My time in the breathtaking and picturesque Pacific Northwest has officially come to an end. Made it up to Mt. Bachelor for a quick photo opp. Never got a chance to ski or snow shoe…next time I will make it a priority.
My last stop eating out & about in Bend,OR was Bōken. An adult beverage seemed like a good place to start. I sipped the cool blend of cucumber vodka and blood orange juice that is the Boken-tini while I pondered lunch selections. Blood oranges can make a drink seem so much sexier…y’know? Lemon grass tofu banh mi ( Vietnamese style sandwich) is served with the same delicious house marinated pickled daikon and carrots that garnish an order of Shitake skewers. I’m a pickle fiend and love love loved the marinated cauliflower.
Veggie Lumpia and a Coconut Martini @Bōken.
My vegan chili entry into the annual cook-off was good but not good enough to beat cousin Keith. He won first place for the fourth year in a row! I’m still perfecting this recipe but should have it ready to post soon.
Mission accomplished in Bend: Got Cousin Paul to incorporate green smoothies into his diet and he knows that you don’t “suffer” when eating a plant-based diet.
This week I’ll have a post about my new favorite spices for kitchen alchemy. Have a great weekend friends!
How is it possible that I have been in Bend,OR for almost three months and had no clue that Sarah’s Raw & Vegan Cafe was open? I’m subscribed to the Happycow updates and somehow missed this hidden gem. This is currently the only No Meat Kitchen in Bend serving up an impressive menu of superfood smoothies, raw lunches and delectable desserts.
Sarah (pictured above) has the space located behind her husband’s chiropractic office on NW Colorado Ave . I smiled to myself as we passed the sandbox and toys walking to the rear entrance. Yup, you can actually feel the good energy flowing out of the tiny cafe. My Aunty and Uncle came along as food warriors today after our Zumba workout and we were famished. Today’s featured lunch was a raw pizza: flax cracker base, romaine lettuce, marinara sauce, cashew cheese, tomatoes and almond cheese shreds accompanied by a leek salad. We tend to dissect all the elements of a dish and agreed that this was superbly composed. The cracker was hearty enough to hold up to the moist ingredients without becoming a soggy mess while the marinara had enough complexity to avoid being lost in the greens.
Dessert surprised us all..a petite persimmon stuffed with date puree spiced with cinnamon and cloves, topped with a fresh raspberry sauce. Perfect to share and eat enough just to touch the heart ♡
The smoothie options are extensive. It was hard to choose between the Coconut Chocolate Dream, Luscious Lavender or about twenty other choices, but I settled on the Chai smoothie sans avocado. My smoothie was a blend of cashews,dates,banana,cinnamon, clove, nutmeg,warrior protein,vanilla and Himalayan sea salt. So good, I must try and recreate it at home when I leave Bend. I got mine to-go in the honor system Mason jar (return jars to the cafe for continued good juju) and found out they really make an effort to reuse/recycle to cut down on waste. Instead of purchasing to-go containers, Sarah’s Cafe either uses the Mason jars or they pack your goodies in the containers that herbs,dates or other ingredients are shipped to them in. No paper napkins, plastic utensils or straws here.
Grab a hula hoop and burn off those overt fats after your meal. If you’re an expert at wiggling your hips, try it tandem with one of the super friendly staff members! We had a fantastic experience and wish Sarah and the staff much continued success.
*Vegan caveat: I asked about the cheese they used to top the pizza after realizing it was not any of the usual cheese alternatives I was used to. Unfortunately, I had already eaten the whole pizza since the cafe is marketed as “vegan” and I didn’t think to ask before wolfing it down. The almond cheese used here is a brand that does contain casein. I will suggest that perhaps they give Galaxy shreds or Daiya a try.
Lilian Chu of 5 Fusion has completely endeared herself to me. She is a savvy restauranteur with an unprecedented attention to detail and her charity work for the Central Oregon community is quite an inspiration. In the past year, her charity dinners have raised over $45,000 for various local organizations like the Humane Society and Big Brothers & Big Sisters. I was lucky enough to return from my trip to Los Angeles in time to be her guest at this month’s dinner.
The dinner was prepared by guest chefs from two local eateries Barrio and Blacksmith in the dimly lit, sexy upstairs space of 5 Fusion. I had visited Barrio on two occasions with my family food warriors and found it to be very veg-friendly, as long as you communicate your dietary preferences. The chefs created an impressive 5 course meal that was veganized for me. Each course was paired with a specialty cocktail and by the second course, I was already tipsy. The carefully customized vegan menu was:
Chili glazed yam
Jibarito with jicama and orange basil sauce
Crimini mushroom taco
Vegan paella with crispy kale
Yuzu, shiso and marionberry sorbet trio
Both my cousin and I agreed that our favorite dish of the evening was the taco… Full mouth food-gasm! I was sipping on my tamarind cocktail and giggling at the whimsical smashed beer can presentation of the intermezzo.
Lilian had us seated at her table so that she could monitor the servers to make sure my plates were indeed vegan and that no stray avocados would trigger my food allergy. The evening was such a fun event, I’ve recommended it to all of my Bend,OR friends and family. The $100 ticket for a seat is well worth it to have some of the best chefs in town prepare such a stellar dining experience . Check out 5 Fusion’s website and Facebook page to get notices for the upcoming monthly dinners.
Have you ever had the pleasure of dining at non-profit restaurant? My first experience was in Salt Lake City,UT at One World Cafe. There were no prices on the menu and you were given a tiny envelope to pay what you can. If you were unable to pay, you could volunteer for an hour or two and cover your meal in work trade. It was so interesting to see serious business people in suits sitting next to a motley crue of colorful characters that were down on their luck, all happy to be enjoying a plate of comfort food.
The concept is the brainchild of owner Denise Cerreta and more of the community cafe models are popping up across the country. I was super excited to learn that Bend,OR has its own outpost called the Common Table. These types of cafes allow people who normally wouldn’t be able to dine out the ability to enjoy local, organic, healthy food. And if you can pay, you know your dollar is contributing towards the greater good of uniting people through the love of real food.
Common Table’s space is open and welcoming with a long communal table in the center. If you don’t feel like making new friends, choose one of the smaller tables after you’ve ordered your meal at the counter.
I love sampling different types of kombucha beverages and the Kombucha Mama Chai hit the spot. Just the right amount of spicy effervescence to wet my palette before diving into my Tempeh BLT – smoked tempeh, arugula, tomato, onion and a bowl of tomato bisque. The soup was everything I wanted it to be… tangy, rich tomato flavor without being artificially sweet or overly salty. The BLT was nice to dip into the soup but a bit bland on its own. I think they just needed to season the tempeh to give it a life of its own.
By the time I ate my beautiful side salad, I was completely stuffed. No room to even contemplate dessert on this visit!
My cousin had this decadent plate of Smoked Tomato Mac ‘n Cheese and his wife enjoyed a Pumpkin Risotto with a Winter Salad of shaved fennel, gorgonzola, & apple walnut vinaigrette
There is a featured menu item each day offered on a “pay what you can” basis. I’ll have to give it a try on my next visit.
I’m officially putting this order out to the Universe: I would like to open a non-profit community cafe in my home town. No one should ever go hungry and no one should have to ask for a hand out when we can offer and hand up. We’re all in this together, let’s take care of each other.