Some nice weather and the advent of June have combined to give us a good list of food news and events for you this week.
Since Lake Taco first opened in 2014, they have been known as one of the most authentic Mexican restaurants in Hood River. One example is written on a chalk board sign in the restaurant entrance. The sign and the message has followed them from their previous location on the Heights to their new home in downtown. The message reads, “We do not mass produce for speed or compromise our quality for volume.”The family-owned business is a favorite of every visitor who walks through the front door from high school students to former NBA superstars like Scottie Pippen.
Maria Rivas-Ortega and Enrique Ortega started their restaurant after getting pressure from their children Luis, 26; Pablo, 20; and Itcel, 16. “My middle son used to tell me all the time, ‘Mom, you need to make a restaurant’,” said Maria. At first, she was hesitant to open her own, working and seeing other restaurants struggle. As the owner the Gorge Taxi Service, Enrique was working nearly 24-hours a day. Opening their own establishment had always been a dream, but it was just that until one day Maria was driving home and spotted a “For Rent” sign out front of 1213 June St. Maria said she knew the previous owners sold hamburgers, so there would be existing infrastructure to accommodate their dreams of opening their own restaurant. She floated the idea to Enrique, and the discussion was brief. They approached the owner to rent out the building and just like that, Lake Taco opened their doors to the community.
“At first, we opened the restaurant and we wanted to do something completely different from all the Mexican restaurants that were here. And for me, as a Mexican, the Mexican food with which I grew up was fresh food without a lot of fats,” said Maria. “I wanted to preserve traditions, in other words, serve fresher and more authentic food. And some of our clients’ favorite things are the tacos, fish tacos, shrimp tacos, the Garnachas, the Huaraches, the burritos, because we use tortillas without preservatives.”
The family operated the restaurant for almost nine years before they started to outgrow the location. As their kids grew up helping around the place, so did their business. They expanded to include an outdoor seating area, they began catering for parties and but felt they were still being missed by potential customers. Even with bright pink and purple exterior paint, the restaurant was just far enough off the beaten path that visitors would often miss the building completely. Sandwiched between 12th and 13th streets, their previous location was far enough off the roads that made it difficult to see while driving. Then an opportunity arose.
The building at 606 Oak St. in downtown Hood River became available when Evoke Winery opted for a move up the street. The location also housed Brian’s Pourhouse for a decade and again had the necessary equipment to house what they wanted to do. Prior to their move, someone suggested starting a GoFundMe, but Maria said they felt bad asking for money. So she reached out to Gabriel Muro at The Next Door, who directed them to Kickstarter.
“I didn’t know about Kickstart beforehand. Then [Gabriel] said, ‘Look, this is an option where people give to you, but you give something in return.’ And I really liked the idea because I have always believed that if someone gives you something, you give something in return and be grateful,” said Maria.
In conjunction with The Next Door and Kickstarter, they created a support system, where, depending on the amount, donors would receive a token of gratitude from the business. Maria made sure to also thank Becky Brun and Janet Hamada for their help organizing the fundraiser.
Donors could chose from different amounts that would give them gifts, recognition or exclusive access to free meals. Donations ranged from $15, where donors would be given two free meals with a drink, and went up to $2,500 — in exchange for a meal and a drink every week for a year, a sneak peek at special dishes, and their name at the top of the wall of recognition.
The Kickstarter exploded, and Lake Taco met their fundraising goal in one month. More than 400 people donated a total of $48,562 — more than $8,000 more than their original goal. Enrique says with the extra donations he can now open his tortiallia. He will be able to make the same homemade tortillas with a machine, rather doing each one by hand. Enrique was taught by his mother how to make the tortillas.
In January, they finally opened their new location and hosted a Kickstarter party inviting those who donated to attend and show their gratitude.
“I am still very grateful because they made our dream a reality. Because if we had not been able to meet our goal, we would have had to close the old location permanently,” said Maria.
As the family reflects on their past, they are beginning to think bigger. Maria said that when the tortilla machine arrives they have their sights set on expanding their traditions beyond the Columbia River Gorge.
“Once the tortilla machine arrives, we want to make a brand of organic flour tortillas and sell them throughout the Northwest,” said Maria. “And why not, maybe we will try a location in Portland.”
Enrique chimed in and said that won’t be anytime soon, but he is anticipating the tortilla machine arriving this summer.
In the meantime, Lake Taco is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The family also offers catering services for private parties.
Story and photos by Noah Noteboom. Video by Kevin Tokstad
This story was made possible with the assistance of Radio Tierra, Lake Taco and Maria Rivas-Ortega and Enrique Rivas. This story and interview will be read in Spanish. Tune in to 95.1 FM (Hood River), 95.9 FM (Stevenson), 96.7 FM (Carson), 107.1 FM (Parkdale) or 107.7 FM (The Dalles) on Friday, May 26 at 9 a.m. to hear the interview and story live on-air.
Happy Thursday! We have a few bits of local food news and info heading into this holiday weekend.
Photo by Backwoods Brewing
So much for spring, it was a nice two days we had there! We have apparently jumped straight into summer and skipped the wet/hot/cool/repeat season. Here’s our weekly list of tidbits to keep you well-cooled, well-fed, and well-hydrated.
Photos by Grasslands Barbecue and Kickstand Coffee & Kitchen
With a spring in our step and love in our hearts, it’s going to be a fantastic weekend to celebrate Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day Happenings
Tulip photo by Grateful Vineyard
Rhubarb: an underappreciated culinary wonder
Story and photos by Sarah Harper
Rhubarb is an underappreciated culinary wonder that emerges as the coziness of winter melts away. While the Gorge wildflowers begin to bloom, the local markets are graced with rhubarb, showcasing its red, pink, and pale green stalks.
But you might be thinking, “What the heck do I do with rhubarb?” So let's dive into the basics of this prolific springtime crop.
What is Rhubarb?
While rhubarb is technically a vegetable, most people use it like fruit. Rhubarb season is from April to June, and the Pacific Northwest is gifted a second season in July. We eat its perennial pinkish-red stalks, unlike its leaves - which we avoid due to high concentrations of oxalic acid.
How Does Rhubarb Taste?
