Friday, July 25, 2008

One for the Road

It's nice to break up any journey into bits. And any trip is made immeasurably better by the inclusion of at least one snack for the road. As mentioned previously, we headed back from our camping sojourn by taking a detour on Hwy. 35, taking us around the east side of Mt. Hood and down through the Hood River Valley.

This means winding along that same Hood River as it tumbles down from its source, through the farmland and orchards that spread out like a patchwork blanket on this side of the mountain and past the little towns of Parkdale and Odell. When the highway dead-ends at the river, you're in Hood River and ("Why, look at the time!") a snack is always in order.

The fish and chips.

We were hoping to go to Double Mountain Brewing to check out their tap room, but it's not open for lunch on weekdays, so we headed to the recently remodeled Full Sail Brewing Tasting Room for some chow and a brew. This used to be quite the funky place with a purely functional aesthetic, but it's now been turned into a place you could take the parents for a pint and a nosh.

Dave opted for the pulled pork sandwich, a decent version nicely sauced in a bit-too-lightweight bun, while I went in the direction of the fish and chips. The chunks of fish came out hot and moist, with a thick but crispy battered crust and a lemon-caper tartar sauce, a creative twist on the pickle-and-onion classic. The fries were crunchy and light, but seemed a little more baked than deep-fried.

The nice surprise was the cole slaw, which had the expected shredded cabbage but also included fennel in the mix along with a little heat, perhaps from jalapeno or cayenne. It's fun when a kitchen takes what might be a ho-hum side like the tartar sauce or cole slaw and ups the ante. It makes me feel like someone's paying attention.

The cask IPAs went well with both our selections, as you might imagine, and (with the pints of water we also consumed) we headed down the holy-crap-I-forgot-it-was-so-incredibly-beautiful Columbia River Gorge and home.

Details: Full Sail Brewing Tap Room, 506 Columbia St., Hood River. Phone 541-386-2247.

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