Sunday, October 30, 2005


Sideline's Sports Bar, Bend Oregon --

Ahhhh, Sideline's. Bend's ONLY sports bar. Don't argue with me -- O'Kane's is NOT a sports bar, and Player's, while they do have the NFL package, only serves deep fried food and is too smoky and off the beaten path.

Sideline's is located on Wall Street in downtown Bend. They boast about 30 televisions, thus every sports game is able to get equal coverage. Just find a seat in front of your favorite game and "Sit, Stay" like a good dog.

DH and I bought a new big ol' television yesterday, and were pumped to watch some good games today. One game was on this morning, the Giants and the Redskins. Lame. I woke up DH and said, "How about breakfast?" He said "SURE!" I said, "Get dressed and meet me in the car."

Not exactly what he was expecting.

I wanted to watch the Green Bay / Cin game, and we showed up at Sideline's at the perfect time -- the only two seats available were just being vacated RIGHT IN FRONT of the Packers game.

I ordered the fish tacos, and was very pleased. The blackened whitefish was perfectly seasoned and served with crunchy lettuce in corn tortillas, served with a tangy dill sauce and tomato salsa. A perfect portion of fresh, yummy fish tacos.

DH ordered three Haake Beck beers and decided to have breakfast when we got home.

Have you been to Sideline's and watched their bartender in action? Caito was behind the bar, yelling and cheering when his Cowboy's scored, ringing the bell and screaming at the opposing team's fans that were seated in the restaurant. All the while, he's running back and forth taking orders, pouring beers, ringing up tabs, and keeping a cordial banter with his customers. This guy is a pro.

Not much of a review, but I do believe it's worth the time to write about. Sidelines is a friendly, inexpensive spot to hang with the locals and have a good time. Get there early on Sundays, though, if you want a decent seat. The place gets packed!

Fish Tacos: $6
3 Haake Becks: 7.50
2 Bucklers: $5.00
Bill: $18.50
Tip: $6.00
Total: $24.50

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Grove

The Grove, Bend Oregon --

Mmmmmm... so happy to be back at the Grove! I'm now officially an old lady -- now that I prefer The Grove BEFORE it gets dark! After 11pm, this place is a 'rockin! Hence this photo ---->

The Grove is the most underrated restaurant in town, and it's most likely due to the fact that it's a nightclub after hours. Old people are afraid of those "crazy kids bumping and grinding", and probably feel that the restaurant is an afterthought to the owners. Au contraire, my senior friends! The menu is eclectic, original, and absolutely tantalizing! The food presentations are always stunning, and the portions are perfect.

Tonight, DH and I arrived and were greeted by the bubbly server who recognized us from our last visit. How nice. She sat us in the same cozy booth, and immediately asked us if we would like to wet our whistles. DH ordered a beer, and I had "The Eve", which is a virgin mojito made with TONS of mint leaves, apple cider, sparkling water, and some other secret ingredients. Delicious!

We started with the "Sydney Party Cakes", which (forgive me) I forget all of the ingredients. They are basically similar to crab cakes, but made with white fish and crunchy onions and exotic flavorings, served with a sweet and spicy chili sauce. Five "Party Cakes" were the perfect portion for this appetizer.

I ordered the Polenta Lasagna, and DH decided on the Pasta Puttanesca. The polenta lasagna was served as a leaning tower of beauty -- three firmly grilled polenta slices intermixed with perfectly roasted red peppers, eggplant, zucchini and carmelized onions, topped with a very unique parmesan cream sauce, and surrounded with the most AMAZING homemade marinara. The marinara was unlike anything I'd ever had before -- I could've eaten a soup bowl full of it!

DH's dinner wasn't as awesome a presentation as mine, but how does one doctor up spaghetti? The pasta was tossed with a flavorful puttanesca sauce -- chunky, freshly sauteed tomatoes, pungent kalamata olives, capers, and olive oil. We opted to add grilled tofu to the dish, which was a nice treat as well. The portion was very, very generous, and I now have a leftover box in the fridge, soaking up the rest of the sauce to make for a very nice lunch tomorrow.

