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Reuben Brain 

Hurry up and get this review done already. We need to head back to this deli for more!

You'll be wanting double the order after tasting these Reubens at Wild Oregon Foods. - LISA SIPE
  • Lisa Sipe
  • You'll be wanting double the order after tasting these Reubens at Wild Oregon Foods.
T

he last time I went near the restaurant at the south end of the Bend Factory Stores complex on Hwy. 97, I peeked in and discovered that I probably wasn't old enough to dine there—and I am no spring chicken. These days, the Italian restaurant with its muddied, faux-finish walls is gone, painted over and the interior remodeled to be the clean, bright and inviting Wild Oregon Foods.

The menu at the modern, Northwest-inspired deli is family friendly, but still interesting, filled with Jewish and Italian deli style appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches. One unexpected surprise: the full bar and craft cocktail menu. You don't usually find that in a deli.

click to enlarge Local liquors really hit the spot. - LISA SIPE
  • Lisa Sipe
  • Local liquors really hit the spot.

On a recent midday, my sister (visiting from L.A.), my brother and my parents headed there. Almost all of us ordered something different, and then we picked a tall community table by the bar. It felt like we had a private room even though it opened to the rest of the restaurant.

My brother ordered a cocktail, the Oregon marionberry smash made with locally-made Broken Top bourbon and Wild Roots marionberry vodka, fresh basil and lemon. He let me try a sip and I didn't expect it to be so balanced. The marionberry vodka is pretty strong and sweet to begin with, yet I could still taste the whiskey.

Before I knew it, my ginger chicken salad was placed in front of me. The pile of arugula, Napa, green, and red cabbages with carrots and bell peppers looked crisp and fresh. It was topped with tender, seasoned, sliced chicken and sprinkled with sesame seeds. I was happy to discover the ginger sesame vinaigrette was evenly tossed in the salad. I like greens and want to taste the spiciness of arugula or the bitter notes in the cabbage, so I hate it when a salad is drowned in dressing. The ginger chicken salad delivered. I could see eating this every day as a delicious, healthy lunch.

Salad with arugula. You so tasty. - LISA SIPE
  • Lisa Sipe
  • Salad with arugula. You so tasty.
S

ince it was my sister sitting next to me with an Italian grinder sandwich with chips, I had no problem grabbing a golden, house-made potato chip without asking. The chip was salty, crispy and yummy; it was going to be a challenge to not steal more chips.

Everyone at the table agreed about the chips—including my brother who was taking a bite out of his chickpea salad sandwich. He's vegan and I was relieved he had some options. He said his sandwich was delicious and he enjoyed the fresh basil and sunflower seeds mixed with the chickpeas. His only critique was that he wished the bread was toasted.

My dad had ordered the Reuben sliders, which came in a set of three. The little marble rye rolls were sandwiched with braised corn beef, pickled cabbage, smoked aioli and creamy Havarti cheese. I tried a bite. Woah! The Reuben wasn't just really good, it was freaking amazing. I went back to my really tasty, crunchy, healthy salad and with each bite thought about that Reuben. Maybe Dad won't be able to finish all three and I can have a little more, I thought. Who was I kidding? When Chef James Fink came out to make sure everything tasted good, my dad told him, "These should come with six"—and with that, my hopes were dashed.

LISA SIPE
  • Lisa Sipe
F

rom the taste of that Reuben, it's no surprise to me now that Fink is a classically trained chef. He has over 20 years of experience, having worked for high-end companies including Brasada Ranch and Carrie Dove in San Francisco. While he was talking to us he said we just missed the apple hand pies, but to check out the peanut butter bars.

Not being ones to ignore a chef's suggestion, my sister and I ordered two bars for the table. The peanut butter bars looked rustic, and quite frankly, like nothing special. Boy was I wrong. The salty, creamy, sweet peanut butter bar melted in my mouth. To quote baking icon Mary Berry, "It is scrummy."

I'm wrapping up this review because you—and I—need to head over to Wild Oregon Foods now. Get the Reuben, house-made potato chips and a peanut butter bar. Your taste buds will be in heaven. You're welcome.

Wild Oregon Foods

61334 S. Hwy. 97, Suite 360, Bend

541-668-6344

WildOregonFoods.com

Tues.-Sun. 11 am-7 pm



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