and such a great way to honor the Great Pink.

We’re also serving a delicious watermelon salad this week, with thinly sliced cotija cheese, tamarind vinaigrette and arugula.

Our salmon fillets are still doing time with rhubarb gastrique because we love it so, and we’re serving it this week with black quinoa risotto and a quick sauté of big beautiful spinach leaves from Hood River Organic.

What else? The duck wing drumettes are still doing a star turn, because you just can’t get enough of them. And the pork shanks, getting all sappy in sweet bean sauce, are still on our plates, with Wildwood Farm baby bok choy and rice noodles.

Something sweet, you say? OK. Rainbow describes this cake, “like a Snickers bar, with pine nuts.” The fancy name is chocolate pine nut caramel cake with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. One of the best things about this cake is that it’s made with almond flour, so it’s gluten free. Yikes. Or if you’re like one guest recently who DEMANDED more rhubarb, have a lovely tangy crème fraiche panna cotta with Quercus Farm strawberries and rhubarb compote. Double yikes.

Our 30 days of fame at your newsstand now

We were thrilled to see the Columbia River Gorge cover feature in the June issue of Portland Monthly, not the least of which because we got a little ink and two large, bodacious pictures of Nora’s Table, taken by our lovely photographer (and long time devoted diner) Laurie Streaker.  Buy it before we buy all the available Gorge copies.

Chef Kathy to chat it up with the big city boys

 Portland’s Friends of Family Farmers and Eco Trust’s Food Hub have invited our chef, Kathy Watson, to join a panel of Portland chefs talking about how they source local food. The panel on June 12 includes Watson and Chef Cory Schrieber, founding chef of Wildwood and  International Culinary School at Portland Institute of Arts, Chef David Anderson of Genoa + Accanto, and Chef Greg Higgins of Higgins Restaurant.

The event will be held at a place in Portland that we’ve never heard of, but never mind, guess we had Gorge things to think about. It’s called Holocene. You can find out all about the event and sign up (it’s free!) by visiting Friends of Family Farmers, and

See you around Nora’s Table, seven nights a week for dinner and Monday through Friday for lunch.















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