Bend,OR may not be the vegan mecca that Portland is but I promise you will not go hungry here.The only no meat kitchen in town is Sarah’s Raw Vegan Cafe but with a little clever ordering,you can still get your tasty on.
Rockin’ Daves Bagel Bistro– If you’re in the mood for a gluteny carb fest,cozy up to the counter to order your food and answer the question of the day: Who’s your favorite band/singer? The music is loud,the place is tiny but luckily you don’t need a lot of elbow room to nosh on a bagel sandwich.I got the onion bagel schmeared with hummus and stuffed with cucumber,tomato,sprouts and spinach.My bagel had a nice crisp outside with a good chewiness to the middle.Cost: Bagel sammies for two,about $10
McKay Cottage– Even though there are not a lot of vegan options here,I love having breakfast in this charming craftsman cottage.It’s the former home of Bend pioneers Clyde and Olive McKay and their son Senator Gordon McKay.Sit in the back of the restaurant and bask in the morning sun that pours through the windows while you sip your coffee.There’s an extensive selection of pastries or the Farmer’s Veggie Omelette for vegetarians.Vegans may want to follow my lead and order the Fresh Fruit Bowl filled with fresh Oregon strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, banana, pineapple and cantaloupe.On my next visit,I’ll try the veggie version of the Cottage Potatoes.Cost:Breakfast+coffee for two $30
The Victorian Cafe– My father’s favorite breakfast is an eggs benedict.Since I knew we would be traveling to Portland the next day and he promised to be a good sport about eating at my veganese restaurants there,I agreed to check out the breakfast at the Victorian Cafe despite the lack of vegan plates.The menu does offer a few vegetarian choices like the Vegetarian Huevos Rancheros or the Sandra Marie Omelette filled with portobella mushrooms,zucchini,yellow squash,spinach and roma tomatoes.I noticed several of the other dishes had a variety of roasted veggies,so I asked the server if I could get a roasted vegetable burrito.He looked a little puzzled, so then I asked for the Malta Burrito with no eggs,meat,cheese or sour cream and to substitute roasted vegetables.Jackpot!I got a monster burrito filled with shiitakes,summer squash,red peppers,asparagus and potatoes.A side of salsa will cost you an extra $1 but it didn’t come out of a jar, so I say it’s worth it.I passed on coffee and went for the locally brewed kombucha.Cost:Breakfast for two+coffee+kombucha $32
Kebaba-It’s no wonder Kebaba has won the award for best vegetarian restaurant for the past six years.Tucked away in a cute cottage on the westside,the food here never disappoints.Flavors are bold,each dish is perfectly spiced and the presentation is lovely.I need a variety of taste sensations,so I went for the Vegetarian Mezze plate with hummus, babaganoush,falafel smothered in tahini,tabouli and pickled red onions(my favorite!),paired with the Curried Lentil Soup and a draught lemon-ginger kombucha.My tastebuds were in heaven.Cost:Lunch for two+a bottled beer+draught kombucha about $25
Drake– This joint is the new kid on the block in downtown Bend and has only been open for about a month.The menu serves up diner inspired comfort food in a space with a hand-crafted wood bar and drop ceiling accents.Though the menu is geared towards omnivores,vegetarians can opt for Grilled Kale w/ green goddess dressing, roasted fingerlings and tomatoes, chives, pistachios or the Drake Waldorf w/Fuji apples, celeriac, chevre, candied pecans.I try to avoid ordering tofu when I dine out, so I skipped the Chicken-Fried Tofu w/ celeraic, beet, roasted pepper, & apple slaw, BBQ sauce. The manager was super helpful and advised that many of the vegetable side dishes were in fact vegan,so I had a wonderful sampling of sautéed greens,a mix of porcini and morel mushrooms,grilled asparagus and the most delicious sweet potato puree with black-eyed peas,shaved asparagus and micro greens.Cost:Dinner for four+wine+dessert $140
Tetherow-I don’t usually hang out at golf courses for cocktail hour but when my cousin suggested we have a “girls night” out on the patio with a bunch of our friends,I told her to count me in.The sweeping views of the Cascade mountains provide the perfect backdrop to enjoy a Green Tea Mojito.Apparently,we enjoyed the house made infusion so much,they ran out!As a conciliation,they offered us a Li Hing Mui Mojito…whaaaat?!Turns out, the bartender’s girlfriend lives in Hawaii, so he was hip to the magic of the salted plum flavor.We didn’t want to just be booze-a-linas,so we cushioned our thirst with a few snacketizers like the Potstickers filled with shiitake, oyster and baby Portobello mushrooms, scallions, ginger, teriyaki sauce, pea shoots and house-made kimchee on the side.I needed something green besides the sprig of mint in my drink and ordered up a Kale and Beet Salad-Fresh kale with balsamic dressing by request(normally tossed in honey-herb-Dijon dressing),with roasted beets, pine nuts and crispy sweet potato shavings.Cost: Two cocktails+appetizers+tip $30 per person
5 Fusion Sushi Bar & Restaurant-And I’ve saved the best for last.A visit to Bend would feel incomplete without a meal (or two!) at 5 Fusion. Restaurateur Lilian Chu and Executive Chef Joe Kim are the dynamic duo I met for the first time last year and Lilian has become a dear friend to me.My father and I stopped in for lunch and I ordered the Vegetable Maki Lunch with ocean salad,vegetable roll,inari and cucumber roll.
For dessert, I was treated to a sorbet flight that I am still dreaming of right now.Marionberry,yuzu,strawberry,shiso leaf and a fancy wine varietal (the name escapes me).If summer was a flavor,the combination of these sorbets would be it.
My father and also I hosted a family dinner at 5 Fusion and Chef Joe put together an unforgettable feast for us.I was too busy eating and catching up with friends to dutifully take food photos but here is just a glimpse of one of the vegan courses.While the rest of my family had Whe Du Bap(Korean style sashimi over rice),this was the veggie spin he created for me with marinated watermelon radishes,baby artichokes,heirloom tomatoes and sweet corn.
The finale of the evening was this dessert platter.I think my Aunt Sylvia summed up the evening best in her Facebook post:
I’m headed to Portland tomorrow and then off for our Alaskan cruise adventure this weekend.More food,more fun, more memories to make.Mahalo for reading friends!
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