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Dining Around the Desert: Joolz in Bend, OR

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This August I returned to Bend, OR for the first time in six years with Michael in tow. Bill and I owned a home at Crosswater years ago, and I had friends that I was eager to see – both from Bend and also recent transplants to the area.
 
Our first stop was at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Joolz on Main St in downtown Bend. Joolz is owned and operated by two of the best people I know, Julie (Joolz), and Ramsey Hamdan. I was so excited to see them and partake of their Middle East Meets The Wild West food. 
 
Suffice it to say that absolutely everything on the menu is fabulous. I’ve never been disappointed, and I’ve eaten there a LOT! We actually visited them several times over the course of our stay so what follows was not all in one sitting.
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We started with DUKKAH WITH HOUSE FOCACCIA BREAD 
Hazelnuts, almonds, pistachio, sesame seeds & cumin roasted & crushed, focaccia, olive oil
 
JOOLZ CAULIFLOWER 
Flash-fried cauliflower tossed in lemon and parsley, tahini dipping sauce
 
FALAFEL SIDE 
Three house-ground falafel, fried crisp with tahini sauce and arugula garnish
 
KIBBE  
Lamb meatballs with bulgur wheat, garlic tomato sauce, pine nuts
 
HUMMUS ON THE RANGE  
Hummus topped with sauteed elk, lemon, parsley, olive oil, sumac & pine nuts

For our main courses, I had the dish I had been dreaming of, FORBIDDEN BLACK RICE CHICKEN BOWL 
Moroccan barbecue braised chicken over rich black rice, garlic toasted nuts, chilled tzatziki
 
Michael had the TROPHY ELK CHILI 
Braised organic elk, chickpeas, secret spices, tabbouleh, feta and Frito chip garnish, which as a chili aficionado, blew him away.
 
On the night our friends came along, they had the SMASHED FRIED FINGERLINGS WITH WICKED GARLIC SAUCE
 
– OREGON BEEF Kabobs.
Wicked garlic sauce, Yemeni shoog
 
BEEF SHAWARMA PLATE 
Shawarma spice-rubbed Oregon beef, grilled onion, hummus, tabbouleh, Armenian pickles, naan
 
And even though we were stuffed, we ended it all both nights with the STICKY TOFFEE DATE CAKE  
Our sticky toffee Medjool date cake with warm caramel sauce, whipped cream
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Joolz also has a delightful wine list that has a lot of affordable, surprising wines, as well as wonderful craft cocktails.
 
Joolz is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5:00PM to 9PM.
 
If you are in Bend, OR, you owe it to yourself to make a reservation and experience this food. You will not be disappointed.
 
Another fave is 900 Wall just a few doors down from Joolz. I’ll save that review for another time, but I will say that on this trip we had the Powdered Sugar Beignets with bittersweet chocolate sauce, raspberry, and vanilla mousse, twice! They were that good.
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