Jessie and I just got back from wandering along Tumalo Creek in Shevlin Park on the west side of Bend in beautiful, sunny Oregon. I’m so glad we came to Bend but I can’t see us moving somewhere just for the summer again. Moving is not one of my favorite things although you wouldn’t know that by how many times I’ve moved since that first one from my childhood home.
If we change our approach, maybe it would be easier, but to move half of our stuff for only three months is a lot of work, so I’ve learned. If we ever do this again, we’ll rent a furnished place and only bring some of our clothes and a few important things like Safari my stuffed, big eyed giraffe.
So, besides stomping around in the wilderness, what have we been doing? Why eating of course. There’s a great burger place in downtown Bend cleverly called Bend Burger Company which makes a very tasty burger, tater tots (a personal favorite of Janet’s) and delicious looking shakes.
On the northern side of town is a little pizza joint called Little Pizza Paradise located in the Cascade Village Shopping Center, in case you are ever in Bend and dying for a pizza. I just loved everything about the pizza: the sauce was good, toppings were perfect and it was just the right thickness. I like thin crust but it has to be pizza crust not crackers like I’ve had before and never liked.
I must say, Janet and my favorite restaurant and bakery isn’t even in Bend but in the neighboring town of Sisters, Oregon. We’d heard good things about the stuffed jalapenos at Los Agaves, right after we moved in and raced over to try them. We ordered the jalapenos and flautas and waters. The jalapenos were so hot we couldn’t even breathe properly while eating them. The water only made it worse.
Janet swore she sustained permanent tongue damage, never having tasted anything that hot before. Fully a month later, I can still hear Janet muttering, “damn! Those were hot!” I think she’s gotten over the pain, but the memories will linger for a very long time. I can see us on the porch, rocking in our old lady rockers and Janet will lean towards me and ask, “Do you remember those jalapenos?” Which, of course, my reply will be, “Who are you?”
The flautas were so delicious we talked about going back and not ordering the jalapenos. Jessie and I went today and I ordered the fish tacos which were even better than the flautas. I don’t like to judge anybody or anything…oh, wait, that’s Janet, I do like to judge. When I go to a restaurant, I judge them on the little things. I judge Mexican restaurants on their salsa, rice and beans. Why? Because if the sides are good it tells me they care about their food. Anyone can make good cheese enchiladas but I’ve tried some terrible rice and beans in my days.
Los Agaves makes a delicious salsa, Spanish rice, and black beans. The salsa was spicy and not-chunky, just like I like it; the rice was fluffy and fresh; even the black beans had been seasoned enough to stand out on their own. Moving on to the actual food: the fish tacos at Los Agaves are dangerously close to becoming my favorite taco; knocking off my current favorite at Taco Del Mar.
Not only do I have a budding relationship with Los Agaves, but right next door is Sister’s Bakery; another great reason to visit Sisters. They have these delicious, fluffy, huge buttermilk sticks that just make me smile. I don’t even want to know the calorie count, I will only eat one after a hike in the woods. I can’t tell you much about anything else they bake because I can’t get past the buttermilk stick. I seem to be hungry again.
Book 1 Update: Book 1 done! Devan’s Story: Blue Hydrangeas by JJ Wallingford on Amazon as an ebook. I’m working on getting it out to the Nook and the Apple bookstore, but it seems to be taking me a while.
Book 2 Update: Since I’ve sold almost 20 books on the first one, I decided to start book 2. I’m about 10k words in right now and I really like the way the first draft is going. Of course, I could be biased…let’s go ask Janet!
Facebook: I’ve started a Facebook page for JJ Wallingford. Send me a friend request and I’ll keep you updated on the progress of the book and life in general.