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Monthly Archives: September 2010

Out and About in Bend, Oregon: Part 2 – Land of Exceptional Beverages

After my first trip to Bend, Oregon I endearingly termed it “The Land of Exceptional Beverages.”  (It should really be their motto, perhaps I should petition them).  Adding to their goliath standing as some of the most fantastic beer to ever hit my lips, the breweries in Bend also have incredible food.  You can’t really go wrong with any brewery you choose, but here are a couple of my favorites:

Deschutes Brewery – Deschutes is probably my most favorite of all the breweries.  The beers are fantastic, food is absolutely delicious and the staff is always friendly.  Plus, I bought my first growler there, so maybe I am just bias.  My go-to beer is the Green Lakes Organic; however, their Mirror Pond Pale Ale is also tasty and has picked up lots of awards over the years including the 2010 Gold Medal for Classic English-Style Pale Ale at the Great American Beer Festival.  Or if you are more in the mood for something heavier or something to warm you up during the cooler months, be sure to get the Obsidian Stout – very good and chocolatey! 

My favorite food to get at the pub is whatever mac and cheese they have at the time.  Last year when I went, they had a lobster mac that was yummy and this year’s mac was even tastier – Cajun shrimp mac and cheese!  I will say, it is definitely spicy (and I cook with habeneros), so if you don’t like spicy food, don’t get it.  Other favorites from the rest of our group: Adam loved his elk burger and  french onion soup and we all agreed that the sweet potato fries were as my sister says, “bomb.”

Cascade Lakes Brewery – Cascade is a little out of the way compared to some of the others, but is definitely worth the effort.  I have also been told that it is a great place to stop in after a day of skiing on Bachelor (I have only visited Bend in September so I can’t say that I have experienced it first hand, but I can imagine that it would be awesome!).  My first time at Cascade, I made that common mistake that I mentioned in the last post – I did not order what Ryan did!  He ordered the blackened buffalo burger and it is in my top five all time best burger.  Every time that I have been to Cascade since, I have ordered the blackened buffalo burger.  I also usually go with the 20″ Brown (a deliciously malty beer) to accompany my tasty lunch.  Lots of people also like the Blonde Bombshell, which is good and more mild than most of the beers in Bend, making it a good choice for those that don’t necessarily like really hoppy beers (blasphemy!).    

10 Barrel – The newest of the breweries, 10 Barrel seems to really have gotten it right!  So much pressure is on if you plan to open up in Bend – lots of strong competition!  Still, they did a really great job of creating a good atmosphere, having a really nice outdoor space and putting together some really good beers.  My favorite was the Apocalypse IPA, which actually has crept its way up to become one of my all time favorite beers.  Did not have a chance to eat here at all, but I know Ryan and his parents liked it!

McMenamins – McMenamins was a Catholic school back in the day and was turned into a beer-drinking resort.  There are a few different bars throughout the “campus” and outdoor fire pits that you can sit around while sipping on the nectar of the Gods.  If you go to McMenamins and could only order one beer (In what world would this HORRIBLE circumstance occur, I am not sure, but let’s be prepared for anything), the one beer should be a Rubinator.  This Frankenstein concoction is a mix of two of their brews: the Ruby (a raspberry ale) and the Terminator (a stout).  For any of you that used to mix all of the pop (soda for those of you unfortunate fools who grew up outside the midwest) in the self-serve fountain station, this is what you were trying to achieve.  It’s nice to know that the common sense idea that if you like one thing and you like another, you will love them if mixed together does work from time to time!  Doesn’t always turn out that your childish ideas manifest into fantastic ones, so relish in this!  

Getting Rowdy

I love, love, LOVE microbrews and especially the beers that are all hoped up.  However, sometimes you just wanna get out and get a little rowdy.  Microbrews are not always the best choice for this….so, we went out and explored some of the other bars in Bend….

