Food for Thought: Dine while cruising the river

By Loretto J. Hulse, Herald staff writerJanuary 30, 2013 

If you've always wanted to take a dinner cruise, you'll have a chance this spring and you won't have to leave town to board ship.

In April, a ship from Portland Spirit, a cruise line combining boat tours and fine dining, will be in the Tri-Cities for tours up and down the Columbia and Snake rivers.

The Columbia Gorge, an authentic 499-passenger sternwheeler, will be churning through Mid-Columbia waters from April 19-28.

The ship is a replica of the historic Bailey Gatzert, which operated on the Columbia from the 1890s to the 1920s.

Cruises vary in length from two to more than five hours. Passengers can choose from a brunch, lunch or dinner cruise featuring Northwest cuisine prepared fresh in the onboard galley.

For more information, go to or call 800-224-3901.

Free pancakes

To celebrate National Pancake Day, IHOP restaurants will be giving away free pancakes from 7 to 10 a.m. Feb. 5.

In return, the restaurant will be accepting donations for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

For more information, go to

Eat safe

With the Super Bowl just days away, the Department of Agriculture has these tips to prevent a food safety foul.

Hand washing with soap and warm water is one of the easiest ways to stop bacteria. Don't skimp; scrub those digits for a full 20 seconds.

When preparing food for your gathering, designate one cutting board for meats, another for the rest of the foods.

Slowcookers are a popular tool for cooks who don't want to be tied up in the kitchen. Prevent any possible problems by first checking on this blog from the Meat and Poultry Hotline:

Drinks and fun

Tickets for Seattle's HopScotch Beer & Scotch Festival on Feb. 22-23 are available online. The event includes beer, scotch, whiskey and wine tasting.

Cost varies according to what you drink. Nondrinkers can pay $20 and enjoy complimentary nonalcoholic beverages. For $45, you can sample beers and liquors. Those wanting only beer/wine will pay $30.

For more information go to the website:

New read

The book: The Meatloaf Bakery Cookbook: Comfort Food With a Twist by Cynthia Kallile.

Cost: $20

Best for: The author, who owns the Meatloaf Bakery in Chicago, explains the basic structure of a meatloaf, then encourages home cooks to take her recipes -- which include a Thai, Cajun, even pizza meatloaf -- and make them their own. She also includes some side dishes and sauces and tips on making meatloaf in muffin tins, cake pans and pie plates.

*Loretto J. Hulse:

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