Adventures in Eugene

For the past five years Neil and I have gone on an annual long weekend getaway in January for his birthday. This year we had to postpone our trip since we were in the midst of moving and since we were on opposite sides of the country on Neil’s birthday weekend. Once we finally reunited in our new home we decided that we would take a little weekend trip in February and we finally did this past weekend to Eugene, Oregon.

Let me start off by saying I had an entirely different idea of Eugene and I have no idea where it came from. My knowledge of Eugene was that there was as huge university there and that it was somewhat eclectic. Well both things proved to be true however I also imagined it to be quite a bit nicer and have a central downtown area that we could walk around.

When Neil and I drove into town I was shocked to see that it wasn’t the nice little area that I had imagined and while there were a number of good vegan friendly restaurants and fun looking shops they were not very walkable to each other and with a baby that makes things difficult. Don’t worry though we ended up making the best of things but overall it wasn’t the magical getaway that I had envisioned.

Our plan was to get dinner before heading to our hotel but since it hadn’t taken us as long to get to Eugene as we expected we decided to first stop into Ninkasi Brewery for a tasting. Although located in a very industrial part of Eugene (who am I kidding the whole place is super industrial) it had a beautiful tasting room and outdoor patio with rotating food trucks. We got a sampler board of four of their brews and really enjoyed them all.

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After our tasting we headed to Cornbread Cafe, a vegan comfort food restaurant, where we ordered up some yummy plates of Southern inspired food. We ordered two plates to share one with the “fried fish”, cabbage slaw, mashed potatoes with gravy and a biscuit and the other with chicken fried tempeh, greens, mac and cheeze and cornbread. I enjoyed the “fried fish”, cabbage slaw, mac and cheeze and cornbread the most, but overall everything was good. After dinner we headed to the hotel and slipped into our bathing suits and took Edith for her first swim in the pool before heading to bed

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Saturday morning came and we had hopped to take advantage of all of the running trails in Eugene (one of the best things about Eugene) but the weather was not cooperating so instead we headed to breakfast at Studio One. We both ordered up the tempeh hash plate sans bread (not vegan) and ordered a fruit cup for Edith to enjoy. Since we had dinner on the early side the night before we were both super hungry and devoured our large plates of food. The food was good but the coffee was lacking so since it was still early we decided to head to Wandering Goat for a coffee where Neil had an amazing Americano and I had a really delicious hazelnut milk latte.

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After our breakfast and coffee we decided to brave the rain and headed to the Raptors Center to see the birds. The Raptor Center is a hospital for raptors that have been injured and they care for a number of birds who have been so injured that they are unable to be released back into the wild. This was really the highlight of our trip and made the entire trip worth it. We all had an amazing time seeing the beautiful birds and enjoying the outdoors together even if it was raining.

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After our trip to see the raptors we headed back into town and went to Morning Glory Cafe, a restaurant suggested my friend Kim. Kim certainly did not steer us wrong because this place was delicious. We had the white bean burger with a giant side salad and a veggie scramble wrapped in a hashbrown with the most delicious vegan sour cream on top. Edith enjoyed some steamed veggies and shared our carrot juice with us.

After lunch we were stuffed so we decided to walk over to a few shops we had seen near the cafe and did a little shopping. We also took Edith to a toy store that had those mechanical animals and boats that cost 50 cents to ride and had her try out a few, she was in heaven. After our little shopping excursion we made one last stop at Oakshire Brewery before calling it a day. We arrived to a very busy brewery where we sampled a few brews and enjoyed the sun that finally came out.The day ended with Cafe Yumm and bed.

While we had a nice time it wasn’t our dream getaway and since we came in under budget we are thinking of doing another weekend away in April if you have any suggestions please leave a note in the comments!

What was your best weekend getaway or what is your dream weekend getaway?

You can check out more photos of your trip here.

Vacationing In The Ocean State: Sleeps & Eats

Where We Stayed: Warren, Rhode Island.

We rented a three bedroom, two bathroom townhouse in Warren, RI (about 20 minutes from Providence) with my parents. We found the rental on VRBO and were very pleased with our accommodations. The townhouse was located on the top two floors of a a three story historic home and it over looked the water.  It was wonderful because it had two balconies and a deck where we were able to sit out and relax, enjoy a cup of coffee and take advantage of the grill. The townhouse was so beautiful and Neil and I really wanted to just move in, we loved the layout and the location.

