written by Julie Lee | featured photo courtesy of Broder Ost
Nestled into the encompassing and climactic beauty of river, mountains and falls is a catalog of great foodie hot spots. The Columia River Gorge offers more than fabulous hiking, biking and kite surfing; it’s a nationally acclaimed beer mecca with bountiful breweries and accompanying buzzy restaurants that beckon a fall drive as leaves commence their descent.
The eastern finger of the burgeoning Broder restaurant empire, Broder Ost is a great go-to for breakfast or lunch in the gorge. Like its northern Germanic-leaning sister spots in Portland, specialties range from Danish pancakes, smoked trout Swedish hash, and Lefse—Norwegian potato crepes—for breakfast, to lamb burgers and salmon fish cakes for lunch. The baked egg scramble with blistered tomatoes, chèvre and caramelized onions is a favorite, and the walnut toast is worth a gluten binge.
102 Oak St., Ste. 100, Hood River | brodereast.com
Double Mountain doubled down recently, opening a second location in Portland’s Woodstock neighborhood. The original brewery and taproom in Hood River garnered local love and national plaudits for its brick oven pizzas seared to charred perfection at 700 degrees and highly drinkable Pilsner-style malt beers. Favorite current pairing is the truffle shuffle pizza, with portabellas that have lounged in white truffle oil, and the clusterf#ck, a single hop IPA charmed with citrus.
8 4th St. Ste. 204, Hood River | doublemountainbrewery.com
Celilo Restaurant and Bar offers a more upscale dining experience then its casual counterparts, with an inviting lunch menu of smoked trout salads and house-made ham sandwiches and delectable dinner dishes such as gemelli—artisan pasta with Wildwood Farm flower sprouts, and pork and beans—or pan seared Carlton farm pork loin with lemon infused garbanzo beans and slow cooked root vegetables. Nearly everything, from pasta to sauerkraut, is made in house, and the service is exceptional.
16 Oak St., Hood River | celilorestaurant.com
Rooted as a community gathering spot, Solstice Wood Fire Cafe & Bar unites incredible pizza with microbrews, locally made wines and innovative craft cocktail creations and transcends expectations for foodies. If vegetables are your thing, this is your spot; fried Brussels sprouts, grilled cauliflower, and stepping stone heirloom tomatoes are great starters, as are, of course, the truffle fries dipped in Portland ketchup. The country girl cherry pizza is award-winning and worth gorging on.
501 Portway Ave., Hood River | solsticewoodfirecafe.com
Head east in the gorge for a step back in time at the Baldwin Saloon. With a gorgeous 1900’s mahogany bar and vintage ambience, this is a history lesson and fantastic meal rolled into one. Everything here is scratch-made, from breads and pastas to ice cream. Start with the artichoke-heart-stuffed mushrooms, move on to the oysters Italiano, bring it home with the scallops Provençal and finish with the walnut tart for the perfect meal.
205 Court St., The Dalles | baldwinsaloon.com