Easter Sunday: Choose brunch or dinner for spring lamb

This week, we are bringing in a whole spring lamb from Mountain Shadow Meats, and that means very special dishes on our menu for this coming Sunday, Easter, April 20.

We’ll be serving an additional hour for Sunday brunch, from 8 am to 2:00 pm, so if you are coming from Easter services or a morning Easter egg hunt, you’ll have an extra hour to join us. Then we’ll open again at 5:00 pm for dinner as usual.

In addition to our regular breakfast and dinner menus, we’ll have these Easter specials available for both brunch and dinner:

Easter Specials

Strawberry salad, hazelnut black pepper cracker, reduced white balsamic vinaigrette $8

Crab salad with Quercus Farm greens, pepper cress, poached eggs, remoulade sauce $12

Roast leg of lamb, lemon mint relish, with creamed baby new potatoes, English peas and snap peas, $24

Grilled lamb kabobs, carrot, olive and chick pea salad, lemon tahini sauce, $18

Carrot cake, roasted pineapple coulis

Chocolate covered mint ice cream terrine

Strawberry shortcake with white chocolate whipped cream

Dessert Sampler: 3 for $7, 5 for $12
Lemon tart with fresh berries
Mocha truffle
Salted caramel cream puff
Chocolate covered strawberry
Mini lavender creme brulee

Reservations? Oh yeah, that would be good, and so appreciated. You can reserve for breakfast and dinner by calling the restaurant at 541-387-4000. Dinner reservations are also available on line at www.norastable.com or through www.opentable.com.

In Good Company: OpenTable diners pick us

Thanks to local Superman-About-the-Gorge Lee Weinstein for telling us we’re listed on OpenTable as one of the ten “best overall restaurants” in Oregon by users of OpenTable.  See who else is on the list: http://www.opentable.com/best-portland-oregon-restaurants.









Putting the “YUM” in Your Gluten-Fre Breakfast

For all you gluten-free Nora’s Table breakfast fans who look with longing at the waffle with fried chicken and sausage gravy: we are making your dreams come true.

Beginning tomorrow, you can order a gluten-free waffle and gluten-free fried chicken topped with maple bacon BBQ sauce. And it’s crispy, crunchy good.

Get Those Last Seats NOW

Mountain Shadow lamb ribs, slow roasted in Indian spices, grilled with curried Cherry Ort gastrique, grilled naan, and carrot chutney. That’s just ONE of the 7 courses served this Saturday night, April 12, at our wine dinner with Springhouse Cellars. We’re featuring street food from around the world paired with Springhouse wines, at a terrific all-inclusive price: $50 per person.

Procrastinators rejoice: There are still a few seats left, so please call us or the winery to reserve.

New Plates Spring Up On Our Menu This Week

Three crowd favs return to Nora’s menu this week:

  • Fried calamari, napa cabbage, celery, radish, scallions, lime chili vinaigrette and peanuts
  • Crispy pork belly, peanut butter pain perdu, blackberry red chili jam, pickled red cabbage
  • Braised pork shank in sweet bean sauce, rice noodles, Scratch a Lot Farm pac choi

Plus these new (dare we say … world premier?) dishes:

  • Mountain Shadow 12 ounce rib eye steak, asparagus and crimini mushroom ragu, duck demi glace, beurre rouge, High Roost Farm duck egg, blue cheese bread crumbs
  • Hawaiian butterfish, toasted cous cous, kale raab, savory hazelnut, orange chocolate vinaigrette
  • Beef tongue, braised leeks, caper cornichon vinaigrette, grated duck egg
  • Scallops, farro, baby kale, chardonnay-poached sierra figs, fig vin cotto, Windflower Farm arugula

See you soon around Nora’s Table. Next week: our Easter menu.










A Taste of the Street 4/12 at Springhouse

We are very excited to be working with the great crew at Springhouse Cellar to bring you a very special and unusual wine dinner on Saturday, April 12 at 7:00 pm. We’re preparing street food from around the world, and that is NOT, as one wag suggested (yes, Levi, YOU) food lifted from the street, as in possum, armadillo, etc.

No, this is food from the vibrant food carts and street shops of the world, at a price even street urchins can afford: $50 for five  +  courses, wines and gratuity.  Or as they say in the cruise ship world: all inclusive.

And here’s what we’re serving:

Amuse Bouche: 2013 Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay, and from France: ham and mushroom quiche

2012 Columbia Gorge Sauvignon Blanc, and from New Orleans:  Blue crab and Gulf shrimp gumbo

2013 Annala Vineyard Pinot Gris, and from Germany, Currywurst, house-made bratwurst on house-made buns

2011 Columbia Gorge Grenache, and from Greece: Grilled calamari salad with olives and preserved lemons

2011 Columbia Valley Cab Franc, and from India: Cherry Ort-glazed Indian lamb ribs, carrot chutney, grilled naan

2012 Southpaw red blend and from Italy: Eggplant and mozzarella panzarotti (small calzone hand pies)

And for dessert, Cherry Ort and chocolate Florentine cookies

There are still a few seats left. To reserve, please call Nora’s Table at 541-387-4000 or Springhouse at 541-308-0700. The dinner will be at Springhouse Cellars, which if you aren’t from around these parts, is right downtown Hood River. Credit card required for reservations.