Raw rhubarb is stringy and crunchy, similar to celery, but with a harsh, lip-puckering flavor. Yet, when cooked, the rhubarb becomes more palatable. Its texture softens, and the flavors mellow. Moreover, this lovely tart flavor is extra tasty when paired with something sweet.
How to Use Rhubarb
Pairing rhubarb and strawberries in sweet desserts is familiar to many. Not only do strawberries and rhubarb peak around the same time, but the sweetness of the strawberries balances the sourness of the rhubarb.
Now you might ask, “What can I do with rhubarb that isn't pie?” Rhubarb is a versatile ingredient that can enhance the flavors of many savory dishes like pork chops and roast chicken. You can even get creative with a lemony rhubarb salsa spooned over your fish tacos.
How to Store Rhubarb
Store unwashed rhubarb in the refrigerator. You can wrap it loosely in aluminum foil or use a produce bag. Properly stored, rhubarb can last 2 to 3 weeks. Want to use your rhubarb year-round? Just slice and freeze the stalks or make a delicious rhubarb compote.
Honey Rhubarb Compote
One of my favorite ways to enjoy rhubarb is in a Honey Rhubarb Compote.
Notably, my Honey Rhubarb Compote is superb when blended into smoothies, incorporated into yogurt parfaits, or whisked into a Lemony Vinaigrette.
Rhubarb Recipes to Try This Spring
Here is a link to my Honey Rhubarb Compote recipe and other easy (non-dessert) recipes. These will keep you enjoying rhubarb all season long.
Now that you know the ins and outs of rhubarb, the next time you see it at the market, grab a few stalks and get cooking!
Sarah Harper is a Registered Dietitian, creator, and one of many eaters behind The Addy Bean. She is also an avid hiker, a registered yoga instructor, and a former nursing home dietitian.
Based in Hood River, Oregon, Sarah lives with her husband Jacob, her dog Huey and her blog’s namesake – her cat Adeline.
I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy to see the end of a month – goodbye April and hello May! Here’s a quick roundup of bits to start the month, including Cinco de Mayo events around the Gorge. Drop a note in the comments if we’ve missed something that you’d like to share.
Votum Restaurant is hosting a special dinner with Dwinell Country Ales. Make your reservations on TOCK or call Votum at 541-645-3465
Bette’s is now open on Mondays, 5:30am-2pm!
Mt Hood BBQ and Columbia Gorge Crepes will be providing food at The Ruins May 9 5:30-9:30pm, where The Colin Trio and Megan Alder & The Woods will be playing.
Jacob Williams Winery is hosting Mother’s Day Bubbles & Brunch Sunday, May 14 from 11am-1pm. Three courses of delicious “High Tea” inspired dishes. Come dressed to impress.
Crush Cider is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a tap takeover by Finnriver Cider. Friday, May 5 4:40-8:30pm.
DJ Tony will be at Ixtapa Friday night.
Backwoods Brewing is introducing Cerveza del Rio, a Mexican lager, on Cinco de Mayo.
Grateful Vineyard will have live music with Joel Valle on Friday from 4pm to close.
Cinco de Mayo party at Kickstand Friday from 5pm to close. Live mariachi with Nortenos de La Sierra.
Hood River Common House is throwing a Cinco de Mayo party from 6pm to close Friday night.
Photo by Love & Hominy Tacos
f I’m really, really quiet I can almost hear the collective sigh of relief as everyone across the Gorge peeks outside and stretches toward the sun. Who knows how long this beautiful weather will last - let’s enjoy it while we have it. Here are your Thursday Tidbits for this week.
Top photo by Grateful Vineyards. Bottom photo by Dani's Kitchen Shop.
edeske patisserie new storefront
Story by Laurel Brown
Photos by Laurel Brown
Whether you’re craving something sweet or planning a fancy party, Edeske Patisserie has you covered. The microbatch dessert shop recently opened a new storefront in downtown Hood River and are eager to share their authentic Belgian Chocolates and pastries with the community.
When I arrived to interview Co-Owners of Edeske Tamara Bartucz Biscardi and James Biscardi, I was greeted with warm smiles and a fresh cup of espresso. The couple were welcoming and truly kind, letting their passion for their work soak into every detail of their stories. From meeting on a ship in the Arctic to their mid-pandemic wedding in Hungary, they have come a long way in just a short time and I am excited to see how Edeske evolves over the next few years.
“Edeske” is Hungarian for “sweet little thing,” a personal touch from Tamara who is Hungarian. Their shop logo, a ginkgo biloba leaf, is also symbolic; her grandmother had a ginkgo biloba tree in her yard growing up, so both the name and logo are a sweet reminder of her roots. Tamara chose to study chocolates and desserts in the Netherlands beginning around the age of 20, where she focused as a pastry chef for four years and spent an extra year to master chocolate.
Her style lends to the shop’s identity as a patisserie and chocolatier rather than a bakery. “I chose pastries because I like to work with my hands and being able to create things. The chocolates and flavors give me room to be creative. The possibilities with desserts and chocolates is endless. Plus I like sweet stuff,” she said.
After moving to Hood River in early 2021, the two rented an incubator kitchen at Columbia Gorge Community College where Edeske began. Tamara’s chocolates and desserts quickly became a local favorite, particularly at the Hood River Farmer’s Market, and their new location is just a staircase away from the market lot. Both Tamara and James were adamant about the market’s support of Edeske since the start. “We got to see what other people have to sell and meet customers and local produce growers from the orchards in the Fruit Loop,” said James.
From seeing and sampling produce options to meeting local farmers and establishing community relationships, the market was a key place for them to make connections and find ingredients they could source locally. “The agriculture is the whole reason we picked Hood River. We pick our own fruits as well as the orchards and farms we work with,” Tamara said.
The owner-couple duo gathered such a positive response from the public that investing in a storefront in Hood River just made sense. “The community, especially the farmer’s market, has been incredible and they are really excited for us. Everyone has been so supportive, it makes Hood River the perfect place for our shop,” said Tamara, who is also Head Pastry Chef. She is excited to teach the community about her own styles and inspirations.
Tamara and James met in 2018 while both were working for the high end luxury cruise line Lindblad Expeditions. Tamara usually worked in 3-month intervals as the Head Pastry Chef while James worked as the company’s Videographer, traveling from ship to ship collecting footage for marketing and promotions. That year they met on a boat in the Arctic and fell in love.
