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Camp 1805 Distillery is such a fabulous Hood River spot. It’s my go-to for a cocktail these days. The no-fuss cocktails, made by Marin, highlight the quality of the spirits they uses to make their drinks. It’s fun to get a table and sit and sip with friends, or by yourself, but my favorite thing to do is sit up at the bar and watch the cocktails get assembled, enhanced with bitters, topped of with twists, and handed over to eager patrons. I’m impressed with the setting, the Camp 1805 spirits, the drinks, the simple menu. The drink menu is pretty simple and classy. My favorite cocktails are the Sazerac and the Old Fashion (pictured below). This is a fabulous date spot.

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If you’ve ever eaten at Henni’s Kitchen and Bar in White Salmon, you’ve had Christiaan’s Dukkah brought to your table along with cornmeal bread and a small container of olive oil. While you’ve sipped your drink and waited for you’ve probably torn chunks of your bread, dipped it in a bath of olive oil, and coated it with crisp, salty, nutty Dukkah.

Christaan’s Dukkah spices including corriander, and thyme are toasted first which fills his small kitchen with their rich, heavy, earthy aromas. The chickpeas are roasted before the whole lot is cooled and ground together. It’s probably one simplest things on his menu, but the flavors are complex and exciting. Having the Dukkah served as the first thing on your table cracks open the door to the inevitable creativity that is peppered throughout the Henni’s menu. Drawing from his South African roots, Christiaan blends spices and flavors like no one else in the Gorge… which what keeps me returning to Henni’s over and over again. There’s no risk of getting bored with Christiaan helming the kitchen.

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Happy Fall, everyone! While I love spring and summer in the Gorge, I have to admit that fall in Hood River is my favorite. I love the change of seasons, the excuse to drink more red wine, and the fall harvest. All three of these things can be enjoyed at the Hood River Farmers’ Market which has moved from the middle school to the lot in front of Springhouse Cellars! The market continues through November 19th from 4-7pm. Throw on a scarf, wander around, buy some amazing produce, and sip a glass of wine (or a beer) from Springhouse. Sounds like the perfect Thursday evening to me.

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Syncline Winery is a short drive from Hood River, and it is one of my favorite escapes. I love to escape there for two reasons: the setting is ideal, relaxing, and inviting; and their wines are unbelievable good. The wines at Syncline never cease to amazing and delight me. They are nuanced, simple, and beautifully crafted. I could easily, and often do, spend an afternoon with girlfriends doing a tasting, or sharing a bottle out on their patio. I’m not going to bother recommending one wine or another because I truly love them all.

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If you haven’t had the amazing ciders available at Rack and Cloth in Mosier, you are seriously missing out. I love a good, dry cider and Rack and Cloth is producing some amazingly bright, crisp, complex ciders. All their ciders are made in Mosier with their own apples, and organically sourced apples. Make a little trip out to Mosier, and enjoy a chilled, sparkling glass of Stony Pig (jonagold, winesap, wild crab apple, fermented in stainless steel), or Pomme Pomme ((jonagold, winesap, wild crab apple, oak aged)… while you’re there you may as well order a fabulous pizza, fresh salad, or small plate.

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