That’s all folks. See you soon around Nora’s Table, or down yonder at Springhouse.




Our favorite bowl? Quite possibly

Pork and Green Chili Posole. That’s what’s in our One Pot Wonder for tomorrow, March 12. And you know it’s good when the staff who have the night off are making reservations. Stu and Kathy often serve this dish at Nora’s Table Christmas parties, and so it has very fond memories for us.

Spicy? Yep, kinda, but it won’t melt your lips. It’s loaded with Carlton Farms pork and fire-roasted poblano peppers and tomatillos. And of course, fresh posole, which is maize (corn) that is soaked and cooked in an alkaline solution, such as limewater, and then hulled. If you’ve ever bought hominy, this is like a fresh version of that canned corn. Put them all together with some freshly-made corn and flour tortilla chips, and Ole`!  Have a bowl, plus a green salad, for $15 per person.

Oh thank heavens for our techies

Someone hacked our twitter account earlier this week, and so if you got a tweet from us with links to a site selling diet pills, that wasn’t us. Although it is an interesting business model: we fatten you up, and then sell you pills to slim down.

But that is beside the point. The POINT is that when those nasty pill pushers hacked our account, within minutes, we got two phone calls and Kathy got numerous texts and e-mail messages raising the alarm. All from our technically-inclined local, loyal customers.  Which tells us that yes, people DO read our tweets. And that we are so thankful for such great local friends, our dear nerds, who keep us safe.

Taking it to the Street: Springhouse and Nora’s Table

Springhouse Cellar and Nora’s Table is joining forces for a fun wine dinner on Saturday, April 12. Our theme is street food from around the world. It’s $50 for six courses and wine, all inclusive.  Here’s the menu:

Amuse Bouche: 2013 Celilo Vineyard Chardonnay, and from France: ham and mushroom quiche

2012 Columbia Gorge Sauvignon Blanc, and from New Orleans:  Dungeness crab and Gulf shrimp gumbo

2013 Annala Vineyard Pinot Gris, and from Germany, Currywurst on house-made buns

2011 Columbia Gorge Grenache, and from Greece: Grilled calamari salad with olives and preserved lemons

2011 Columbia Valley Cab Franc, and from India: Cherry Ort-glazed Indian lamb ribs, carrot chutney, grilled naan

2012 Southpaw red blend and from Italy: Eggplant and mozzarella panzarotti (small calzone hand pies)

And for dessert, Cherry Ort and chocolate Florentine cookies

To reserve, please call Nora’s Table at 541-387-4000 or Springhouse at 541-308-0700. The dinner will be at Springhouse Cellars, which if you aren’t from around these parts, is right downtown Hood River. Credit card required for reservations.







Sure sign of spring: Laurel, smiling

It was so great to have Laurel Bourret, the prettiest half of the Wildwood Farm team, come by today with gorgeous purple savoy cabbage. This time of year, we have a deep craving in our bones for local farm produce.

So tonight, that cabbage is going into a new vegetarian entree. Indian kichadis are essentially basmati rice and dahl fried together in ghee  and spices. Ours also includes golden raisins, cashews, purple savoy, and zucchini. We serve it with bibb lettuce leaves and tamarind chutney for you to make lettuce wraps, and with grilled naan.

For our fresh wild sturgeon tonight, we’re sauteing the savoy and tossing it with a warm proscuitto vinaigrette. The lovely pan seared fish will sit on caraway creme fraiche mashed potatoes, and then be dressed with the sauteed cabbage.

Thanks, Tom and Laurel!

Stew by any other name would be meh

There’s stew, and then there’s Stu.

But I digress. Let’s leave that hunky, handsome fellah aside for a minute and just talk about stew. Beef stew, to be exact. And The Mother of All Beef Stews is a tasty little French concoction called Boeuf Bourguignon.

What makes this French version different from other stews, besides the difficulty of wrapping your lips around the pronunciation? It’s extremely silky and rich, made with Mountain Shadow beef, Hood River Organic mushrooms, applewood smoked bacon and pearl onions, a carefully long-reduced beef stock, lots of red wine, all spooned over wide egg noodles. It can make your heart melt, just waving your nose over a bowl of it.

And it can be yours, this Wednesday night, February 26, for our One Pot Wonder. All that and a green salad, for $15 per person. See you there, and yes, reservations are appreciated.

