Thursday, August 28, 2014

Americana Series Part VI: Beer Country ... Exploring the Pacific NW with Gringo G ... Bend, OR!

The Place: Bend, OR … Beer Country!!

Gringo G’s Experience

Summary: Sometimes it is great to visit family not only so you can catch up and enjoy time with them, but also so that you can get to know where they live. This was definitely the case when Gringo G went to Bend, Oregon … he had a wonderful time with family and was introduced to a fantastic new place!

The Eats: First off in Bend was the Ariana Restaurant, which was recommended by family as a great upscale restaurant for dinner.

The service was superb, friendly, fast and exceedingly professional. The food was all extremely well executed in presentation, portions and flavors.

To start off the Gringo G and his dining party got delightful cocktails which were well mixed and creative. One that particularly stood out was the Blue Tequila Cocktail … which had a very interesting flavor.

The starters were served in generous portions and were excellent. The bone marrow with a beef consommé underneath was very rich and almost decadent (possibly Gringo G’s favorite dish at this meal) and the shrimp and grits with Spanish chorizo combined to form a nice beginning of the meal.

The dining party shared all of their plates; with Gringo G ordering the Quail in an interesting North Indian spice rub and his dining partners ordering the Cannelonis filled with fresh ricotta cheese and Scallops served over Risotto. Everything was delicious but the Gringo definitely liked his dish best … the crispy outside of the Quail’s skin with the North Indian rub was tantalizing for the taste buds when mixed with the yogurt sauce.

Overall if you are looking to spend a bit more for a fine dining experience in Bend, OR you should definitely give Ariana a try.

Ariana Restaurant
Shrimp & Grits with Spanish Chorizo
Salmon Tartare
Bone Marrow
Scallops over Crab Risotto
Quail with North Indian Rub

For breakfast the night after the feast at Ariana Gringo G went with family to McKay Cottage Restaurant. This place was packed for breakfast and for good reason. All of the baked goods (they even had a nice water jug with muffins and scones laying out for you so you could nibble on something while waiting to be seated) were very tasty as were the breakfast entrées.

The Lemon Zest Pancakes were very nice with that extra lemon flavor adding a nice extra kick … and the generous amount of fresh, fresh fruit on top made them irresistible as they were gobbled up before the mains arrived at the table.

The Eggs Benny dishes were all well prepared with a home-cooked feel. The Baja Chicken Hash Stack was almost outrageous in size and assortment of flavors. The other Benny plates were all also ample in size and with nice fresh ingredients.

This is a great place for breakfast but be prepared for a wait!

Marion Berry Scone
Lemon Zest Pancakes
Baja Chicken Hash Stack
Paulina Hash

The last stop was to take a Deschutes Brewery Tour and it was a very nice stop indeed. Deschutes is one of the oldest craft brewers in the U.S.A. and their tour was refined, entertaining and well organized. The tasting afterwards was very nice and the staff was very helpful. Gringo G also really loved the great beer.

Bend OR is Beer Country because famous brewers and breweries have been there for quite a while … and this has led to a surge in new microbreweries opening up all over town. Basically your beer options in Bend are wide open … if that is a good thing or a bad thing is up to you!

Deschutes Brewery Tour!
Shifties ... Deschutes Employees are Lucky!
Deschutes Tasting!

The Lodging: The Gringo was fortunate enough to stay with family in Bend. This  is usually the best way to go when traveling and this trip to Bend was no exception.

Things To Do: 

Bend is adjacent to National Forests, high elevation lakes, rapids, great hiking trails, Ski Mountains and more so there is definitely a lot to choose from when not dining and downing wonderful beer!

The Gringo went kayaking with family at Hosmer Lake. This made for a wonderful time as the Lake and surroundings were pristine. According to Gringo G's relatives they often see Bald Eagles and Ospreys fishing at the lake. Gringo G even had the privilege of taking a dip in the ICE COLD water which was needless to say exhilarating without any wetsuit.

During the month of July there is a pro bike race called the Centurion, part of the BMC Cascade Cycling Classic, which is a closed circuit sprint race in Downtown Bend. The Gringo had a great time watching the pack of bikes slam by at full speed over and over again … it was really something unique to enjoy.

Lastly there is an event called Balloons Over Bend every summer where you can see Balloons take off and sometimes show off their colors to the surrounding crowds at night with their massive flame blasts.

Bend in the end was an amazing new place that Gringo G got to discover and helped wrap up his trip to the Pacific NW in serious style … it was a pleasure sharing this trip with all of my readers, hopefully you guys enjoyed it as much as the Gringo did!

Deschutes River
Deschutes River
Balloons Over Bend
River Running!
Centurion Race!

Coming Next: Traveling with the Gringo EXTRA Boston, MA!

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