The Bite: Tumalo’s Food-Truck Frenzy Heats Up

The Bite: Tumalo’s Food-Truck Frenzy Heats Up

Food-cart pod. Mobile kitchen. Food-truck lot. Brew Depot. Whatever you call it, the humble meal-on-wheels dining phenomenon continues to be a strong food trend -– even in tiny Tumalo. It’s hard to believe I wrote about Yolie’s Drive-Up Kitchen, Tumalo’s first food truck, back in 2011 (has it really been that long?). Well, Yolie’s is still going strong, and now it has some company –- quite a bit, in fact, especially for our little hamlet on the Deschutes. Tumalo’s newest food-truck “experience” is called “The Bite,” and it’s much more than just a place to pick up a burger and go. The brainchild of Donni and Steve Davidson, two longtime Tumalo residents, it’s home to three resident food trucks: The Rogue Chef, whose offerings include a dynamite wagu burger with matchstick garlic fries; Nuthin’ Fancy BBQ (I tried the pulled-pork sandwich and wasn’t disappointed); and Bend favorite Rico’s Tacos, whose menu features plenty of Mexican-food staples, including fajitas, burritos, nachos and quesadillas. The distinctively designed space (the work of Bend-based Stemach Design and Architecture, who are also responsible for designing one of my favorite local structures, the Bend Habitat ReStore) was envisioned not just as a place to grab a quick bite but as a welcoming neighborhood hangout. So in addition to the food trucks, The Bite boasts a covered -– and heated –- patio pavilion with lots of seating and a nicely stocked bar (plenty of local brews on tap), plus public restrooms and an expansive outdoors space dotted with lawn games, including cornhole, a large-scale Jenga-type tower, an outsize checkerboard, a tightrope (???) and several fire pits. The...
Daytripping: Reel Fun at East Lake

Daytripping: Reel Fun at East Lake

I was looking for a bit of Oregon history; Jack was in search of Kokanee. We found both recently at East Lake. (What’s more, we invited a cadre of Jack’s family to join us on our five-day escape. Sweet!) Located about 45 minutes southeast of Bend, East Lake is one of several historic spots worth exploring within the fascinating Newberry National Volcanic Monument. The monument’s centerpiece — Newberry Volcano – is the largest volcano in the Cascades volcanic arc and one of the largest shield volcanoes in the lower 48 states. In fact, according to the U.S. Forest Service, it covers an area the size of Rhode Island, extending approximately 75 miles north to south and 27 miles east to west. Unlike the typical cone-shaped volcano, Newberry formed the shape of a broad shield, created by repeated eruptions over the past 400,000 years. It’s commonly referred to as Newberry Crater; however, the “crater” is actually a caldera (which is formed when the top of a volcano collapses after the magma chamber beneath empties out). Established in 1990 and operated by the U.S. Forest Service, Newberry National Volcanic Monument spans more than 56,400 acres and encompasses all of the 17-square-mile Newberry caldera, parts of the upper slopes of the volcano and most of the volcano’s “Northwest Rift Zone.” Its summit can be found at Paulina Peak -– which, at an impressive 7,985 feet, offers expansive views of the Cascade Mountains, Newberry Caldera and the High Desert below. Other sightseeing stops within the caldera include the Big Obsidian Flow, Paulina Falls and a number of hiking trails. The caldera may have...
Day-Tripping: Checking Out the Whychus Canyon Preserve Addition

