Chow down at the Bite of Bend this weekend

Bite of BendThe annual Bite of Bend takes over downtown Bend once again this weekend, kicking off at 5pm this Friday, June 17, and going on all day Saturday and Sunday. It’s Central Oregon’s largest food festival and there’s definitely plenty to do, taste, and see.

The Bite of Bend celebrates the region’s unique ingredients, cuisine and culture by bringing together chefs, bartenders, brewers, food enthusiasts, home cooks, and local purveyors for a three-day food party on the streets of downtown Bend. This year, the Bite of Bend will showcase over 40 food vendors from around the region. Festival attendees feast on bite after bite from chefs and restaurants directly as they make their way through downtown Bend.

Open at 5pm on Friday night, preview a taste of things to come when the full event opens on Saturday. Start with bites from local chefs, taste the region’s spirits and cocktails at the Mixology Showcase, watch the final 8 bartenders battle shaker to shaker in the Bartender Brawl and listen to the sweet sounds of Precious Byrd and Sassparilla!!

Come back on Saturday & Sunday for an event full of food, music, spirits, The Beer Run, Little Hopper Root Beer Run, Top Chef competitions & the final Bartender Brawl.

The usual downtown festival closures will be in effect: Minnesota and Oregon Avenues, and (based on last year’s map which they have on the website) Bond Street (and Wall?). There’s plenty of food (of course!) and alcohol, and I like that they have a “Locavore Alley” listed as well.

If you’re planning to go, keep an eye on the schedule, particularly for the live music. And don’t forget your rain jacket, since it’s supposed to have chance of showers on Saturday.

Meet Rob Widmer of Widmer Brothers Brewing, June 16

Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen

Widmer Brothers Brewing out of Portland has been brewing beer for three decades, and their flagship beer, Hefeweizen, is 30 years old this year. To celebrate, Widmer has been making a “Hefe” tour of Oregon, hosting pub crawls and—you guessed it—drinking Hefeweizen. Next Thursday, June 16, they stop in Bend, and owner/founder Rob Widmer will be here as well.

Come join Widmer Brothers Brewing is we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Widmer Brothers Hefeweizen (Hefe). On May 15, 1986, brothers Kurt and Rob Widmer made their very first delivery of Hefe to the Dublin Pub in Portland. Three decades later, Hefe is still the best-selling craft beer in the state, and the brewery just released the beer in cans in Oregon only. Please join Widmer Brothers and Rob Widmer himself for a Bend pub crawl. Prost!

The pub crawl will last from 5 to (roughly) 9pm; here are the locations and schedule:

  • Sidelines Sports Bar, from 5 to 6:30
  • The Summit Saloon, from 6:30 to 7:30
  • Wall Street Grill, from 8 to 9

All times are approximates, of course. And yes, you’ll likely be drinking Hefeweizen and other Widmer beers all night long. It sure sounds like fun!

Powell Butte Highway will be completely closed June 20

I had posted back in March how the intersection of the Powell Butte Highway and Alfalfa Market and Neff Roads were closing to build a roundabout there. At the time, the main intersection was closed but they did build an access road for the main highway, which could be accessed going from or to Alfalfa Market Road.

Now though, the County is closing the roads down around the construction entirely, starting June 20:

Starting Monday, June 20, the intersection of Powell Butte Highway, Neff Road and Alfalfa Market Road will be closed to traffic. Crews will be finishing up final paving on the Powell Butte Highway and Neff Road legs of the new roundabout. Traffic will be routed onto detours as shown on the attached map. This closure will be in effect through Saturday, June 25.

And here is the map:

Powell Butte Highway Closure, June 20

So for that week from the 20th through the 25th take note of this closure—and hope it doesn’t go longer than the 25th.

The Riverhouse’s new look

Wednesday evening I was invited along with many other people down to the Riverhouse Hotel for the grand opening unveiling of their massive redesign—you may remember that the Riverhouse sold last year to Vesta Hospitality, and one of the big projects was to be a multi-million dollar renovation project. The format was a self-guided open house, with several “stops” in the main lobby building, the convention center, and the hotel rooms. Most of the stops offered complimentary food, as well as beer and wine, and the tour ended at the dining deck overlooking the river.

