With a wealth of amazing restaurants in Bend, there are plenty of things that you can find that taste great year-round.
But when the weather is chilly, the days are short, and you’re tuckered out from a hard day of snow-play, there are some meals that just taste mind-numbingly, toe-curlingly, knock-your-socks-off unbelievable.
Here are a few of my faves:
Chesapeake Bay Crab Chowder at The Summit Saloon
I tried this chowder for the first time a few days ago, and my mouth is still watering at the thought of it. Chef John hails from the Chesapeake Bay area, and he brought those flavors to Bend with this scrumptious, creamy soup. It’s packed with succulent blue crab, Yukon gold potatoes, celery, carrot onion, cream, homemade stock, and a secret blend of Chesapeake Bay spices John wouldn’t tell me even when I pinned him down and tickled him. Suffice it to say, it’s the perfect blend of flavors with generous amounts of crab and enough potatoes and veggies to make it feel like a hearty meal. It’s served with The Summit’s homemade rosemary roll and sells for $4 a cup or $5 a bowl. Though they try to have it available all week, it’s been so popular they can’t keep it in stock. Your best bet is to hit them on Wednesday or Thursday to make sure you get some.
Biscuits and Gravy at Jackson’s Corner
There’s biscuits and gravy, and then there’s biscuits and gravy. Wait, that doesn’t work in writing. You have to say the last one with a little moan of pleasure while wiping the gravy from your chin. That’s the beauty of this hearty, stick-to-your-ribs breakfast. It’s made with Redmond Smokehouse chicken sausage gravy and fresh baked biscuits, and the flavor is out-of-this-world. The hearty portion is big enough for two people to split, or for one extremely hungry person to devour with minimal regret even if the “I’m disgustingly full” feeling sets in afterward. Insider tip: make sure you add an order of home fries. You’ll thank me for that.
Edamame Bowl at Café Yumm
Yes, it’s a chain restaurant, but those inclined to turn their noses up at that sort of thing can take comfort in the fact that this one is locally owned and operated. Café Yumm prides itself on simple, nourishing food, and the Edamame Bowl is exactly that. All their bowls are delicious, but the Edamame Bowl takes the prize, in my opinion. It’s layered with organic brown rice, original Yumm! Sauce, and green soybeans (edamame), topped with nori (seaweed), shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese, diced tomato, fresh avocado, olives, and sour cream. The medium-sized bowl ends up being just about right for me, though I’ve been know to polish off a large on a good day. Added bonus: you can stroll the great shops in the Old Mill District after you’ve licked the bowl clean.
Meatloaf at The Blacksmith or Pine Tavern
Few dishes scream “comfort food” like meatloaf, and it’s such a tossup between these two that I have to mention both. The meatloaf at Pine Tavern is served with a mushroom demi-glace that is so delicious I’m actually willing to overlook my lifelong aversion to mushrooms. The broccolini and mashed potatoes make excellent, complementary side dishes, and the whole thing is great with a glass of red wine from their excellent wine list. At The Blacksmith, the Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf is individually baked to order and glazed with ketchup. It comes with classic mashed potatoes, creamed corn, and a fire-roasted tomato and green bean sauté, all of which meld together to add the perfect, gourmet twist to this old standby. Don’t forget to order one of the unique cocktails off their extensive drink menu.
Oh, and don’t forget Bend’s ample offerings of mac & cheese, which I blogged about in depth a couple months ago. That’s the epitome of comfort food right there.
So what’s your favorite hot meal for cold weather in Bend? Please share!