We are childless this weekend, for the first time in... oh I don't even know how long. Though we have ventured out a couple of times for one reason or another without the short people, it's a little different to go out when you know you don't have to be responsible for anyone the next morning.
But what would we do with ourselves? First instinct was a late movie at McMenamin's (where you can drink beer while enjoying a flick... mmmm, beeeeer). Unfortunately instead they were showing the OSU game in the movie theater. Who cares about football? Not me... so what's next? We didn't want to sit in a bar. We didn't really want to go to hear live music. I was already at Regal (to see "National Treasure 2") earlier this week, so I wasn't mentally or financially ready to repeat that experience.
The rest of the planning went something like this:
Jen: What do you want to do?
Scott: I dunno. What do you want to do?
Jen: I dunno either, that's why I asked you. What do you want to do?
Scott: I don't want to sit in a bar. What do you want to do?
Jen: I decided the last time we went out. What do you want to do?
Scott: Let me know when you decide what we are gonna do.
You get the idea.
We finally settled on going out to eat. Scott didn't want to spend a lot of money, so the many "yuppie restaurants" were out. I kinda wanted to try something new. And when I really thought about it, I wanted fried chicken.
That's the worst feeling in the world folks. Where oh where does one get crisp, hot fried chicken with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy on a Friday night in Bend? KFC. Nope, can't do it. I am going to have to figure out how to make my own Fried Chicken, apparently. And then once I have the recipe *just* right I will open my own restaurant and corner the market in town. Big, gaping hole in Bend's culinary landscape, IMHO. I'm just sayin'...
So we narrowed it down to Baldy's or Pepe's. And, in case you didn't read the title of this post, we finally decided on Pepe's. I think it was the right choice.
If there had been a few things different, I would have thought that we were sitting in a little beachside family restaurant in Mexico. In case you were wondering YES, we have actually been to MANY little beachside family restaurants in Mexico. They are fantastic. They are friendly. And the food ROCKS.
As soon as we entered we were warmly greeted by Pepe himself. We were seated by a friendly server, and started to look over the menu. Here is where I noted that Pepe's menu does not look like every other Mexican restaurant in Central Oregon. I am sure that you could ask for "#5 One enchilada & one taco" but it's not on the menu. Instead there is a nice variety of traditional and specialty items, all at reasonable prices. Breakfast? Yup, that is served all day too.
Soon Pepe was at our table, to see if we were thirsty. Of course we were! Scott ordered his usual - Negra Modelo (an excellent Mexican dark ale). I was in the mood for a margarita, but wasn't sure what to choose. Pepe recommended the Baja Margarita, which I ordered. He laughed and asked who was driving... that would be Scott. "OK!" he chuckled, and went to get our drinks.
Our drinks were served as the waitress took our order. Chicken Mole for Scott and Chile Verde for me. I sipped the margarita... hell-lo! It was delicious, with good quality tequila and FRESH LIME. I like a margarita on the rocks with lots of salt, and it was good on both of those counts too. I was a happy, happy girl.
Shortly the food (and another beer for Scott) arrived. The mole was good - not as sweet as the sauce at El Rancho Grande but I thought it had better chile flavor. Scott seemed to like it too. My chile verde was good - just a little kick to the verde sauce and the pork was very tender and tasty.
Meanwhile Pepe stopped by again to make sure we were happy. Yes! We were definitely happy. He reappeared yet again to bus nearby tables(!!!), always friendly and chatty.
Too soon, we were full. We asked for to-go boxes, a churro for the road, and the bill. The boxes and the bill came almost immediately. Scott had some more beer to drink so I went up to pay. After I returned to the table Pepe stopped by AGAIN and was dismayed and concerned that we did not have our bill. "This is not the type of service you deserve!" But then laughed when I explained the bill was already paid. As Scott finished his beer and I tipped back the last few drops of my margarita, the waitress delivered my fresh, hot churro.
In short? The service and food were some of the best I have experience anywhere. The restaurant was quite busy, but Pepe and the two waitresses kept things moving nicely. Pepe's is easily the best Mexican restaurant in Bend. They are also high on my list of favorite restaurants, anywhere.
Why are you still reading this? Go to Pepe's... now! :)