If you get the chance to try the Grove, I highly encourage it. It's the Blacksmith, Cork, Scanlon's, and Marz all rolled up into one menu, with lower prices!

Party Cakes appetizer: $7
Pasta Puttanesca: $10
add tofu: $2
Polenta Lasagna: $14
1 bottled beer: $3
1 virgin mojito: $2.50

Bill: 38.50
Tip: 8.50
Total: $47


Crouton's, Bend Oregon --
Lunch today was from Crouton's, a new eaterie on the Westside of Bend. Crouton's specializes in SALADS, and also serves fresh paninis (grilled sandwiches) and homemade soups.

I love the premise of Crouton's -- fast and fresh, big crunchy salads with tons of goodies on every bite of lettuce. I've had lunch from Crouton's about three times since they've opened, and have been satisfied on every visit. I'm not very impressed with their signature "Crouton's" though. You have to pay extra to have them on your salad, and each time I've ordered them, I've thought to myself that they were too hard, lacking flavor, and not worth the extra buck.

Today I ordered the Pear & Bleu Cheese Salad which is self-described with candied walnuts and a "poppyseed vinagrette". More like a "Vinegar Vinegrette".... this salad was so pungent with vinegar it made my eyes water. My nose starting running, and the wine vinegar began to make me involunatrily choke like something were tickling the back of my tonsils. Nice.

I found a paper towel in the lunchroom here at work, and placed it in the bowl with the lid on and shook the salad up and down as hard as I could. It soaked up most of the dressing, but then I still had to add some water and repeat this action a few times to absorb the rest of the vinegar flavor.

I finished my watery, bruised salad and learned a valuable lesson:

Order my dressings on the side.

Salad: $6.45
Tip Jar: $1.00

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Shoji's, Bend Oregon --

We went to Shoji's for sushi again -- I know it doesn't sound glamorous, but this place has fantastic sushi!

The Keiska roll is made with tempura shrimp, avocado, cucumber, crab, and topped with a very generous portion of tobiko. It's our favorite. We also had the Hashimotosan stuffed with tuna, cucumber, and spicy sauce, and topped with Unagi and fresh avocado. YUM! The Maguro (fresh tuna) sushi was delicious, and the edamame was firm, hot, and salty. The two guys that roll the sushi are Charlie (tall white guy with a dry sense of humor and a contagious smile) and "Sam". Sam is the head chef who always greets everyone in this Japanese restaurant with a friendly and loud "OLA AMIGOS!" -- he's also got a rubber-band gun made out of chopsticks shoved in his back belt, so be warned if you bring kids that don't behave. Another cool point about Shoji's sushi bar is that they have a small TV bolted in the upper corner, so if there's a good game on and you really want highlights while eating something OTHER than pub fare, here ya go!

I could pay three times the price and eat at Kanpai, but why? The quality of the food, and the friendliness of the staff makes me a believer in Shoji's sushi bar.

Gracias, amigo!

3 large sushi rolls (six to eight pieces)
2 maguro nigiri pieces
bowl of edamame
2 beers
Bill: $34
Tip: $8
Total: $42

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Blue Fish Bistro

Blue Fish Bistro, Bend Oregon --

I know, I know -- AGAIN??? I just love this restaurant!

Tonight we decided to go to my favorite restaurant, and boring ol' me had the same thing as usual. Hey, why change perfection?

We started with the Ahi Firecrackers - flash-seared ahi diced and wrapped in soft nori, served with vinegar soaked cucumber noodles and a shoyu reduction and chili sauce. DELICIOUS!

For dinner, I had the seared halibut (which the server immediately reminded me was going "out of season very soon" BOO HOO HOO!) in a lemon-thyme buerre blanc, served with truffle mashed potatoes and julliened fall vegetables. This fish dish is magnificent, and one of my favorites.

