Bend’s Food Carts Take it to the Streets

Food trucks offer a unique dining experience

There is a movement coming to Bend that actually, well, moves. With around 20 carts popping up in the summertime, the food cart scene is blossoming, offering the Bend-ite a unique way to eat well and cheaply from local vendors.

One of the more popular eateries is Spork; the green-conscious, renovated 1962 Airstream Tradewind that has a rotating menu of eclectic global street food for under $10. For a refreshing summer treat, DaKine Grindz gives you authentic Hawaiian shave ice, acai (ah-sigh-ee) bowls and iced coffee. At The Codfather Fish & Chips, you can order your food from the bottom of the bright red British-style double decker bus and eat it at the top. The genres of food, the locations, and the vehicles are about as diverse as it gets.

Although summer is when the food cart scene tends to flourish, some of the vendors are still willing to shiver their way through the winter. If you didn’t already come across a cart or two at Oktoberfest or Munch n’ Movies, check out for a complete list of vendors, menus, and “permanent” locations. So what are you waiting for? Hop onto the bandwagon—er, cart—and sample some of the grub they have to offer.

Bend has really gone to the dogs. And we’re all wagging our tails.

Bend is paradise for humans and dogs alike.

Central Oregon is not only a great place to live for humans, but for dogs, too. Every year, Dog Fancy magazine names the top “Dog Towns” in the country. And the winner for 2012 was…(drum roll)…Bend, Oregon!

The article sites Bend as “a place where dogs both work and play, ski and swim.” And rightly so. With “ruffly” 27,000 dogs to 80,000 people, the city has definitely warmed up to its canine companions.

First of all, we have countless beautiful places to take your retriever, shepherd, schnauzer, cock-a-poo or All-American mutt for a daily stroll – and almost as many bag dispensers for cleaning up after them.

In the summertime, it’s not uncommon to see dogs floating along on the front of a kayak or paddleboard with the locals, or jumping into the river after a Frisbee at the River Bend Dog Park. The city boasts six other off-leash areas, along with miles of dog-friendly mountain biking trails in the Deschutes National Forest.

In downtown Bend, residents can flaunt their dog at the annual 4th of July Pet Parade. Numerous restaurants, namely breweries, allow—even encourage—dogs on their patio areas. And numerous shops leave a fresh bowl of water outside their doors so Nugget can have a cool drink on a hot day.

Wintertime is just as much fun for dogs. The city’s dog advocacy group, DogPAC, has acquired a snowcat—renamed Sno-Dog—to enhance trail grooming at Wanoga Sno-Park, resulting in a two-mile loop of dog-friendly winter trails next to your own ski and snowshoe tracks.

Area residents and winter visitors can take dog-sled rides at the Oregon Trail of Dreams on Mt. Bachelor and maybe meet local Iditarod musher Rachel Scdoris. Mt. Bachelor Avalanche Rescue Dogs are skilled at locating victims under masses created by snow slides, while the dogs in the High Desert Search Dogs group focus on wilderness and urban tracking and trailing.

It’s easy to see why Dog Fancy has honored Bend as the best place for man’s best friends to have a healthy, active life. And it’s not too shabby for their owners, either.

Extending Your Summer Vacation

September Wildflowers on the Green Lakes Trail

For most families in Oregon, it may feel like Labor Day weekend was the last hurrah of summer. But for those of us here in Bend, the season is just reaching its peak.

“Indian Summer” is upon us. Temperatures are still comfortably in the 70s and 80s, but the evenings and mornings are refreshingly crisp, cooling off by as much as 40 or 50 degrees. (And that, my friends, is what kills off those annoying mosquitoes that bugged us at the lakes in July and August.) It’s that time of year when we get to enjoy the endless outdoor opportunities that Central Oregon provides, but without all the pre-Labor Day crowds.

School is in session and the tourists have gone home, which means fewer encounters with sweaty mountain bikers and rambunctious dogs on the trails. You can have your favorite fishing spot or swimming hole all to yourself again, as well as your first choice tee time. You can even float the river without an armada of other inflated watercraft surrounding you.

While fall colors are starting to appear on the leaves as you walk the river trail, wildflowers are in still in bloom, most noticeably in the Old Mill District, of course. Yet on my hike up to Green Lakes in the Three Sisters Wilderness last weekend, an assortment of wildflowers was still on display, which is unusual for this time of year. And although I wouldn’t recommend it at Green Lakes, it’s a great time to go for a swim in the Cascades Lakes are while water temps are at their warmest.

Yes, the kids may be back in school. But for a few more precious weeks, you can let that inner child keep on playing with the pristine conditions that late summertime in Bend has to offer.

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