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Jolynne Milone at Koya Kitchen.
A feast from the world found on the Mountain posted on 09/07/2017

Jolynne Milone has traveled the world, often in unexpected ways. She noted her first time abroad, she planned to be gone for a month, but ended up being gone for 18 months, journeying to India, then Kashmir, Pakistan, Bhutan, Thailand and more.

“The world’s a big place with very delicious food,” Milone said.

And those fantastic flavors she has discovered during her travel experiences are now available on the mountain, at Milone’s Koya Kitchen, offering dishes such as fried rice, ramen, udon, sushi and a rotating curry. The restaurant, located at 67886 Hwy. 26 in Welches, opened in March and has already built a solid fan base.

Milone’s culinary adventures belie her upbringing, when she was not exposed to a wide range of dishes.

“My parents weren’t very experimental with food, we always ate a lot of casserole,” she said.

Milone tries to keep things as original and classic as possible for her recipes, cooking things from scratch, including broths, while the noodles are made from raw dough from Japan.

She noted that for her curries, the different parts of India lended itself to different flavors of curry.

“You understand how the food and people change with topography,” Milone said.

Milone ended up on the mountain a little more than five years ago, when she was looking for a place to land after being in Japan for the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. A friend offered her a place to stay, so she got on a plane and came to Mount Hood.

“I just love the mountain, so I stayed,” she said. “You’ve kind of got to make yourself a job up here if you want to stay.”

Milone has worked in several capacities in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years, including bartending, serving, managing and the front of house. But she added she’s learned a little bit about the efforts that go on in the kitchen since she’s opened her restaurant.

“I have a whole new appreciation for the people who cook in the kitchens up here, its hard work,” Milone said. “I take really good care of my cooks.”

She has created a relaxed atmosphere inside, with old movies and mountaineering videos playing in the background, and she hopes to bring that atmosphere outside by working in the garden and building a pagoda with a fire pit.

“I want to make a good space for people to come and just retreat,” Milone said, adding that she would like to add hammocks outside for outdoor movies at some point. “People come in all day long and they tell me the space feels good and they’re relaxed and the food tastes good.”

For more information, including the menu, search for “Koya Kitchen” on Facebook or call (503) 564-9345.

By Garth Guibord/MT

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