Tuesday, January 31, 2006

DiLusso Bakery, Bend Oregon

DiLusso Bakery, Bend Oregon --

I love bread, so therefore, I love DiLusso. There are many pop-up bakeries in town now, each pitching their own take on bread, each proclaiming itself to be the best, and yet none can compare to DiLusso Bakery.

DiLusso began in Bend in the early 90's, with the orginal owners selling their loaves door to door to downtown restaurant owners. I remember Kim, one of the owners, pregnant out to HERE, hauling a big basket of baguettes on Wall Street. She offered me a taste, and broke off a tip of a loaf that was just pulled out from an oven somewhere. I told her it was some of the best bread I'd ever had, and I wasn't just trying to be nice to the little woman with the big belly and big basket of bread.Since then, DiLusso has made a name for itself, and is now served in all of the fine dining establishments in Central Oregon. It is also sold at Newport Avenue Market and Wild Oats Market, alongside other vendors loaves. It amazes me that someone would choose the La Brea Bakery loaf, or the Village Baker loaf over a DiLusso Baguette or Ciabatta. Once you try a DiLusso brand, you'll understand.DiLusso has a retail outlet as well, located on Galveston Avenue up the street from the Westside Cafe. Fresh, homemade soups, delicious sandwiches, big salads, and free wireless internet, along with a full coffee bar makes this location my favorite. Try the Kalamata Olive Ciabatta, the original baguette, or the Rosemary pull-aparts if you're taking a loaf home. The house-made desserts are awesome, too.

This is the devil's playground, kids, not for the weary at heart or the Atkin's faithful. Splurge a little! You only live once, and if I had a final meal, DiLusso bread would be a part of it.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Pizzicato, Bend Oregon

Pizzicato, Bend Oregon --

Pizzicato is here, and it's good. If you love a true thin-crust pizza, crusty and crunchy, you'll love Pizzicato. If you're a thick-crust, Chicago-style pizza person, well, get lost. Chicago-style lovers don't belong here. :o) Alright, maybe if you're FROM Chicago you can appreciate deep pan pizza, but everyone else has to love thin, crunchy crusts.

Pizzicato has opened in the Pizza Shmitza location in the Ray's Foodplace Shopping Center on Bend's Westside. Terrible location, but if they can get enough people to try their offerings, they'll do fine. Their pizzas are unique and varied, and a bit spendy. Click here for their menu

While I love their pizzas, I can't wait to try the panini sandwiches. Their salads are huge and delicious as well. I've tried the pear and blue cheese salad, and it blew Crouton's similar fare out of the water!

Arugula Pear Salad $4.00
Slice of Cheese $2.00
Pelligrino Water $1.50
Bill $7.50
Tip Jar $2.50

Total for lunch $10.00

Monday, January 23, 2006

East Bend Liquor Store

East Bend Liquor Store, Bend Oregon --

It's not fine dining, but it's certainly worth a mention. Besides, some people claim that liquor is a main food group.... The Eastside Liquor Store is the finest liquor store in Bend, with the largest selection, and the best deals to be had. Mark, the owner, takes pride in keeping his store in stock of the finest brands, and also those bottles that are hard to find. The best holiday gifts are found here, too, with your favorite brands packaged with matching glasses or shakers. Not only that, but there's all kinds of trinkets, glassware, and mixers to shop. It's not just the bare basics like most Liquor outlets in this state.

I hate going to the original location in the Wagner Mall now, and will go out of my way to visit Mark's store instead. I had to go to the Northside store just recently, and was so irritated that I left in a PMS huff. First, they didn't have my favorite rum. Then, I decided to buy something new and couldn't reach the top shelf. I asked for help, and the oily woman behind the counter rolled her eyes at me, then told me that she wasn't much taller. "Yes," I said. "But do you have a stepstool in the back that I might use?" What a pain in the ass I must have been to ask for this, because it took another five minutes to find one. Sorry to make you haul your butt into your disorganized back room to find a stool to stand on to help a customer purchase a TOP SHELF LIQUOR!!! I almost walked out without purchasing the rum, but she pulled it off the shelf and walked it over to the register herself, as if I were going to run out the door with it.

I followed her, and as she rang it up, I commented that I had to go the Eastside Liquor Store for other brands that they didn't carry. She just nodded.

I'll tell you what... if I had said that in front of Mark at the Eastside location, he would've whipped out his notepad and not only wrote down the names of those brands, but my name and phone number to contact me at when he got those bottles in stock. I was so irritated with the Wagner Mall liquor store that when I left, I swore that I would never step foot in there again, regardless of the hurry that I might be in.

So here's to Mark and his Eastside Bend Liquor Store! Keep up the great work!

