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Five Foodie Finds 

A culinary tour of downtown Redmond results in four dishes (and one cocktail) worth experiencing

Foodie (noun): a person keenly interested in food, especially cooking or eating.

No doubt about it: Bend is foodie heaven. From the inspired fusion cuisine served up by the chefs at Spork to the melt-in-your-mouth steaks expertly prepared by the gastronomical masterminds at Bos Taurus, it's difficult to go wrong, no matter which eatery you wander into. Heck, even the pub food is insanely delicious.

Root Beer Carnitas taco from Westside Taco Co. food truck at The Vault Taproom. - CAYLA CLARK
  • Cayla Clark
  • Root Beer Carnitas taco from Westside Taco Co. food truck at The Vault Taproom.

What many Central Oregonians may overlook is that Redmond has some of its very own foodie-friendly finds. In fact, the town has experienced a recent and significant upswing in trendy eateries lately, causing it to become known as an "up-and-coming foodie destination"—according to the City of Redmond's website, at least.

Take a look at several mouth-watering culinary masterpieces before you take your own gourmet tour through the town.

1. Root Beer Carnitas at Westside Taco Co.

Originally born in Southern California, this quaint little food truck—a part of The Vault Taphouse in the heart of downtown—serves up some killer tacos. The staff is friendly, helpful and accommodating. The Root Beer Carnitas Taco came recommended (having won "2nd Best Taco" in SoCal), and it certainly did not disappoint. The flavorful meat was piled high and paired exceptionally well with the reasonably-priced lineup of ales offered by Kobold Brewing. Soda may seem like a strange marinade, but the slight sweetness contrasted by fresh cabbage, queso fresco and pickled red onion made for a mouth-watering combination. The Buffalo Chicken Taco is another tasty option.

2. Grilled Prawn Caesar at Diego's Spirited Kitchen

Grilled Prawn Caesar salad at Diego's Spirited Kitchen. - CAYLA CLARK
  • Cayla Clark
  • Grilled Prawn Caesar salad at Diego's Spirited Kitchen.

This family-owned restaurant opened its doors in January 2009 and has been serving up quality Mexican-fusion ever since—an interesting cross between Spanish and Italian, featuring dishes ranging from fajitas and enchiladas to seafood penne and filet mignon. Despite the wide range of options, the menu didn't seem muddled or confused. The cocktail list was extensive as well (the only margarita I've had in Redmond, so easily the best). The prawns were big, juicy and cooked to perfection, and the homemade Caesar dressing was creamy and rich. A seemingly simple dish packed with flavor and the perfect amount of spice.

3. Mini Crab Cakes and Fromagerie at Red Martini

Fromagerie from the Red Martini, featuring five rich, creamy cheeses. - KEVIN BRYAN
  • Kevin Bryan
  • Fromagerie from the Red Martini, featuring five rich, creamy cheeses.

Home of what may easily be the best happy hour in Redmond, Red Martini serves delicious and reasonably priced dishes every day. The happy hour Mini Crab Cakes were packed full of fresh Dungeness Crab and smothered with a slightly smoky chipotle aioli. A dollop of sweet and tangy tomato jam sat atop each cake; all three components making for a flavor-packed bite.

The Fromagerie featured five rich cheeses, ranging from a creamy bleu to a buttery Flagship gouda. A sweet fig jam helped offset the richness of the cheese, and a generous helping of Marcona almonds and cornichons rounded out the plate.

4. Poke Bites Appetizer at Becerra's on 6th

The brainchild of Moises and Sheila Becerra, Redmond's new "refined dining" restaurant leaves little to be desired. The open-concept kitchen shows off a team of highly experienced chefs—one in-house pastry chef, one French chef and one Spanish chef, all working together to create a mind-blowing culinary experience. The au-gratis freshly baked bread is accompanied by three house-infused butter options: red wine reduction, garlic herb and smoked salmon. The Poke Bites themselves were light and fresh. A generous portion of high-grade ahi sat atop crispy wonton chips, which were piled high with guacamole and fried onion strings. The complex flavors were all tied together by a spicy, house made Sriracha aioli. The atmosphere and staff were warm and inviting, and it was apparent that a great deal of love (and expertise) went into each dish.

5. Pecan Whiskey Hot Toddy at The Rooftop.

The New Hotel Redmond by SCP is set to open Dec. 1, though the trendy rooftop bar is already in full swing. Boasting an atmosphere unlike any other, The Rooftop offers up classic American tapas and vegan cuisine, ensuring something for everyone. The cocktail list includes a host of high-octane to no-octane cocktails—'mocktails' conceptualized by professional mixologists that expertly blend fresh ingredients with kombucha and other non-alcoholic bases. While a Hot Toddy is hardly a "dish," (depending on who you ask), the soul-warming cocktail was too delicious to disregard. Revel Stoke pecan whiskey, hot apple cider and fresh squeezed lemon made for the perfect cold-weather beverage, which tasted even better while sitting fireside and staring up at the stars. Notes of rich pecan evoked feelings of fall, and the bitterness of the lemon cut the underlying sweetness in all the right ways.

There is no shortage of culinary brilliance in Redmond, with a wide array of dishes and drinks sure to fulfill every foodie's fantasies. From trendy rooftop bars to innovative, gastronomical hybrids, the small town truly does have it all.

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