Day-Tripping: Checking Out the Whychus Canyon Preserve Addition

Yesterday I attended the dedication for the new 480-acre addition to the Whychus Canyon Preserve in Sisters. I had previously hiked the trails within the Preserve and loved them, so this seemed like a great excuse to return. (To digress for a moment, if you’ve never explored the Whychus Canyon Preserve, you’re missing out. It’s a nature-lover’s nirvana, with trails meandering along the rocky, deserty crest of the canyon and diving down into the verdant valley basin below. Then there’s the star of this show: Whychus Creek, which provides its own distinct appeal.) The 480-acre addition to Whychus Canyon Preserve was acquired last fall; it brings the total lands owned and managed by the Deschutes Land Trust to 930 acres. That includes 3.7 miles of Whychus Creek, along with high-quality grasslands and old-growth juniper stands. The goal of the Land Trust is to protect the highest-quality wildlife habitat along Whychus Creek; to ensure the permanent care of those lands for generations to come; and secure important habitat for salmon and steelhead, deer and elk, eagles and songbirds. (Until yesterday, I didn’t know that Whychus Creek was historically the most productive steelhead stream in the upper basin of the Deschutes River.) Protecting and restoring the habitat needed to rebuild the wild steelhead run of the Deschutes River is a key Land Trust component. I was especially glad I attended the Saturday morning ceremony after I learned that, for now anyway, this addition to the Preserve is only open for guided tours (the main Preserve, on the other hand, has an extensive network of trails that are open to the public).   After the...
Day Tripping: Clear Lake & Coldwater Cove Campground

Day Tripping: Clear Lake & Coldwater Cove Campground

It’s autumn in Central Oregon, and you know what that means: Time to hit the road. When it comes to spectacular fall colors, the region is an embarrassment of riches, boasting a wide variety of locales where Mother Nature really struts her stuff. Over the years, I’ve written about a number of my fall-color favorites, including Camp Sherman, the McKenzie-Santiam Scenic Loop, McKenzie Bridge — even downtown Redmond. This year, I’m adding Clear Lake to the list.   I’m embarrassed to admit that Jack and I only recently explored Clear Lake, one of the region’s most-popular haunts. And even then it was by accident — one day in mid-September we woke up and faced the fact that taking a two-week summer vacation just wasn’t in the cards this year. So, with autumn nipping at our heels, we scrambled to squeeze in at least one three-day escape ASAP. Given the tight timeframe, staying close to home seemed to make the most sense. We settled on Clear Lake because it offered a variety of outdoor activities within a close proximity: Jack wanted to mountain bike, I wanted to photo hike and we both wanted to take out our canoe. What’s great about Clear Lake is not only is there a nice loop trail around it, but bikers looking for a real challenge can also access the popular McKenzie River Trail from here. Several other scenic spots — Sahalie Falls, Koosah Falls and the eerie Blue Pool (aka Tamolitch Falls) — are also just a stone’s throw away. And they’re all within an hour’s drive from our home in Tumalo. Sold! After...
2014 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: A Photo Tour

2014 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show: A Photo Tour

Well, Sisters’ main annual event — the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show — has come and gone, and what a show it was! Now in its 39th year, the onetime one-day festival has gradually evolved into an international quilting extravaganza — with with more than a week cram-packed with activities geared toward serious quilting enthusiasts. Its reach now even extends far beyond Sisters — with related quilting events in Black Butte Ranch, Bend and Redmond. This year’s theme was “It Takes a Village,” and, when it comes to the world’s largest outdoor quilt show, it certainly did: According to the Bend Bulletin, the festival drew 10,000 to 12,500 quilt fans, relied on the help of more than 550 volunteers and had about a $1.7 million economic impact on Sisters. Last Saturday, more than 1,400 quilts were on display in just about every nook and cranny of downtown Sisters. They blanketed shop exteriors from top to bottom, were clipped onto makeshift clotheslines in front and back yards, adorned the lawn of the Sisters School Administration building, hung alongside every type of fine art within Sisters’ many galleries, filled makeshift tents scattered around town, graced the walls of clothing boutiques and dining establishments alike. It was a quilters’ nirvana. Even non-quilters like myself could appreciate the handiwork here (hey, in my youth, I was a fierce embroiderer). Although the festival officially ran from 9 am to 4 pm, the show was in full swing even earlier. I spoke to one gallery owner who arrived at her shop to set up at 7 a.m. — only to find folks lined up and waiting...
New Kid on the Block: Tumalo Peddlers Market