Same yummy brioche, different yummy topping

We know you’d curse our names forever if we took the Louisiana Eggs Benedict or the Bombay Town Fry off the breakfast menu. But some things just deserve a freshening up, and so, we introduce a new way to enjoy our French toast. french toast small

We’re still making our own rich egg bread, but instead of stuffing a huge 2-inch thick slick, we are now dipping thinner slices in our custard batter, frying them, and then spooning a house-made nutella across the slices, with a ramekin of blackberry sauce on the side, just for that added zing. Nutella is an addictive nut butter made from chocolate and roasted hazelnuts.

Give it a try this weekend. We’re still on our winter breakfast hours … Friday, Saturday, 8 to noon and Sunday 8 to 1. Coming soon: May 1, we go to 7 days a week for breakfast, just like last year.

Save the Date for Street Food

Saturday, April 12 join Nora’s Table Chef Kathy Watson and Springhouse Cellars Wine Maker Carey Kienitz as we present “Street Food from Around the World” paired with Springhouse wines. Five courses, $50. Great price, fun food and wine. Call the winery or the restaurant for reservations. Credit card required.

Come see us at the Grand Tasting

Nora’s Table is proud to be catering, for the third year in a row, the Columbia Gorge Wine Growers Association Grand Tasting in Portland Friday April 4, as a kickoff to the sixth annual Passport events, now slated for the whole month of April. Nora’s Table, caterers to the stars.

Guest check-in: Cut fingers and exotic meats

Two athletic coaches from Alaska, husband and wife – let’s call them Bob and Carol – were at Skamania Lodge this past weekend for a coaching conference. Saturday afternoon, and it was time for, what else, an athletic event on TV, which Bob and Carol were watching in their room. Bob got out some snacks, sausage and cheese, and in the course of cutting the sausage with a knife, sliced his hand bad enough that the hand required stitches.

So off went Bob and Carol, towards the Hood River hospital. After getting stitched, Bob and Carol asked around, “Where should we go for dinner?” When they heard “Nora’s Table” from everyone they asked, it seemed to them the only smart thing to do was to head our direction. Which they did.

So that’s how a cut finger at Skamania Lodge can lead to dinner at Nora’s Table.

Stu and Kathy were tasting wine at Syncline on Monday when our delightful tasting assistant told us she brought her aunt in for breakfast recently. The aunt ordered our Louisiana Eggs Benedict with house-made tasso ham. While savoring the tasso, she told her niece, “This must be unicorn, it’s so good!”

And that’s what we call exotic meat at Nora’s Table.

One Pot Wonder this Wednesday: Chicken Tagine

We head to Morocco and parts thereabout on Wednesday for our weekly One Pot Wonder.  We’ll braise those juicy Northwest natural chicken legs and thighs in ras-al hanout spices, lots of apricots, almonds, lemon, olives and a touch of honey, and serve it with toasted Israeli cous cous. And it’s yours, salad included, for $15. Heckova deal.

Thank you, the boulders are gone

Many thanks to those who braved the detour of all detours to come to Hood River last week, due to the rock slide on I-84, just west of Hood River. But ODOT worked through the weekend, and more than 200 truckloads of rock later, there is now one lane open Eastbound, and two lanes open Westbound.

Best mid-winter deal (well, besides out One Pot)

Did you know that on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights you can come in and enjoy our 5-course Chef’s Tasting menu for $30? And if you would like, we’ll pair five wines with those courses for an additional $20. Questions? OK, no, we don’t know in advance what it will be, but it always includes dessert. Everyone at the table needs to order it. It’s a super fun and relaxed way to enjoy noshing through our menu.

Some summer folk were in recently and commented, “Wow, this is the fewest people we have ever seen in here,” beings that they were used to the summer rock and roll. True. So, local friends, if crowds keep you away in summer, this is the perfect time to visit, and we so appreciate it.

Oops, detour to the detour

Newest news on how to get your Valentine to Hood River comes from ODOT’s trip check. Best alternative from Portland is to take the Glen Jackson Bridge (I-205) to Washington, and then just as you cross the river, turn right on Hwy14. Follow that until you come to the Hood River Interstate Bridge, and then cross over to Hood River. Return home via I-84, since there is still a Westbound lane open.  Here is the ODOT report:

All lanes on I-84 EB are closed from MP 17 (Troutdale) to MP 61.5 due to a land slide. Left lane WB closed at MP 61.5 to MP 60.

All Interstate 84 EB lanes at exit 17 in Troutdale and one WB at milepost 61, three miles west of Hood River will remain closed while crews clean up a slide at milepost 61. No time has been set for re-opening. Alternate routes are I-205 NB to Washington state SR14 EB to Hood River Bridge back to I-84 and U.S. 26 (Mount Hood Highway) EB to OR 35 NB to I-84 in Hood River. Expect possible heavy traffic, delays and backups on these routes. Oversized loads are NOT allowed on SR-14 between Washougal and Hood River; SR-14 is NOT an allowed alternate route for oversized loads. ODOT will staff the EB closure at Troutdale 24/7 to allow local residents ONLY to proceed to Cascade Locks. Local residents should be prepared to show ID. Other access points are Historic Columbia River Highway, and SR-14 to Bridge Of The Gods.