After making long-distance work for about two years, the couple made plans to finally be together. Tamara sold all of her belongings and prepared for her last trip working for Lindblad, but when they arrived back home after the excursion, Covid was in full swing and international borders rapidly closing. She was forced to remain aboard the ship for another 8 weeks and had to push back any plans of visiting James. When she finally was allowed off the ship, Tamara found herself with no home, belongings, or job, so she moved in with family during the pandemic. She made a pact with James that one would visit the other as soon as one of their borders opened.
That border happened to be Hungary’s, and James snapped into action booking flights and reading international travel guidelines until he made it to her hometown. In 2020, James and Tamara got married with a small group of her family members in a centuries-old Turkish castle. “We tried to set up a livestream for my family back home but I set the camera up assuming everyone would be sitting, and everyone was standing, so it didn’t turn out so great,” James laughed.
Prior to getting married, the two had traveled the state of Oregon looking for the right place to settle in the future. They considered places like Bend, The Dalles, and Portland, but Hood River had the homey feeling and community clientele that was perfect for their vision. They acquired the LLC for Edeske Patisserie in 2021. “We got the LLC as soon as we moved in,” James said, also mentioning that they recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of the business.
James and Tamara recently finished their kitchen build, complete with natural light and precise temperature control. The storefront is simple with an open layout so that guests can observe the chocolate-making process in real time. On a clear day, you can catch a view of the Gorge cliffs and the Columbia River.
Though they are excited to experiment and expand, they offer a range of desserts including chocolates, tartlets, croissants, authentic French-style macarons, layered mousse cakes, and extravagant dessert tables. “You can’t find what we do anywhere near here. Maybe if you drive to Portland you’ll find a few options,” James said. “We have ultra-refined recipes that Tamara has developed for years, and our new shop will allow for more styles and versatility.”
Items like mousse cakes and dessert spreads are available for custom order for large parties and weddings. “I will just ask you your favorite flavors and find a way to build them together,” Tamara said excitedly. She explained that her authentic macarons are naturally gluten free, and she can specialize her desserts for any kind of allergies.
Edeske is just beginning to blossom with their new storefront but you can still catch them at events such as Cider Fest and Mosier Spring Fest. “Right now our big focus is on being able to successfully open the storefront and scale up. We need to establish our presence in downtown and then work to build the business up,” James elaborated. They both agreed that quality over quantity is their priority.
Sustainability is also a priority at Edeske, and they plan to offer a discount for customers who return with their chocolate box for a refill rather than purchasing new packaging. The boxes are custom-made to snuggly fit the delicate sweets and avoid any movement or breaking during transportation. Another future goal the couple has is to find the best way to ship their chocolates outside of the Pacific Northwest region, as temperature changes affect the consistency and longevity of the chocolates.
When asked about her favorite dessert to make, Tamara struggled to pick just one. “My favorite thing to make is the layered mousse cake and then cutting into it because it’s one full dessert with separate flavors that you can taste on their own or together. I purposefully place each flavor for how you eat through the cake, and it’s labelled so you always know what you’re eating. I also love seeing the chocolates when they first come out,” she shared.
I enjoyed some of their amazing chocolates after the interview and, similarly to Tamara’s dilemma, I couldn’t pick just one favorite. My top must-try chocolates are the passion fruit dark-milk ganache, cookie butter, and Irish coffee with bourbon, and my overall experience pre-opening was divine. Edeske Patisserie is now open Thursday through Sunday from 9 A.M. to 3 P.M. in downtown Hood River, 512 Cascade Avenue. Their official grand opening is planned for Mother’s Day and all other events are regularly updated on their captivating Instagram, @edeske_patisserie. They welcome contact via social media, email, or phone at (514) 716-1661.
To help support the Hood River Area Trail Stewards (HRATS) Family Man rebuild in Post Canyon, seven local breweries have concocted special edition beers for the spring. The breweries plan to donate proceeds from each Family Man pint to the HRATS project.
The Family Man Staging Area in Post Canyon has undergone clear-cutting and mulching over the last several months to both prepare the land for new trails and aid in forest health. The trails and jumps will be made more family-friendly, with trails for people of all abilities and flat areas to practice other biking skills. Currently, the Family Man area does not offer a wide enough range of difficulty levels, so adding more intermediate jumps and progressions will make the trails more accessible to kids and first-timers who want to work on their mountain biking skills.
In an effort to fundraise for the project, HRATS paired with local breweries to craft a Family Man-inspired beer. Until May 31, the public is invited to vote for their favorite Family Man beer from one of the following breweries: Thunder Island Brewing, Double Mountain Brewery & Cidery, Full Sail Brewing, Everybody’s Brewing, Mountain View Brewing, Ferment Brewing, and Freebridge Brewing.
Each spring beer is uniquely influenced by the nuances of mountain biking and the Family Man vibe. A portion of sales from each Family Man Beer will be donated by the individual breweries to the HRATS Family Man trail rebuild project. Full Sail Brewing Company has pledged $1 per pint of their brew, the El Dorado Pale Ale, to be donated to HRATS. Each participating brewery should have QR codes available for voting, but be sure to try them all first because you can only vote once!
photo and article by Laurel Brown
Hood River Lavender Farms is now offering lavender vanilla ice cream, with hints of honey and naturally colored using Ube powder. Available at the farm Thursday through Sunday.
Votum Restaurant is hosting Solena Estate for a special dinner Monday, Apr 24. Seating is limited so make your reservations soon.
Deb’s Kitchen will be serving brunch at Working Hands Fermentation starting April 22. Bring your eggy desires and a thirst for Mango Cidermosas.
Fresh asparagus has arrived at Packer Orchards two days early. $2.99/lb cut and bundled.
The goats are back at Draper Girls Country Farm. Stop by to say hello daily 10-4.
Double Mountain introduces a new special pizza, The Spring Chicken, loaded with arugula & basil walnut pesto, roasted chicken, sundried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, finished with a balsamic glaze.
The burger of the week at Red Bluff Tap House is the Banh Mi Burger! A house made Jalepeno Banh Mi Slaw with just the right amount of fresh Banh Mi Sauce make this burger one not to miss.