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Staccato's, Bend Oregon --

Alright, I'm coming around. Staccato's is finally getting their kinks worked out.

A few evenings ago, a large group of friends and I met there for drinks and appetizers, and we all were pleased with the end result.

For starters, we ordered the potato croquettes, fried zucchini spears, and bruschetta.

The Croquettes were decent - very large, with a crusty outer layer and seasoned potatoes inside, placed in a shallow dish of marinara sauce. The Zucchini spears were wonderful with a homemade batter, and fried al-dente to keep their texture and flavor. We loved the three dipping sauces, too, naming them "Red", "White" and "Green". Green was the best, with a mellow, pesto flavor. The Bruschetta was good, with melted brie, proscuitto, and pears. The brie was a bit boring, though, but typical of restaurant quality brie. I prefer my stinky cheese to be just that: stinky with tons of flavor.

While the appetizers were rated a "B", the drinks were given a "A". My Pomegrante martini was delicious, with vanilla vodka, pomegrante juice, and lemon soda. MmmMMM! We also tried the Blended Bellini's with peach schnapps and champagne, the Tuaca Sidecar, and the Italian Job. All were prepared perfectly, and served with great garnishes.

So Staccato's is now on my favorite list for meeting places in downtown Bend. The decor is comfortable, the service is prompt, and the drinks are fantastic.

La Rosa

La Rosa, Bend Oregon --

DH and I went to La Rosa for lunch today, and even though I've already praised this restaurant, it was worth mentioning again.

El Caporal's long-time bartender, Gene, is now working here, and greeted us with a big smile and my favorite margarita. Because I didn't actually order the drink, it was okay to drink it before noon without feeling like I have a "problem". Mmmmm, good.

I had the Shrimp Enchiladas, my husband had the El Fresco Burrito. Both were outstanding! The shrimp enchiladas aren't typical; boasting big, fat prawns instead of the bay shrimp that some places serve. Wrapped in a homemade corn tortilla with cheese, and topped with chipotle enchilada sauce, these are my favorite enchiladas of all time. DH's burrito was chock full of roasted veggies, including house-roasted red peppers. It was gigantic, and he ate almost every bite.

Marcos, the owner of La Rosa, showed up mid-lunch and was more than accomodating. He pulled down a bottle of tequila and proclaimed it to be one of his favorites - far surpassing three and four-hundred dollar bottles. At seventy-dollars, he said, it was a "steal". He poured us a taster, and we agreed. Delicious and oaky, with a long finish. He sealed the deal with tequila-soaked pineapple wedges which we winced at upon eating, but then both agreed were delicious.

La Rosa is by far the finest Mexican restaurant in Central Oregon, and if you haven't tried it yet, I highly encourage you to visit them soon.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Red Robin

Red Robin Restaurant, Bend Oregon --

Why do I go here?

I know why. I have no choice when a group of people from the office plan lunch.

Today was a friend's birthday, and it was somehow decided that we'd partake in the over-zealous experience that is Red Robin. I didn't complain too much - I knew exactly what I'd order, I knew I'd pay too much for it, and I knew that they'd sing a silly little song afterwards.

Most of the gals ordered a half a salad, which surprisingly, was a good portion. It's still a seven-dollar salad, but at least it's semi-affordable. I ordered the Banzai Burger, "dude", no mayo. It's fine. Not bad, not good. Fine. It sounds a lot more fun in the menu description:

The Banzai Burger™Marinated in teriyaki and topped with grilled pineapple, Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. Dude, you’ll be like, ready to ride the pipeline on O'ahu’s North Shore after you chomp on this!

I like the creative description. Can't you just imagine the geniuses behind THAT brainstorming session? A bunch of tight-asses in suits trying desperately to be "cool"? Dude! Like, That's Totally Awesome!

What's not awesome is paying $10 for a burger. I feel like I'm in that Carl's Jr. commercial "THE TEN DOLLAR BURGER, now only $3 at Carl's Junior". Only, I end up paying ten dollars. Well, twenty after tip and pitching in for the birthday lunch.

If I'm going to pay ten bucks for lunch, I want to go to Anthony's and get their Blackened Fish Tacos - served with homemade salsa and shredded cheese. YUM!

So Red Robin gets a big "NO" in my book unless you've got kids and want to get sloshed while out to dinner. Remember folks, Mc Donald's don't serve McBeer. Unless you're in New Orleans. When I lived there, it was such a treat to go through the drive-thru and get a McBud to-go. Frothy, tasty, and oh-so-wrong. Hey, I was nineteen! What did I know?


Red Robin Restaurant
625 SW Powerhouse Drive
Bend, Oregon 97702
(541) 382-9234