Central Oregon winter has officially arrived. Bachelor is open, Jubelale is on the shelves, and I had to scrape a thick layer of ice off of my car windshield this morning. As we settle into hibernation mode, ready to gorge ourselves on fatty holiday meals, don't forget about local food carts, some of which are braving the elements to provide Bend with top-notch street food, even as temperatures drop.
On Galveston Avenue next to Aspect Board Shop
Every snowboarder's delight, Crazy Delicious stays open in the winter, mainly on the support of powderheads getting breakfast on their way up the hill. Offering breakfast and lunch, Crazy Delicious is just that, cooking up fancier fare, like Crème Brulee Brioche French Toast, and staples like breakfast sandwiches and biscuits and gravy. Owner Luke Miller-Muir explained that in 2011, winter break was one of his busiest times of the year. Despite their popularity with winter outdoor enthusiasts, Crazy Delicious experiences some logistical challenges in the winter.
"I learned really quick my first winter what not to do. I would walk in here and for the first two hours, [it was] like walking into an ice cube," said Miller-Muir. "When it snows I'm out there on the roof, shoveling it off every morning."
8 a.m.-4 p.m., Mon-Sun, 541-633-3808
We recommend: Chicken and Waffles ($6)
Behind Hutch's Bike shop at Galveston Avenue and Columbia Street
No processed food here, this cart sticks to its mantra: fresh, local, real, no matter the season. Real Food has concocted a menu of higher-end street cuisine including sandwiches, homemade soups and more, all of which is made in-house. Co-owners Michael McCan and Jay Miller make their own mustards, corn their own beef and use bread from the bakery next door, Baked. Real Food will be open through the winter slinging gourmet sandwiches despite slowed business.
"We have so many people coming up and saying we want to see you stay open—we're here to support you. This time of year is more important than ever," said McCan. "If people can call ahead or tolerate waiting outside for five minutes, they're helping small business thrive."
11 a.m.-3 p.m., Mon-Fri, 541-771-7325
We recommend: Sticky Chicken a.k.a "Crack chicken"($8)
Dump City Dumplings
Corner of Bond Street and Oregon Avenue next to US Bank
Some would say that if you're drunk enough to eat steamed bread from a street cart, it might be time to go home. We say nay! And you will, too, once you've tried one of Dump City's array of tasty dumplings. The convenient bread pockets are stuffed with everything you could wish for, from chili to four-cheese pizza to Chinese pork. Dump City is the only cart currently stationed in downtown, and the operators are braving the cold five nights a week to bring you the perfect snack after a few brews. The cart is keeping it seasonal, offering winter specials like a Thanksgiving Leftovers and the logistically confusing, but delicious-sounding, Xiao Long Bao, a soup dumpling.
"During summer we're selling twice as many dumplings on a normal night. It's a substantial difference, especially this time of year," said Dan Butters, co-owner of the cart. "We definitely winterize ourselves, but everyone's stoked that we're out here, even in the cold."
8 p.m.- 1 a.m. Tue and Wed, 9 p.m. -2:30 a.m. Thu-Sat
We recommend: Pad Thai dumpling (1 for $3 or 2 for $5)
Other carts open for the winter:
Bee's Thai, on Century Drive next to Players, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon-Sat
Pihuamo's Tacos in the St. Vincent de Paul parking lot on Third Street, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon-Sat, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun, 541-390-9992
A Taste of Thailand, Greenwood Avenue near Erickson's, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon-Sun, 541-815-0180
Is your food cart open for the winter? Let us know and we'll put it on the Bent blog at bendsource.com.