Local Rhoots is hiring! Do you love organization, have people skills and can manage multiple moving parts at once? The Front of House Manager position is open and they want to hear from you.
Freebridge Brewing is hosting a coaster making class tonight at 6pm. Open to all ages, $5.
Thursday is pitcher-pie night at Grateful Vineyard. $35.
Grasslands Barbecue is now offering catering! Giant trays of smoked meats and crowd pleasing sides that are perfect for rehearsal dinners, staff parties, and any other excuse you come up with to get your friends together.
Want to make sure you have a seat? Celilo and Solstice are now accepting reservations through Tock.
The food truck at Wy’East Vineyards is open Friday to Sunday 12-5pm.
Votum Restaurant now open
Chef Sarah Doyle, pictured above, and Maitre d’hotel Nathan Ricks have opened Votum Restaurant in downtown Hood River.
By Laurel Brown, Columbia Gorge News
HOOD RIVER — Votum Restaurant is now open and accepting reservations for their fine dining experience. Chef Sarah Doyle and Maitre d’hotel Nathan Ricks first developed the idea for Votum after meeting at Manresa, a three Michelin Star restaurant in Los Gatos, Calif., that recently closed. Together, the duo returned to Oregon in 2019 and soon after leased the ground floor of the Masonic Lodge in downtown Hood River. They built the restaurant by hand, including a modern open-kitchen that features two deck ovens for bread and pastry production as well as a saltwater live tank for their fresh seafood ingredients.
Doyle’s cuisine showcases seasonal seafood from the Pacific Northwest and around the world; she sources locally milled flour for house made bread and procures seeds for bespoke herbs and vegetables grown by local farmers. Maintaining relationships with local fishermen, ranchers and shellfish farmers is important to her business structure, which comes together to offer a handmade and house cultured experience to residents and visitors of the Gorge.
Votum offers guests a nine-course tasting menu and a la carte options, combining traditional techniques with modern plating and sensibilities. Perennial dishes such as the forest risotto and Manhattan steak anchor the always-changing seasonal seafood offerings. The wine list highlights the best of Burgundy, German Riesling, vintage Bordeaux and a carefully curated selection of local offerings.
With white linen table cloths and servers in suits, Votum aims to transport guests to a more refined place and time with old-world experiences and cutting-edge cuisine.
Reservations can be made online votum restaurant or via phone at 541-645-3465.
Tired and stressed from tax prep and worn down by the rainy weather this week? Here’s our weekly list of tidbits to help you refresh and rejuvenate your palate and soul.
Willow Wine Cellars is offering oysters with their tastings this Saturday, April 15 from 12-4pm. $25/6 oysters + tasting. Email Brendan.email@example.com to reserve.
Fish People is hosting a Crab Boil event on April 26th with chefs Elona Trogub and Dustin Nielsen. Get your tickets here
Save the date: Hood River Farmers' Market kicks off for the 2023 core season on May 6th! The market will be open every Saturday, 9am - 1pm, at 501 Columbia Street - across from Full Sail Brewing - through November.
Solera is celebrating their 11th birthday today with a party featuring Bonneville Power Trio! April 13 at 5pm. Congratulations and thanks for all the great beer!
Jacob Williams Winery is now carrying all beef pepperoni sticks from Goldendale’s favorite custom meat shop, Siebert Custom Slaughter & Meats LLC. The Original recipe and the Original with cheese pair beautifully with their Syrah and Merlot!
Don’t miss The Pines 1852 Wine Club Party Saturday at the tasting room Saturday night. Live music by Dan Boller & friend from 4-6pm. Hors d’œuvres, club pick ups, and plenty of wine.
Freebridge Brewing is releasing their Black and Blueberry Gose, infused with Oregon Black Currant and Willamette Valley Blueberries! Nicely Tart with a subtle salty sweet finish.
We can’t wait to try the new seasonal salad at Boda’s Kitchen. Their North African chickpea salad is packed with shredded chicken, chickpeas, preserved lemon, red peppers, red onions and spices.
Find another gorgeous spring salad at Gorges Beer. Their Spring Panzanella is filled with arugula, shaved carrots, asparagus, cucumber, radish, fennel, Brussel sprouts, asparagus, sunflower seeds, and croutons, tossed in an herbed buttermilk dressing.
Ferment Brewing is bringing back Lost in Fragaria, a wild batch fruited strawberry sour ale. This clean, rich, fruity, and refreshing American sour is made with Oregon strawberries and dry hopped with Hüll Melon.
Send any tidbits you have our way, we'd love to hear from you!
Hood River Winery reopens
Hood River Winery reopens By Laurel Brown, Columbia Gorge News
Though it’s been a long four years, Hood River Vineyards and Winery is again open to the public. After a wildfire destroyed the main building and some of the vines on property in 2019, the winery is once again ready to host tastings in their brand-new hospitality space.
The new building is beautiful and inviting, made of Douglas fir and open to natural light with great views of the vineyard. The woodgrain on the bar top is stunning, finished with a warm shine and simple light fixtures. Bernard Lerch, owner and winemaker, is eager to share his wines, ports, and sherries with visitors, as well as the new space for which he worked hands-on as the general contractor. Once the kitchen construction is completed, he also aims to feature a simple menu with items like cold sandwiches for lunch or dinner. In the future, Lerch sees potential to host more involved dinner nights with wine pairings, and possibly small weddings or events.
Hood River Winery technically reopened its doors in August 2022, but Lerch wants to continue to get the word out that the vineyard is thriving and ready for guests. Upon arriving, visitors might notice the lingering cleanup still required from years of construction. However, Lerch wants to reassure people not to be shy — find the easiest place to park and enjoy the new building, delicious wines, and wonderful company. They are open every day from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., located at 4693 Westwood Drive in Hood River.
Based on all of the fun Easter events on our list this week, it looks like the Easter Bunny will be hippity hopping all over the gorge this weekend!
All the fun things are happening at Packer Orchards this weekend, including an Easter egg hunt on April 7 and 8 at 10am. Get your tickets now for the family style buffet breakfast Saturday morning before the egg hunt. Doors open at 8:30 and breakfast starts at 9. Tickets at https://packerorchards.com/breakfast-with-the-bunny
The Gorge Canoe Club and the Cascade Locks PTO are hosting a Pancake Breakfast and Egg Hunt this Saturday at the Port of Cascade Locks Marine Park Pavilion. Breakfast starts at 9:00 am.
