Things to do in Bend this Summer: Live Music, S’mores & Cornhole Thursday Nights at Brasada Ranch

Things to do in Bend this Summer: Live Music, S’mores & Cornhole Thursday Nights at Brasada Ranch

Curious about things to do in Bend Oregon on Thursday nights this summer? Let’s pretend you did all your kayaking, biking, SUPing and hiking the other six nights of the week. So Thursday rolls around and you want to kick back, have a drink, nosh on some great food, listen to some live music and maybe roast some s’mores over an open fire – all with a million-dollar view. Great. I’ve got just the thing for you, but you might have to drive more than 7 minutes from your front door step. It’s worth it, I promise…

Thursday night in Bend Brasada Ranch BBQ and Live Music Farm-to-table
The view at Brasada Ranch – Thursday nights, Farm-to-Table BBQ & Music!

This week was my friend Emily’s birthday. And yes, it was a week-long event. Other than three days hanging out on the McKenzie River (post coming soon on all the reasons you should get yourself over there this summer), the highlight was Thursday night at Brasada Ranch. We made reservations for the Farm-to-Table BBQ & Music series, put on sundresses, hopped in the car and drove the 28 minutes out to the Ranch – laughing at how FAR away it seemed. We actually left Deschutes County to get there. Hello, Crook County. Nice to meet ya. In Bend, when you can get almost anywhere in 12 minutes, a half an hour can seem like an eternity. (For big-city visitors to Bend: It’s like 19 miles away from downtown Bend with zero traffic – no biggie right?).

We turned into the driveway and ogled the pretty ponies in a gorgeous field, drove under the trestles and followed the smell of roasting meat – smelled like hot dogs to us, but turns out it was actually New York steak being spit roasted over an open fire.

When we walked onto the deck we were sort of speechless… Holy moly, what a quintessential Central Oregon view. We’re talking a 180-degree+ panorama – Mt. Bachelor to Mt. Jefferson and everything in between – all set to the sound of boot-stompin’ fiddle-fueled Southern swamp rock from the duo Etouffe. The giant raging fire pit seemed a little unnecessary – it was 92 degrees in Bend, in the mid-80s at Brasada (with the loveliest breeze) – BUT as the sun made its way down toward the Cascades, the fire started to make sense. Oh, and, later, when the immaculately but casually uniformed staff brought out s’mores, we were suddenly very stoked about the blaze.

Things to do in Bend on Thursday nights this summer view of brasada
Things to do in Bend Oregon: Dinner & drinks with this view at Brasada Ranch + live music. Yeehaw.

We chose side-by-side generously cushioned armchairs at a low table facing the view (and the setting sun) and ordered a bottle of birthday champagne because that’s what you do on a hot summer night when surveying your kingdom. Then, champagne flutes in hand, we went to inspect the buffet (and gawk at the party of retirees in brand-spanking-new cowboy duds – pretty cute). On Thursdays, because of the BBQ & Music event, Brasada’s Range Restaurant only offers a buffet, which is a little disappointing because the word “buffet” is my third least favorite food-related word in the English language (right behind “potluck” and “congealed” – all somewhat related, no?).

What to do on thursday in Bend Oregon Things to do in Bend on Thursday nights
The outdoor deck at Range Restaurant – the site of Brasada’s BBQ & Music series

Luckily, the Brasada buffet was decent, not a hotel pan in sight, and everything seemed pretty fresh. Quinoa and kale salad (the de-rigeur farm-to-table dish, even though that quinoa probably came from Peru, right?), perfectly dressed arugula salad with tart huckleberries and sweet blueberries, fire-roasted prawn skewers, garbanzo bean chili with brisket, cornbread and whipped honey butter, roasted chicken and of course, the aforementioned New York steak. For dessert: berry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream. We eventually gave in to the buffet, but skipped the cobbler, since we had other plans in mind: the s’mores.

Things to do in Bend oregon on thursday nights
The s’mores at Brasada: Homemade marshmallows and graham crackers? Yes, please.

But before it cooled down enough for fire pit action, we strolled around the grounds. Bocce ball. Cornhole (which Emily insisted on calling “cornholing.”) Tables on the lawn with red gingham tablecloths. A solid looking dude in chef’s whites tending the open fire and steak spit. Tiny humans running around with super soakers – the grounds are spacious enough to accommodate pint-sized cavorting without disturbing the serene experience for the munchkin-less.

Things to do in Bend Oregon Brasada Ranch Fire Pit
Things to do in Bend Oregon: Watch tiny humans frolic around the fire pit at Brasada Ranch on Thursday nights

Our waiter, Brian, made us bespoke cocktails (all-agave tequila, muddled berries, jalapeño, lime and 1/2 salted rim) and generally gave some of the best service I’ve ever experienced in Bend: friendly, attentive and helpful, but not hovering every second either. Favorite touch: He brought us two warm, damp cloth napkins in a coffee cup to clean our fingers after we ate the prawns like children – with our hands. The staff in general was warm and welcoming – made us feel like we were at home. Nice work, folks!

Eventually we took our s’mores supplies to the gorgeous, sunken fire pit ring and got to work. The homemade s’mores sticks were cute – basically a tree branch with a long metal skewer embedded in the end. Brasada makes their own marshmallows and graham crackers too (points!) – and they use Goody’s chocolate squares (points for using local chocolate, I suppose). At the Farm-to-Table BBQ & Music night, s’more making is a group activity – the half-dozen or so people seated across the pit from us whooped and cheered as we roasted our marshmallows and provided running commentary and advice. It was a sweet (in both ways) little piece of the whole experience. And yes, the s’mores were effing delicious.

When it was time to say goodnight, we got a little lost in the maze of asphalt and outbuildings, but we did stop to play a bit of nighttime beach volleyball – turns out Brasada Ranch has a beach volleyball court. (Our apologies to the management for getting overly exhuberant and losing the ball – it’s down hill somewhere. Ask the gardeners.)

That was a very long way to say “Get yourself to Brasada Ranch on Thursday nights this summer – you’ll love it.”

THINGS TO KNOW
Brasada Ranch’s
Farm-to-Table BBQ & Music series
.:

  1. Join in the fun Thursday nights from 6 – 8 (we were there until 9:30 – Sorry Brian!) through September 3rd.
  2. Call or email for a reservation.
  3. The live music can be a tad loud, choose a seat that isn’t right in front of the band.
  4. It’s easy to find: Google Maps link
  5. Buffet is $39 per person (less for kids, call for details). Yes, it’s all you can eat.
  6. If it’s blazing hot in Bend, don’t worry it’s often a bit cooler out there, plus the breezes are lovely.
  7. Bring a sweater – even with the fire pit, it gets chilly when the sun goes down
  8. Dress is nice casual. Casual sundresses with sandals or wedges (or silky sleeveless tops and jeans) seemed to be the norm for women – assuming you’re not going for the cowboy tourist look.
  9. Don’t miss the s’mores!
  10. Say hi to Brian, most awesomest waiter.
  11. Tip well – it really is some of the best service you’ll get in Bend. Show them the love.

 

P.S.
Happy never-ending birthday
to dear Emily,
A.K.A “The Poet.”
Her third book is coming out later this year.
So go ahead and pre-order it, why don’t ya:
Whosoever Has Let a Minotaur Enter Them
or A Sonnet (McSweeney’s Poetry Series) 

2 thoughts on “Things to do in Bend this Summer: Live Music, S’mores & Cornhole Thursday Nights at Brasada Ranch

  1. nice post! i love brasada! my fiance and i visited last september and loved the fire pit and gorgeous views. we are moving to bend in february from LA and i have loved reading all your posts!

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