5 ways to keep connected to Bend’s culinary scene despite COVID
From breweries to bento joints, sushi bars to sub shops, Bend’s culinary scene is brimming with mouthwatering choices.
But what’s a homebound foodie to do in the midst of a global pandemic? Relax. Grab a beer, maybe a snack. Then kick back and digest these five tips for being part of Bend’s culinary world even in quarantine.
Take it to go
Dine-in eating is on hold with COVID-19 scaring the sriracha out of us, but Bend restaurants are getting creative. To be frank, it’s the only way they’ll survive this shut-down, and it kills me to think how many won’t be standing when this is over. Fortunately, there are ways to help.
Want to know who’s offering takeout and delivery in Bend? Check out this page devoted entirely to Bend eateries still operating during the pandemic. Some offer curbside pickup where they’ll bring the food straight to your car, while others deliver once you hit a certain spending threshold. If your favorite Bend restaurant doesn’t do their own delivery, services like DoorDash, Bend Takeout Express, GrubHub, and Uber Eats can hook you up.
Keep your eyes glued to restaurants’ social media pages for up-to-the-minute deals, specials, and packages. My mouth starts watering daily when I see Facebook alerts from 5 Fusion and Trattoria Sbandati showing what they’ve got cooking that day.
Quarantine has made me a huge fan of family meal deals like the taco, enchilada, or fajita combos at Rancho Grande (pro tip: throw in an order of their margarita mix!) Flatbread Neapolitan Pizza boasts a family feast menu featuring pizzas, salads, and pastas in quantities guaranteed to fill everyone’s belly.
Even Bend breakfast spots are getting in on the action, with Victorian Cafe offering a robust takeout menu that includes kits for their famous bloody marys. While I’ve always adored the gargantuan breakfast burritos at Los Jalapeños, they’ve become my family’s favorite weekend morning treat (OMG, guys….the machaca burrito with eggs, cheese, hash browns, shredded beef, bell pepper, and a little added spinach — SO GOOD!)
Okay, but what about date night? The hubby and I have made this a Friday night staple, barricading ourselves in my home office with candles, flowers, and a private takeout meal from one of our favorite restaurants. We can dress up fancy or dine in PJs, and there’s no need to call an Uber if we split a bottle of wine. Small blessings?
Oh, and don’t forget dessert. Sweet Tooth is currently offering free delivery in Bend for orders over $15.
Watch and drool
If you’re not able to get to your favorite Bend dining spot in person, you can tune in online for some drool-worthy goodness.
Chefs at many top Bend restaurants are filling their social media feeds with generous helpings of cooking tips. Skim the Facebook feed for 900 Wall and you’ll not only see oodles of recipes and grocery lists, but a cool video showing how to make pizza from scratch.
The folks at Savory Spice in the Old Mill District have been rounding out their feed with meal ideas, creative hints, and videos showing ways to use some of their scrumptious spices.
Synergy Health and Wellness is a Bend favorite for everything from massage to nutrition counseling, but right now they’re using their Facebook channel to educate about quarantine eating. Check out their Pantry Pop-Up Series on extending the life of fresh fruits and veggies, or another on menu planning and stocking your pantry.
Make it a point to skim the social media feeds for all your favorite Bend restaurants and foodie hotspots to see what’s cookin’ (and what you could be cookin’, too).
Raise a toast to the Bend Ale Trail
While you can’t go trekking around the Bend Ale Trail to collect passport stamps, plenty of Bend breweries are making it easier for you to get a taste of Bend’s beer scene during quarantine.
For 10 years, I’ve desperately wished Boneyard Brewing would start canning their beers. Guess what? It’s finally happening, and you can find them in grocery stores or order takeout from the pub and swing by in person to grab it.
While getting your growler filled is a challenge at the moment, some breweries are offering crowlers — 32oz cans of your favorite beer. I’m loving the system at 10 Barrel, which makes it easy for me to order online, then walk 10 minutes to the Eastside pub near my house and scoop up my cans while still social distancing. Check out their COVID-19 page for details.
Can’t decide which brewery to support? Both the East and West Bend locations of The Growler Guys are offering pick-up and to-go orders, and the Eastside also offers delivery. Visit their website to check out tap lists, then call to learn your options for getting your taste buds on some Bend beer.
Level up your cooking game
Raise your hand if your teenager or someone else in your home is suddenly crazynuts about baking.
I’ve got two of ‘em who suddenly fancy themselves budding young Paul Hollywoods, and we’re burning through butter and flour at alarming rates. And don’t get me started on the “hey, do we have a such-and-such baking pan?” questions I’m fielding daily.
Luckily, Ginger’s Kitchenware can hook us up with every kitchen gadget under the sun. From springform pans to casserole dishes to food processors, they’ve got it all, with curbside pickup to boot. They’re open 11-4 Monday through Saturday, and they’ll happily take your call for any orders.
Getting tired of the same ol’ same ol’ with meals you’re making at home? Savory Spice Shop in the Old Mill District has a thousand ways to perk up your standard fare, including Spice-n-Easy packs designed to add pizzazz to a few main ingredients from your fridge or pantry. They’re open 10-3 daily and even have curbside pickup.
Fill your fridge and belly with Bend’s bounty
If eating local is a priority, rest assured Bend’s farms and ranchers have you covered.
Central Oregon Locavore has long been a cornerstone of Bend’s local food scene, promoting local food and farmers while educating the community about sustainably-produced food. Their small-but-mighty grocery store offers everything from fresh produce to local meats and cheeses, along with honey, milk, and even seeds and plants to start your own garden.
While popular Bend meat market Primal Cuts is currently closed for quarantine, The Meat Locker on Highway 20 is still open and offering everything from whole chickens to locally-sourced bacon, sausage, beef, and more. Pioneer Ranch is also offering boxes of locally-curated meats, eggs, fish, and specialty items, with free delivery in Bend, Sisters, and Tumalo for orders over $175. If lamb is your jam, North 44 Farm offers grass fed, free-range lamb, along with free-range chicken and seasonal turkeys with no antibiotics, hormones, or pesticides.
While the Farm Store at Rainshadow Organics is currently closed, foodies intent on planning ahead can purchase Market Bucks to spend later on everything from meats to grains to veggies to pickles. You can also purchase tickets to summer events like their Long Table Dinners, then cross your fingers this COVID thing is behind us by then.
Bon appetit, everyone! Stay safe out there.
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