Whenever asked “What one item would you want with you when trapped on a deserted island?” my answer is always “a wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano”. That’s how much I love cheese. In fact, I gave up a solid two year stint of Veganism just so I can get back to consuming the creamy goodness. I do, however, remain a vegetarian. It is my mission in every city I visit to find the best, hearty, and fulfilling vegetarian dish available. When I lived in Los Angeles this task was easily accomplished due to the abundance of healthy options. Now that I am in a new city, Eugene, OR; I have to start my food mission all over again.
Moving to this part of Oregon complements my other passion, BEER! There is a micro-brewery on every corner. Eugene is also surrounded by beautiful and tasty wineries. Along with the healthy dose of drinking establishments there is a sprinkle of small, artesian coffee places. It’s simply a dream.
When I am not out learning about the food culture of my new home, I usually will cook a healthy meal for myself and my husband, Jake. We currently are brewing our own Kombucha, experimenting with making our own bread, and will be starting the process of brewing our own beer in 2017. Along with eating and drinking, I also enjoy doing photography and art. Looking forward to sharing my Pacific Northwest adventures with you guys.
There are three things I love most in the entire culinary universe: carbs, cheese, and wine. So when my husband, Jake, and I received an invitation to attend the new Pastini location’s soft open it was a no brainer as to what our response would be. It was ‘yes’ in case you were wondering.
Pastini Pastarias are strictly unique to Oregon with locations in Portland, Corvallis, and the newest spot opening in Eugene. They specialize in authentic Italian dishes using local, fresh ingredients. This location had a warm and comfortable interior juxtaposed with dark industrial elements influenced by the high ceiling of exposed pipes. The casual atmosphere was reflected in the servers’ uniform. Each wore a company t-shirt in what appeared to be a soft cotton, jeans, and converses in either black or red. Having worked in the food industry for years I can appreciate a business who puts their employees comfort as a priority. The displayed artwork was large yet minimal to keep focus on the true masterpieces, the food.
I moved to Eugene in February after having lived in Los Angeles for six years. Undoubtedly, I had to make some adjustments to settle in besides the obvious finally investing in a good pair of rain boots. I had to cancel my 24-hour gym membership since that franchise hasn’t existed here for many years. I had to delete the Lyft and Uber apps from my phone since those businesses haven’t yet discovered the lucrative benefits of Eugene. With only one location of a Trader Joes on the other side of town, I had to cut back on my weekly trips to my favorite grocer.
One thing, however, that I did not have to accommodate upon my relocation to the Pacific Northwest is my passion for drinking and eating delicious, healthy meals. Eugene is home to multiple microbreweries as well a plethora of eateries, restaurants, and cafés. In my 11 months of residency, I have only scratched the surface of the food options this town has to offer.
During my continuous journey of Eugene food discovery, there is one neighborhood I often find myself returning to, the Whiteaker area. The Whiteaker area has the similar charm of Silver Lake or Loz Feliz in Los Angeles, minus the limits on parking, 7 dollar lattes, and the smug disingenuous hipster attitude. Within walking distance you can have a vegan breakfast at New Day Bakery, have tacos for lunch at Tacovore, then an authentic BBQ dinner at Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen, followed by a whiskey nightcap at Izakaya Meiji. Needless to say, there are many options within this little hippie neighborhood. Including my all-time favorite thing to eat in all of Eugene.
Located across the street from the large teal green walls of the Ninkasi Brewery is a small food truck that offers something unique yet packed full of flavor. Subo combines the delicate Japanese ingredients often found in sushi compacted into the familiar packaging of a Mexican burrito, creating the Sushi Burrito.
Since I am a vegetarian my go to is the hipster with avocado substituting cucumbers since cucumbers are just the worst. All within one bit of this tasty goodness you get the sweetness of the oshinko paired with the saltiness of the seaweed salad, the crunch of the crispy mushrooms complemented by the softness of the sushi rice, and then the savory asparagus. Everything is held together by a delicate sheet of seaweed. I like to smear mine in the complementary dipping mayo. My only criticism is that due to the thin seaweed the burrito shape does not hold up very well. With the flavors being so delicious I don’t mind having to use my fingers to scoop up the drippings.
Whenever there is a beautiful sunny day I can often be found in the Whiteaker area, which means during the Summer, I was probably eating at Subo once a week. I have yet to find another dish to supplant The Hipster as my favorite thing to eat in Eugene, but I am willing to accept the challenge.