The Wall – The second night that we were in Bend (my sister’s first night), we all went to The Wall.  This bar seems to be a true local’s bar and while I understand that some local’s bars aren’t as warm and friendly to outsiders, the bartender at The Wall was absurd and incredibly rude – in fact, she was a bitch.  Jason was ordering a round for all of us and started ordering with her.  She walked away to get those drinks and when she came back he asked for the rest.  Her response…”you’re killing me.  Are you going to be ordering any more drinks?”  Now, I realize that in text only this might not be so bad.  Perhaps she was going for the sarcastic/flirty approach and trying to garner a bigger tip.  Absolutely NOT the case.  She was dead serious and clearly annoyed at us.  Let me also say, this is even more unbelievable to me as we were ordering grey goose gimlets and Hennessey.  Not only did she have the personality of a urinal cake, but she was also as dumb as a sack of hammers.   

On Saturday night, Ryan’s parents put together a bbq for all of us that was incredibly yummy.  Afterwards, Ryan and Adam decided to stay back and kick it on the patio because they wanted to get up early and do a big ride on Sunday.  Their version of taking it easy was to finish almost an entire fridge full of beers.  The rest of us (Jess, Dre, Mike, Steve, Jason and Jeff) decided to unleash the fury on the poor, unsuspecting town of Bend.  

Velvet Lounge – We started off our night here and it’s a great little spot to do just that.  The place is small and there is limited seating but we managed to get a snag a corner section pretty quickly.  Red bull vodkas woke us ladies up and got us ready to go!  Meanwhile, Jason started on his grey goose gimlets, which he drank all night and introduced to all of us (really tasty!) and Steve went for the always classy 40 of PBR. 

Summit – The Summit is mainly a mediocre spot to chill and get some beers.  However, like many things, it is what you make of it.  On this particular night, we turned this place into a dance party that could only be rivaled by a cheesy dance movie ala Save the Last Dance or Step It Up.  We were busting out moves like the running man, the fisherman, and my old roommate Liz’s “space dance” just to name a few.  There was also a whole lot of putting our hands up in the air, like its a stick up, stick up, stick up.  And when Taio Cruz  came on, we all threw our hands up in the air sometimes, saying aaaaayo.  I wanna celebrate and live my life, saying aaaaaayo.  And then the DJ would put on Usher and…Haaands up, and suddenly we all got our haaaands up.  Needless to say, the next day my side was sore from all the aggressive fist pumping that I was doing.  While we were getting dressed for brunch the next day, Jess started to try to dance to the music (she’s always dancing) and started with a calm little move until she realized how sore she was…..”I think I tore my rotator cuff dancing last night!”  Hahahaha. 

Seven – So, after showing everyone up at Summit, we were off to Seven – a “nightclub” in Bend.  What a joke!  We also went here for maybe 15 minutes one of the other nights.  During that time, someone threw a pool ball at Jason, hitting him in the back and somebody else was trying to start something with my sister mistaking her for someone with some crazy name.  Why did we go back?!  Just as the elusive number of licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop – the world may never know.  This time was more entertaining for me because there was a go-go dancer cage and all of the yahoos I was with got up in there.  I remained uncaged and took photos of the hilariousness. 

As a side note, I don’t know how I have not mentioned this yet….Mike’s arm was in a sling this whole time after having shoulder surgery just a week or so before.  Yes, Mike and his “bat wing” were up in the cage too!  While he was up there cutting a rug (my favorite old lady expression), he managed to shake loose his therapeutic ball that he is supposed to use to work his arm muscles.  Once our dancing fiend noticed that he had lost this, Dre turned to me and in a dead-serious tone said, “I know I am going to find it.  Let’s go find the ball.”  So, there we were crouching down with our cell phones scouring the dance floor and every nook and cranny of the room for a black therapy ball.  Eventually, we gave up on our quest and we all waited until the bar was clearing out for the night.  Finally Mike learned from a very dense bartender that she had found it and thrown it away.  Unbelievable.     

