As Bend quickly and quietly continues its transformation into a Portlandia sketch, we are now sinking in to the brunch portion of our metamorphosis. Bend has always been a breakfast town, but herald the crepes and blintzes coming out and the closing times inching closer to 3 pm. Being that I am equally good at following as well as leading, Cafe Sintra seemed like the logical choice to start my subversive jaunt into brunchification.
Sintra is a ninja in Bend. In some respects, it's a locals joint, but tourists find it easily due to its proximity to Deschutes Brewery. That way, they tend to reach the entirety of Bend with seeming effortlessness. It is very easy to take them for granted because they've been here for so long plus they do their work simply and without much fanfare. Even the space in downtown Bend is understated but eclectic, with contrasting warm colors bouncing across shiny, silver tables. The space feels like a study in contrasts: narrow and long, quiet and loud—sometimes simultaneously, and a seriously quality Portuguese-inspired menu that you order from at a counter.
Ordering at the counter at Sintra almost seems counterintuitive to the style, but that is also another aspect of the Portlandification of Bend. The trendier the place, the more locally grown and quality the ingredients, the more likely you are going to order at a counter. Maybe it is my selection of eateries lately, but it almost feels like 75 percent of the places I enjoy in Bend require a trip to a big menu board and the worry that someone in line behind me is going to snag the last table. Wait staff are starting to seem quaint and that is a scary thought.
Cafe Sintra was about half full when we went there for brunch around 1 pm. There were plenty of tables open, so we set our bags down at a table and went up to order. My friend had a vanilla mocha, which was delicious, the cup giving forth a mountainous pile of melted chocolate once the drink was devoured. I had a black coffee. Our food came quickly and without much fanfare with absolutely flawless plating. My friend ordered the peach crepe, which was generously filled with moist, flavor-packed baked peaches. The whipped cream was light and didn't overpower like an IHOP dish.
I had the Monte Cristo and it was perfect. Soft and perfectly textured bread, fluffy and exquisite eggs, robust ham with more flavor than I could have imagined and a ton of the finest cheese on Earth (Havarti) melted over every delectable bite. My brunch game must have been weak, because it was so perfect I couldn't bear to add syrup to the already phenomenal sandwich.
Breakfast: Daily 7 am-3 pm
Brunch: Daily 11 am-3 pm
Dinner: Friday-Saturday 5:30 pm-9:30 pm
1024 NW Bond St.