Posted by Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip
Nothing says love like eating and drinking your way through a city. I love Eugene, Oregon in the spring time. Let me count the ways…
Best organic, sustainable food: Marche Restaurant located at the base of Eugene’s Fifth Street Public Market. Owner/Chef Stephanie Pearl Kimmel and Executive Chef Rocky Maselli believe that seasonal and local are where its at when it comes to food sourcing. “I live in a chef’s playground,” marvels Maselli. It is all about celebrating the bounty of Pacific Northwest locally grown and gathered food. FYI, my wild salmon tasted like it was fresh from the ocean. The soup of the day, a puree of spring onion with panchetta; fantastic.
Follow Marche Restaurant on Twitter @Marche_eug
Best Burger: The KE Burger, with estate bacon, Tillamook cheddar and beefsteak tomato served on a house bun with pommes frites and home made ketchup was killer at $10. For $8 more, you could make your burger sing with Foie Gras and Truffled Fries. If you happen to be at King Estate Winery on a sunny day, I recommend dining outside on the patio with a glass of 2006 Oregon Riesling or a NxNW 2006 Walla Walla Syrah or the 2007 Signature Pinot Noir. The restaurant seats 80, with 23 inside tables. For those daring to walk on the wild side, order Executive Chef Michael Landsberg’s Profiterole of candied bacon ice cream served with caramel sauce. Personally, I prefer my bacon on the KE Burger. Awesome!
Follow King Estate on Twitter @kingestate
Best Pasta: Beppe & Gianni’s Trattoria, located on East 19th Avenue, didn’t exist when I attended the University of Oregon. I’m glad some things about Eugene have changed since I’ve been gone. I ordered the Ravioli of the day with roasted chicken, baby spinach in a dijon mustard cream sauce with crimini mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes, in addition to a ceasar salad with homemade dressing. Going strong since it opened in 1998, this is a fun, lively addition to campus.
Save room for ice cream after dinner at Beppe & Gianni’s. Cross the street to Prince Pucklers and have a scoop of mint chip. If it’s good enough for Barack Obama, it’s good enough for me. This institution was a going concern when I was a college-coed and it’s still a campus favorite. In fact, Prince Pucklers has its own Facebook fan page.
Best Chocolate: Euphoria Chocolate Company has the best hand-dipped chocolate truffles. I was bummed that I didn’t have a chance to stop by the store on 17th and Willamette or make it to the Euphoria at Valley River Center. There’s always next time.
Best Food Booths at the Eugene Saturday Market: Bangkok Grill makes an excellent pad thai with homemade peanut sauce and pork on a stick.
Best Desserts: Dana’s Cheesecake Bakery. Since 1980 Dana and his wife have been creating cheesecake such as the best seller Oregon Berry, a combination of marionberry, raspberry and blackberry. My personal favorite, peanut butter!
Best wheat or gluten free desserts: Sweet Life Patisserie. I confess, I didn’t have time to stop at Sweet Life but everyone I polled said this was the bees knees for cinnamon rolls and all things sugary. Next time; I’m on it!
Best Beer: Eugene City Brewery is part of the Rogue Ales family of breweries. Founded in 2004, the Brewery takes its name from the original Eugene City Brewery, established in 1866. They even have a brewery, Rogue Ales Public House, in San Francisco’s North Beach area. (Oregonians are serious about their beer.)
Best Micro-brewed Beer: Ninkasi Brewing Company was born on June 15, 2006 when Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge spent 17 hours brewing their first batch of Total Domination IPA. They have now moved to the Historic Whiteaker neighborhood in Eugene. Call ahead before you go (541) 344-2739. And if you’re interested in local wineries while you are here, you can easily drive out to get a Walla Walla wine tour and purchase bottles of red, white, sparkling, wines.
Photos by Nancy D. Brown