DH changed his order up just a bit, with the Hoisen Stir-Fry served with the mashed potatoes and veggies instead of the regular Cantonese noodles. This dish consists of GIGANTIC fresh scallops and very large prawns in a sticky hoisen sauce. As usual, we were both impressed with the presentation, quality, and quantity of the dishes.

We both ate half of our meals, then boxed up the rest so that we could order dessert. Unfortunately, they were out of their decadent Tiramisu, so I left the choice up to DH -- after all, I was sure that everything else would pale in comparison to their perfect Tiramisu.

DH ordered some sort of chocolate custard. Basically, it was a bittersweet dark chocolate pudding style dessert with dried blueberries in it served with a burnt sugar crust (similar to Creme Brulee), homemade vanilla bean whipped cream, fresh strawberries and mint leaves. This dessert was so rich, so tantalizing, SO amazingly chocolately, that I could only eat a few spoonfuls before declaring myself ridiculously full.

We completely spaced picking up our to-go boxes, and so I'm pouting now, thinking that I'll end up having Campbells Soup for lunch instead of my left-overs. Bummer.

Appetizer, two glasses of VERY good Cabernet, two entrees, and dessert? Grand total of $84. With tip, our tab was $102. Ouch! Yet, we'll keep going back, and we'll always walk out satisfied and with great food memories....

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Cibelli's Pizza

Cibelli's Pizza, Bend Oregon --
Pizza is as close to Nirvana as one can get, according to DH. He claims that there is no such thing as "Bad Pizza", it's just that some are better than others. He also says this about beer, so now you can kind of understand the DH is just like your dear husband. Screw apple pie, hotdogs and Kool-Aid, the All-American meal is PIZZA AND BEER!

This being said, DH and I visited Cibelli's on the Eastside of Bend this afternoon to pick up lunch before heading to the dog park. We have enjoyed Cibelli's from the moment they opened their doors, and have learned to always order extra sauce, as they are a bit light on the saucing of their pies.

Today I ordered a Hero Sandwich, and DH got two slices. We waited about ten minutes, grabbed the to-go items, and took off with our mangy mutts to the new dog park at Big Sky park on Bend's Eastside.

Lunch was disappointing. My Hero Sandwich had absolutely NO marinara sauce -- it was just lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, and the artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes I had paid extra for on a plain baguette. NO SAUCE! LAME! I was so bummed. I had even asked the gal at the counter to describe the sandwich, and she said there was tons of sauce and melted cheese on it. DH was so sweet -- "Here, have the other slice I ordered." I ate about four bites before catching his gaze and we both said in unision, "There's no sauce."


I was so bummed. That was a spendy little take-out pizza expedition, and we ended up throwing it in the Dog Poo trash can at the dog park (where it belonged).

Hopefully we'll go back, ask for extra sauce on our pie, and be pleased again. Only then will I write that I like Cibelli's.

Love, BrENDa

Friday, October 21, 2005


Anthony's Restaurant, Bend Oregon --

I went to Anthony's Homeport Restaurant in the Old Mill District for lunch today with 5 co-workers. It wasn't a celebration of any sorts, just an excuse to meet and eat with nice people.

I've always liked Anthony's, from day one their menu has been inventive and reasonably priced. Yes, it is a bit spendy, but you certainly get what you pay for.

I ordered the Chop Chop Seafood Salad, and it was perfect. Big portions of fresh crab, two large prawns, avocado, egg, tomatoes, baby shrimp, and other goodies on a bed of crisp romaine with a light, creamy dressing. Every bite had good stuff on the end of the fork. My friends ordered the Hawaiian Cobb with mango, bacon and prawns, the Blackened Rockfish Tacos with fruit salsa, the bread bowl with homemade clam chowder and a salad, and the Stuffed Avocado with baby shrimp and a chunk of lettuce. All was throughouly enjoyed, and everyone walked out happy and pleased with their meal.

I love the atmosphere at Anthony's -- tall ceilings, custom lighting, and an open floorplan that encourages a festive feel.

