Sunday night, April 1, a landmark event took place that I believe will set the bar for culinary events in the future in Bend. With 12 chefs at 11 locations, offering 16 different dishes, The Foodie Crawl was a spectacular success.
The event's participants wound their way through the westside, Old Mill and downtown and quickly developed a camaraderie marked by a common love of food.
As a former chef at Tart, I enjoyed seeing the dishes developed by chefs from some of the town's best restaurants. Trattoria Sbandati hit on all cylinders with their perfectly textured "Polpette" and paired Tuscan Sangiovese. Victorian Café wowed with Mini Sage Duck Benedicts and a blood orange mimosa. Jen's Garden, which set up shop at Ginger's Kitchen, offered a wonderful "Yucatanwich" paired with a Prosecco mimosa.
Hola!'s offering was overall quite good, but it was their Chicha margarita (made with Peruvian corn and cinnamon) that really caught my attention. Rockin' Dave's Peaches and Cream Pork Canapé was exquisite. Brasada Ranch'a Range Restaurant killed it with Macfarlane pheasant and lamb sweetbreads with a quinoa watercress salad.
As delightfully overindulgent as the evening was, I only wish I could do this every weekend. I am certain that I speak for all in attendance when I say that there is some amazing culinary talent in this area, and I cannot wait for the next Foodie Crawl. (Joe Benevento)
A Slice off the Old Block
The folks at Chow are gearing up to try their hands at something new soon. Local Slice Pizza is scheduled to open by the last week of April on Amber Meadow Drive off of Brookswood.
With new construction on its way to completion and a liquor license already approved, feel free to let your anticipation build. The Local Slice Facebook Page describes the new venture as "A Locavore Pizza Joint in Bend Oregon showcasing the best of Bend, local beers, and good times!" The menu at Local Slice will include salads, appetizers and, of course pizza, using fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients while continuing to offer an awesome array of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options.
There will be thirty seats inside with table service, as well as ten patio seats for soaking up summer outside. They will also be offering delivery, which should delight south-town neighbors. (Laura Kessinger)
Shanghai Joes Gets a New Lease on Life
Bendites who love authentic tacos know where to go around town to get their fix. And for the past six years that short list of places for a great carne asada has included Tortillaria Reyes, a modest storefront next door to Bryan's House of Music on SE Division. Never heard of the place? Well, you're not alone, plenty of folks would be surprised to learn that the tortilla factory turned lunch spot even exists. But thanks in part to his devoted customers, owner Carlos Reyes is expanding his operation by opening a full bar and restaurant on the opposite side of town in the former Shanghai Joes restaurant on NE Division.
Reyes, who has been churning out tacos and burritos at his current locale for more than half a decade said the time was right to wade into the restaurant business, a plunge that he'll be taking with his son, Jesus.
"You know the people ask me a lot of times, you know, about a second place. Here we have just a few tables and so the people asked me and asked me. Everybody like our food and we said, why not. We can try it," Reyes said on Tuesday afternoon while taking a break at his bustling tortilla-making business.
The goal is to be open within a month at the new location, which is getting a modest facelift, for Cinco de Mayo, said Reyes who signed a lease on the space earlier this year.
Reyes said he looked at other locations, but the price was right for the former Shanghai Joes.
In addition to a full bar and tableside service, Reyes said the new restaurant will feature an expanded menu that builds on his current line up.
"You know that most restaurants have another kind of food. So I want to do something different. This is more authentic and house made," he said.
Another addition will be live music, including bands and DJ's geared to his latino audience, added Reyes, who plans to keep the new establishment open for the bar crowd on Friday and Saturday nights. Reyes initial plans have the restaurant open daily for lunch and dinner.