First Friday Aug. 7 to involve street closure in downtown Hood River

It’ll be just like old times during First Friday in downtown Hood River on Aug. 7.

Old times? Well, yes, the event has gone through a variety of iterations over the years. The key thing is, the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event, has arranged for street closures this month, to increase pedestrian range and safety.

According to Matt Werbach, the Chamber’s membership director, Oak Street will be closed to vehicle traffic from First to Second street, and from Second through Sixth street, from 6 to 8 p.m..

If that sounds a bit confusing, it just means that Second street will remain open to north-south traffic. The closure on Oak, in essence, takes a break and resumes east and west on Oak. Be careful crossing Second.

Werbach says security officers will be on hand from 5:45 to 8:45 p.m. to make sure drivers know about the closure, and to keep over-eager pedestrians safe.

You know how it goes: “Hey, Daaaaad, I thought you told us NOT to play in the street, but now we CAN? You’re nuts!”

Starry Nights event benefits WINGS program for youth

Looking to do good — and party? Check out the Starry Starry Nights benefit Aug. 8 for the WINGS program.

WINGS is a residence and training program for formerly homeless and unemployed 18-23-year-old young men and women from the Gorge.

In support of that effort, wine, food, music and dancing go off at 5 p.m. at Lakecliff Bed & Breakfast, 3820 Westcliff Drive.

For $75, attendees get to snack on appetizers of hazelnut-crusted goat cheese with strawberry and basil, or artichoke garlic tapenade on a baguette, with basil and mozzarella.

Dinner from chef Mark Whitehead of Ahi’s Ohana Catering includes a Wildwood garden salad, macadamia nut crusted salmon with tomato poke, crispy shallots and pesto; roasted kalua pork with caramelized onion, pineapple sambal and sweet chili sauce; herbaceous rice with Thai basil, chili and sesame; or grilled local farmers vegetable platter.

Three Speed Trio, The Columbiaires and Willy & Nelson perform.

For tickets or more info, call 541-380-3820.

Hood River Distillers puts most of its spirits lineup on tasting menu

Tasting room manager Erin Campbell and server Toby Morus.

Tasting room manager Erin Campbell and server Toby Morus.

First beer, then wine, and now you can sidle up to the bar and taste booze — again.

Boutique distiller Camp 1805 got the spirits-tasting ball rolling. Not to be outdoor, Hood River Distillers — the grand-pappy of Hood River spirits producers — has opened a tasting room facing the patio between Doppio and the First National Bank building (technically, Suite 3 at 304 Oak St.).

Tasting room manager Erin Campbell brings a familiar face to the bar. She formerly owned and managed the Frolik Clothing for Guys & Girls store about a block away from where she and her crew now introduce guests to most of the HRD lineup.

She said that state law limits their tasting lineup to products made in Oregon. So, favorites such as Broker’s Gin and the Lucid Absinthe products aren’t available for sample, because they are made outside Oregon. Those products are available at state liquor stores.

Toby Morus, son of the founders of Phelps Creek Winery, joins Campbell to help with tasting.

For $5, visitors can savor five half-ounce pours — and take home their shot glass.

The facility also will serve a “mini-cocktail” composed around a half-ounce pour and mixer. A selection of clothing, books and glassware is also available. Make sure to take a look inside the vault from the First National Bank, the original occupant of the space.

Hours are noon to 6 p.m. seven days a week.

Grab Fair dinner at Burger Twin … it’s a great burger, or call El Cuate to host his truck

Ricardo Lopez aka "Cuate" dishes up another burger for hungry fair-goers.

Ricardo Lopez aka “Cuate” dishes up another burger for hungry fair-goers.

It’s the last day of the County Fair in Odell, so if you’re going, you’ll be wanting food. Lots of good options (to take nothing away from the other guys), but I need to put in a truly appreciative word for the burgers being prepared at the Burger Twin booth, by one of my favorite people on the planet, Mr. Ricardo Lopez.

We all call him Cuate, which is Spanish for “twin.” His twin brother did not survive the birth, but Cuate is living life large for the two of them. He’s one of the hardest-working people I know, and makes a damned good burger, to boot.

