Gorge in the Gorge » Blog

One of my favorite ways to pass a slow afternoon is to go by myself or with a friend up to Marchesi Vineyards. I love to do a tasting if I’m with someone who hasn’t been before, but more often I will order a glass of something I’ve loved in the past, or try something new. April is the Columbia River Gorge’s Wine Passport Month, and Marchesi, along with lots of other local wineries, are bringing forth their new wines for the season. Marchesi is introducing it’s 2014 Pinot Grigio, Primitivo, and Dolcetto, and 2013 Esta and Barbera (pictured below) this April (with their delicious rosé following shortly after in May or June). Basically, if you are looking for me for the next three months I’ll be sitting on the patio at Marchesi.

marchesi vineyards hood riverPIN

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A couple weeks ago I stopped by Henni’s Kitchen and Bar in White Salmon, Washington to talk to Christiaan about his classic South African dish, Bobotie. Bobotie is a sweet, savory dish that, as Christiaan explained, is a constant on tables in his country of origin. The original bobotie recipes came to South Africa from Malaysia, and it’s unique blend of flavor and ingredients are testament of that. Christiaan’s version is served as a small plate, though he said that it’s traditionally made as a large casserole with a custardy egg topping poured over it and lemon leaves covering the top before baking. It’s usually served with a variety of sides like cumin rice with raisins, fresh banana, coconut, and chopped onion and tomato. The Henni’s version is pared down and served with a bit of rice. I brought some home from my afternoon in the Henni’s kitchen and my kids ate all of it – I hardly got a bite!

hennis kitchen and bar white salmonPINhennis kitchen and bar white salmonPINhennis kitchen and bar white salmonPIN

Bobotie is rich with the flavors of spices like garam masala, ginger, banana, garlic, apples and spices. All of the ingredients compliment the ground beer in an unexpected way as they are not flavors we would typically combine together here in the U.S.  All of the cooked meat and fruit is placed in a dish, topped with a bit of egg and heated through. Then it’s dolloped with a bit of rice and served.

hennis kitchen and bar white salmonPINhennis kitchen and bar white salmonPINhennis kitchen and bar white salmonPINhennis kitchen and bar white salmonPIN

One of the things I love about Henni’s is that there are such wonderfully different things on the menu, a variation from the norm. This beef curry with egg custard and rice is a small dish that’s full of unique flavors and South African tradition.

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Yesterday I stopped by Double Mountain Brewery to enjoy a pint of their recent collaboration beer with 10 Speed Roastery: 1st Crack Coffee Porter! This beer is right up my alley. After all, coffee and beer, like peanut butter and jelly, just make sense. The brewers combined their slightly sweet, malty brown ale with expertly roasted Guatemala beans from Hood River’s own 10 Speed Coffee Roastery. The result of this Double Mountain + 10 Speed affair is a truly unique coffee beer that they dubbed 10 Speed First Crack; a marriage of milk chocolate, berry notes, and toffee undertones that remind us with each sip that the sum of two good things is greater than its parts.


After having First Crack, my husband asked if I wanted to try the new anniversary beer. One of the (many) benefits of being married to a brewer is that you get to try special things that haven’t been released yet, like the special common ale that they brewers concocted for this year’s anniversary party. Eight and Easy, as this beer is names, is light, and slightly sweet. It’s bright, hoppy, crisp and delicious. Perfect for sipping a couple pints of at their 8th anniversary party which is this Saturday, March 14th from 12-10pm! I will most definitely be there celebrating another year of hard work and great beer.


Hope to see you all on Saturday! Cheers.



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  • March 11, 2015 - 8:03 pm

    Rebeka - Oooh I didn’t know their anniversary party was on Saturday?! How’d I miss the announcements this year? Soooo bummed.ReplyCancel

I’ve known Colin and Kristin Franger for a long time and I have been so impressed with the work they are doing with their cultured food business. They started Blue Bus Cultured Foods to share their love of fermented foods with the rest of us. They use all organic ingredients and make each small, artisan batch by hand. Their operation is impressive and inspirational, and the krauts and kombucha they make are loaded with wonderful probiotics.

I visited their little kitchen last month and watched as they prepped for making Shakedown Beet. Giant crocks line the workspace and Colin and Kristin work side by side, performing different tasks to get each batch into the crocks to ferment. Shakedown Beet is a fairly simple combination of beets, ginger, green cabbage, and salt. The flavor of shakedown beet is anything but simple; it’s complex, spicy, bright, acidic and flavorful.

