My husband and I recently took a trip to Central Oregon. Several of our friends go there every year and have been telling us for years that we should check it out. I can say with 100% certainty that it most definitely did not disappoint. We even found several restaurants that we fell in love with. Of all the restaurants in Bend Oregon, one in particular inspired me to get back into the kitchen to work on some new recipes.
About Central Oregon
As the name might suggest Central Oregon is located in the middle of the state. While there are several cities in this area, the most well known is Bend. It is located at the base of the Cascades range of mountains and is known as a haven for mountain bikers, skiers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
I had heard all of this before traveling to this charming little city. What I hadn’t heard was that it also has a bustling and creative food scene that would put many larger cities to shame. Evidently it is not uncommon for chef’s to make a name for themselves in other parts of the state such as Portland, and then move to Bend to escape the grey winters that haunt the western side of the state.
Where to Eat
While it’s hard to narrow it down to a single place, there was one particular restaurant more than any other that got my attention. The Sparrow Bakery in Bend is a little slice of heaven in the mountains. They offer a wide variety of foods from pastries and sandwiches to soups and seasonally inspired salads.
But more than anything else you have to try their Ocean Rolls. These delightful little pastries are a play on the classical cinnamon roll. But instead of cinnamon they use cardamom. I don’t typically think of cardamom as a sweet flavor, but it is absolutely amazing in the Ocean Roll.
The hand rolled croissant dough is the basis for this masterpiece and it is made daily in their bread shop.
All of their sandwiches are served on house made bread. They range from a Croque Monsieur to a chicken Waldorf salad sandwich. It’s really hard to go wrong with anything on the menu. They even offer a full coffee bar. While a traditional cappuccino is excellent, the cardamom latte is even better.
Another way to experience the croissant dough is on the bacon breakfast sandwich. This amazingly well balanced sandwich consists of a croissant cut in half with a couple pieces of bacon, a perfectly poached egg, arugula, and aioli in the middle. If you’re not much for sweets then this one will most definitely hit the spot.
While it may not be the most well known of all the restaurants in Bend Oregon, The Sparrow Bakery does have a very loyal following. And for good reasons. They offer reasonably priced food of the absolute highest quality day in and day out and is one of the best restaurants in Bend Oregon.
If you’re ever in the Bend area you should most definitely stop by. Here is a map of their two locations.
Where to Stay
One of the nicest hotels in this cute little town is the Oxford. It is located downtown and is perfectly situated for getting anywhere in Bend very quickly. We stayed here for the duration of our trip and were very pleased with the room, amenities, and service. It is a great jumping off point for any trips around Central Oregon.
Here’s a great video showcasing the Sparrow Bakery’s lemon meringue cake.