In addition to our awesome holiday meal (read more here), we also ate out a lot while we were in Bend, OR last week.
We ordered breakfast from room service at our hotel, The Oxford, a few times and it was really good. The french toast with berry compote, in particular, was awesome. Right next door to the hotel is a brand new doughnut place (as in they opened their doors for the first time the Saturday after Thanksgiving) called Luvs Doughnuts. They make small batches and sell the day-old doughnuts for 50 cents! I had a glazed-yeast raised and Jasper had a chocolate-dipped blueberry cake doughnut - they were pretty good! I also enjoyed my chai latte from there - nice strong flavor.
We also ate at a local breakfast/brunch institution - Chow, which is open every day from 7-2. They focus on local vendors and sustainability and accommodate pretty much any diet. They are happy to make up a unique dish just for you if nothing on the menu suits you. They also have some killer guava mimosas (or man-mosas if you want a bigger drink). This is the only restaurant I thought to take pictures at, so enjoy!
Bagel with cream cheese, pickled veg (celery, carrots, green beans), salmon, and sprouts.
Chow has a number of signature egg dishes. This one is the blackstone - with poached eggs, cornmeal crusted tomatoes, spinach, bacon, and bearnaise over polenta. Super yummy.
This was the omelette of the day with house potatoes. They make their own hot sauces here, and from what I heard the Carrot-Habanero was amazingly hot and tasty.
For lunch one day, we stopped by the Deschutes Brewery Pub House for burgers. Like most places in Bend, it focuses on seasonal, natural, sustainable, and locally sourced food. It is also super gluten-free friendly and even brews gluten-free beer. I kind of love this town. I had the elk burger, which comes with Gruyere and roasted shallots, and added bacon and avocado. It was totally messy and totally delicious. The Gruyere and shallots together reminded me of French onion soup. I also got sweet potato fries with a killer roasted red pepper aioli.
For our first dinner out Jasper and I returned to a local favorite, Ariana, for a romantic dinner for two before the craziness of the holiday began. You can read about our first visit here, complete with pictures. It is a small restaurant set inside of a little house that is very cozy and romantic. This time around we ordered the beef carpaccio with truffle oil and horseradish creme fraiche; roasted bone marrow; roasted beet salad with watercress and goat cheese; spinach and ricotta cannelloni with fresh pasta and the most delicious marinara sauce I've ever had; and seared scallops with crab risotto. For dessert we had the amazing salted caramel budino that I remembered from two years ago. We also had some great wines at the suggestion of our fabulous server. The service here is consistently stellar. The bar is also excellent and makes classic drinks like Pisco Sours or Pimm's Cups with precision.
Next up was Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails to celebrate the retirement of my mother-in-law, yay! The space is modern and cool, and the food is Cajun-esque. They also have a separate gluten-free menu. I was worried about finding something I could eat because I don't like spicy food, but I ended up having plenty to choose from. The smoked trout dip and duck fat fries with truffle aioli were both outstanding. I didn't try the Southern Shrimp and Grits (spicy) but everyone said they were really good. I did try Jasper's barbequed ribs and truffled mac and cheese and they were delish! The prime-rib and delmonico steak specials were also very good. I had a beet salad for my main because I was still pretty stuffed from eating at Chow that day! It was good, but I wished there had been more goat cheese and more acid. Signature dishes that we didn't try include shrimp etouffee, jambalaya, and blackened redfish.
The last stop on the dinner tour was Five Fusion & Sushi Bar. Check out the gallery on the website for photos of the really cool space and artistic food. The sushi was pretty outstanding here, better than most places in DC other than the favorites (Taro and Kushi). The sushi rice wasn't packed very well and tended to fall apart all over the place, but that is a pretty common problem. I got tuna and salmon samplers, a lobster roll, and some nigiri. Jasper ordered the 5-spice seasoned filet mignon lollipops with mashed potatoes - yummy. A couple of people at the table ordered the duo of duck entree and were very happy with it. They also ordered the lobster and shrimp curry that was apparently delicious and very spicy. We were all pretty sure we didn't have any room for dessert... until we saw the dessert menu! They had banoffee pie, my favorite! And it was delicious. As were the sticky toffee pudding, creme brulee trio, and chocolate cake. So much for no room! I don't know what all those UK style desserts were doing at a sushi restaurant, but I'm not complaining!
There is a lot of really good food in Bend. It's impressive for such a small town. The scenery and skiing also make it a big tourist destination. It's a great place to visit!