BTW, from his hard labor he has saved enough to buy a sparkling new food truck, which he is using to do on-site catering under the brand El Cuate. He also would love to hear from anyone who would like to host — or knows of property set up to host — good grub to go. Call him at 541-400-9686 or drop him a note via e-mail.

Also had to share a photo (below) of his innovative solution to a smoky grill in a fair booth. He jokingly calls it “Mexican Mickey Mouse,” but we think it’s pretty damned ingenious for a short-term need.


Gorge Current web cam adds another way to keep an eye on Hood River

We love the collection of people who are curating and creating and reporting interesting things about our little corner of the world, reflective of their own particular passions.

For instance, if you’re a traveler and want a visual check on what’s going on in central Hood River, just bookmark the new webcam page at Buzz buddy Janelle Koester’s event information site, Gorge Current. As we write, it’s cloudy down there. It’s cloudy out our window, too, but the weather on the west side is often an iota or more different than the weather downtown.

For weather discussion, of course, get your hiney over to the chat board at Larry Spellman’s Hood River Weather site. All our neighbors doing cool and marvelous things.

I would be remiss, of course, if I didn’t mention Temira’s The Gorge Is My Gym site as well, for spot-on recreation prognosticating — and thoughtful, witty musings on life with cats and shrinks. You go, grrrrl.

And to wrap it up, take a long look at the environmental reporting by Susan Hess and team at Envirogorge, the Columbia Gorge (online) environmental magazine. Lovin’ this place, and working to protect it. Bravo.

Love of Indonesian cuisine guides father and son to Noodle Heaven

Andy Miles and his son, Jesse, hitting the wok in the rear, share duties at Noodle Heaven.

Father and son noodle gurus Andy and Jesse Miles lived for several years in Indonesia, before moving to Hood River when Jesse was 7.

After he finished school in 2011, Jesse moved to Portland to attend college, and work for food cart owners there and in Hood River.

“He taught me almost everything about how to run one,” Jesse says. “Together, me and my dad decided to open our own. We bought a cheap Mexican taco truck, I’ve been re-modeling it 12 hours a day for a few months.”

It’s opened earlier this summer, as Noodle Heaven, in the food truck pod just west of ProMotion Wetsuits.

Father and son both profess a deep love for Indonesia and its culinary culture, drawn from their years living there, teaching English and eating.

“We are an Indonesian restaurant, serving a ‘make your own meal’ style menu similar to Mongolian Grill or Subway, where you choose exactly what meat, vegetables, and sauce go in your noodles, rice, or wrap,” Jesse says.

They’re closed Mondays, and open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, and Sunday, with extended weekend hours from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Check menus and food photos on their Facebook page.

Bread + Bash Events tackles everything from soup to … just shy of weddings

Kristyn Fix and Alina Aaron together are ...

Kristyn Fix and Alina Aaron together are Bread + Bash Events.

Need a Fix? A Kristyn Fix, that is?

You do, if you’re looking to plan and stage an event, and don’t want anything to do with the planning and staging.

Fix, who also works in events for the Columbia Center for the Arts, and colleague Alina Aaron met through the Center, and discovered complementary skill sets, perfect for event management.

Hence, Bread + Bash Events (call 206-940-3904).

“The business is all about celebrations,” says Fix, who is spreading her wings after years in the mental health field, and says she brings the creative skill set to Bread + Bash.

“There’s no focus on weddings. We do retirements, birthdays, life celebrations, divorce parties.”

Divorce parties?

“Hey, you celebrate going in, so why not celebrate going out?” Fix says.”We do the whole gamut.”

Just no weddings.

“There’s a lot of wedding planners already in this area,” she says.:

The two will help with planning to execution, or just making your plan work. “A lot of people know what they want but they just don’t know where to go,” says Aaron, the logistician.

As we spoke, the two were ramping up for an event at the Elks Lodge that was to reflect a “country chic” theme.

“We learned a lot about hay,” Aaron says. “It’s really itchy.”

Because of her past work in transportation planning for MCEDD and current work with event destination management firm Global Sessions, Aaron has built a deep list of preferred vendors list.

“We also work with nonprofis to do fundraisers or celebrate milestones,” she says.

For example? The recently Kiteboarding 4 Cancer event in Hood River.

Just no weddings.