Head to Carson for Bunnies & Brunch in the Backwoods with Backwoods Brewing Company. The brunch is sold out but the Easter Egg hunt is on at 9am.
Crooked Tree Tavern at Cooper Spur Mountain Resort is offering free champagne with their Easter Brunch. Call 541-652-6692 for reservations.
White Salmon Lions are hosting an Easter Egg Hunt at Rheingarten Park on Saturday, April 8 at 10am. Bring your own basket.
Pine Street Bakery has Easter goodies for your Easter cuties - decorated cookies, cookie decorating kits, hot cross buns, bird nest cupcakes, and more.
Create your own Easter Goodies with Easter DIY kits from Dani’s Kitchen, available Friday from 10-2!
Divots is hosting an Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 9 from 10:30 to 2pm, reservations are recommended.
Visit Arome this Friday April 7 to celebrate 6 years in downtown Hood River. Janice will be cooking up food samples from 4-6pm and they are offering 20% off all Arome branded products, gourmet food, and kitchen wares.
Phelps Creek Vineyard is hosting First Thursday After Hours at their tasting room from 5-7 on April 6. Come to network and enjoy an evening together.
Walking Man Brewing has switched over to spring hours and is open 3-9 on Wednesday and Thursday, and 12-9 Friday through Sunday. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Skamania Lodge is hosting a private wine dinner featuring Domaine Pouillon Winery, April 13. Get your tickets at https://www.skamania.com/things_to_do_in_washington_state/wine_dinner/
The spring pasta special at Solstice is fresh casarecce pasta, charred asparagus, spring peas, pea shoots, lemon, shallots, garlic, chili flake & cream sauce.
As we say goodbye to winter weather and creep ever so closer to April we are looking forward to dining and drinking outdoors in warmer weather. What are you looking forward to most about spring? For now, let’s celebrate all of the delicious food news in the gorge.
The MAMA BULLDOG BURGER is a one-night only special this Friday at Backwoods Brewing Company. It features a smoked pineapple relish, bacon jam and Swiss cheese. Don’t miss out! Come out for Last Friday on March 31!
Drink your way to a better bike park! Mt. View Brewing is raising money to improve the Family Man biking park with sales of their special edition Family Mountain Man beer. Enjoy a pint at Grateful Vineyards with their new Carlos Pizza.
Make your way to Henni's for Happy Hour from 4:30 to 5:30 and enjoy their new "Plum Blossom" cocktail, featuring damson plum gin, Campari, dolin blanc, and orange peel.
Don’t miss the Grasslands Barbecue “2-Year Anniversary Hootenanny” this Saturday, April 1st at the Hood River Waterfront.
Congratulations to Blue Bus Kombucha, now available at New Seasons Markets.
Pizza Leona in White Salmon is celebrating spring with a new Primavera Olive pie, topped with green olive tapenade base, artichoke hearts and red onion.
Find what you need at the Hood River Farmer’s Market from 10am to noon this Saturday, under the Ferment Brewing tasting room.
Boda’s Kitchen is joining forces with Stave & Stone Winery for their Spring Wine Dinner on April 14th. Visit the Stave & Stone website to purchase tickets.
Got some extra space in your freezer? Now is a great time stock up for summer grillin’ season and all your favorite meals and harvest the savings. Treebird Market is running a stock up and save big event - buy 10 packs of ground beef and get 33% off.
Crepe fans take note - Columbia Gorge Crepes will not be parking their food cart in its usual spot this year. You can still find them at the Hood River Farmers Market and at special events.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for Mike’s Ice Cream! The famous local ice cream stand is opening April 1 – that’s this Saturday! - for their 37th year.
Pine Street Bakery is now offering matcha, sourced from a solar powered farm in Shizuoka, Japan. Come on in and enjoy at their new espresso bar.
There is a lot at steak this Friday at The Pines 1852. It will be your last chance to enjoy Smoke Wring BBQ at their tasing room from 5-8pm. They will also have music by Brigid’s Crossing from 6-9pm.
Can you help? Fish Food Bank is looking for a few things.
- Paper shopping bags with handles - PLEASE! Clients use these when shopping for food if they don't have their own bags. We double-bag to provide strength for the items they're bringing home with them. Bags should be in good shape, handles intact. Please drop them off any time - if we're not around, you can leave them in the donation bin at the front of the building.
- A large bulletin board: 3'W x 4'H, or 2'W x 3'W (larger preferred).
Solstice Hood River Moroccan Beef Stew is gone in just 2-weeks. Be sure to get this favorite before the seasonal dish ends until next year! Available on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Grasslands Barbecue “2-Year Anniversary Hootenanny” Saturday, April 1st. A huge whole Hog , special guests and live music. Ferment Brewing will offer beer to pair with a fest of whole hog, pork or beef ribs, fancy chickens and all the favs. Start your day Hood River Farmers Market in the morning at 10:00 a.m. and continue the party @Grass Valley Barbecue! Bring your lawn chairs, enjoy live music and spend the day!
La Esquina Del Gorge is a new food truck located in the Hood River Heights, in the same pod as the Solstice truck, Belmont & 12th. Go check them out- delicious Mexican style burgers, fish tacos, and more!
Crushcider Cafe Just updated the tap list online with the ciders to start this weekend, including the weekend special, gorditas. A highlight of one of the four new ciders: Crush Cider is offering Winter Nellis with local pears from Hood River valley fermented dry and aged for a year. Crisp + effervescent with a clean finish.
Mt. Hood BBQ has been selling out of their pot pies. They offer in both chicken and Beef Brisket. Pick one up hot or frozen to cook later. They also have a special 3-meat sampler on homemade slaw. Brisket, Pulled Pork, Burnt Ends, Tri Tip or chicken.
Elk Ridge Restaurant in Carson is now Open Wednesday thru Sunday from 7 am to 4 pm for both Breakfast and Lunch. Located at 1 St Martins Springs Rd, Carson, WA 98610 www.carsonhotspringswashington.com
Dani's Kitchen Shop April classes are live on the website. Grab your tickets for Thursday evenings in April for baking fun!
