Missing Time, and catching up.

Apologies dear reader, life and work have kept me out of central Oregon for most of the past month. In the times I’ve been home, I have grabbed a few meals and taken some notes, so going forward we’ll return to the pace of at least one review per-week.

Thanks!

The Breakfast Club in Bend

I’ve driven by this place on Greenwood for years, but have never stopped in, until today. I have an hour to kill and haven’t eaten breakfast, so here we are!

Small pseudo art-deco style building sits on the northwest corner of Greenwood and NE 4th street just east of the big intersection of 3rd & Greenwood. Scant parking out back, and apparently the neighboring businesses will be quick to call the tow truck if you spill over into their spots. 

You walk in and see an “L” shaped old-school diner with a counter on the long axis and booths wrapping around the outside windows. You wait to be seated, but in my case the server just told me to sit wherever I pleased. 

The menu

My usual go-to when trying a breakfast at a place I’ve never eaten is Eggs Benedict. Like a Chile Relleno at a Mexican restaurant, Benedicts tell you what level of skill and freshness the kitchen operates. Unlike traditional breakfast items like scrambled eggs, pancakes, etc. Eggs Benedict required some finesse. I also order a side of bacon. 

Service is quick and my bennies arrive:

Eggs Benedict, pepper & hot sauce added by yours truly

The eggs are cooked perfectly! Done throughout but still a tad runny in the yolks. The ham is a super-thin sliced stack, like you would expect in a sandwich. The Hollandaise sauce is OK, but not noteworthy. The English muffin is a bit tough. 

Now hash browns are a matter of personal taste. Everyone likes them their own way. How The Breakfast Club makes them is not my style. These are well-cooked only on one side, and once past the crusty top one finds basically mashed potatoes. I like mine either shoestringed and well cooked on both sides, or more country-fried with peppers and onions cooked in. 

The bacon is thin and very crispy. Service is great, but the food is just average. 

Bennies: $9.90, Bacon: $4.40

No wifi

The Breakfast Club, 378 NE Greenwood Ave, Bend, OR 

The Clearing Rock Bar at Mt. Bachelor


It is one of those wet/cold days. Visibility mid-mountain is near zero. You pick your way along the cross-overs one neon green lollipop at a time. A drop down the headwall of Snapshot is a vertigo-inducing lesson of skiing-by-Braille. You kick yourself with a ski tail and whack your helmet with your pole for stupidly leaving your goggle squeegee in the garage back home as the sleet renders your eyewear into literal frosted glass. You see the clock at the top of NWX and note that it is after ten. Screw this, we need a hot meal!

There are a handful of restaurants in Central Oregon that I have frequented enough to write a review off the top of my head. By a long margin however, I have darkened the door of The Clearing Rock more than any other, by an order of magnitude, despite it being open less than half the year.

But here I am, sitting in my usual seat at the bar, on a Tuesday warming my toes and drying my outerwear. Yes, I am a “regular.”  I have seen staff come and go, and every season by January they know my name and my habits. On very cold days like today I order a Faceplant. On hot late season days I have an iced tea and a shot of bourbon. But most days I have a glass of red wine. Seasons past it was “Notebook Red Blend”. This season it is Charles & Charles.

The food is often the best on the mountain. I suspect this is just due to scale, as it is the smallest venue (other than the Sun Bar at Sunrise, which only serves Chili). If you are here with a group, just go for the nachos. They are YUGE!  A literal mountain of tortilla chips, meat, cheese, and tasty bits. Tough for two people to finish. In fact I’ve seen groups of four vanquished by the nacho mountain. The sandwiches are excellent; Pulled Pork or BLT (on Jalapeño Cornbread!) The pizzas are great, though small. The salads are great. My traditional go-to is the butter leaf wedge salad, which comes with a generous portion of bacon and bleu cheese dressing.

But best of all are the soups. The Mt. Bachelor Chili is a good stand-by. But the smart folks ask about the soup of he day.

Today it is Roasted Poblano and White Cheddar. It is spec. tac. u. lar.

One of those soups that is both hot and spicy. Hot where it hurts your mouth, but so savory and spicy that you keep shoveling it in despite the pain. Earthy Poblano chile. Some onions. Cheddar. Spices. Oh. So. Good.

I’ve enjoyed other great soups here too. A red pepper bisque. Italian sausage and kale. Broccoli cheddar. Yum.

If you like spicy Bloody Mary’s you will be among your people here. Try the Mazama Mary. Delish!


Above: regular menu


Above: Happy Hour Menu

On the happy hour menu I suggest the Jalapeño Grilled Cheese.

The only items on the no-fly list here are the Cheddar-Ale Fondue and more than one Faceplant. The former is just not good. The fondue itself is mealy and flavorless. As far as the latter goes, you won’t be able to ski, much less drive down the mountain after two heavy pours of 151 Rum. Ask me how I know.

I’m solar-averse, due to my Northern European genetics, but the new expanded deck space will be a boon to sun worshippers come spring ski season. Me? I’ll still be here at my usual barstool.