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2011 proves that pop-ups are a trend

Pop Goes the Restaurant

that’s actually worth following By Sara Roth

When I hear about a new food trend, my instinct is to groan. Who really cares about foam as food? And I don’t know one person who truly benefited from the raw food diet. But sometimes a trend comes along that threatens the status quo – not because of its novelty, but because it’s slightly genius, and often, incredibly delicious. Such is the case with the so-called pop-up restaurants. While the pop-up concept avoids easy definition, pop-ups are generally a new form

of dining in which a restaurant allows an outside chef to take over the kitchen for a night to present a special menu. The forum allows cooks who might not otherwise have an outlet to showcase their skills to create unique dishes for a one-time occasion. The popularity of these events might be attributed to the flood of positive press that famous pop-ups like L.A.’s LudoBites received over the past couple of years. But Bend’s pop-ups haven’t needed New York Times articles or bloggers typing furiously to pump up the public interest. One of the first pop-up restaurants in Bend didn’t label itself a pop-up. Chef Tim Gar- ling has quietly been practicing his European cooking styles monthly at the Jackalope Grill for some time now. But Garling’s themed “supper clubs” fit the bill. A classically trained chef, Garling chooses a favorite region of Europe and cooks a multi-course, wine-paired meal that transports diners straight to Burgundy, Alsace, or Tuscany. If Gar- ling’s traveled there, it’s likely he’ll feature the food in the future. Garling also features specialty events like oyster dinners and wine tastings. Check for what’s coming up next. Deschutes Brewery, too, features Beer Dinners at its Mountain Room that are anything

but ordinary. The recent Chocolate Beer Dinner included chocolate-dusted lamb and chocolate gnocci, and the January CrabFest dinners are not to be missed. While Deschutes Brewery and Jackalope Grill may have warmed Bend’s interest in pop-ups, it wasn’t until Bend’s favorite rolling restaurant, Spork, took over Café Sintra on Bond Street for two nights in December that the pop-up phenomenon legitimately took hold. Spork’s chef, Jeff Hunt, formerly of Marz, was dying to put some fancy food on a plate. What materialized was an underground pop-up restaurant that fed diners dishes like apples with kimchi and miso cream cheese and, yes, boiled pigs heads. Spork typically keeps the location and date of its next pop-up affair under wraps, until relatively close to the event. Our advice is to check early and often for the blink-and-you-missed-it announcement. Other Central Oregon restaurants have caught on to the pop-up trend. Five Fusion

and Sushi Bar is holding monthly guest-chef dinners (, and Source Weekly columnist Columbine Quillen and Spork’s Erica Reilly have (not so) secretly held a couple of speakeasies featuring pre-Prohibition-style drinks and food. Unlike other trends, this is a bandwagon that we encourage more chefs to jump on – as long as they tell us the location of their next meal.

the Source Weekly Dining guiDe 2011 29


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