Fresh razor clams and 19 delicious Wednesdays

Where does our salad come from? Let’s do a ride-along             

All summer long, we revel in fresh salad greens. And then comes the fall and the dreaded arrival of the Earthbound Organic greens from California. They aren’t horrible, but we are spoiled by the crisp bite and juiciness of fresh, local leaves, as opposed to ones that have spent time in a cold storage warehouse 600 miles from here.

This fall, with so many of our farmers raising greens in their new hoop houses, and with the warmer and drier October, we STILL have local salad greens, and we may for a while. Wahoo! But not from just one farm. Right now, we are blending a beautiful baby arugula mix from Quercus Farm, with giant Arugula leaves from Zion Farm, tender little romaine leaves from Seed to Table Farm, and baby kale from Wildwood Farm. It’s a zesty, spicy mix, and it’s all ours, just for you.

Razor clams are in the house!

It’s fresh razor clam time, a period so brief and beautiful that we just have to tell you about it. This Northwest delicacy is one of the things that make us happy to live on the Left Coast.

While these clams are usually pounded, breaded and fried (and there isn’t anything wrong with that!) we’ve decided to grill them and brush them with chermula, an herby Middle Eastern sauce with mint, cilantro, parsley, lemon, olive oil and pimenton d’esplette. The grilling brings out the clams’ natural sweetness. We’re serving the clams with roasted Saur Farming fingerling potatoes and Hood River Organic eggplant, and avocado taratour, a delicious mash-up of avocado and sesame tahini.

Get them through this weekend, while they last.

The return of the braise

We love slow-cooked meats, and the fall is just the perfect time to return them to the menu. We’ve making a hearty lamb shank ragu with Mountain Shadow’s excellent lamb, and serving it on house-made pappardelle pasta, with lemon garlic parsley gremolata.

Ready, Set: It’s almost time for Cheap Date Night

There are 19 Wednesdays between November 1 and April 1 (excluding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, which fall on Wednesdays this year), and we are going to make sure every one of them is delicious, heartwarming, and memorable. How, you say? No problem. Our theme this year is One Pot Wonders of the World.  We’ll be serving our yummy dinner-sized portion with a green salad, and it’ll be $15 per person.  Handmade, local ingredients, with flavors from around the world. Here’s the schedule:

November 6, Duck gumbo

November 13, Boullaisbaise

November 20, Burmese pork curry

November 27, French cassoulette (Thanksgiving Eve)

December 4, Italian beef and pork meatballs, tomato vodka cream sauce and pasta

December 11, Shrimp ettouffe

December 18, Beef stroganoff

January 8, Chicken and dumplings

January 15, Paella

January 22, Feijoada

January 28, Pork vindaloo

February 5, Chioppino

February 12, Oxtail and mushroom ragu, pappardelle pasta

February 19, Chicken tagine

February 26 Beef Bourguignonne

March 5, Portuguese fish and chorizo stew

March 12, Pork and green chili posole

March 19, Crawfish jambalaya

March 26, Greek stifado

And you are correct, we will BE OPEN all winter. No January closure this year. YES, you can make reservations for each and every Wednesday dinner by calling today. We do sell out of these great dinners, so be smart and park yourself here each Wednesday.

See you soon around Nora’s Table.

It was a no brainer for us to go with highly durable sign letters for our outdoor coverage. It was actually quite reasonable priced considering we did the installation our self. The guide that we found made the process super easy and we would definitely recommend using it if your business needs a sign.




Why Wait? Have Pizza for Breakfast

Beginning this weekend on Friday, a favorite breakfast dish of ours comes back, and a new one joins the menu for fall.flatbread

Breakfast Sous Chef Matt Patterson created a crispy breakfast flatbread just for you pizza freaks. The whole wheat crust is lightly rubbed with olive oil, shallots and sea salt, and then generously topped with Monterey Jack cheese, sweet Italian peppers from our Gorge farmers, Hill Meat Company pit ham, and two eggs.

And for fall, our New Mexico style open-faced enchilada is back on our house-made masa tortillas, with red chili mole, goat cheese, avocado and eggs, with peruano beans on the side.

