Friday, March 17, 2006


It was the Bend Chamber of Commerce Annual Recognition Dinner last night, and I was privleged enough to rub elbows with the high-society that Bend has recently created with it's population boom. Whatever. I was there for the food, and then outta there!

I arrived (purposefully) late to the mingling session across the walkway from the Great Hall, and meandered into the dining area. The tables were already set, and I must say, I was impressed.

Very nice. The salad was a roma tomato, hollowed out and stuffed with baby romaine and a parmesan-encrusted crouton. This was set atop a balsamic reduction alongside a few other slivered vegetables. Tiny, and probably for sheer presentation factor. The table also was set with dessert, which I had to wait to eat, as I was sitting with socialites, remember?

After the salad, we were served a set menu dish of New York Steak and Salmon, along with mashed potatoes and broccolini spears. Fancy shmancy, eh? The steak was raw, so I traded my dining partner his salmon for the rest of my steak. Just like kindergarten lunchtime.

The salmon was good, although a bit overdone. I guess if I were preparing over 400 salmon dinners, I might overcook a few, too. No harm done, it was fine. The mashed potatoes were a cold, crusty ball of starch which I steered clear of, and the broccolini was al-dente and enjoyed thoroughly.

Dessert was a nutty crusted pecan torte of sorts, and was delicious! It had a white chocolate spear that was perfection, and everyone at the table ate every bite. The only annoyance were the little "sponsor flags" set in the torte. Why on earth would I be persuaded to use David Evans & Associates because their silly little flag was in my dessert? I only knew their name just now because I brought the flags home to stick in a dinner that I make for my husband in the future (I'm thinking April Fool's Day?). I know that he'll find them a nice touch the next time I make Rouladen. Right.

Not that it has anything to do with a food review, I have to mention a bit more about the event itself. The Bend Chamber Recognition Dinner. Just the name should clue you about what it entailed. Everyone slapping each other on the back, shaking hands with faces with no names, and congratulating each other for jobs well done. Everyone is talking about everyone else's business, and the women are all racing to the restrooms with their safety-buddy to gossip about the garish outfits that the other women are wearing. Silly kids. I couldn't believe how much chest-puffing and hot air was going on in that room. When name-removed-for-privacy won an award and after walking on stage pulled a NOTE CARD out of his suit jacket with a list of "I'd like to thank the Academy" statements, I about lost it. Please. We live in Bend, Oregon, not Los Angeles, not New York, and not Las Vegas. Bend. It used to be humble, now it's in a race to be pretentious. Alright, I'm done.

All in all, I believe Sunriver to do a great job of group catering. The service is good, the food is above par, and the atmosphere is outstanding. The company I could've done without. I think that next year I'll wear a top cut down to 'there' and give them something to talk about.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Bend Fish Market

The Bend Fish Market --

Finally, a place to buy fresh fish besides Newport Avenue Market! Nothing against NAM except the price -- OUCH! I love fresh fish, and finding seafood smack dab in the middle of Oregon has been a bit of a problem since I moved here about fifteen years ago.

The Bend Fish Market opened recently in the old Blimpies location, on Revere, across the street from Blockbuster Video. It was opened by a Eugene proprieter that saw the potential of this area, yet wasn't afraid of being located outside of downtown. With a niche product like seafood, they couldn't lose! They offer about 8 to 10 different options of fresh fish, each brought in DAILY by truck from the coast. The truck stops at his Eugene location first, then off to Bend each day. This is the real deal, kids. Halibut, Opakapaka, Crab, Grouper, Monkfish, Oysters, Clams, Tuna, Cod, Scallops, Shrimp, Snapper.... and then to top it off, a full menu to choose from of ready-to-eat items. Their menu is varied to please everyone, from halibut fish n' chips to ahi poke. The fish tacos were to die for, hand battered and served with crunchy slaw and salsa. We've since tried their Halibut, Ahi, Scallops, Snapper, Cod, Opakapaka and Monkfish for their fresh fish to-go, and also many to-go containers of the fresh ahi poke options. Fantastic! Their fresh Ahi Tuna is priced at about $19 per pound, versus Newport Avenue Market's $24.99 per pound, so it's more affordable as well.They've set up a live crab tank, and keep keep it full of fiesty pinchers. Even without the tank, I'll still be a regular at this new market.

I just wish they had a punch card, like DiLusso Bakery -- buy 11 pounds, the 12th is free!