I also hear Girl Scout cookies are popping up! Time to look for your scout and order a box two! Thin mint baked donuts were available at Moby Coffee Roasters in Parkdale. Hoping they make more!
FOR SALE: A mention of two favorite businesses who are selling.
Pour Girls in Odell is selling as well as Sweet things by Julie who is based in Bingen, Wash. We will be sorry to see them go and wish them the best in their new endeavors. If you know of an interested buyer please contact them or the realtor for more information.
Planning an EASTER special menu? Let Hood River Eats know soon!
T & T Coffee and Bagels
T & T Coffee and Bagels brings friends together
By Chelsea Marr, Columbia Gorge News/Hood River Eats.
Tabatha Abrams and Tara Woolsey, above, are co-Owners of T&T Coffee and Bagels.
THE DALLES — Tara Woolsey of The Dalles and Tabatha Abrams of Lyle are both first cousins and good friends. The two worked together for several years at Petite Provence in The Dalles, so it was not unusual for these two to collaborate on a business venture.
Their families are close — including kids and partners — and the two wanted a place to hang out together when working. The coffee hut, located at 405 W. Second St., became available at just the right time.
Coffee seemed perfect to build the business around. T&T Coffee and Bagels started business in October. “Along with our personalities, we serve a wide variety of bagel sandwiches and an even wider variety of drinks,” said Woolsey. “Coffee drinks, smoothies, teas, lemonade, and Rockstar drinks, which are gaining popularity. We love working with family and being our own bosses. And we also kinda love coffee and bagels.”
The business is a great fit for these two. Woolsey likes details and numbers, while Abrams likes to take on new recipe ideas. Both enjoy visiting with customers and seeing familiar faces. T&T gives them the opportunity to remain in customer service, which they both have worked in for years, but working for themselves gives them a space that is all their own.
Abrams’ significant other, Landon Walker, was helping out in the kitchen and he was quick to say T&T was a restful and enjoyable break from his full-time job.
Woolsey and Abrams admit it is a bit overwhelming when the drive up is five cars deep, but they are getting faster and the customers are patiently waiting their turn. They both enjoy seeing repeat customers and friends.
Both have raised their families in the Gorge, and T&T Coffee and Bagels offers a gathering spot for them, as well as a helpful family member or two to hang out and work on something they enjoy sharing with the community.
Items served at T&T are locally or closely sourced from the Pacific Northwest. The coffee is Nosa Familia out of Portland, the teas are from Tea Lyn’s out of White Salmon, and the bagels are from Henry Higgins, a small bagel company based in Portland.
T&T did their homework searching for local items. Finding someone who had the volume or ability to offer wholesale to supply another business was a challenge. The Nosa Familia coffee was well liked at Petite Provence, so it was a great brand to continue working with at T&T Coffee and Bagels, they said.
The two also researched baked goods, eventually finding Henry Higgins. Henry Higgins Bagels makes fresh, Northwest-style boiled bagels — and T&T Coffee and Bagels sells around 1,700 of these bagels each month.
Tea Lyn’s naturally sourced loose leaf teas are served in a pour over style and have a fresh, balanced flavor for the tea lover, they said. T&T serves Chai in addition to their other teas, or, if you want to try something new, they make a London Fog with Tea Lyn’s black tea, served with steamed milk and a bit of lavender. Traditional tea choices are available as well, such as green, black, or herbal teas.
One favorite lunch item is the Bagel Italiano with salami, pepperoni, pepperoncini and roasted red peppers, topped with Italian dressing and garlic aioli. In addition, they offer a vegetarian bagel with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil pesto spread, then topped with a balsamic glaze and olive oil. Breakfast sandwiches with eggs and ham or bacon are offered including the classic toasted bagel with cream cheese.
In addition to coffee, tea and bagels, T&T serves homemade soup. Woolsey’s husband, Austin Woolsey, is a trained professional chef having worked locally for two well-known restaurants. He is now sales manager at Ray Schulten’s Motors in The Dalles, but anyone who knows Austin knows he always has his foot in the kitchen, she explained.
Woolsey admits she does not cook, but between her husband and Abrams, they work up “some amazing fresh soups.” Anyone familiar with the old Baldwin Saloon will recognize their soups as a house favorite. Fresh bagel sandwiches and the daily soup have been selling out, so get there early.
T & T Coffee and Bagels is located at 405 W. Second St., The Dalles, and is open Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Working Hands Fermentation
ALL ARE WELCOME AT WORKING HANDS FERMENTATION
Chef Ryan Hunter of Deb’s Kitchen and Ellen Woods Potter, general manager, co-owner and cidermaker, at Working Hands.
Story and Photos by Laurel Brown, Columbia Gorge News.
Hood River has become home to some very unique, community-based restaurants and breweries over the years, but one you should be sure to check out is Working Hands Fermentation located on the Heights.
After combining with Slopeswell Cider and opening their new taproom mid-2021, Working Hands broke ground on their kitchen build last June. Ryan Hunter, head chef and founder of Deb’s Kitchen, paired with the brewery and cidery in November and has recently finalized his menu staples. While some describe his food as “upscale pub fare,” Hunter humbly dubbed his menu as being accessible, tasty bar food. “What’s so bad about bar food?” he joked.
Born in Los Angeles, Hunter moved to Portland in 1997, where he attended cooking school and worked in countless kitchens developing his culinary style. Between 1997 and 2018, when he moved to Hood River, Hunter traveled the globe for work opportunities, spending time at a bakery in Martha’s Vineyard on the east coast, as a sous-chef in Alaska, and even at a bed and breakfast in France. While his teachers and mentors influenced his own view of food, no one was quite as influential as his mother, Deb.
“She was kind of the first person to blow my mind with food,” Hunter said, explaining his concern for her mental state when she first offered him a pizza with pineapple and pepperoni toppings as a young child.
The pub fare offered at Working Hands is entirely Hunter’s own, including dishes he considers fun, creative, and comfy.
“The creative learning process is a fun challenge for me in the kitchen,” Hunter said, mentioning in particular that cooking for customer’s with special diets is just as fun and equally delicious as anything else that comes out of his kitchen. His years of refined training is offered via a more inclusive, friendly menu that makes fine dining less intimidating, which speaks directly to the establishment’s goal.