Lunch for me was $12.95, with the average lunch bill totalling about $10 dollars. C'est bien, Anthony's!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Astro Lounge

The Astro Lounge, Bend Oregon --

The Astro Lounge is located on NW Minnesota Avenue in Bend, Oregon. This place is the epitome of "Super Cool", and is the perfect place to meet, greet and join new or old friends. The bar is super chic, with the bar seating about 10 people. The tables on the main floor seat maybe another 30, and then upstairs? Ohhhhh, if you are able to sit in the coveted upstairs lounge, prepare for pamper, as the darkened corners boast leather or velvet sofas, hip solo chairs, and balcony seating on regular tables.

DH and I met there this evening, and a co-worker of mine joined us. We sat upstairs in the pink velvet loveseat corner, and felt priveleged to be there. It was happy hour, so lemon drops are three bucks, and three choices of 5oz. martinis are only five bucks. I ordered a house-infused pineapple rum mai-tai, and my DH and friend ordered beers. How boring. The menu boasts dozens of fancy schmancy martinis and house-infused liquor cocktails, and they go for beer. Lame.

My Mai-Tai was sweet and tropical, and too much for another. Our food arrived: Gouda Cheese Fondue served with fresh broccoli crowns, thinly sliced bread, and sliced tomatoes, and we also ordered the buttermilk-battered onion rings. YUM! The fondue was better than the stuff pushed at Vino Mercato, but I'd rather have a better quality of bread with the Astro Lounge's choice. Maybe a DiLusso baguette, or even a lightly grilled Sysco brand -- the plain bread was boring. The onion rings were fat, not greasy, and full of flavor.

For our second round of drinks, I went with the Key Lime Pie martini, and I must say, it's the BEST KEY LIME MARTINI I've ever had!!! The bartender shook that bad boy so HARD it was pure froth, and the rim was dipped in sweet/sour lime juice and a fine graham cracker crust. YUM! Super good, and highly recommended.

For the final libation, I asked the server to bring me whatever was her fave. I was brought the "Anestasia" martini, which is made from Raspberry Stoli, something else, something else, and something else. Remember, I just had it an hour ago, so I won't remember what was in it, just that it was fantastico!

I love the Astro Lounge, and would always regard the establishment as a place to meet clients or friends for libations, appetizers, or just for a stop in downtown Bend while bar-hopping.


Total: $50.50
Tip: $13.00
Total: 63.50


Yoko's, Bend Oregon --

Yoko's is Bend's oldest Japanese restaurant, however, their original downtown location is GONE! It's a bummer, but the building they were leasing was sold, and Yoko's rent was tripled in a short time, and so they had no choice but to leave. Thank goodness they still have an Eastside location!

We went there this afternoon for lunch, having previously visited Yoko's at least once a week when they had the downtown location. The Eastside restaurant is a bit different from downtown -- a bit more sterile and open. They have the motorized sushi tray that constantly spins around the sushi bar which does help in the "entertainment" department. The reason why you go to a sushi place, though, is the sushi, and Yoko's has it dialed.

Positives: Sushi is great here. The Tsunami roll with tempura shrimp, tobiko, spicy rooster sauce, avocado (and more) is wonderful, and we always order the Wasabi Bombers (extra tobiko, please). The sushi chefs are always pleasant and prompt, and the sake is quick and hot.

Negatives: Sushi rolls have gotten smaller. The rolls are smaller and tighter, and the quantity is less than before. We used to get 6 pieces of the Tsunami Roll; now it's 4. All of the rolls have less pieces, and the prices are a little bit more than a few months ago.

I know that Yoko's prides itself on flying in FRESH FISH multiple times each week, so the prices are probably respective of that. However, having just gone on vacation twice in the last two months and eaten sushi in other cities, it drives me NUTSO to pay $4.95 for two pieces of small sushi that I would get anywhere else for the same price and get an entire 8-piece roll of fat sushi.

Hey, at least it's not Kanpai. Their prices are ridiculous, not to mention the rude waitstaff. Been there twice, won't be back without MAJOR changes in management.

