June 19 - 21
Bite of Bend
While Bend not uncommonly finds itself on Top 10-style lists for outdoor recreation and craft brewing, the local food scene has also been profiled in national publications. (Remember when the New York Times discovered The Lot?) And that attention is well-deserved. Bend's food scene deftly bridges fine dining with casual cart culture to bring chill vibes to fancy eateries, and sophisticated offerings to food trucks. It's such an embarrassment of riches that even among Bendites, few can claim to have tasted the fares of every local chef.
Enter Bite of Bend. Central Oregon's largest food fair brings together purveyors of everything from pork sliders to paella to paleo desserts, creating a temporary open-air food cart in downtown. And because the chefs offer $1-$2 small plates (read: "bites"), eager eaters don't need to stretch out their stomachs in preparation.
Among the mouth-watering morsels being prepared for Bite of Bend's hungry mobs: watermelon gazpacho (Barrio); sweet pineapple, guava and coconut tamales (Jumbo Tamales); and fried cauliflower buffalo bites (Global Fusion). The high concentration of food carts speaks to the festival's focus this year on hidden gems.
But no summer event is complete without music, libations, and some kind of run. And Bite of Bend delivers, with headliners including The Thermals and Common Kings as well as local bands, a mixology showcase include mimosa and bloody Mary-making contests, and the 5k Beer Run and costume contest.
Bite of Bend also includes kids activities, like the Root Beer Run at Troy Field. For the low, low price of free, you'd have to really hate food to pass up this annual party. Love food? The weekend festival is followed by a week of classes, dinners, and demonstration to keep the culinary curiosity fermenting (read more below).
Downtown Bend, $5.
OTHER FOOD EVENTS
June - October
Grocery store produce sections are like zoos. (In more ways than one.) So far removed from their natural habitat, fruits and vegetables become mere objects. Look at that lovely pyramid of red peppers, you think, admiring the symmetry and uniformity. But walk into a farmers' market where bunches of irregularly shaped and varied hued carrots topped with vibrant greens spill over straw baskets, where you can chat with the rancher who raised the meat you're about to pick up for dinner, and the grocery store becomes hard to bear. Fortunately, Bend has no shortage of farmers' markets, on different days, in varied neighborhoods.
Wednesdays, June 3-October 14, 3-7 pm. Bend Farmers' Market, Brooks Alley, Downtown Bend. Free admission.
Fridays, June 19-August 21, 2-6 pm. Mountain View High School North Parking Lot, 2755 NE 27th St. Free admission.
Saturdays, June 20-September 19, 10 am-2 pm. NorthWest Crossing Farmers' Market, 2754 NW Crossing Drive. Free admission.
June 22 - 25
Once you've sampled the culinary compositions of Central Oregon's best chefs at Bite of Bend, take it to the next level with Bite Week classes, demonstrations, and dinners. With more than two dozen events ranging from a Chiang Mai Family Feast at Wild Rose Thai to an interactive exploration of coffee's path from bean to brew with Thump Coffee Roasters, there's something for every palate and interest level. (Just want to eat more delicious food? Dinners are great for that. Looking for something more hands on? Try a class. Want to learn something without working? A demo may be right for you.)
Various times and various location around Bend. $5-$85. biteofbend.com
A Sip of Cork & Barrel
Bend may be a beer town, but that doesn't mean other ways of imbibing are verboten. Tetherow Gold Club hosts a high-end wine and fine-dining event to raise funds for KIDS Center. Each year, a different wine region is featured for the pre-dinner winemaker reception—this year, it's Napa Valley. Then for the main event, Tetherow Executive Chef Zac Hoffman leads a brigade of local chefs and servers volunteering their time to create a five-course gourmet dinner to accompany wines from five Willamette Valley winemakers. Right around the time you're feeling nice and toasty, organizers will unveil silent and live auction items awaiting your generous bid—and that of your 800 newest friends. It's brilliant, really. Because who needs an excuse to drink expensive wine, eat sophisticated food, and make a difference in the life of a vulnerable child?
5-8:30 pm. Tetherow Golf Club, 61240 Skyline Ranch Rd. $75.
Sisters Feast Series – Buried Beef & Brew
Sisters gets old-timey (imagine that!) with a truly underground dining experience—buried beef. The beef cooks in a subterranean setup overnight, over hot coals. Like an outdoor slowcooker, the process results in tender, juicy meat. Add to that secret recipe beer keg beans, a host of side dishes, and a beer from Three Creeks Brewing and you have a recipe for finger-licking satisfaction. And if the food's not temptation enough, the event is scheduled to correspond with the 2015 Glory Daze Annual Car Show—a feast for eyes and bellies. Lest you fear eating without purpose, this event is a fundraiser for Sisters Park and Recreation Department youth programs.
11 am-2 pm. Downtown Sisters, corner of Main and Fir Streets. Cost TBA. sistersrecreation.com.
Ghost Tree Invitational Dinner on the Range
To some, Ghost Tree is primarily a golf event. But for foodies and those just looking to have a good time, the Dinner of the Range is the main event. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Ghost Tree raises funds for organizations serving children and families, primarily the Ronald McDonald House of Central Oregon and The Assistance League of Bend. Though the event takes place on the golf range, this is a dress-to-impress shindig. Feeling footloose and fancy free? Don't forget your dancing shoes. While the entertainment hasn't been announced yet, people will be getting down. And of course, wallets and purses are handy so you can bid on the impressive auctions, including stays in upscale hotels like Las Vegas' Mandarin Oriental, sports memorabilia autographed by Marcus Mariota, and more.
4-10:45 pm. Pronghorn Resort, 65600 Pronghorn Club Dr. $125. ghosttreeinvitational.com