BLUE BUS CULTURED FOODS HOOD RIVERPINBLUE BUS CULTURED FOODS HOOD RIVERPINBLUE BUS CULTURED FOODS HOOD RIVERPINBLUE BUS CULTURED FOODS HOOD RIVERPINBLUE BUS CULTURED FOODS HOOD RIVERPINBLUE BUS CULTURED FOODS HOOD RIVERPINBLUE BUS CULTURED FOODS HOOD RIVERPINI took home a jar of Shakedown Beet and played around with it in the kitchen. If you read my recipe blog, you know that I’m a big fan of tartines (things on toast), and although Shakedown Beet kraut is outstanding on salads, added to stirfrys, and on more complex sandwiches, my favorite way to eat it is on toast. The very simple recipe follows.



sliced rustic french bread
extra virgin olive oil
soft goats cheese or chèvre
1 jar Shakedown Beet kraut

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, drizzle in a couple tablespoons of olive oil, add the slices of bread to the pan ensuring that each soaks up a bit of olive oil. Toast the bread on one side until golden. Remove from the skillet.

Smear goat cheese onto the toasted side of the bread, top with a good amount of Shakedown Beet kraut.


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I love stopping in at Boda’s Kitchen in downtown Hood River. This little gourmet deli boasts fantastic day-to-day menus, frozen take-home meals, a great happy hour, wonderful cheeses and meats along with some pretty fabulous Pacific Northwest wines, beers, and ciders. Every time I visit, I want to get one of everything!

Matt and Sirtoa are fellow foodies who opened Boda’s Kitchen almost three years ago. Their passion about great food and supporting Pacific Northwest companies is clear in their in-person energy and on their shelves.


I called Matt and Sirota to see if I could come down and have them walk me through some of their very favorite things. Anything featured in this post would make an excellent addition to your Christmas spread, as well as a great stocking stuffer for a food lover you know. Sirota also puts together amazing little pre-made gift baskets, or you can put one together yourself, or you can also call and have her make a one that’s tailored specifically to your (or your loved one’s) tastes. They also offer holiday catering and they’re making their “famous” duck fat tamales for Christmas. (Contact them for more info on catering and gift baskets!)

Here are some of their most intriguing and delicious items…

BodaPINThis Pinecone Bud Syrup was so good! It was unlike anything I have every had. Sirota was raving about and decided we had to open a bottle. Then she decided we had to try it with their Triple Cream Brie. All of these turned out to be great decisions.


These cans of Spanish tuna sounded absolutely amazing. I’ve watched shows and read about how well the Spanish can their fish and it’s the best in the world. I can’t wait to try it! Especially the one in the red box which is tuna belly! How amazing does that sound?BodaPIN

Matt was really excited about his Hot Buttered Rum Mix. He said he prefers it with whiskey, rather than rum, which is something I can definitely get behind since I love whiskey. Yet another thing I can’t wait to try!BodaPIN

Sirota pointed out these Sweety Drop peppers. You can see in the jar that they are shaped like tiny tear drops. They taste just like peppadews but are much more delicate and with a little less heat. They would be amazing paired with some of Boda’s specialty cheeses…BodaPIN

…as would these Piparras. A Spanish style pickled pepper similar to pepperoncini peppers but crunchier and brighter.


This Fleur de Sel caught my eye the minute I walked in. I’m a complete sucker for finishing salts!


I love the Toschi Black Cherries in syrup. They are my go to for Old Fashioned Cocktails. Last year for Christmas I bought my husband a giant jar of them and we just finished them up!


Hot Cakes in Ballard, WA. Has been on my “list” for a while, and so has their Rye Whiskey Caramel Sauce! How amazing does that sound?


I can totally get behind these local dessert wines from Phelps Creek Vineyards and Garnier Vineyards.


I have been reading a lot about salt rocks and salt rock cooking lately but I had no idea you could microplane it! My microplane gets heavy use in the kitchen year round so I love any new way to utilize it!


Finally, I was pretty darn impressed with their wonderful selection of cheeses and meats, I especially loved the Challerhocker raw cow’s milk cheese… and I love anything from Olympic Provisions or Chop. And you all know how much I love locally produced beer! All of the beer sold at Boda’s (an impressive collection) is from Oregon, or it’s local.


I know Christmas is just over a week away, but if you’re in the market (no pun intended) for some food related gifts, I highly recommend that you stop in at Boda’s. And if not for Christmas, maybe Valentine’s Day?! Nothing says love like food… in my opinion.

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  • December 15, 2014 - 8:07 pm

    Rebeka - Boda’s is so fantastic. I love getting gifts from there. Their wine collection is really well curated too.ReplyCancel