JC’s – A sportsbar, JC’s is cool if you want to chill, chat, play some pool, or load up the jukebox.  It also can be fun if you have a ridiculous bunch of folks who are all a little “three sheets to incoherent.”  JC’s was also the host of a major turning point for Jess and Dre.  While I was trying to get another round, my sister bounded over, shoved her phone in my face and yelled, “look what comes up when I google giblet!!!”  I immediately started laughing.  She thought I was laughing at her google findings and continued to try to discuss them with me.  “It’s a gimlet with an ‘m’ not giblet with a ‘b!'”  I finally managed to correct her.  For the entire weekend she thought they were called vodka giblets.  While Jason and I made fun of her, she called Dre over to back her up.  Sadly, yes, they both had thought it was giblet…A little while later, Jason and I tried to order girly shots while Mariah Carey was pumping from the jukebox, but we were too slow!  Turned out we would need to take gangsta shots instead.  Night went from there……

Somewhere during one of these nights, Ryan and I paid a visit to the dumpling cart.  SUCH A GOOD IDEA!  These dumplings are very, very good.  Find them and enjoy!

All and all, if you don’t have a good time in Bend, you won’t have a good time anywhere.  If you prefer a more chill mode and enjoy microbrews (this is me) then you will love all of Bend’s breweries and will have plenty to do if you try to make the rounds of all the brewpubs to sample the panoply of beers!  If you want to go out and be redonkey (my sister), then you can go out and do that too.  Or, you can combine the two ventures into one incredible weekend…trust me, I did and it was fantastic!  Such a good vacation!!!

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Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Food and Drink, Travel

 

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Out and About in Bend, Oregon: Part 1 – FOOD!

So, when we weren’t hiking and cliff diving at Crater Lake, what is there to do in Bend, Oregon?!  LOTS!!!  I know some of you may be thinking, “I’m not very outdoorsy,” but that will not stop you from having a good time.

Since my time there kind of blurs into one big ball of awesome, I am not even going to try to sift through it all and write chronologically.  Instead, I guess I will go by categories of deliciousness and fun!  This first part will address food and non-alcoholic beverages!

The food in Bend is not messing around.  Two of my favorite things about places to eat in Bend are that many places have outdoor seating and that most are not national chains, which makes Bend that much more unique.  To start your day, you could go to the Starbucks (one of few chains that you aren’t escaping from) or you could go to Bella Tazza, a local cafe with only 2 other locations in Oregon.  The outdoor seating area is fantastic for relaxing, catching up with friends and people watching.  I have never deviated from getting the white chocolate mocha, which is delicious.  Ryan always gets one of their teas and literally goes there every morning whenever he is home.  He recommends trying the blueberry hibiscus.

The cafe also has quite the array of patrons.  I have seen students, businesspeople, lots of dogs, a man with a parrot (he and his parrot were on a roadtrip from Arizona), people either embarking on or just finishing some sort of athletic/outdoorsy/adventure activity, and even Alec Baldwin!  Yep, Alec Baldwin.  One morning, Ryan, his friend Aaron and I were outside sipping our yummy hot beverages when Ryan’s “I see something interesting/weird/annoying/awesome” look came over his face.  He excitedly said, “There’s Jack Donaghy!” in a hushed tone.  Sure enough, Alec Baldwin walked by pushing a stroller and he and a friend went into Bella Tazza and got some drinks.  But if you are in a hurry or if the endorsement of Ryan, myself and Mr. Baldwin are not enough for you, then you could also try one of the many coffee huts – literally there is a plethora of these things.  Don’t know where any of you are from, but in my time living in Minnesota, Syracuse, Philadelphia and Washington DC I have never seen a coffee hut.  They are usually stationed in parking lots, like at a gas station for example, and you can drive up and get your coffee.

