The Bite of Bend returns

Festival offers lots of food downtown

By Ben Salmon / The Bulletin / @frequencyblog

Published Jun 27, 2014 at 12:20AM

If you go

What: Bite of Bend

When: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Cost: Free admission

Where: Downtown Bend

Contact: www.thebiteof bend.com

Have you ever felt like you wanted to eat all of the food?

Not all the food in front of you. I’m talking about all of the food. At every restaurant. In Bend.

It sounds ridiculous, but to true lovers of food, it’s a common feeling to cruise down the street catching glimpses of vibrant restaurant signs and thinking (or saying if you’re in sympathetic company): “Ooh, I love that place.” “We need to go back there.” “I need to try the (insert renowned dish here) at (insert restaurant name here).” “Oh, there’s that new joint. We should check that out sometime!”

I know, because that’s me.

In a town where restaurants turn over faster than new breweries open, it’s impossible to keep up. So you need a centralized location, on a couple of given days, where you can find a bunch of local food-purveyors all set up in a row, ready to offer small tastes of their grub.

Oh, Bite of Bend. You are glorious.

The Bite of Bend, as you no doubt can infer from the name, is a two-day festival celebrating the foods of Bend. On Saturday and Sunday, dozens of vendors will line downtown streets offering small plates ($1-$2 each) of their food for hungry revelers. Desire a doughnut? Quieres una quesadilla? Just want to stuff your face with a variety of flavors? The Bite can help with that.

Pretty simple, actually. But that’s not all Bite of Bend has to offer. Here are some details on the rest of the fest.

Top Chef Competition

Each day of the Bite, two full-sized kitchens set up in the middle of Minnesota Avenue will sizzle with excitement as eight chefs battle for the title of Top Chef. They’ll be given a secret ingredient and an hour to whip up a tasty dish for the judges, eliminating each other until a champ is crowned at 5:15 p.m. Sunday .

Beer Run

Please note that the name of Sunday’s Beer Run (happening at noon) contains the word “run” and not “race.” That’s because, while there may be a few folks up front who are trying to finish first, for the most part, this particular run is noncompetitive.

Here’s how it works: Start downtown. Run 5 kilometers on a route that will take you through Drake Park and Columbia Park. Drink three local beers (10 Barrel, Cascade Lakes, Deschutes) along the way. Finish back downtown. There’ll be a prize for best costume.

Registration is $40 at the Bite info booth on Saturday or Crow’s Feet Commons on Sunday.

Live Music

Saturday’s main stage schedule features a cornucopia of sounds, from the swing music of the Notables band to the Latin dance of Chiringa! to Blackstrap’s bluegrass and the authentic Northwestern soul of Soul Vaccination at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday, you can dance off the beer run jitters with ska band Necktie Killer, roots-rockers Avery James and the Hillandales and, at 5 p.m., electro-funk band Elektrapod.

Kids’ Area

Bouncy houses, face-painting, games, crafts and more, all neatly gathered on Oregon Avenue between Wall and Bond streets. And Saturday at noon is the Little Hopper Root Beer Run, where for $5, your kid — ages 3-10 — can run around a course at Troy Field (near the corner of Bond Street and Louisiana Avenue) and build a root-beer float along the way. (That sounds better than the beer run, frankly.)

This year’s Bite of Bend benefits the Bend Firefighters Foundation, an organization that supports Bend and its sister cities and promotes and preserves the history and tradition of the Bend Fire Department.

Find lots more info, including music and Top Chef schedules, at www.thebiteofbend.com.

— Reporter: 541-383-0377, bsalmon@bendbulletin.com