Going out to breakfast is a Central Oregon pastime. For that matter, so is going out to lunch. So as sad as I was to hear that Sisters’ wonderful fine dining establishment, Jen’s Garden, had closed, I was darn happy to hear that it had morphed into the Cottonwood Café.
I was even happier to discover that the Cottonwood delivers the same quality level for breakfast and lunch that its predecessor was known for.
After ordering a grapefruit mimosa and a Bloody Mary, my friends and I settled into the menus only to discover that since it was after 11am we could order either breakfast or lunch. Unable to decide, we agreed to try both.
I’m an Eggs Benedict aficionado. The Cottonwood’s are made with ham and prosciutto instead of Canadian bacon and a parmesan and herb biscuit instead of an English muffin. And yes, the bennies were as good as they sound, with lovely lemony hollandaise and crispy chunks of otherwise creamy potatoes rounding out the plate.
The special of the day was a scramble with velvety goat cheese, heirloom cherry tomatoes, ribbons of basil and Carlton Farms bacon. A perfect blend. I particularly liked the fact that the eggs had not been cooked to death.
The Huevos Motuleños are like over-the-top huevos rancheros, with fried eggs perched on corn tortillas and black beans, with peas, ham, smoky chipotle salsa, cotija cheese and cilantro. The crunch of the fried tortillas provided the perfect contrast to the soft beans and egg.
We would revisit breakfast in the form of dessert at the end of the meal, but first we had to move on to lunch. We decided to split a cup of the daily soup since it sounded too good to pass up. Excellent move! The velouté of crimini, oyster and beech mushrooms in vegetable stock with a hint of half-and-half and a topper of cold-press, extra virgin olive oil was earthy and
Since co-owner Jennifer McCrystal told us we couldn’t miss Brad’s Smokin’ Reuben, we shared that next. Perhaps the best decision of the day. The thin-sliced, lean (!) pastrami is house-smoked. (The Cottonwood does all its own smoking, from the pork shoulder in the pulled pork dishes to the smoked salmon in the Open-Faced Ocean Melt.)
But back to the Reuben, which one of my friends dubbed as the best she’d had outside of New York. While the pastrami, thankfully, isn’t as fatty or layered as high as what you’d find in a Manhattan deli, the sandwich is remarkable, in part because of the Emmentaler cheese and the toasted dark rye. The accompanying fries tossed in truffle oil, garlic and herbs didn’t
We lightened up, sort of, with a BLT salad. Think mixed greens, avocado, tomato and tons of crispy bacon in a light vinaigrette. I wished the brioche croutons had been crispier, but with all that bacon I didn’t really care.
We ended the meal with crapes filled with apples sautéed in sugar, cinnamon and brandy, topped with whipped cream and served with a side of maple syrup. I have to admit that the bread pudding with lemon curd cream was calling my name, but I pretended not to hear. There’s always next time.
403 East Hood Avenue, Sisters
Owners: TR & Jennifer McCrystal
Hours: Seven days a week 8am–3pm (breakfast all day)