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Hood River/Columbia River Gorge

So many food options

We love the Gorge area (from one end to the other) and just spent five days in August near Hood River. We found old favorites as well as some new food spots. Here's our report.

Portway Avenue is across from the Columbia River and is home to several food and beverage spots. In the past, we've been to Pfreim Family Brewers (food as well as beer), and Solstice Wood Fire Pizza, Café & Bar. During our progressive wine tasting day, a tradition we started last year, we returned to Solstice for wine and appetizers. The Idiot's Grace Cabernet Franc was a winner. This visit, we found Ferment Brewing Company (food as well) with plenty of indoor/outdoor seating; STOKED Roasters and Coffee House; and Kobe Sushi + Bar. You won't go hungry or thirsty on Portway.

Ferment Brewing Company deck

Manny's Lonchera, 63281 Hwy 14 and Cook Underwood Road in Underwood, WA, is still pulling people in for tacos and burritos. Next to the White Salmon River, it's a food truck with a view.

Clark & Lewie's Travelers Rest Saloon & Grill, 130 SW Cascade Avenue in Stevenson, Washington, offers burgers (including bison), salads, wraps, pizza, salmon chowder. Along the Columbia River, the glassed-in patio offers stunning views of the river traffic.

Clark & Lewie's patio on the river

Heading up into White Salmon on the Washington side of things, you'll find a number of dining and drinking spots: Henni's Kitchen and Bar, Everybody's Brewing, Pizza Leona, Bubba's Brew Espresso, Tarwater Tavern, White Salmon Baking Co., Pixán Taqueria & Cantina, and more. Again, you will not starve or dehydrate in White Salmon.

Non-food-related, there was a beautiful drive on historic Highway 30 on the Oregon side. The original highway, it is incredibly scenic. Curving, narrow roads, peek-a-boo views of the Columbia River, and many waterfalls. Be aware that things have changed along 30: if you want to stop at the Multnomah Falls Lodge or a number of the falls, you must reserve a space. No more pulling off the highway into a parking lot and walking in. Plan ahead.

Historic Highway 30

River Daze Café, 202 Cascade Avenue, Hood River, offers local and organic foods as much as possible. Order at the counter and pick a table. Full espresso bar. Large roll-up windows to people and traffic watch in downtown Hood River. It's across from a gym so you can feel grateful you're eating and not jumping rope.

Also not food related, we made a stop at The History Museum of Hood River County, 300 E Port Marina Drive (close to Portway Ave!). For a small place, it covers a lot of ground. The person on duty the day we popped in was extremely knowledgeable and added to the experience.

We tried Marchesi Vineyards & Winery, 3955 Belmont Drive, Hood River, and it was a find in several ways. Along with the tasting room, there's a covered garden patio that overlooks the vineyards, with Italian opera in the background. Atmosphere! They offer a charcuterie plate with add-ons if you'd like. We tried the Sagrantino, an Italian variety of grapes not known in the U.S. according to their menu. We had certainly never heard of it, but really liked it.

Marchesi Vineyards Garden Patio

Yet another return trip was made to the Cooper Spur Mountain Resort and the Crooked Tree Tavern & Grill, 10755 Cooper Spur Road, Parkdale. You feel miles from anywhere and most ingredients are sourced from within 30 miles of the resort. Eat in the tavern or at a picnic table on the grounds in front, with full table and bar service.

Our final dinner of the week was at Apple Valley BBQ, 4956 Baseline Drive, Parkdale, for their Friday/Saturday special: smoked prime rib. We arrived much too early. Our hands were tied, we had to do something, so we tried the Mt. Hood Creamery ice cream at Baseline Biscuits, 4946 Baseline Drive, next door to Apple Valley BBQ and owned/operated by the same couple, Justin White and Leila Coe. She makes the Ice cream from scratch. We learned that Baseline Biscuits offers breakfast and lunch, so we returned for breakfast the following morning. Biscuits, jams, spreads, gravies are all made from scratch. And, no surprise, the smoked prime rib the night before was as good as we remembered.

Apple Valley BBQ getting ready for the smoked prime rib!

Whenever it works, we stop at Canyon River Grill in Yakima Canyon. In March of 2023, they truly enclosed the deck, took out wood railings and added roll-up garage doors, so the view of the river is unimpeded. That's great, but the reason we go is Chef Kevin Davis. You really can't get enough of his food. Everything on the menu is worth trying. No detail is overlooked. Flavors are amazing, alone and in tandem. With everyone having hiring issues, you'd think they would at Canyon River Grill, but service has always been excellent. Always worth dining there; it's an experience.

If you're heading to this part of the Gorge (or Yakima Canyon), bring your appetite!

Seattle DINING!/September 2023

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