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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hood River, OR: eat, love, and be merry!

We love Hood River. It has a certain spirit that none of the other local small towns have: it's active, it's vibrant, it's alive. A perfect place to celebrate our love for each other, for good food, and for people.
We stayed at the little place called The Oak Street hotel. What a lovely place! Although tiny by some standards, our room was fabulously romantic, with great views of the Gorge, and offered everything we needed.

Hood River boasts in its ability to offer some of the best prized food, wine, and beer around. And we agree. But truly, it's the people who make it memorable: the girls serving food at the Full Sail Brewery, eagerly sharing everything they know about the place;  a clerk at the Toy Shoppe, graciously going beyond the expected service; a cashier at the souvenir store, extending her hospitality and knowledge of the locale; a couple at the winery, treating each person there with a sincere desire to get to know them; a restaurant owner, humbly offering her very best. At times like this is when I realize that this broken world is full of great people, and I love it!  :).

Here's a short recap of some of the best food experiences:

  • Full Sail Brewery

A spunky little dessert called "Session Black Float" - vanilla ice cream topped with exceptionally creamy black lager. O.M.G.!!!

  • Big Horse Brew Pub

A definite highlight for us was their Kentucky Common brew. We have never tasted anything like this before: a sour beer. It reminded me of the handcrafted brews from the Gorbachev-prohibition-era: 75% barley, 25% corn, and a tad of sour mash :). I can't say this beer wins a taste test for me, but certainly a first-place winner for originality.

A Northwest Steak Sandwich from the Big Horse. Smoked, thinly sliced prime rib, sauteed onions, roasted poblano peppers, melting pepper jack, and horseradish. I won't say anything more. Just look at the picture.

  • Cathedral Ridge Winery
What a great, cozy place, and oh so generous! We especially enjoyed their French Oak barrelled 2008 Chardonnay, and the Bronze-winning 2007 Syrah.

  • The 6th Street Bistro
A super-casual little spot, tucked away off, yes, 6th St., offering seating on the outside loft, as well as inside. Their Grilled Salmon Wrap made for a tasty and filling lunch.

  • Sophie's
And finally, the winner is.... Sophie's.  This place was, hands down, an absolute winner of all culinary delights we've indulged in while on this trip. Located outside of the main downtown dining strip, this humble and unassuming place holds a BIG surprise for those who enter.

We had  the pleasure to experience some of the most pronounced flavors from Sophie's' brunch menu, and of course, were not left disappointed.

If the Food Network came to me, asking what's the BEST thing I've ever had for breakfast, I would, without slightest hesitation declare it was Smoked Salmon Hash from Sophie's.
A rather generous serving of cold-smoked salmon, with wonderfully seasoned cubed red potatoes, a great variety of garden veggies, topped with two poached eggs, and finished with herbed creme frache. With this dish you get the combination of textures, and a flavor that's practically bursting to come out of that plate. No grease, no mush, just right. THE BEST. EVER.

Rich, being on a quest for the perfect eggs benedict, was very happy with another one of Sophie's treats: their Classic Eggs Benedict, which features house-made English muffins, topped with a poached egg, Canadian bacon piled high, and covered by rich, boldly-flavored brown butter Hollandaise. Simple and phenomenal. We will be back - hungry, and looking forward to Sophie's dinners!


  1. Oh wow, that smoked salmon hash looks REALLY good. Now I'm thinking about trying to recreate it from looking at your picture... hmmmmm...

  2. Let me know how it turns out! I believe tarragon was the herb in creme frache. :)