Breakfast – Oh breakfast.  The jump-start your day meal.  Most important meal of the day.  You would be hard pressed to find better options than two places across the street from one another – Big O Bagel and Westside Bakery and Cafe.  Now, I already discussed the bagels in the Crater Lake post so I will gloss over that (refresher: think salmon, or just go back and read my other post! haha).  How to describe the interior of Westside….maybe Ryan said it best when he said that it’s what places such as TGI Fridays and Applebee’s try to achieve, except that it’s real.  Covering all of the wall space and shelving are random pieces of Americana.  You can find old-school lunchboxes, cartoon action figures, mounted animals, a life-sized statue of Elvis, a running train set….you get the idea.  Is it nauseating?  Somehow it isn’t.  Maybe because it isn’t contrived and force-feeding you the idea that it’s a hometown restaurant, but instead effortlessly creates this vibe in a natural and interesting way.  And the food is awesome and filling.  If you are like me and can’t make up your mind, convince someone to order pancakes while you order a scrambler and then share!  You will not regret this.  Last time I was there, I ordered the salmon eggs benedict – yummy!

Mexican and Pizza – Two of my favorite types of food!  Pizza Mondo, Cibelli’s and Pisano’s are all good and you can buy pizza by the slice.  Mondo is a Bend one-and-only, while Cibelli’s has a few Oregon locations and one in Florida (weird, I know).  Not sure about Pisano’s…  My favorite was Mondo.  Get the after mountain special – for under $7 you get two slices and a beer of your choice.  I will also mention that Ryan had a pizza at Pisano’s after I left that he loved – the extreme hawaiian.  For Mexican, it has to be El Jimador!  Good food and really tasty Mango Margaritas!  Plus, they have a little outdoor seating area which is always enjoyable.

Afternoon treat – On one of the afternoons in Bend, Jess and I played frisbee by the Les Schwab Amphitheater and then walked downtown.  By the time we got there, we were both thirsty and wanted a fruit smoothie!  Luckily, as we rounded the corner we saw an easel with FRESH FRUIT SMOOTHIES printed in chalk.  We stopped in at the Looney Bean and got very good fresh fruit smoothies.  I really liked the vibe there and they have an awesome outdoor area that juts up to the river.  You can sit at tables, in the grass, under a gazebo or in some Adirondack chairs facing the water.  Great place to relax!

Smoothies!!!

Out back at Looney Bean

 Anthony’s – One “morning” we went here for brunch and sat out on their spectacular patio.  The view is of Mt. Bachelor and the Deschutes River, or if you are like Steve and you get the bad spot at the table, then your view is of some disgusting woman who thinks that picking at her toes is proper brunch etiquette.  Despite this (which really only affected Steve…haha), Anthony’s was great!  First off, the waiter told us from the start that if we wanted something that was not on the drink menu that it was not a problem.  Great!  I ordered a bubbly mojito (a mojito with champagne) and Dre ordered a bellini.  Everyone else ordered from the menu and we were all happy with our drinks!

The food was also very yummy and even though we were annoying with our banter about sides of fruit while trying to choose a side, our waiter was fantastic and even chimed in on the discussion.  I know you are all dying to know what it was about – the make up of a fruit side.  Dre wanted fruit instead of a salad.  I initally thought, what a delicious idea!  But then I was nervous, would it be delicious or would it be an uninteresting, unappealing cup of watermelon, honeydew and canteloupe?  I hate watermelon, dislike honeydew and am indifferent toward canteloupe.  Eventually, I decided I was being too ridiculous and bothersome and just said I would stick with my salad.  Poor choice in the end because this was the best side of fruit I have ever seen!  Pineapple, grapefruit, raspberries, etc.  Ya win some, ya lose some I suppose.

Rigoberto’s – After one absurd evening (which will be described in brief in Part 2), my fellow drink swillers and I got a cab to head back to the house.  First, let me say that it was a minivan cab which was awesome because there was a lot of us.  So, we pile in and ask the driver, “Are you the trivia cab?!”  “No.”  The driver responded.  (As an aside, we weren’t just being incredibly dumb and annoying….Bend does have a trivia cab.  If you make it to your destination with a strike remaining then your cab is free.  If not, you pay your fare).  After only about a second’s worth of disappointment, one of us chimes in with, “Caaan you be the trivia cab?!”  “No.”  Hmmmm….Not to be deterred from our quest for knowledge, one final plea was made.  “Do you want us to ask youuu triviaaa?!”  “No.”  Okay sir, got it, obviously not an Alex Trebek fan.  In that case, “Can you take us through the drive thru at Rigoberto’s?!”  Finally a yes!