Alternate route bypasses slide

If you’re planning to come from the Portland/Vancouver metro area to Hood River for Valentine’s Day and the whole long extended three-day weekend, come right on out. Yes, a rockslide has closed I-84 Eastbound just a couple of miles West of Hood River. (One West-bound lane is still open.)
But there’s a pretty painless detour: When you get to Cascade Locks, take Bridge of the Gods over to Washington Hwy 14, which runs right along the Columbia River. When you get to White Salmon/Bingen, then take the Hood River Interstate Bridge right back across the Columbia right into downtown Hood River.

When you return home, you’ll be able to take I-84 all the way back, since one lane is open Westbound near the rockslide area.

Besides breakfast and dinner at Nora’s Table, our winery tasting rooms are open on both sides of the river. For instance, Domaine Pouillon is opening their brand new tasting room, and Marchesi Vineyards is releasing their new Primitivo.

So don’t let a few boulders keep you away.

The thaw and the Grouper are on for Valentine’s Days

Yes, DAYS, because we will be serving our fabulous Valentine’s menu on both Friday and Saturday nights, giving you options (Seeing as how it’s already getting very congested on our reservation book for Friday at 6:00-7:00 pm.)

And by Friday, the roads will be so very clear, for those of you planning an expedition from Portland.

And here’s some of what you’ll see on our menu:

Small Plates

  • Lover’s cheese plate
  • Soup:  Caramelized onion and roasted mushroom
  • Kumquat salad, celeriac, frisse, crumbled chevre, honey walnuts, meyer lemon vinaigrette
  • Punjabi taco, Mountain Shadow lamb, grilled naan, red onion date chutney, turnip raita, red cabbage
  • Scallops, lemongrass risotto rice cakes, citrus miso vinaigrette, radish salad
  • Mussels in Goan curry with grilled naan

Main courses:

  • Filet mignon, blue cheese smashed red potatoes, corn flour onion rings, roasted Brussels sprouts
  • Mango chipotle grilled chicken breast satays, tortilla avocado jicama salad, lime tequilla vinaigrette
  • Fresh grouper fillet,  grilled asparagus, squash and sweet pepper bread salad with walnuts and coriander
  • Lamb shank osso bucco, pappardelle pasta
  • Ricotta dumplings, roasted butternut squash, hazelnuts, brown butter and sherry, grana cheese, fried sage
  • Nora’s burger and veggie burger


  • Chocolate tiramisu, chocolate sauce and creme anglaise
  • Passion fruit  pavlova, brandied raspberries
  • Coconut flan, roasted pineapple

Get your one-pot oxtail on a cold night

Yeah, we love a nice steak, too. But our favorite beef on a cold night is something slow braised, and the best piece of beef in the world for just such a dish is beef oxtail. It makes its own rich, deep flavored jus as it braises, which we’re enhancing with red wine, fresh thyme, tomatoes, celery, onions and carrots, for a hearty Italian ragu, served on pappardelle pasta, with a green salad.  All for $15 per person, tomorrow, Wednesday, February 12.

What else happens this Wednesday? We’re unveiling our new tabletops in the dining room. Tell us if you like our new look.

Nora’s Frostjack Grenache: What you DON’T know

Quick: what’s the number one grown red wine grape in the world, by acreage? If you guessed Cab Sauv or Merlot, you could be right. (Numbers aren’t always easy to tabulate, now that China and India are starting to cultivate wine grapes.)

But right there are number two or three in volume is a grape you probably don’t know a lot about, even though you’ve probably quaffed a fair amount of it unawares. It’s Grenache. It’s the biggest volume grape in most Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, and because Washington State has such a love affair with Rhone wines, a lot of Grenache is growing right in our backyard.

It’s one of those lighter reds, like Pinot Noir or Primitivo, which makes it a great choice with food. Except that by itself, it sometimes lacks a certain acidity that we love in food wines.

That’s why we really like Springhouse Cellar’s Grenache, because it has a nice acid balance, and we love it with many of the dishes we make at Nora’s.

We’ve even created our own label: Nora’s Frostjack Grenache. What the heck, you say? If you go out in the snow and cold and start your car, and leave it there to warm up, and someone steals it, it’s been Frostjacked. So, this Grenache is like a hot car with its motor running, just itching for a fast ride. Try it this Valentine’s Day with our new chicken satay salad, or our lamb shank ossobuco.  You can order a split (in the fancy Springhouse refillable bottle) or by the glass.