Friday, May 1, 2015

Bend to Portland: Powered by an Ocean Roll

Five days in Central Oregon. It was an amazing getaway. But it was time to travel home. From my room at the luxurious Tetherow Lodges overlooking the golf course I enjoyed one last sunrise. As the sunlight gradually colored the sheer white curtains a soft orange, I gathered my things.

I walked out of the lodge, loaded my car and kept one special bag in the front seat. A brown bag with an enticing pastry and bottled orange juice awaited my dawn getaway. I sprayed water on the frosty windshield, turned on the wipers and warmed up the car. I looked down at the bag. I must wait, I told myself. I needed my breakfast for the road. But the smell was telling me to open the pastry bag. What awaited me was a Bend specialty. And I had saved it for my trip home.

The day before, I had the pleasure of touring some of the art and foodie finds of Bend with The Bend Tour Company.  We hit the Old Mill District, learned about the Roundabout Art and then pulled in to The Sparrow Bakery in Northwest Crossing. The French Bakery was humming with activity. Croissants were being made in the kitchen, and locals were buying their bread for the day.

But there was something very special at The Sparrow Bakery… something I didn’t know about. Locals all know about Ocean Rolls but I didn’t. The Ocean Roll is their signature pastry made from scratch every day of the week. Ocean Rolls are prized by Bend residents and savvy visitors (which I, obviously, was not).

They make Ocean Rolls from their traditional croissant dough. They roll out the dough and then add a layer of cardamom, sugar, and vanilla.  It is rolled up (in to a rather large bun) and they add a splash of egg wash, and bake it

It was pure will power that allowed me to save the Ocean Roll overnight. Our tour guide (who knew everything) said to sprinkle a little water on it to keep it fresh.

I drove down the hill, around the “Sexy Roundabout” and headed out on Highway 97 North. I fueled up just outside of town and eyed the roll. Once I got back on the highway it was time for breakfast. I opened the brown bag and broke off a piece of the flaky pastry. It smelled so good… it was the cardamom. The orange juice and a couple of bites of Ocean Roll sustained me for a while.

I sailed past Redmond and started up the hill after Madras. It was a clear sunny morning and the snowy mountains glowed in the morning light. I tried to remember all their names. At one point, I slowed and took in the sight of a long chain of mountains. I swear I could see then all! Slowing gave me a chance to discover even more of the Ocean Roll’s secrets.  As the bakery will tell you, the natural warmth of the cardamom plays perfectly with the slightly sweet mix of the sugar and vanilla.  And as I delved into the center of the roll, the flavors accelerated. This was VERY GOOD!

Ocean Rolls (courtesy The Sparrow Bakery)
I looked at each mountain, enjoyed the sparse traffic and was glad I was on the road early. As Mount Hood came into sight. I stopped for a photo and the final bite of my Ocean Roll.

It was time to go over the mountain, as the song says. I found Mt. Hood white with snow, yet the roads were clear and the air warm. Within no time I was headed back into town, down my street and to my home. All the way, the Ocean Roll powered me. And, all the way I was reminded of the sights I had seen, the warmth of the people and the wonderful experiences of Central Oregon.
Mt Hood in view, just as I finished my Ocean Roll!

So now I know a Bend secret. When you go be sure and stop at The Sparrow Bakery for an Ocean Roll just like the locals do. You won’t be sorry.