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El Rancho Grande Mexican Restaurant

El Rancho Grande Restaurant - Bend Oregon

After reading Jen's review of El Rancho Grande, a newer Mexican restaurant in the Cascade Village, I had to try it out. Is it just me or is the menu almost identical to El Caporal's menu? Is it a standard menu item to have the Deluxe Burrito "Our most popular burrito" at all Mexican restaurants? I swear the description for the Expresso and Deluxe burritos are identical at both locations.

I'm not saying that this is a conspiracy or something. I'm just saying that it's very similar to El Caporal's. I wonder if the owners are all from the same extended family like La Rosa, El Jimadore, El Caporal, and El Rodeo are. Actually I don't know if that last statement is true or not. I heard from one of the employees at El Caporal that they are all owned by one big family. They are related to each other in some manner. So I don't know for sure or not, just what I heard.

Anyway, back to my lunch at El Cap...I mean El Rancho Grande. I usually go with enchiladas when trying a new Mexican restaurant. That's my intro dish. Just like if I go to an Italian restaurant I test out the Shrimp Fettucini. At Japanese restaurants I compare tempura. Does everyone have a default dish? I know Jen likes the Mole!

Today I wanted to do my enchilada standby but thought I'd change it up slightly. I asked for one picadillo (shredded beef) and the other to be pork which isn't on the menu. Our waiter said sure like it was no biggy at all. I liked that.

What I was not prepared for was the green sauce. It made sense because it goes well with the pork but I was expecting the normal red enchilada sauce.

The pork was tender and juicy and with the green sauce, these enchiladas were great. I thought the picadillo was a bit saltier than other restaurants but it was still good. When you get enchiladas that are chicken or beef, they do give you the regular red enchilada sauce (I asked).

After my lunch I was satisfied. I will go back there if I'm on that side of town shopping at BestBuy or Ross. I love Ross! "I got it at Ross" is a jingle I sing as I look in my closet full of $4 shirts that I scored there. Just because one sleeve is longer than the other or it's missing every third button doesn't mean it's not wearable. What? You think you're too good for Ross? Love that place, even if it sort of smells and I want to wash my hands immediately after leaving (like after going to Walmart). Places like that should provide some germ killing lotions as you enter/leave.

One thing that I found a little annoying about El Rancho Grande was that you get the chips and salsa for free (actually that part I love) but they will charge you $1.75 for additional chips and salsa. Might as well charge $0.25 for refills on water. The chips and salsa were delicious though. I'd bet that there isn't a restaurant that serves a spicier salsa when you sit down. That junk was HOT. Not hot enough for me to shell out $1.75 for more. Skip that nonsense.

I do appreciate the complimentary chips and salsa though. I wish all restaurants offered chips and salsa. Skip the bread with oil and vinegar, give me the SALSA!

El Rancho Grande
63455 N Hwy 97

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Updated - Something for COCAAN

Kyle, a very kind reader, was nice enough to recommend that I read the Google Adwords Program Policy (well really he said the Terms and Conditions but it doesnt mention anything about encouraging visitors to click on ads). Then he called me bubby. I think he meant to call me buddy, but we're not friends. So I guess he gave me a cool nickname. I like it. Thanks Kyle.

"Web pages may not include incentives of any kind for users to click on ads. This includes encouraging users to click on the ads or to visit the advertisers' sites as well as drawing any undue attention to the ads."

So here is an updated version of my previous post in which I was explaining how I plan to help COCAAN feed the hungry citizens of Central Oregon:

Many bloggers use Google Ads as a means to raise money for their hard work and time it takes to create posts to keep you informed or entertained. (I'll leave that since it is merely stating the obvious)

If my blog were to generate any revenue by any means (Advertisers, feel free to contact me to purchase ad space...if you want) I plan to donate all of the money raised to COCAAN's Feed the Need program. I say "my plan" because I haven't actually been able to give them any money yet. As soon as I have "collected" $100 (magically or whatever) I will send that money on over to COCAAN.

So as you enjoy reading my reviews, please show your support (however you like). COCAAN's Feed the Need program is a good cause.

I'm not sure how I'll verify this process yet. I don't want you (yeah you, the person reading this) to doubt my intentions. Maybe I'll post a copy of the receipt or something like that. I'll figure something out. Anyway, keep reading these reviews and support COCAAN!!!

What is COCAAN?
Founded in 1985, the Central Oregon Community Action Agency Network (COCAAN) is a private nonprofit organization established to serve and speak out for economically disadvantaged people in Central Oregon. Our mission is to break the cycle of poverty by helping remove the barriers that prevent people from achieving economic self-sufficiency.

COCAAN is not a government agency, but a private nonprofit agency whose funding comes from federal, state and local sources, grants from private foundations and donations from individuals and businesses. Our work is founded on confidence that the community, including local governments, the private sector and low-income persons can work together to forge solutions to both the immediate impacts of poverty and its long-term causes.

