This weekend, downtown will turn into a food and booze extravaganza known as the Bite of Bend. As the Source Weekly is one of the esteemed sponsors, we thought we'd bring you our must-eat-and-drink picks for the festival.
Top Chef Competition
Based on the addictive Bravo show, Central Oregon's best chefs fight it out with cast iron for eternal glory. The round robin-style competition pits chefs from top restaurants against each other, creating on-the-fly meals with a secret ingredient. Past ingredients have included rattlesnake, octopus and kangaroo, which one competitor bravely turned into tartare (unsuccessfully). The winner will face last year's champion, Roscoe Roberson of Kokanee Café, for $400, a trophy and the title of the Bite of Bend Top Chef. Also check out the up-and-coming chefs from COCC's culinary school when four of their rising stars compete at 10:45 a.m.on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Oregon, as we all know, turns out some of the best dining, wine and spirits in the country. While we've lost some of our favorite local restaurants recently, including Staccato and Cork, the local dining and bar scene will be on prominent display at the Bite. This year's festival will feature an Oregon-only tent, which will showcase just that. Local fine dining restaurants including 10 Below, Kokanee Café, Scanlons, and Brand 33 will offer amuse-bouches of their favorite dishes, served by the restaurants' chefs. An Oregon-only wine and spirits bar will also be in the tent, with some of Oregon's best wines and a full bar with Bendistillery's Oregon-made liquors.
What's more Bend than beer and running? Running while drinking beer, obviously. The Bite of Bend Beer Run is three miles of intense competition interrupted by two beer stops, during which competitors chug a Cascade Lakes brew. Runners will be rewarded at the finish line by another beer. For runners, the Beer Run is the best place to prove they've still got their college stomach intact. Spectators get to see Bend's finest get drunk and sweaty while trying to redeem their PPP showings. Saturday, noon.
While the area's best chefs compete in the Top Chef competition, Bend's favorite bartenders will be mixing cocktails. Instead of watching your local bartenders slinging beers and rum and cokes on a Saturday night, you'll get to watch them try their seasoned hands at mixology, with one cocktail being proclaimed as Bite of Bend Cocktail of the Year. Bartenders must use Oregon-produced liquors, use fewer than six ingredients and create the cocktail in five minutes or less. The winners will get $100 for his or her creation. 5:30 p.m. Saturday.