Sampling street vendor cuisine is my favorite thing to do when traveling, so I’m thrilled by how many food carts have debuted in Bend lately.
In warmer months, you’ll find one on nearly every downtown corner, offering fare that ranges from Greek to Thai to good old-fashioned barbecue.
In the winter months though, only a handful of vendors brave the chill and wheel their carts out to offer tasty, hot, deliciousness for all to enjoy.
Just up the street from the Visit Bend office on the corner of Greenwood and Harriman are two of my lunchtime favorites. Soupçon (pronounced soop-sawn) features creative soups, salads, sandwiches, and Knödels, all of which are guaranteed to leave you swooning.
If you’re expecting ordinary soup fare like split pea or chicken noodle, think again. Try these on for size: Lemongrass & Saffron Butternut with Coconut and Mango Salsa. Smoked Cauliflower Bisque with Gorgonzola and Bacon.
Drooling yet? And I haven’t even mentioned the sandwiches and salads, which are equally exotic and delicious.
If your taste buds are craving something more like Mexican street food, take two steps to the right and you’ll be standing in front of El Sancho. Offering tacos, tamales, and enchiladas, El Sancho makes me believe, if only for a moment, that I’m standing on a street corner in Puerto Vallarta wearing flip-flops and a bikini.
Then I remember it’s 28-degrees and put my clothes back on.
The tamales at El Sancho are made from scratch with two types of masa. They’re wrapped with corn husks and banana leaves and filled with ridiculously delicious things like Pork Chile Verde, Pineapple Chile, Cactus Paddle Tomato.
Can’t decide between Soupçon and El Sancho? Grab a combo that lets you pick something from each. Now that’s a brilliant business merger. Both carts are open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If you’re en route to or from Mt. Bachelor, there’s convenient street food out there for you, too. Check out The Pizza Cart in front of Pine Mountain Sports on Century Drive.
Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Pizza Cart offers hot brick oven pizza. You can get thin crust personal pies made with hand-rolled dough, homemade sauce, local meats from the Redmond Smokehouse, hand roasted vegetables and fresh delicious cheeses. After 4 p.m., all pizzas are only $5.
So now you’re covered if you’re strolling downtown or visiting Bachelor. What about when you’re doing the winter weekend pub crawl downtown?
Check out Dump City Dumplings on the corner of NW Bond and Oregon. They’re open Thursday through Saturday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. – perfect for when you need something warm and delicious en route one pub to the next. They offer scrumptious dumplings like southwest chicken, samosa curry, or even pumpkin pie. Selections vary seasonally, which is all part of the fun.
Do you have a favorite treat on the Bend street vendor scene? Please share!
And please support the brave souls out there shivering on the street corner making sure your belly is full of warm, delicious grub!