Where do you get “Jewish” food in central Oregon? I was told of sources for pastrami, challah, bagels – boiled and otherwise – and even kosher meals available by pre-order by the Chabad rebbetzin. And on a recent visit I discovered a chocolate and wine café owned by a member of Temple Beth Tikvah that was heavenly.
If you’re looking for kosher, the choices are somewhat limited. “For those who come to Bend and keep kosher, your first call should be to Kosher Delights (Chabad of Central Oregon),” says Alice Huskey, a member of the Jewish Community of Central Oregon. “Mimi Feldman is a superb cook and makes the best kosher food I have ever tasted in my 50 years of existence. She can be found at JewishBend.com, and you can email her at Mimi@JewishBend.com to place your orders or plan a catered event. She makes everything from homemade challah to salmon and chicken that is to die for!”
“We do have a Trader Joe’s on the north end of town, and they carry glatt chicken and occasionally some kosher beef as well. In a pinch, Whole Foods often carries packaged challah, some kosher items and excellent organic options.” Alice was also my source for other sources of challah: “Traditional challah can be purchased on Thursdays at Great Harvest Bakery on Bond Street – it’s warm out of the ovens at 11:15 am. On Friday, absolutely delicious challah can be purchased at Ida’s Cupcake Cafe on Galveston – you can call ahead for special orders and she makes beautiful round challot for the High Holidays.”
Alice says that on Fridays only, you can get challah at The Village Baker and at Baked. Baked will take pre-orders for challah and specialty treats like round raisin challah and hamantashen. And she reminds people not to forget that other Jewish bread – bagels! “We have lots of places to get bagels in Bend, from Costco and Safeway to Big O’ Bagel and Rockin’ Dave’s on Greenwood … and they make a mean rye bread as well. The Sparrow Bakery on SE Scott also makes some of the tastier bagels in town … but Big O’ (with locations on both Galveston and Third) will never let you down – as long as you have cash or a check … they don’t take credit or debit.”
On a recent visit, we tried Rockin’ Dave’s – co-owned by self-defined New York Jew Dave Cohen and Dave Flier. The cinnamon raisin and plain bagels would fare well in Portland’s bagel wars. And the salt bagel with peanut butter, made in house, was a great start to a busy day. Pastrami Old World Deli on Franklin offers pastrami and corned beef sandwiches accompanied by Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda and dill pickles that will make you think you are in New York.
But my favorite find in Bend was Bend d’Vine chocolate and wine café, owned by Temple Beth Tikvah members David Kalov and Jolie Fiore. The couple has held numerous fundraisers and events for TBT at their restaurant, including a meet-and-greet for new Rabbi Johanna Hershenson. “The nice thing about TBT is the social aspect – people like each other and like to be together,” says David, when asked why he holds events at Bend d’Vine. “These are our friends, we are around people we like to be around.”
Perhaps the Mediterranean fare is not strictly Jewish, but as David says, he learned to cook from his mother and grew up knowing “If it’s not chocolate, it’s not dessert.” David creates all the recipes and cooks all the chocolate. The salted caramel brownies are rich decadence. And the wine selections, available by the glass or bottle, are reasonably priced. Central Oregon may be high desert, but it’s not a desert for Jewish cuisine.