Yoko's is still a comfortable, reasonable option in Bend for Japanese food and sushi.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Pizzicato, Bend Oregon --

OOOOOHHHHH Pizzicato, How I Long For You!

I, BrENDa, have come across a menu for the planned Pizzicato restaurant in Bend, Oregon. It's going into the old Pizza Schmizza space, located near Ray's Food Place off of Century Drive.

Forgive the crappy photos -- I had a brief moment to scan parts of the menu and tried my best to upload them here.

All I can say is BEWARE Bend Pizza establishments, as Pizzicato is going to blow away the tastebuds of Central Oregon if their menu is anything like the way it sounds!

I can't wait!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Thai On The Fly

Thai on the Fly, Bend Oregon --

For lunch today, I enjoyed a relative newcomer to the area, Thai on the Fly in Bend.

Thai on the Fly is kind of creepy if you haven't been there before. It's the white trailer sitting next to the Quick Lube place on Greenwood Avenue, across from the (ghetto) Sentry Market.

At first glance, one might think the trailer to be serving up mystery meat and sugar water, and then you notice the line of cars.

It was the line of cars that made me question the food quality -- if THAT many people are waiting to get Thai food to-go, then there must be something to it.

Boy was I right. Again. It's so hard being right all of the time.........

Back to the review:

The whiteboard menu with scribbled offerings is somewhat limited, but yet diverse enough to please a wide customer range. I ordered the Massaman Tofu Curry and was promptly given THREE samples of other dishes to try while I waited. The lady that runs the place is definitely from the homeland, and pushed samples and a beaming smile upon me so fast and so furiously, that before I knew it I had ordered enough food for five people! The gal should be in sales, I tell you!

The Massaman Curry was wonderful -- hot and tasty with cooked potatoes, firm tofu, carrots, large onion pieces and a lemon-grass coconut broth over a true sticky white rice. I wish it were a bit more dramatic in it's presentation, but that's just me being snobby about take-out. I love dining indoors with fancy dishes and their garnishes. I also had their veggie spring rolls in rice paper wraps which were absolutely fantastic! Cruncy and clean-tasting, dipped in the Thai Peanut Sauce or the Sweet/Sour dip -- they were a pleasant complement to my rich, creamy lunch dish. Lunch was $5.50, and the Spring Rolls were an additional $2.75. Not bad....

Thai on the Fly is a great place to run through for a fast, delicious lunch, and I will definitely add it to my list of fast food options.

Tab: $13.75
Tip: $5.00
Total: $18.75

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Papa's Pizza

Papa's Pizza, Bend Oregon --

Papa's Pizza SUCKS unless you have kids -- That, or if you have it delivered.

The restaurant itself is built around having kids, and boasts a gi-normous kids playland with slides, ladders, balls.... and hundreds of screaming children.


Anyway, if you have kids, God Bless you, and this is the place for you. Good pizza, a decent salad bar, and BUDWEISER on tap.

If you're at home and order delivery? Muchos Betteros. The pizza is overloaded with toppings, the crust is thin and homemade (with that cool flour residue that ends up on your fingers), and the sauce is made with great herbs. Just ask for extra sauce....

Total: $21.00
Tip: $4.00
Total: $25.00

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

D & D

The D&D --

Here we go. How do I go about reviewing the "D" (as it's affectionately called by the locals) and still maintain my reputation of a self-proclaimed restaurant critic?

How about this? The D & D is Bend's oldest and most notorious restaurant / bar, and a true Bend resident can't be called a local until they've ingested the wares here.


I remember my 21st birthday, going into the "D", and ordering breakfast and a Bloody Mary. I downed all of the deep fried morsels that they put in front of me, half of my very stiff vodka tomato juice, then went home reeking of smoke and suffering from my first "old person" bout of heartburn.

Last night was a rerun, only over a decade later. DH and I went to dinner at the new "O'Kane's Steak and Chop House" (see other blog entry for that review), and met up with friends at the "D" to finish watching the end of the Monday night football game.

