In our self-centered Nora’s Table world, where one day leads from the omelet pan to the soup pot to the flat top and the braising pan, we have barely looked up enough this summer to notice the wind blowing or the ice cream melting or the parking spaces filling up.
When the door opens, again and again, and the tables fill up, chairs relentlessly scraping across the concrete floor, day after day, it’s like endlessly riding a rollercoaster, just passing the turnstile, doing the loop-de-loop, swallowing hard at the centripetal force, no pause while the carny slows the ride and lefts off the passengers. It’s a lifer ride, up and around until the stars come out and twinkle into the eternity that is June, July and August.
We howled with laughter when one very happy diner wrote an on-line review about how you had to catch us for breakfast or dinner, but forget about lunch, because that’s when we take our siesta.
SIESTA? That’s when you have to go put another order away in the walk-in, and it’s cool and dark and sound-proof in there. You can’t take a phone call in there, and sometimes the rest of the staff doesn’t know where you are. For five minutes. THAT, dear readers, is what we call a Siesta.
But we are not complaining. No. We are exhausted, but thankful. We have had our best year ever. We have an incredible team, and we are extremely proud of the food we are putting on your plates for breakfast and dinner.
THANK YOU so much for dining with us this summer, and for sending us your customers and your visiting relatives and for answering, “Nora’s Table!” when visitors have stopped you on the street and asked for breakfast or dinner recommendations. You know who you are. And we are forever grateful.
And here’s SOME of what’s on our plates beginning Friday
Hope you’ve missed the weekly run-down of doin’s at Nora’s as much as we have missed writing them. And so, for your dining pleasure, here’s what’s happening:
Peppers: One of our farmers stared hard at us last week, fatigue circling her eyes and said, “Think about peppers!” And so we are, because the harvest is huge, and they are coming in so fiery and sweet and crisp and juicy, with a snap almost like a fresh apple. We are roasting them off: Jimmy Nardellos, Padrons, Sweet Italian Frying Peppers, fresh Cayennes, Poblanos and Anaheims, and we’re stirring up a hot, bubbly pot of Mexican queso fundito with fresh flour and corn tortilla chips. Smack on some.
Seared scallops, sautéed Mt Adams chanterelle mushrooms, sherry, mustard and cream Kiyokawa Orchard Zestar apple and walnut relish.
Mountain Shadow lamb chops with grilled Italian plums, peppers, and organic eggplant, chick peas, red onion mint salsa
Zion Farm arugula, Hood River Organic cantaloupe melon, Columbia Blossom red table grapes, Mariposa Creamery Chubut cow’s milk cheese, reduced white balsamic vinaigrette
Roasted eggplant and crookneck squash soup, sesame tahini, romesco sauce
Fried squash blossoms stuffed with Monterey jack, goat cheese and golden raisins, on tomatillo carrot salsa
Our Dear Christine is on Our Walls
Sometimes the disparate ends of our life come together, and this is a month like that. We are so happy to be looking out from the kitchen each day to the delicate and soulful work of artist Christine Knowles, who is also a dear friend and Gorge treasure.
Christine’s work will be up for the month of September. Even if you aren’t hungry, please come by, wander around the gallery that is our dining room, and enjoy. By the way, 100% of any work you purchase goes directly to the artist. Hint hint.
Memaloose Winery and Nora’s Table: Wine, Views, and Five Courses
This is our second year preparing a five-course dinner paired with Memaloose wines, one of our Gorge favorites. The dinner is Saturday, Sept. 14, on the lawn at the winery, with exquisite views of the Gorge. If you are a wine club member, dinner is but $60, and non-wine club members pay $75. There are still a few seats available, so please call the winery at 360-635-2887.
Here is the menu:
Arrival: Duck rillettes, crostini, cherry chutney, Rose of Sangiovese
Chilled tomato consommé, grilled prawns in pimenton d’esplette, whipped crème fraiche cloud, Chardonnay
Fried green tomatoes with roasted sweet peppers, red onions, buttermilk dressing, candied bacon, Trevitt’s White
Risotto of butternut squash, hazelnuts, sage, robiola fresca cheese, Barbera
Mountain Shadow lamb chops, grilled plums, fig vincotto, Arugula , Cab Franc
Dessert: White chocolate pistachio daqouise, peach coulis, Reisling
Hands Across the Burger
It’s $13. And it’s a burger. Or as some might say, “It’s just a burger, and it’s $13!”
In a world where you can get a burger for $1.99, sometimes we lose track of value. And so, we take you on the journey that brings our burger to your plate.
Hand by hand, here we go. We’re not going to count the hands that raised the steer, or grew the wheat or planted and harvest the mustard seed or red onions. We’re going to start with our staff.
Two hands to break down the whole beef chucks that come from Mountain Shadow Natural Meats in Dufur, and get them ready to grind.
Two hands to grind the beef and shape it into patties.
Two hands to mix the hamburger buns dough and set it up to raise.
Two hands to shape the buns and bake them.
Two hands to make the zucchini pickles.
Two hands to make the red onion pickles.
Two hands to make the ketchup.
Two hands to make the bacon aioli
Two hands to cut the fries and blanch them.
Two hands to cook the burger patty.
Two hands to cook the fries, toast the bun and put it all together on a plate.
Two hands to serve up your burger.
Two hands to wash your dishes.
So by the time you pick up that burger and take the first big bite, know that it takes 24 hands at Nora’s Table alone to bring you what some folks have told us is the best burger they’ve ever had.
Thirteen dollars. We call that a bargain. You can call it dinner.
See you around Nora’s Table.