I left the great emerald valley for the valley of the sun to extend me culinary career. Getting out of my comfort zone I realized how starved eugene is for good restaurants. I have been all over Phoenix and worked with some amazing chefs in the valley to sharpen my skills and become familiar with running a credible establishment. Remembering how many farmers markets and fresh seafood access eugene has at very good prices, how can you not have competitive market of good restaurants? There are maybe one or two places (Marche' and Cafe' Zenon) but those are so incredibly sub-par compared to where I have been and where I worked out here. Guess I have been spoiled....last time I came home I made it a point to go on a eugene tasting and found myself very dissappointed. Adam's place was the most impressive but the service was sad....anyways, what are the people of eugene looking for?
I split my time between Scottsdale and Eugene. You are right, Eugene is a wasteland of nothing. Great local producers but nobody is really doing the great food that you see in AZ. I was in Dundee on Wednesday, had a great lunch at the Ponzi bistro. There is better food in little Dundee than in the whole of Eugene.
This is a good time to visit King Estate, they and Marche' are the best we have right now.
You're right about how lacking we are in good restaurants, at both the high and low end. The weird thing about Eugene is its certainly not because of a lack of great resources or people that like to eat/cook. There is definitely a food culture here, a slow food group, a top notch farmers market, a great butcher and fish monger, and obviously plenty to drink. I've only been here five years, but what gives???