We also stayed an extra night at the Hilton Providence which was in a good location (downtown Providence) but we were less than impressed with the accommodations. I am not sure if it was because we had a baby and they worried she would be loud but when we checked in they said they were going to move us to a higher floor and we ended up being in a room across from the ice machine and on a floor with younger (rowdy) adults and lots of little kids. The bed was comfortable but it was so noisy!

Where We Ate:

We actually picked up a bunch of groceries from Whole Foods and Trader Joes and ate the majority of our meals at the house.  The few meals we did eat out included:

  • Kabob and Curry (take out): One of the nights we picked up Indian take out to enjoy at the house.  It was great because the menu had a vegan section and everything was clearly market dairy free and/or gluten free.  We ordered two curries and pakoras and some house pickled veggies.  The pakoras were delicious and I am so glad I ordered two orders of them! The curries were pretty good not the best I’ve had but not the worst either.  The pickled veggies were …um….well they had a really  off putting smell so I didn’t even try them.
  • Wildflour Bakery: Neil and I visited Wildflour last year and instantly fell in love so we had to visit it again.  The first visit (yes it’s so good we went twice) we had a granola scone, a gluten free lemon blueberry scone, a gluten free raspberry cheesecake brownie and a slow drip coffee for him and a (too) spicy coffee for me. My coffee was super spicy because of the cayenne and although I tried to drink it I just couldn’t. On our second visit I had a yummy broccoli cheddar scone and Neil had a granola scone (what can I say it’s really good) and we shared a green smoothie and a slow drip coffee.
  • Julian’s: When we visited Providence last year Julian’s was on the list to try, however since we were just in town for the day we could only go to one restaurant so we didn’t end up making it there.  This trip it  made the list again and not only did we go once we went twice! Our first visit was for dinner with my parents, I ordered the Mediterranean Spice Fried Seitan Skewers with saffron-olive-portobella bulgar, pea tendrils, preserved lemon, & paprika roasted cauliflower purée, Neil had House Made Vegan Teriyaki Sausage with wasabi-salted pommes frites, pickled cabbage, & hot mustard and my parents both ordered grilled chicken one with asparagus the other had a green salad.  We all absolutely loved our meals and would recommend it to both vegans and omnivores. On our second visit we went for Sunday morning breakfast and word to the wise get there early.  They open at 9am, we arrived at 8:55 and there was already a line.  People had been waiting awhile as well and had already put their names on the list.  As we were leaving the line to get in was huge! At least if you do have to wait you can get yourself one of their tasty (sounding) breakfast cocktails to enjoy outside while you wait.  For breakfast Neil and I shared the St. Jamez ‘Benedict’ fried tofu ‘egg’, garlicky spinach, & vegan hollandaise and the special tofu scramble.  Both were good but not as good as dinner.  We wish we had ordered the benedict and the vegan carrot cake pancakes instead of the scramble, oh well there is always next time.

  • Federal Hill Pizza: Federal Hill Pizza was located just a few blocks from our house in Warren so we decided to try it out with my parents for lunch one afternoon.  We shared the bruschetta flatbread, garlic broccoli rabe, the green salad that was topped with grilled veggies and the pasta with garlic, olive oil and grilled veggies.  The star of he show was the green salad with the grilled veggies, it was delicious and we all loved it.  Overall the food was good, my parents had a pizza there one of the nights and they really enjoyed it as well.
  • Crazy Burger: Neil was able to take part of one day off while we were in Rhode Island so we decided to head out of a drive and that’s when we came across Crazy Burger in Narragansett.  Apparently (we learned this after visiting) the restaurant was on Diners, Dive-in’s & Dives, what brought us to Crazy Burger however was the selection of vegan burgers and other vegan offerings. Neil and I really wanted to try everything (vegan) on the menu but decided to go with two burgers one with the slaw and one with fries.  For our burgers we ordered BIRDIE MAE BURGER: Grilled Tempeh, purple sticky rice, sweet potato, roasted sunflower seeds, and rosemary-pumpkin pesto combine to create a wonderful taste & texture; grilled into a tomato tortilla and the WILD & CRAZY MUSHROOM BURGER: Portabella, Porcini & Domestic Mushrooms mixed w/Italian rice & fresh vegetables; served on a vegan bun with a wild mushroom gravy. Both of the burgers were really good but the mushroom burger was extra tasty because of the amazing wild mushroom gravy (which was amazing on the fries as well).  This is definitely a place we hope to visit again, I mean we need to try all of their veggie burgers to really decided which one is best.

Up Next: Coffee Joints and the Happenings in the Ocean State

Where are your favorite places to eat in Rhode Island?