Ellen Woods Potter, general manager, co-owner, and cidermaker at Working Hands, can attest to the success of pairing with Deb’s Kitchen.
“We are a community-focused space with the mentality that craft beers and ciders don’t have to be an overwhelming, knowledge-based experience,” Woods Potter said. Although relatively new to the world of craft ciders, Woods Potter joined the Working Hands team in February 2021 after a long career in the craft beer industry. She is originally from the Gorge area and started at a brewery in Pullman, Wash., but has spent more than 11 years in taprooms and breweries, mostly in northern Texas, where she began working on her Cicerone Certification.
Now she lives in The Dalles and has been crafting ciders for Working Hands since mid-2022.
“I brew what I like and of course what the community likes. Mostly Old World ciders and German-style lagers. It’s great,” she said.
All too often, the term “craft beer” or “IPA” can turn beer-drinkers off for reasons of exclusivity or inaccessibility, but this mentality is one Working Hands Fermentation hopes to end. Choosing a taproom location on the Heights also appeals to locals who don’t want to compete for barstool space with tourists in the downtown and waterfront areas. Working Hands aims to connect the community as a non-exclusive local favorite, even using local ingredients and giving back to the community whenever possible. They strive to be on the forefront of delicious, unique craft beverages in the Pacific Northwest while staying true to their roots and neighborhood, even down to the artwork and design of the space.
Kasey McCullough, head brewer and co-owner, and John Terhaar, wholesale supervisor and co-owner, made sure the interior and exterior of the space came from grassroots, hands-on work, much of it McCullough’s own. He turned parts of the old bar into wooden lounge tables and wrapped the current bar in copper foil; he built shelving and a small stage inside the brewery, and even painted much of the space.
One of his coolest creations are the river tables, made of wood and epoxy that come together to create a topical view of different sections of local rivers. A small plaque on the side of each table details the exact river and coordinates of the section he recreated. Local artists Chris Potheir and Audrey Mae were both commissioned to contribute murals to the space, too. Potheir created the mural on the outside of the bright blue building, which is a close-up of the Working Hands logo, and Mae contributed the indoor mural that depicts plants in Mason jars. Together they have successfully created a comfortable, welcoming space with a cool atmosphere that stokes local pride.
McCullough has helped with many brewers in the area, Working Hands being his 14th taproom start-up, so his name and craft beverages are local favorites. Much of his background comes from studying in Germany, which is reflected in the beer selections. The Working Hands staple brews have predominantly been established and they are currently working to create staple ciders for the menu, too. With 300 gallon tanks and a small canning system, each batch is a time-intensive process for new or returning beers and ciders. Restricted space currently means their supply can’t always keep up with demand, but a possible expansion to grow production is on the horizon. Woods Potter mentioned opening a new space in The Dalles to help create jobs and bring more tourism opportunities to the Gorge. More production space would also allow for wider distribution of their craft beverages, which are available in the Dalles, Hood River, Mosier, and Dufur.
Both food and drink menus change seasonally, with growlers, crowlers, and canned beer for sale at the taproom. While discussing her favorite ciders to brew, Woods Potter said they plan to can and sell ciders soon.
“We focus on dry ciders with a wild fermentation process using natural yeasts and flavors,” she said. A few of her favorites include a cider called First Date, which used dates from a friend’s farm in Arizona called Naked Date, and a cherry cider that utilized cherries she and her father hand-picked from his farm in the area. Hunter uses certain staple beers in his recipes, from beer cheese to batter for fried menu items.
“The partnership with Deb’s Kitchen has been amazing and we are just so lucky to have Ryan,” said Woods Potter.
Other menu items that are must-tries are the fried cauliflower bites, curry ketchup, and fried Oreos for dessert. Hunter is thrilled at the feedback and patronage his food has gathered, and his Nashville-style fried chicken sandwich (the “hot mess”) is locally sought after. Check out Hunter’s Instagram for more about his cooking, @debs_hoodriver.
“Hood River was the perfect spot for the community feel because it’s smaller and more cohesive than somewhere like Portland, which is saturated with options … I can reach more of the community on the Heights, and Working Hands has been nothing but a good experience,” he said.
If you’re looking to try a new beer, or are in search of your new favorite local spot, stop in at Working Hands Fermentation. They are open Wednesday through Friday from 4-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m. Although their lounge and bar are for ages 21 and over, they do provide family-friendly spaces, patio seating, and are welcome to dogs too.
Working Hands offers a number of weekly community events, such as live music every Saturday night, trivia on Thursdays, open mics on Sunday evenings, and more. They are also planning their second annual Sausage Fest & Mug Club Party on June 3, with vendors, bands, and fun contests. They are located at 1021 12th St. in Hood River, and can be reached at 541-716-4130.
More photo are on Columbia Gorge News. https://www.columbiagorgenews.com/news/gorge-local-in-business-all-are-welcome-at-working-hands-fermentation/article_8c1aff88-a71c-11ed-b0dd-13a2d694cbd2.html
Valentine's tidbits continued...
Columbia Gorge Confections is making the rounds this valentines day with wine and chocolate truffles. You can find them at Phelps Creek Vineyards Feb 11-12th and 14,18. Hawkins Cellars in Underwood, Wash., has fireside seating and is serving Columbia Gorge Confections red velvet cake with a 2017 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon. Join them this weekend February 11-12th.
The Pines 1852 Grapes & Crepes is back Columbia Gorge Crepes will be at the Pines every Friday in February. Savory and sweet Crepes both pair perfectly with wine. Friday 5-8pm.
Backwoods Brewing Company Did you know in addition to great beer, the brewery has their own Backwoods Wine Blend? They partner with AniChe Cellars in Underwood, Wash,, to bring you a special red wine - only available in Carson.
Cathedral Ridge has some fantastic food and wine pairings for your Valentine’s day menu. From fish or shrimp to ribeye or ravioli they have a wine to pair it. Check it out!
Kickstand Kitchen is featuring a chef’s special menu of enticing Valentine's menu items and cocktails. Call to reserve. Fishpeople Seafood Market Hood River is offering a valentine’s day dinner. Pre-order delicious seafood they curate and you prepare. Add on local Gorge wines, Lucy's Informal Flowers, or Icebox Chocolate Lava Cakes!
