Recently I was invited back to Central Oregon to speak at the Art in the High Dessert Festival. This is an event that happens in the last couple weeks of August and focuses on local artists in and around Bend, Oregon. And while I had a fabulous time at the art show, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the highlight of my trip.
Local French Cuisine
On the first day I was in town I decided to try a restaurant that I had found on Yelp. I was in the mood for something classically French. And I’m happy to admit that I am a bit of a snob when it comes to my French foods. Now there is nothing more French that a croissant. Done correctly, they are light, flaky, and buttery. But when they’re done poorly, they taste like 2 day old bread.
All the reviews of this particular restaurant raved about their pastries, and of course they’re house-made croissants. So I decided to give it a try.
The Sparrow Bakery Northwest is located on the West Side of the town of Bend. It’s scenic area that offers expansive views of the cascade range of mountains, and specifically the Three Sisters mountains.
The Sparrow Bakery Northwest restaurant is a lovely little place with giant windows on two sides that offer a wonderful view of the surrounding neighborhood. There is lots of outdoor seating so that you can be out enjoying the sunshine that evidently blesses this place nearly 300 days a year.
In order to test the food I ordered a very basic meal to start. House coffee, which is French press, and a croissant with butter. I can honestly say that the reviews are 100% correct. The croissant was the perfect balance of flaky on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. While it certainly didn’t need the extra butter they serve with it, as far as I’m concerned you can NEVER have too much butter.
The coffee was exceptional and was a local roast from a coffee shop called Lone Pine. It was bright, slightly acidic, and offered a hint of blueberry. Most likely it is an Ethiopian blend. I drink my coffee black. Those that prefer their coffee with cream might consider a different option as the fruity flavor of the roast doesn’t mingle well with dairy in my opinion.
After devouring the croissant I decided to investigate the aroma of cardamom that hangs about the establishment. Evidently they are quite famous for their Ocean Rolls. I had to ask what they were all about.
Basically the recipe starts with their amazing croissant dough. Then they sprinkle sugar, vanilla, and cardamom on the dough and roll it up into the classical cinnamon roll shape. I haven’t had a great many dishes that use cardamom in a sweet, but it was absolutely amazing.
Cardamom offers a very heady aroma that gives the Ocean Roll an essence all of it’s own. It’s as much of an experience for your nose as it is for your mouth.
In addition to all of their baked goods, they offer lunch and dinner fare as well. The Croque Monsieur and the Chicken Waldorf sando looked particularly appealing. Alas after my two pastries I was quite full. It was however a wonderful dining experience.
If you find yourself in the area, be sure to stop by.
The Sparrow Bakery Northwest
2748 NW Crossing Dr #110
Bend, OR 97701