I have to say, it’s a very impressive job that Vesta did to renovate the hotel—more than one comment about bringing the Riverhouse into the 21st century with modern sensibilities was made. For starters, the lobby has moved from the first building facing the street down to the building shared with the restaurant and lounge, which frankly seems better. The river views are as great as ever—it’s hard to go wrong there—and I’ve been to the convention center recently so there wasn’t much “new” to see there for me.

The biggest change was to the hotel rooms themselves, with the buildings getting new fixtures, paint, carpets, and the rooms themselves getting a complete makeover. Used to be they were pretty ’70s, ’80s in style, now they’re definitely what I would expect to see in a brand-new hotel, while maintaining that “rustic” look with plenty of wood, stone, and leather. And the river views are great too.

And a bonus! One of the activities of the evening was an attendance drawing, which to participate you had to visit each of the “stops” on the self-guided tour and get a stamp in a brochure. At the end of the evening, they drew names from the completed, stamped brochures for some nice prizes. And I won one! I rarely win anything at events like this, so that was fun.

Check out the Riverhouse if you get a chance, or their new restaurant, Currents. In the meantime, enjoy some photos from the evening:

Free Sweetheart Donuts on National Donut Day

Sweetheart DonutsThis Friday, June 3, is National Donut Day, and Sweetheart Donuts is giving away free cake doughnuts to celebrate:

On National Donut Day, the first Friday in June, you’ll find one of the sweetest deals yet at Sweetheart Donuts, a FREE* cake donut!

We invite you to join us as we help celebrate National Donut Day and honor the “Donut Lassies” who served traditional cake donuts to soldiers during World War I.

Founded in 1938 in the City of Chicago, National Doughnut Day is actually a patriotic remembrance of a time when Salvation Army volunteers handed out doughnuts on the front lines to soldiers. When the soldiers came home they brought their nostalgic donut memories with them fueling the donut industry as we know it today.

The donut continues to be a comfort food served by the Salvation Army to those in need during times of disaster.

* No purchase necessary. Limit one per person. While supplies last. Cake donuts only.

Don’t miss out! Be sure to stop by and get your doughnut on Friday!

Immersion Brewing opens today

Immersion BrewingBend’s newest brewpub, Immersion Brewing, officially opens up today, Thursday, May 26! They are located in the Box Factory in the Old Mill District, right next door to Atlas Cider, with the concept of combining a 10-barrel brewpub (brewery plus kitchen) as well as a smaller, U-Brew or Brew-It-Yourself system that allows people to come in and brew their very own batch of beer to ultimately take home.

Here’s their press release about the opening:

Immersion Brewing, Bend’s first and only Brew-It-Yourself (BIY) pub and craft brewery, is excited to announce their grand opening Thursday, May 26 4-10pm.

Immersion Brewing will open the 7,300 square-foot BIY pub and craft brewery with a selection of four beers hand-crafted by head brewer Josh Cosci on the brewery’s 10-barrel system: Big Chilla, a Belgian-style NW Pale Ale; Little Fawn, a Saison; Bender, a Belgian-style NW IPA; and IRA (Immersion Red Ale), a red ale. Guests can also choose from a full bar, which includes a cocktail menu, hand-selected wines, and Nitro Cold Brewed Coffee.

The full pub-style family kitchen will open with a made-from-scratch menu that reaches far beyond traditional pub fare. Featuring dishes from Chef Jack Tate including Poke Marinated Ahi, Short Rib with edamame avocado succotash, and an antibiotic-free Duroc pork Porterhouse with spent beer grain spätzle and brussels sprouts, the restaurant is as central to the brewery experience as the beer.

The Brew-It-Yourself experience will open first to backers of Immersion Brewing’s Kickstarter campaign. Guests are welcome to tour the BIY facility. Online reservations to book a brewing session will be available soon.

Immersion Brewing is located in the Box Factory in Bend, Ore. 550 SW Industrial Way, Suite #185.

Beer lovers can follow Immersion Brewing on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. #imbrewing

Hours should be 4 to 10pm every day except Tuesday (and until 11pm Friday and Saturday).