Hood River, Oregon is a vibrant little town about a forty-five minute drive east of Portland. We have dear friends that live there, and when the opportunity arose for us to leave the sprouts with the grandparents, Mr. Green Thumb and I jumped in the truck and headed south.
Since it’s about a six hour drive from the border, and we were leaving our littlest sprout for the first time, we ended up with only about twenty-four hours in Hood River itself. We made the most of our time by checking out a few of our friends’ favorite food and drink locations, and had a great time catching up along the way.
Oregon is known for its incredible ‘local’ movement. There are wineries and breweries, restaurants supporting local farms, and local artisans — and this isn’t just at the farmer’s market — these locales make up much of Hood River and the surrounding area.
For some of our time, we were joined by Amy, fellow blogger and foodie, from the Inked Adventurer. Check out her take on some of Hood River’s local hot spots over at inkedadventurer.com.
Our first destination was Camp 1805. It is a distillery located right along the Columbia River waterfront. Friends and business partners Chris Taylor and Roy Slayton had a vision for Camp 1805 when they signed a lease two and a half years ago on a bare piece of land. Although it opened just six months ago, it is already pulling in awards.
The name of the distillery is in honor of two pioneering adventurers, Lewis and Clark. It is said that Hood River, 1805, is where and when these men drank the last of their bottles of whiskey. Camp 1805, the distillery, intends not to let that happen to those who travel in and around Hood River today.
The men each ordered a tasting flight, including a special spiced rum that had just been released. I ordered the Bootlegger, which is made with their rum, a naturally gluten free liquor made from sugar cane — in this case, sourced exclusively from the island of Maui. Fresh squeezed lime and blood orange juice finished off this easy sipping cocktail. They also offer small plates to accompany their drinks from the bar.
As we finished up our pre-dinner drinks, their bartender, Eric, told us we could take a tour of their on-site distillery. Co-owner, Chris, enthusiastically explained all the details of the mash, the still, the fermenting tanks, and more as he led us through the warehouse where they produce and bottle their rum, vodka, and white whiskey.
For dinner that evening, we went to Henni’s Kitchen and Bar in White Salmon, Washington. Their laid-back dining atmosphere was somewhat of a juxtaposition to the incredibly flavorful and aromatic small plates that continued to be delivered as we ordered. Their house red had impressive taste for the price, and the entire menu was very affordable.
We sampled black bean fritters with a cilantro crema, a chicken ragu served over rice, a melt in your mouth gnocci served with a gorgonzola cream sauce, pulled beef sliders, and a marinated beet salad. At least half of the menu was gluten free, so it made it really easy to choose from. And it was all so good. We even finished off the meal sharing a rich, flourless chocolate cake served with strawberry sauce and whipped cream.
We also crossed the Gorge into Underwood, Washington to visit one of our friends’ favorite wineries, AniChe. As we walked up to their tasting room located in a refurbished barn, the smell of smoking cedar wafted up to greet us. The tasting room was bustling, and we warmed ourselves in front of the fire pit just outside the doors before pressing inside.
Being Black Friday, there were sales on all of their cases, and a busy tasting room. Most other days would provide intimate conversation over small tasting plates and wine samples. There was a delicious spread to pair with the two whites and four reds we tasted. Our unanimous favorite was the Tyger, Tyger, a bold, rich, red blend made from grapes sourced within a one hundred mile radius from their winery, as all of their grapes are.
Our final drink destination was called 10-Speed Coffee Roasters. Their coffee beans sit in burlap sacks stacked against one wall, while their coffee roaster sits opposite. Filling the center of the space are a few comfy couches alternating with tables and chairs.
What makes this roaster unique, other than that it roasts its beans in small batches, and completely locally, is that it shares its space with a bicycle shop called the Dirty Finger. You can access the bike shop just through a door at the far side of the cafe.
I ordered a USA (or Americano, as it is also known) from their house roasted espresso beans. It was smooth, and rich, and fruity – quite perfect in my opinion. Even though we had just eaten breakfast, I also tried their GF coconut flour chocolate cupcake with a glistening whole strawberry on top. A pretty good pairing with my USA. And a pretty good parting gift as we headed back home to Canada.
Mr. Green Thumb and I loved every moment we spent in Hood River. We will definitely be planning a trip back as soon as we can get there!