Thursday morning, I sat on the front porch and read the latest Gusto magazine while waiting for my mom to pick me up for breakfast. We had been planning on going to the cafe at the airport (I believe it’s called 360), as she’s been raving about it for months.
Go figure – the advertising in the Gusto compelled me to want to visit a restaurant just down the block. The Victorian Cafe, aka The Vic, is well-known for their breakfast offerings as well as their “Killer Bloody Marys”. When mom finally (FINALLY!!!!) showed up, I announced that I changed our minds about where to go.
We arrived at The Victorian Cafe only minutes later, and both chose to order the Californian Benedict. Turkey, bacon, spinach & tomatoes on an English muffin with perfectly poached eggs and light hollandaise sauce. Mom went with a cranberry juice, I had a famous Bloody Mary. YUM! Breakfast was very, very good, and the homemade potatoes were delicious.
Mom took off to work, and I did my Costco / Cash n’ Carry shopping for the restaurant. Cash n’ Carry caters to restaurants, and the place was PACKED! I was surprised to see the owner of a local Mexican restaurant stocking up on refried beans. He’d always boasted about making their own, and I thought that he’d be a bit more stealth about buying them pre-made alongside his peers. Hmmm. I packed the truck with supplies, and then after a few hours I had worked up enough of an appetite to head over to Kona Mix Plate.
I was born and raised in Hawaii, and took for granted the fact that there are hundreds of cultures there, and therefore, hundreds of food offerings. Thai spring rolls, Chinese noodles, Japanese sushi, Portuguese malasadas, Korean short-ribs, Hawaiian kalua pork… if you craved it, you only had to drive a few miles to the nearest marketplace.
Kona Mix Plate opened in a former Chinese restaurant across from Fred Meyer right after Whitey and I moved to Baker. I was looking forward to trying them out, yet I knew that my expectations were going to be much higher than the average diner.
After much consideration, I decided on the Kalua pork & Kal-bi mix plate, which came with 2-scoops of rice and a scoop of macaroni salad. I sat down in a spacious booth, and read the latest Source newspaper while sipping my Kona Lager. Frosty little beer, howdja get so cold?
Lunch arrived on a styrofoam plate with a plastic fork and knife. Now, hear me out about this one. I know that BORis complains about the use of this product, and I have to completely agree. However, when you get a mix-plate or bento lunch in Hawaii, it is typically served to you this way. And typically, you get your lunch to-go and eat it at the park, or even alongside the road in your car. I’m not a fan of styrofoam because 1) it’s not recyclable, and 2) it makes funny sounds when you scrape your utensils on it while eating, and 3) you can’t cut your food without slicing open the plate.
Either way, I had to move past it. The food looked great, and I was hungry. After having two recent bad experiences with my pork sandwiches, I dove right into the kalua. Oh. My. Yes. YESSSSS! Finally, a mouthful of perfectly seasoned, pulled pork. It was salty, juicy, and perfectly roasted. The kal-bi (shortribs) were sticky and black, and tasted like rib-candy. I was so pleased with myself. So happy. I must have been beaming, because a customer walking by smiled and asked how my lunch was.
“Great,” I said.
“Hm. I had the kal-bi and thought it was too fatty,” she replied.
I wrinkled my face and said, “Kal-bi is supposed to be a bit fatty; they’re short-ribs. You should get the bulgogi next time. It’s leaner.”
Bulgogi. It’s fun to say.
Anyway, I was getting full, and finally tried the rice. Making sticky rice is more difficult than you think, and theirs was perfect; just like you get in the islands. I doused it with shoyu and ate a few more bits. Delicious. Realizing that I was getting full, I had a hard decision to make – Mac salad or the rest of my beer?
The beer won, and I walked out incredibly happy with my lunch at Kona Mix Plate.
I drove back to the Cottage and started packing my bags. After cleaning a bit, I finished my book and fell asleep on the sofa. Being retired is nice. Shannon called, and asked what I was doing for dinner. That’s my kind of girl. Sushi. Let’s do sushi.
We met at Shoji’s, which I still firmly believe is the best deal in town for sushi. The Keiska or the Hashimotoson rolls are huge, and at less than $7 a piece, you can’t go wrong. I had my favorite HariKari cocktail, which tastes just like fruit punch, only with a kick. Sitting with Shannon and Brian, eating plates of sushi, drinking fruity drinks, and laughing. This is what life is all about. We had a really great time, and it made me sad. I miss my friends.
My last day in Bend, I woke up early, and went to Jake’s. Have you been there yet? The makeover that they recently did is so awesome! I love the colors; kind of a sage green and chocolate. I ate a huge omelet with spinach and mushrooms, but left half of it on the plate knowing that if I ate the whole thing I’d have Food Coma on the drive home. I brought a cinammon roll the size of a truck tire to take home to the crew, and bought myself a long-sleeved Jake’s t-shirt to sport back in Baker.
The 4.5-hour drive home was uneventful, and I drove straight to work. In four days, we had had 4 people call in sick. They were ready for me to come home.
I’m looking forward to my next visit – hopefully in June after Shannon’s baby is born. We’ll see.