The "D" is an old, diner style restaurant, with an open line kitchen, cigarette-smoking servers, and more food than you can eat. If you're a non-smoker, GET USED TO IT! I don't smoke, so for me to go into this establishment takes either idiocy or about four cocktails.

We ordered two beers from the very friendly bartender, and sat down to watch the game. Despite the reputation, this bar has very cordial folks hanging out at the bar, and the beers are cold (and CLEAN!). We didn't order anything to eat due to our earlier dinner engagement, but watched the food come out of the kitchen and I can comment that the portions were large, the plates well presented, and the diners seemed to enjoy everything very much.

Towards the end of the football game, we snuck out early and walked home. Prior to walking into the house, however, we both stripped naked in the garage to leave our smoke-ridden clothes outside, and went straight to the shower to rinse the cigarette residue off of our bodies and out of our hair.

Yes. Together. The large shots of liquor probably contributed to the friskiness of our nicotine disgust, but who's complaining?

And no, I won't go into more detail. This is a restaurant review blog, not an adult blog you Naughty, Naughty reader!

Who would've thunk that this place would have a website, but here it is! Club D&D from Bend, Oregon

Tab: $18.00
Tip: $5.00
Total: $23.00

O'Kane's Steak and Chop House

O'Kane's Steak and Chop House, Bend Oregon --



O'Kane's Steak and Chop House in Bend is the latest restaurant to make a home in the old Stuft Pizza location. Located on Oregon Avenue in downtown Bend, O'Kane's is the new and improved Legend's Restaurant ... no wait.... On The Rocks Restaurant, and it has a fancier interior to prove it!

Warning. If you own or manage the place, go refill your wine glass now so as to help you to calm down before reading this.

So last night, we are planning on meeting some friends at the "D" to watch Monday Night Football. I haven't been to the D&D in almost ten years, and I know I'm in for a treat (please hear the sarcasm in this remark). Therefore, I wanted to have a nice dinner somewhere beforehand, and throw back a few cocktails to lube me up before heading to Bend's most notorious bar for the remainder of the evening.

We stopped in front of the restaurant to view the menu, and I immediately commented that if I was going to pay "that kind of money" I would rather venture across the street to Cork. We headed that way, and found out that they are closed on Monday nights. DH said we should give O'Kane's a chance, so we walked in, and went straight upstairs to see what they had done with the meat market, ehem, dance floor and bar.

We sat at the bar so we could watch the first quarter of the game, and noticed a fairly decent crowd watching the 26" or 32" tv near us. O'Kane's has small tv's located throughout the upstairs seating, so as to keep the sports events as not the main focus like On The Rocks had.

DH and I ordered our drinks, ordered an entree and an appetizer to split, and chatted with the other people in the lounge.

I started getting irritable, and noticed that twenty minutes had gone by. The bartender had asked us if we wanted another round, and I mentioned that I would if I had some food in me. He took no notice as to the comment and brought the second round. FOURTY MINUTES after we had ordered our food, I finally said out loud that I needed to eat and run, as we were already late to meet our friends. Oops... the bartender had forgotten to put in our order. It will be right up, we were told.

Eventually (maybe even the next day?), we were served not one, but TWO of the solo entree we had ordered, and no appetizer. Whatever. We aren't going to bitch about it.

The entree was the evening's "Special" -- Fresh Chantrelle Mushroom Pasta.

The portions were very small, very plain-looking, and very DELICIOUS! I couldn't believe how great it tasted for how lackluster it was in the presentation. I'm glad they screwed up and brought up two entrees, too, as one would never have been enough to split with two not-so-hungry diners.

The bartender comped up two drinks to make up for the hour delay in getting our food, and our grand total was about $60 for the two of us. The small pasta dishes were $14 a piece, and the appetizer we never received was on the bill (we didn't realize it until this morning).

We might return in a few months to see if it's changed at all, but I still have to say that if I'm going to pay an average of $19 for an entree, I'm going to the Blue Fish Bistro, Cork, Scanlon's, or the Blacksmith.


Tab: $49.50
Tip: $9.50
Total: $59.00