Despite being busted for selling meth out of one of the locations, Rigoberto’s has delicious burritos.  Or at least, I perceived them to be.  I have never actually had one while close to sober so I guess I can’t fully put a stamp on this, but if you go, I always had the Oregon Burrito and was never unhappy with my decision.  It’s a monster burrito stuffed with carne asada steak and steak fries.  So, we pull up to the window and I make the executive decision to swing open the minivan door so that we can see the menu better and so that I can shout our orders out.  Pretty sure that cab driver hated us…I apologize sir.  Nevertheless, yummy burritos were had by all!  Well, and a quesadilla for Jess.

Stay tuned for Out and About in Bend, Oregon: Part 2 – Land of Exceptional Beverages!

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2010 in Food and Drink, Travel

 

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Crater Lake

I know, I know….it’s been FOREVER since my last post.  I have been frantically editing photos and studying for my GRE, so I apologize!  The next few posts will be dedicated to my trip to Bend, Oregon – get excited!!!

Cast of Characters
I should have posted this up before I went on vacation, but I waited until the last minute to do everything and ran out of time.  So, before I start on Crater Lake, here is a brief introduction to the slew of ridiculous and hilarious people that made this trip absolutely incredible.

The Brothers Kephart: Bend, Oregon is my boyfriend Ryan’s hometown.  I was there once last year briefly and brought an unusual early season snow with me (must be the Minnesotan in me…yeah, you betcha!).  Ryan also has two younger brothers (Steve and Mike) that made the road trip up from California.

Ryan, Mike and Steve

My Twinsie: My sister, Jess, who is the same age as me for 16 days in July, flew in from Minnesota to come see Bend!

Twinsie and Me

Team You Won’t: Ryan’s ace Adam lives in California with his awesome girlfriend Drea.  We really, really wanted them to come up with us but it just didn’t seem like it was going to work out.  In the final hour, Adam got won’ted.  Amongst their crew, if someone won’ts you, you pretty much have to!  So, Adam and Dre drove up too!!!



Monsieur Giblet
: This title will make sense later.  For now, just go with it. Steve’s friend Jason, a fellow DI in San Diego, made the most-wise decision to road trip to Bend with Steve and Mike.

Base Camp: Ryan’s parents were nice enough (crazy enough?) to let all of us stay in their beautiful home.  Incredibly generous, especially considering the debauchery that was guaranteed to follow.  Ryan’s little sister Stacey is the sole Kephart child left in Bend and she was there to rage with us whenever she wasn’t working.

Crater Lake
When Ryan first told me about Crater Lake I was like, “ok, so it’s a really deep lake.”  Then we googled photos and holy crap is it waaaaay more than just a deep lake.  It’s absolutely beautiful.  So, we had to go.  I was pumped about it and sent photos to Jess and Dre too.  We were all stoked to finally see it in person!

On Saturday morning (and I use this term loosely) we got up and rallied the group into two cars to caravan the 90 or so miles from Bend to Crater Lake.  Adam brought a head-mounted GoPro video camera to film our descent which really completed his look of all out creeper.

Once everyone was finally loaded we made a stop at Big O Bagel to get some much needed breakfast.  (As a side note, I was starving and had already put down a fantastic and juicy organic peach!)  My sister and I both got bagel breakfast sandwiches which were delicious; but, I tried Ryan’s salmon and cream cheese on a bacon cheddar bagel and it blew my mind.  I don’t even know why I ever bother choosing what I am going to order.  I always like Ryan’s choice better and should just automatically order whatever he does.  Needless to say, for the rest of the trip I would order the salmon and cream cheese bagel.

The road trip up consisted of rocking out to some satellite radio with great car dance moves by Adam and Ryan and some not so great smells that may have been caused by an unruly elk burger making its way through or perhaps by the mass amount of alcohol….

