Feel the Love: Alpenglow Café casts a warm light | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Feel the Love: Alpenglow Café casts a warm light

Alpenglow Café casts a warm light.

When you name a place Alpenglow in a ski town, you better be able to back it up. For mountain dwellers, the very utterance of the word conjures a Zen oneness with nature and feelings of peace and serenity. After a tough day when you look up toward the horizon and see that reddish glow cast on snow-covered peaks at sunset, you are reminded that life in the shadow of the Cascades isn't too shabby. The Alpenglow Café, fortunately, does the term justice. Serving only house-made breads, locally smoked meats, dairy from area farms and fresh foods - absolutely nothing canned or frozen - Alpenglow has the whole oneness-with-nature locavore thing down. In fact, their mission statement offers a $1,000 reward to anyone who can find a can opener on the premises ("no fair bringing in your own!").

The atmosphere covers the peace and serenity part of the equation. The space, a modest dining room on the corner of Newport Avenue and Wall Street with exposed ducts and stainless-steel ceiling fans, diner-style tables and a wood floor, is a bit less crunchy than the Alpenglow philosophy. However, the pink and purple walls, paintings and photographs of towering mountains in full alpenglow mode, and colorfully illustrated chalkboard listing beverages and daily specials, gives you a glimpse of the 1970s organic café in San Francisco or upstate New York that Alpenglow is modeled after. But it's really the service that makes me feel warm and fuzzy, particularly on my last visit. Busting in at 1:45 p.m., just 15 minutes before closing time, our server could not have been more gracious and accommodating, even sending us off with a smile and a bonus monster-sized cinnamon roll.

The menu isn't breaking any molds - and it's not trying to - but offers a solid line-up of healthy breakfast and lunch dishes. And though not cheap, portions are generally on the larger side making it a decent value. Breakfast includes standard bennies, scrambles, omelets, pancakes and waffles ($6.95-$13.95) all made with top quality ingredients and great breakfast meats. Among the more interesting options are Zeus's Favorite Frittata with fresh oregano, kalamata olives, caramelized onions, tomatoes, feta, cream cheese and scallions and the Half Pipe Scramble with artichoke hearts, spinach, mushrooms, pesto and jack cheese.

Lunch salads and sandwiches ($6.95 - $3.95) are hearty, and plates are always bountiful. The Smoked Chicken Salad with lettuce, tomato, candied pecans and red grapes was a little heavy on the pecans, but the house-smoked chicken was delicious. I opted for the creamy dill dressing rather than the house vinaigrette it came with and was happy I did. My favorite in the salad category is definitely the Fajita Taco Salad. Grilled chicken on salads can go horribly wrong in the dry, flavorless and stringy direction but the strips of moist charbroiled chicken breast on this salad were very well executed and seasoned nicely to go with the lettuce, peppers, onions and black beans topped with Monterey Jack, cheddar, sour cream and salsa in a flour tortilla bowl. Sandwiches and burgers are served on fresh-made buns and breads and come with a pile of crispy fries or a cup of the soup of the day. On one visit, the cream of spinach soup managed to be both buttery and light at the same time and was a nice complement to the veggie burger, a chunky patty of mushrooms, potato, carrots, onions and spices.

With tasty fare, a comfortable dining room, a sunny outdoor patio that bustles in warmer months and an inviting attitude, Alpenglow Café keeps its promise of fresh and healthy food you can feel good about.

Alpenglow Café

1133 NW Wall St, 383-7676

7 a.m. - 2 p.m. daily

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