Please help support COCAAN's Feed the Need Program by:

Reading This - Maybe
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38 Degrees - Mediterranean Bistro and Sangria Bar

38 Degrees - Bend Oregon

If you get the opportunity to visit 38 Degrees, and you have the budget for it, definitely do so! I have had the privilege of dining here a couple times and absolutely loved it. Loyal followers (all 2 of them) know that I don't gush over every restaurant that I visit. I like to think that I call 'em like I see 'em.

The wife and I started off with the 5 taster of Sangria. I am not an expert on Sangria at all. I'm not even a novice. I like what I like and I enjoyed all 5 of them. Maybe the ones with white wine were not as good as the reds but it was fun tasting the different ones as we sampled the variety of food we ordered.

On this occasion, we had the Clams and Chorizo (below):

AWESOME! These had to be the best clams I have had...ever. The combination of the clams with the spicy Chorizo and the sauce was amazing. I loved it to say the least.

We also had the Steak Frites, the Roasted Red Potatoes, and the Prawn and Sausage Spiedini:

I don't care who you are, if you don't appreciate the combination of shrimp and pork products, just stop reading now. Shrimp wrapped in bacon, pancetta, and/or prosciutto is gold. Now at 38 Degrees, they offer Shrimp and Chorizo skewers....mmmm good.

Will someone please make a dish that consists of Prawns wrapped in prosciutto, wrapped in pancetta, beer battered, deep fried, then wrapped with a thick slice of pepper bacon. Serve with a side of gravy. OK, the gravy part might be too much. Maybe just a side of sweet chili sauce for dipping and a Baby Arugula salad. Done. If you own a restaurant or know someone that does, or if you are a Chef...make that dish and let me know, I'll be over the in five minutes.

I'm not sure if $22 for the Steak Frites was worth it but it was damn tasty. Look at all them juices! The portions are pretty small at 38 Degrees and I guess are intended for sharing. But skip that nonsense. I tried to devour as much of the steak as I could before she noticed. It didn't work.

We also tried the Za'atar Crusted Ahi which (can you guess) was amazing!

So there isn't much I can complain about the dishes or the Sangria at 38 Degrees. If anything, it is pretty expensive. The quality backs it up but I can't afford to dine there often. For me, it's probably going to end up as one of those special occasion establishments. You can view 38 Degrees Menu HERE. I definitely recommend that you should give 38 Degrees a try.

38 Degrees
745 NW Mt. Washington Drive
Bend, OR 97701

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Kebaba - Middle Eastern Cuisine

Kebaba - Bend Oregon

Recently we made it to the new Modern Middle Eastern restaurant Kebaba on Newport across from Bend's only Sushi restaurant - Kanpai. Word on the street is that Kebaba is gooooood. Maybe I'm getting older and pickier. Maybe I'm a snob. Maybe I like my lamb kababs not to be as hard as a brick. Ok, that's a bit the Lamb was...hahaha.

I had the Lamb kebob and the wife had the Beef kebob.

One picture is good enough, they look the same. It's not even a good photo. I apologize. She said her's was ok...good. I agreed. Her's was ok. Nothing to call home about but no complaints. Mine was tough and quite dry. I was forced to dip every bite in the accompanying yogurt for some moisture. Being that Bend does not have a HUGE resource of international cuisine, I will be back and try it again. I want to like it. I really do.

Normally I don't comment on service and I try to keep my reviews to the dish that I have tried. I figure that staff comes and goes and restaurants go through make overs. But is it too hard to ask for the basics? Some of The Basics:

A clean table when you sit down. Our table was soaking wet like they forgot how to ring out the towel before applying it to the table. Our waitress noticed it just before she was about to place down the napkins and silverware. She was able to get some paper towels and wipe it off for us.

If you (the waiter/waitress) spills waters and or beverages on the table, please make an attempt to clean it up or at the very least, bring a couple extra napkins to replace the ones that we used cleaning up the spill.

Refills on water when your glass is empty. I noticed the water making it around to one section of the very tiny dining room but it didn't make it around to our even smaller section. I was asked if I wanted another beer to which of course I said "yes...and some more water please". Did I mention the lamb was dry?

When asked if you want another comes out. These aren't crazy requests. I mean, you asked me if I wanted another beer but had to come back and verify since it had been so long and we had finished our meal.

There are other basics but I don't want you to think that Kebaba was not living up to them. Just the ones above were enough that I felt the need to mention them. Hopefully your experience will be a better one. I highly recommend the Babaganouj (even if it's just fun to say it out loud and do your best Owen Wilson from Wedding Crashers impression) and the hummus.

Both were very good and the fresh, warm pita was great. I could have sat there and eaten just that all evening...assuming I had some water or whatever to wash it down. I am probably being too harsh on Kebaba and you'll get a much happier review from anyone else. I'll try and make it back there again soon and post another review.

Kebaba (I don't know the address as of this posting, It's next to Kanpai)
NW Newport Ave
Bend, OR

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Please help support COCAAN's Feed the Need Program by:

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