When we finally arrived, we were all absolutely amazed at the view!  It really is hard to describe how incredibly vast and blue the lake is.  Combine this with the cliffs surrounding it and it is really stunning.

© 2010 Heather Freitag

© 2010 Heather Freitag

The lake fills a caldera which was formed 7,700 years ago when the volcano Mount Mazama collapsed.  It’s 5 miles across, has an average depth of 1,148 feet and a maximum depth of 1, 949 feet making it the deepest lake in the US and the ninth deepest in the world.  In addition, by average depth, it’s the world’s third deepest.  Out in the lake is Wizard Island, which was created by one of four subsequent eruptions that also created three formations hidden beneath the surface of Crater Lake.

Because the lake is mainly snowmelt and has no inlets or tributaries, very few pollutants enter the water, giving the lake an insanely blue color and remarkable clarity.  In testing, the lake had a clarity of 142 feet.

After snapping a few photos, we started our jaunt down the cliff.  We all hiked down effortlessly, joking around and taking in Crater Lake’s beauty.  However, we did notice that everyone on the way up was not so jovial.  Instead, most were sweaty, panting, and devoid of chatter because they were game-faced on the task at hand….climbing their way back up!

Hiking

Once we reached the bottom and braved a particularly nasty trip to the foul-smelling bathroom, it was time to jump in! The guys all stripped down and jumped right in.

Ryan, the dolphin?

Dre and my sister turned to me to ask if I was going to jump.  “OF COURSE!” I said.  I wasn’t going to come all this way not to at least jump in and say that I was in the lake.  Easier said than done….

I am the world’s worst cliff jumper.  I have discovered this from my two experiences with it and one experience trying to jump off the train trussle.  Train trussle experience was in Minnesota and I think it resulted in my sister pushing me after I stood up there for 20 minutes or so.  My first time cliff jumping was in Thailand and I only jumped because a monkey literally came out of the jungle, pointed right at me and laughed.  Taunted by a monkey!  So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I was not much better this time around.  Somehow, it still came as a surprise to me.  I was completely confident walking up to the edge of the cliff, then I stood there and thought, uh oh…here we go again.

So, Dre jumps and my sister jumps.  Then Jess treads water for five minutes or so trying to get me to jump.

JUMP!

No go.  She gets out of the water and comes back up to the top to get me to jump.  By this point, I have a sizable crowd of fellow tourists around me.  Despite the crowd chanting my name, I was still frozen.  Then a girl sitting next to me, maybe 6 years old, informs me that if her parents would let her, she would jump.  “Great,” I think to myself, “that’s probably because you are too young to know how dumb this is.”  Her dad tells me I need to hurry up because he is running out of camera footage.  “Oh, I’m sorry, how inconsiderate of me to take up all of your family vacation footage…random stranger.”  (This man claimed that he would put this video on youtube.  I checked every day for a week and didn’t find anything, so let’s keep our fingers crossed)

Finally, it comes down to if my sister jumps again and waits in the water then I will jump.  Jess steps back up and we try to switch places.  Somehow we bump into each other and she falls off the cliff.  Miraculously she catches herself and Adam is able to pull her back up to safety.  After all of that, we need to get this thing done.  Finally, I jump in, screaming on the way down and immediately losing my breath once I hit the icy water.  Sooooooooo cold!!!!  In the end, very glad I jumped though!

After some more pictures and getting dressed again, it was time to make our way back up.  At first I was feeling just as chipper as I was on the way down.  Then, sharp pains started stabbing at my side and continued for the rest of the way up.  This hike up is no joke.  Now I understood the myriad of benches along the trail and the disgruntled faces that we saw on the hike down.

We all had an incredibly fun day, despite my cliff jumping hiccup, and if any of you are planning to get out to Oregon (which you should!), you MUST go to Crater Lake.  It truly was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen.

Click here to see more photos!

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2010 in Hiking, Travel, Uncategorized

 

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