New Kid on the Block: Tumalo Peddlers Market

The first time I spotted the flashy white horse and buggy outfit in the parking lot of Tumalo Feed Co., I did a double-take. It isn’t every day you see a horse-drawn carriage parked in town (even Tumalo). But then again, that’s the idea: It made me look and wonder, “What the heck is that doing there?” Upon closer inspection, I discovered a number of out-of-the-ordinary vintage finds nearby. The sign atop the building that once housed my office (when I worked for RE/MAX) now announces ‘Wagon and Freight Company.”  But that’s not where we are; this is actually home to the Tumalo Peddlers Market –- a cottage full of interesting antiques and old-time curiosities –- and then some: The small outbuilding next door is also fully stocked with unusual vintage goodies. The shop is the handiwork of Jon Christensen, who previously owned Pickers n’ Peddlars in downtown Tumalo (across the highway). It’s an offshoot of the seasonal Peddlers Market that Christensen started in the Tumalo Feed Company parking lot last summer (it runs the second Saturday of the summer months, from 8 am- 3 pm). A number of vendors rent space in the two buildings and offer a diverse selection of rustic collectibles. For the antiques aficionado, it’s a noteworthy addition. Check it out! DETAILS, DETAILS: The store, which is located at 64619 Highway 20, is open Tuesday-Saturday from 11 am-6 pm. The summertime parking-lot flea markets are the second Saturday of the month through September from 8 am-3 pm. 541-948-9094. Here are a few more photos of the market:               About the...
Day Tripping: Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest

Day Tripping: Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest

During Easter Weekend, my sister-in-law, Denise, and I trekked to the Wooden She Tulip Fest in Woodburn. The festival, which runs from March 28-May 4, celebrates one of spring’s favorite bulbs — and what a celebration it is! More than 40 acres of fields are awash in an array of brilliant colors, with blooming bulbs almost as far as the eye can see. It’s a spectacular sight. The family-run farm has been in operation  since the 1950s; the Wooden Shoe tulip business was formed in 1983 and grew (literally!) from there. The tulip fields were first opened to the public in 1985, during Easter weekend. Nowadays, the festival runs for almost eight weeks and offers much more than just the exploration of the rows and rows (and rows….) of tulips. Granted, at least for me, getting lost among the gorgeous blooms would be enough of a draw; the flowers here run the gamut of shapes, sizes and colors. Before venturing to the Tulip Fest, I had no idea just how many different varieties there are!   For those who need more than just beautiful bulbs to capture their attention, there’s plenty here — a gift shop, a food court, tram rides, duck races, photo ops, planted pots and more. Of course, everything is extremely family-friendly; the festival is designed to bring out the kid in all of us. And it does — I had a smile on my face from start to finish. All the unbridled joy seen on so many young faces was contagious.   In hindsight, I do wish we could’ve gone on a weekday; the crowds can be a bit overwhelming. And,...
Food Cart Nation: A Look at ‘The Lot’ in Bend

Food Cart Nation: A Look at ‘The Lot’ in Bend

Have you checked out The Lot? A food-cart pod located two blocks west of Mirror Pond (745 NW Columbia St.), The Lot is Bend’s answer to Portland’s Cartopia. To date, it’s home to five diverse food carts: Rico’s Tacos, the Brown Owl (local comfort food), Mauna Kea Grill (Hawaiian specialties), Real Food Street Bistro (locally sourced regional fare) and Thailandia Asian Food Cart (vegan/vegetarian). Not only is The Lot open well into the evening (currently, until 11 pm), but it also features live music on Thursday nights. Another nice touch:  the open-air covered eating pavilion, which features heated benches, a mammoth gas fire pit and overhead heaters. The real draw (at least when I’ve visited) is the Lot’s beer bar: Adjacent to the pavilion is a bar stocked with 16 tap handles featuring local beers, cider and kombucha. It’s a popular neighborhood spot for mixing, mingling and sampling a cross-section of the food-cart fare. The vibe is decidedly downtown. The Lot is open from 10 am-11 pm daily, but each cart sets its own hours. For more info, call 541-610-4969. Here are a few more photos of the carts at The Lot:       About the Author Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE, is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Bend and...