Everybody's Brewing Oyster Night is back! February 22nd annual Oyster Night with Fishpeople Seafood Market and Willow Wine Cellars
pFriem Family Brewers Wednesday Night Specials are back at pFriem and they are offering both Chicken & Waffles and Fried Chicken Dinner. 4:30-9:00pm every Wednesday at the Tasting Room.
Pho River Hood River is still trying to repair their damage from the Winter freeze. They had ceiling and equipment damage. No news yet on when they can reopen.
Solstice Woodfire Cafe is back open today after a short break to refinish the cafe floors!
China Gorge will be back open Saturday. Hood River Eats your food and drink updates.
Valentine’s day is coming up quickly for those wanting to secure reservations. Be sure to reach out to your favorite spot. Even those who don’t take reservations normally, might make an exception for the day of romance.
Ingrid's Cheesecakes and Pastries has an event this Friday, February 3rd, at 301 Gallery on Oak Street from 3:30pm to 7:00 pm. They will also have a limited amount of mini cheesecakes for sale, including some Gluten- free options
Packer Orchards Has specialty Valentine's sweets including chocolate covered strawberries.
Columbia Gorge Confections has two special boxes of chocolates for two or four. They are also offering a cake decorating class Dani's Kitchen Shop Feb 11. The store is brimming with ideas.
Dani's Kitchen Shop is offering a pop-up cookie day for your Valentine’s favorites. The pop-up is Friday, February 10th from 10-2pm at the kitchen 1545 Osprey Drive, Hood River. You can pre-order on their website.
Pine Street Bakery will have decorated cookies, Linzer cookies, chocolate ganache sandwich cookies, heart shaped hand pies filled with a baked strawberry filling and valentine cookie decorating kits. Special orders available.
Working Hands Fermentation is offering a Valentine's evening with a seated dessert pairing featuring Working Hands beer & cider with Columbia Gorge Confections desserts. A special menu of 4 small-bite desserts paired beautifully. Eventbrite ticket bit.ly/Working-Hands-Love
Votum Restaurant is open and ready for reservations. Dinner service Thursday through Monday. Reservations: Exploretock.com/votum-restaurant-hood-river
Gorges Beer Co. is having Ladies night! Fun and friendship at the Galentine's Day event at the brewery on February 11th. Valentine's Day dinner for two on February 14th. Reservations are filling up fast!
Tierra de Lobos Winery in The Dalles is having a special Valentine, galentine or palentine with an afternoon of wine, charcuterie and s’mores! Start indoors (or outside), then head over to a fire pit to make your s’mores! February 11th & 12th. Reservation online.
Local Rhoots is hosting a Galentine’s Night on Saturday, February 11th at 6pm! So get your best girls and come on down for a fun night of food, drinks, music, and friends. Ticket includes a festive dinner of Mexican Sopes and Traditional Quesadillas and one complimentary drink ticket. Space is limited.
Mount Hood BBQ now has the TOAST app up and running. Just download the app for ordering and if you sign up for rewards program you receive loyalty points for signing up. Every $1 spent earns points. Door Dash is also coming soon!
Remedy Juice-Cafe starts a community cleanse on MONDAY February 6th with Glass Jars and New Menu! Still feeling a bit naughty after the holiday indulgence? Sign up now online.
Be sure to reach out to Hood River Eats on instagram or facebook for everything food, drink and maker related in The Gorge. Email: TheRealHREats@Gmail.com
Riverside Hood River has a way to beat the Winter blahs with 2 for 1 Pasta. Sunday through Thursday starting at 4PM. Photo courtesy of Riverside is the Linguine alla Vongole. #riverside #hoodriver #localingredients
Hood River Common House
@__easydoesit__ presents PARMIE NIGHT on January 17th @ 5pm.
@drewmarquis & @anthonydao are hosting a night of chicken parmesan and all the sides! First come, fist served until sold out!
Solstice Wood Fire Pizza is serving their Moroccan Beef Stew on Wednesday and Thursday weekly. Unlike any stew out there... so yummy!
Mount Hood BBQ is open normal hours 11-6 (closed Tues/Weds) and for a healthy 2023 they have a smoked chicken salad or Southwest chicken salad that is sure to please! They are also moving over to TOAST, the online ordering system. They will announce when it is ready to go on Facebook.
Kickstand Coffee & Kitchen has beverages for sober January or for a healthy start to 2023. They offer two beers Crux and Athletic Brewing, along with special mocktail or two! A new menu will be posted next week!
Remedy Juice-Cafe wanted to remind us of many healthy options! They currently have a detox juice cleanse. "Do either a custom cleanse (choose your own drink sets, or join our community cleanse that starts the first Monday of every month!"
Celilo Restaurant and Bar will be reopening after a staff break on January 19
It seems we have businesses back from a brief break as I've heard back from many of you! Keep those messages coming and if you have a photo I can use let me know.
Gorge's Tortes is sharing this recipe for raw vegan chocolate cream’s recipe. It looks creamy and rich. I understand you can make it using only 3 ingredients! Start with:
2 ripe bananas, 1 ripe avocado, 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder ( + vanilla ). If it needs you can add a little bit of water or almond milk to it. Blend and enjoy! #raw #vegan #glutenfree #dairyfree #soyfree #eggfree
@hoodriverorganic has a cure for the sweet tooth. Try sliced apple slices with topping.
1. Slice your apple into rounds
2. Remove the center
3. Add peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter whatever you prefer
They suggest going crazy with topping! Chocolate chips, nuts, granola, honey, shredded coconut, cinnamon, etc. Whatever you like! firstname.lastname@example.org
Celilo Restaurant and Bar Is offering a new mocktail- “Checking It Twice” featuring house made spiced cranberry shrub, fresh orange juice, and soda water.
#mocktails #soberjanuary #dryjanuary #nonalcoholic #hoodriver #columbiagorge #hoodriveroregon
Are you offering some healthy ways to start out 2023? Do you have non-alcohol and vegetarian offerings? Send Hood River Eats message so we can share what’s new.
Making plans for 2023
Lemon Zest Origami