Eating and Drinking Our Way Through Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory
Last spring, I was lured to the Timberline Lodge & Ski Area at Mt. Hood Territory (perhaps most famous for serving as the exterior setting of The Shining’s Overlook Hotel) because they have the longest ski season in North America. Looking to shred some powder and taste some decent local cuisine, I was blown away by both the mountain and the culinary scene in the region.
In three packed days and nights of activities, I am not sure if I burned more rubber off the tires of my rental car or more calories shushing down the slopes. In any event, here are some outstanding places I refueled my body:
Farm to Table
Sherwood, Oregon’s paradise for healthy and happy eating is all about a spirit of community centered on food. According to Our Table co-founder Narendra Varma, “The idea is so that a full diet of Oregon sourced, organic, ethically grown sustainable food is served up here to our customers in the community who are also owners of the cooperative.” Members of the community shop at their “on-farm grocery store” that stocks 80% Oregon-sourced and 90% organic meats, dairy, and produce. They conveniently sell prepared meals-to-go, health & wellness items, dry goods, and wine. Our Table has a growler filling station for their craft beer (counter pressurized filling systems that eliminate the oxygen and keeps home brews fresher longer).
The Kitchen at Middleground Farms
Chef/Owner Jessica Hansen is a jack-of-all-trades you might say. This entrepreneur chef, turned gardener, farmer, B&B host and teacher delights in sharing her love of a complete farm to table experience at The Kitchen. First she gathers fresh ingredients, most from her own farm animals, then she schools us chef wannabe’s on traditional ways of making the perfect pie and shares the secrets behind making simple, delicious homemade cheeses. Basic knife skills are also taught in private or group classes, helping to instill confidence when cooking at home. The best part you ask? Why the tasting the cheese I made, of course!
Sweet Treats & Local Eats
Seriously French, seriously authentic breads, pastries and savory entrees. The lakeside location at Lake Oswego is divine with romantic tables for two and oh so Oregonian, a communal harvest table for breaking bread together. Gluten-free options available.
Scenic dining in a western log cabin structure overlooking the beautiful Clackamas River on the historic Baker Rock Quarry site. Chefs delight in making Pacific Northwest “home cooking” dishes from scratch.
Ram’s Head Bar at Timberline Lodge
Although it’s known for its microbrews and hot toddies, I had a long afternoon of skiing ahead of me so I went for a non-alcoholic buzz instead. A combination of a hot fudge sundae and a cup of cocoa, their hot chocolate extravaganza is both a drink and a dessert. Rich whipped cream, decadent chocolate, creamy caramel and crunchy toffee bits warmed me up and gave me a much needed energy boost to finish my ski day strong.
Bob’s Red Mill Wholegrain Store & Bakery
Just down the road from one of the working mills, the store and bakery sells over 400 grain-based products (80 gluten-free). Pop in for a real mom and pop type general store and café experience. I warn you, bring an appetite because you will want to try everything! The highlight of my trip was hugging my Gluten-free hero Bob Moore just before his retirement. Read about this remarkable man in the book entitled with his personal philosophy, People Before Profit.
Wine & Vineyards
Villa Catalana Cellars
Fairly new to the business of winemaking, Burl Mostul burst into Oregon City’s wine scene in 2014. He has already garnered much attention by winning two gold and one bronze medals at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Their vin de table Villa Catalana Red is a robust fruity blend with a reasonable price point and was my favorite red, but taste the striking Pinot Gris for a truly perky experience!
A family passion project, the vineyard is part animal farm, part art colony and part vineyard. Beckham Estate marries the best of all worlds in one small independent plot in Sherwood, Oregon. Winemaker/artist Andrew Beckham produces wine in amphora (a tall ancient Greek or Roman jar with two handles and a narrow neck) that he fires in his home studio. I tasted several of their handcrafted limited-production wines in a wonderful degustation co-owner Annedria Beckham created. Of note, the young but divine 2016 Olivia’s Pinot Noir Rosé paired with Chèvre with spring herbs and citrus.
Thank you to Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory for hosting a first-rate visit to do three of my favorite things – eating, drinking and skiing.