Bend, OR

This past weekend, Remington, the children, and I drove over to Bend, OR for the weekend. Sledding at Mt. Bachelor was our primary goal, but we also got in a hike at Smith Rock and enjoyed plenty of good food and coffee. We go to Thump Coffee and Crowsfeet Commons nearly every time we go to Bend. This time was no exception, but we also managed to go to a third coffee shop that I don’t think we had tried before. PALATE is located near the Old Mill District, conveniently on the way to Mt. Bachelor, but well before you get out of town.

PALATE is located in a classic house, as are many of the businesses in that area. The interior is defined by dark wood, plants, and windows along the front. I will admit, the interior felt a bit crowded. It was a Saturday morning and plenty of people were there hanging out, or grabbing coffee to go. The line weaved through tables towards the front door and it was a little challenging to navigate with children without them bumping into the people sitting at tables to either side of the line. Of course, people were friendly and generally unconcerned about being bumped into or being observed by a curious four year old.

They serve Coava Coffee. As you would find at a Coava shop, PALATE offers two different single origin espresso options for all espresso-based drinks. They had several milk alternative options, all by Pacific. When we came, the offerings were a Kenyan and a Colombian. Rem got the Kenyan as straight espresso and I got the Colombian in a macchiato. We also ordered a steamer and a cookie for Everly and Jude. We found seats at the bar along the front window and the kids started in on the cookie while we waited for the rest of our drinks.

The espresso came out in an adorable green demitasse with the usual spoon and sparkling water. It was good, although it tasted a little unevenly extracted. The macchiato was delightful. I ordered it breve and the combination of a Colombian espresso with a touch of half and half is almost always a winner. I really enjoyed it. Everly and Jude really enjoyed the cookie and steamer.

Everly kept herself occupied at the coffee shop tearing up a napkin and making a collage with the pieces. Jude was content to eat his cookie and drink his steamer. We ended up needing to change Alistair’s diaper while we were there. It’s usually hit or miss with changing a baby’s diaper at a coffee shop, “Will they have a changing table? Am I going to have to put a blanket down on the floor to change him?” Much to my relief, they did have a table that functioned well as a changing table for a baby. For it’s level of family-friendliness, I would give PALATE a 6 out of 10: if you are already comfortable with taking your children into coffee shops and don’t mind having to be very hands on, it’s a great option for getting some coffee. They don’t have any books or toys for children, a children’s corner, or complimentary kid’s drinks, but it’s not library-quiet, and there was no “adults only” vibe. Having our children there didn’t seem awkward or unwelcome. Plus, the changing table makes it a great stop on your way to Mt. Bachelor even if you’re just running in to grab some coffee and change a diaper before hitting the slopes.

Overall, I would recommend PALATE as a great stop on your way to Mt. Bachelor, or just as a place to get coffee in Bend, with or without your family. The vibe felt very “Bend”: casual, outdoors oriented, unpretentious, welcoming. If you give it a try, let me know! I’d love to know what you thought.

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