Our favorite harvest season: Now!

Gnarly, dude. That’s what the best heirloom tomatoes look like. Can you blame Sous Chef  Justin Anderson for mistaking this particularly brain-like SAMSUNGspecimen for his, um, lost brain? It’s a terrible thing to waste — a mind or a tomato — so we have been buying them by the bushel-full … cherry tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, plum tomatoes, and as the season goes on, cull tomatoes, to fuel our sauce pot. Pretty soon, we’ll be fermenting sliced green tomatoes for our winter burgers.

Peppers, eggplant, beans, kale, onions, garlic, pears, apples, peaches and squash of all kinds are hibernating in our walk-in too, waiting for their 15 minutes of fame on our plates. We are so incredibly thankful once again for our amazing farmers, without whom Nora’s would be just another place.

And with the harvest at its height right now, please PLEASE make it to a Gorge farmer’s market this week. It makes us sad to see sparse crowds at the market as summer wanes. This is an incredible resource, so do your part.

See you soon around Nora’s Table.



Breakfast has its First Birthday

One year ago, we started serving breakfast at Nora’s. And 1,810 Louisiana Eggs Benedicts later, we are one year old. THANK YOU so much for supporting us this year, and for voting us “Best Brunch” last January.  And guess what? You get breakfast every Friday, Saturday and Sunday ALL YEAR ROUND. (And dinner 7 nights a week year-round too.)

However, the time has come (as in, today) to say goodbye to Nora’s Table Monday-Thursday summer breakfast. We will be serving breakfast on Friday, Saturday and Sunday ONLY for the fall and winter, which was always our plan, we just didn’t know when we’d drop back to weekend service only.  We knew it was time last week when a table of people from San Francisco was having breakfast on a Monday. One happy egg-eater said, “Man, this is fantastic. You can’t get a breakfast like this in San Francisco except on the weekend! It’s incredible that we’re here enjoying it on a Monday!” Yep, and since the San Franciscans and all the other summer visitors are gone, we are returning to just weekend brunch.

And this weekend, for all you butternut squash freaks out there: the sautéed butternut squash with sage and hazelnuts is back on the breakfast menu, with the harvest of Dickey Farms first autumn squash.

Iron chef? More like Marshmallow Chef, but we have bragging rights

Chef Kathy was looking forward to competing in the Mosier Farmer’s Market mini iron chef competition this past Sunday like a trip to the dentist. “Why can’t we all just make ratatouille and be friends?” she whined the week before. Not very competitive, our girl. But she went, up against surprise last-minute competitor Nathan Morgan (a former chef at Nora’s) she took out her knives and went to work.

And she won. The best part was the nice bottle of Analemma wine the market sent home with her. Come see what we can do with our local growers’ abundance, every day of the week, when we have something more than a wok and a propane burner to cook on. Just imagine!

Tomatoes and peppers and chanterelles, oh my

Don’t think for a minute that the summer harvest is over. Oh no, we are seeing the most gorgeous tomatoes and peppers, so rich and pure that the walk in is swelling with the pepper tomato perfume. And when we lay a pile of those peppers across the grill? The smell is intoxicating.

So here’s what we’re doing with them this week:

Our line cook Mike Kendrick, who has been with us since the Viento days, reminded Kathy the other day of Viento’s smoky tomato soup. One of our diners back then called it, “a religious experience.” And so, made entirely with heirloom tomatoes, it’s on our menu this week. Slightly spicy and smoky from Spanish smoked paprika and a touch of chipotle (which is a dried, smoked jalapeno chili) the tomatoes and some organic red onions are roasted, then blended, with nothing but their own juice and a touch of cream.  Get it while the tomatoes are still coming in the door.

Another favorite of ours: queso fundito, the simple Mexican cheese fondue. Nothing but melted cheeses, roasted peppers and heirloom tomatoes. Plus, we fry up fresh corn tortilla chips for your dipping pleasure. This is the exact place we should have been when we created nachos.

See you around Nora’s Table.