Beer Tasting in Bend

Last Saturday, to celebrate the long weekend, Ben and I skipped town to Bend, Oregon for a little relaxation, beer tasting, food tasting, and exploring.  Bend is only a three and a half hour drive from Portland, so after a quick Saturday morning work out we hit the road.  We caught a little weather over the mountains, but for the most part the trip was scenic- quintessential Pacific Northwest.

We stopped about 20 miles outside of Bend, in Sisters for a little bite.  I was interested in trying the local beer, so we ended up stopping at Three Creeks Brewing Company for a sampler and a snack.

The beer here was pretty tasty, especially the Knotty Blonde and the Stonefly Rye.  But what really caught my attention were the deep fried chili mac and cheese balls.  Oh wow!  spicy chorizo and chilis mixed into mac and cheese and then fried with a spicy cheesy dipping sauce.  Sign me up…but only for a few.  Honestly, this dish would have been split better with three people – but somehow we were miraculously able to manage.

After spending some more time meandering around sisters we hit the road to our final destination. Ben booked a room a the Oxford Hotel in Bend.  The hotel was located right in the downtown area and was walking distance to all of the shops and restaurants around town.  The service was absolutely amazing and the room was by far one of the most beautiful rooms I have ever had the privilege to stay in.

There was even a crackling fire on the television!  I strongly recommend anyone planning a trip to Bend to book a room at the Oxford.

After settling into the hotel, we decided to take a walk and explore the town.  Because we had enjoyed our first tasting of the day so much, we opted for another one, this time at the Bend Brewing Company.

There is no shortage of variety at Bend Brewing Company.  The Sexi Mexi, Outback X , and Wicked Medicine were by far my favorite tasters.

After more walking and more exploring we worked up quite an appetite.  Our dinner reservations were not until 9pm, so we opted for a little early evening snack before dinner. Note: when we initially embarked on this trip, it was not our intention for it to become a food/beer/wine tasting journey.  We thought we might hike or snowshoe, but after walking through the town and scanning menus, we knew we were going to have to try to fit everything we possibly could into our bellies with the limited amount of time we had…Note 2: A trip to the gym followed directly upon our return from this very indulgent trip!

Our evening snack was a shared bowl of the Pacific Northwest Chowder at Brother John’s Ale House

Much later on in the evening we walked down to Zydeco for our 9pm reservations.  I was a little disappointed because we had made a reservation, yet we were not actually seated until about 9:15.  However, the staff was very nice and once we were seated everything went very smoothly.  For our first course we shared two small plates: the tri-color beet salad and the barbecue shrimp with southern grit cake.

The beet salad was so simple.  Just beets, goat cheese, lightly dressed arugula, and pistachios. It was so good that we forgot to take a picture.

Oops!!

The next appetizer was the barbecue shrimp,  When I saw this item on the menu, I thought it would be a simple grilled shrimp.  Boy was I wrong!  This sauce can only be described with one word: sublime. Salty, creamy, with a kick served over a perfectly prepared grit cake.   By the time the our entrees came we were already stuffed, but we somehow found room to squeeze a little more in.

Ben ordered the aged bone in rib-eye and I ordered the sesame encrusted Ahi tuna.  Ben’s rib eye was topped with Dungeness crab and sat on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes.  My tuna was seared perfectly and was velvety and rich.  I loved it.

We rolled out of Zydeco with doggie bags and bursting bellies. Here are some more great pictures from the rest of our foodie weekend in Bend!

Coffee beans from Lone Pine Cofee Roasters

Eggs benedict and the California Omelet from Alpenglow Cafe

Walking along the Dechutes River and deer in the Buttes

White bean dip, Thai Pizza, and Brewmaster salad from Dechutes Brewpub

What a great trip!

 

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