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Sep 15, 2010 01:56 PM

EUGENE: 10 lunches in 10 weeks (need rec's)


I have escaped from Ohio for 10 weeks (and 10 weeks only) and am living in Eugene. My plan is to eat out for lunch once per week at a different restaurant (too bad you guys don't have a chow lunch club like they used to have in the Bay Area). I've perused the board and it looks like the Eugene posts are little outdated (and a little harsh). In my first few days here, I've already done some reconnaissance missions:

Cafe Arirang (Korean). Pretty good, nice portions and variety in the bento box. Too much sauce on the spicy chicken, but good flavor.

Cafe Yumm (fresh-healthy- not sure how to describe it). I'm trying to be nice, but I call this place Cafe Yukk. What is the big deal about rice, beans, and mustard-y sauce in a bowl? I guess this is as good as it gets for my vegan friends. (yes, I know I'm going to get crap for this comment)

Taqueria Mi Tierra (Mexican) loved the chicken, shrimp, and carnitas tacos. Lengua was a little dry. The beans are nasty. I'm not sure what they do to them, but they are very chalky.

Blazing Chef (fish'n'chips truck). Tasty fish'n'chips, the batter is very light and crunchy. I'm not sure it's "put down what you're doing and get over there now" good (as described by another hound), but I liked it. Side note: What's the deal on having so many food trucks?

So, in 10 weeks, here are some nominees:

1. Belly
2. Marche
3. Toshi's Ramen
4. Cafe Zenon
5. A Thai place would be great, if y'all could come to some sort of consensus.
6-10 are wide open.

Thanks for the help! I'll send a trip report out at the end of my time in Eugene.

291 E 5th Ave, Eugene, OR

296 East 5th Avenue, Ste 310, Eugene, OR 97401

Taqueria Mi Tierra
1310 S Oakwood, Detroit, MI 48217

Toshi's Ramen
1520 Pearl St, Eugene, OR 97401

Cafe Yumm
1801 Willamette St Ste 140, Eugene, OR 97401

Cafe Zenon
898 Pearl St, Eugene, OR 97401

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  1. Though I don't live in Eugene, I occasionally lunch there. Re: Cafe Yumm; I'm not a big fan either, but.........
    Here are my suggestions:

    Belly: Open only for dinner, as far as I can see. But I very much enjoyed a dinner there.
    Toshi's: I've only heard so-so things, but haven't tried it.
    Cafe Zenon: Reopened, haven't tried it. I thought the old one was ok.
    Cornucopia: Terrific, and huge hamburgers.
    Jung's Mongolian Grill: Good M.G., if you like it. It may be the best Chinese in Eugene (for what that says).
    Newman's Fish Co: Grilled and fried fish and chips on Colberg, only fried on Willamette.

    Good luck and have a nice stay in the PNW.

    Jung's Mongolian Grill
    4355 Commerce St Ste 110, Eugene, OR 97402

    Newman's Fish Co
    485 Coburg Rd Ste H, Eugene, OR 97401

    Cafe Zenon
    898 Pearl St, Eugene, OR 97401

    1. The taqueria inside the Plaza Latina Market on Seventh has excellent burritos. East Meets West, near the University, has the best Chinese food I've found in Eugene. If you head across the river into Springtucky, you can find good Thai food at Aiyara Thai Cafe near the Gateway Mall or at a new place on Main Street called Noodle N Thai.

      Aiyara Thai Cafe
      1010 Harlow Rd, Springfield, OR 97477

      Plaza Latina
      1333 W 7th Ave, Eugene, OR 97402

      East Meets West Restaurant
      830 E 13th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401

      1 Reply
      1. re: Matsukaze

        You're the second person to tell me about East Meets West, so I'm putting it on the list. Springtucky--LOL!

        East Meets West Restaurant
        830 E 13th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401

      2. I like Rabbit-use interesting meats and have some great cocktails.

        Echo the Thai recs above.

        What about heading out to King Estate? I find their food a little uneven-some is great, some not, but fabulous location on a beautiful fall day.

        We just had a great Indian buffet in cottage grove today at Gateway to India. In Eugene, I like Evergreen.

        I really like Marche and want to try their new Italian restaurant, Sfizio, out at Oakway.

        Also out that way is Cafe 440, which I haven't tried but have heard good things about.

        3 Replies
        1. re: girlwonder88

          I'll vouch for Cafe 440. Good food there.

          Haven't tried Sfizio, but have heard good things about it. Menu looked spendy to me.

          Will also second Jung's above, if MG is your thing.

          The new Zenon took a little while to get its act together, but was OK last time I was there.

          Suprised no one mentioned La Perla for pizza. They're open for lunch now and if you like super-thin-crust pizza, this is the place for you.

          1. re: girlwonder88

            King Estate sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the heads up on Indian, girlwonder88. JDBear and oregoncook, you both gave Cafe Zenon an "OK". I'm thinking I should cross it off the list, given some of the other more enthusiastic rec's.

            1. re: stuck_in_ohio

              Yeah, at this point I'd choose Cafe 440 over Zenon. Ate dinner there tonight...outstanding.

              The Indian restaurant in Cottage Grove is also thumbs WAY up. Stop at the Fleur de Lys bakery on Main Street after for dessert, or some croissants for the next morning.

              Main Street Cafe
              297 N Main St, Toledo, OR 97391

          2. I'm probably one of the commenters you find harsh but here you go...

            You could try the Nosh Pit. I've had some really good food from their stand at the Saturday farmer's market, and some that was just meh, but I appreciate their efforts.

            Noodles N Thai has promise. They make really good fresh rice noodles and keep the spice Thai style. I would pay more for them to use better ingredients and less crappy Sysco food substitutes for SE Asian vegetables (bell peppers offend me in Thai food, the romaine lettuce is just random). They are trying to keep it cheap, and I can hardly blame them since it is Springfield. I've had 3 things there, I'd order one of them again, and I want to try more things on the menu.

            If you're into light on the (high quality) toppings, thin crust with a good crumb and taste, charcoalized bits from the pizza oven, genre of pizza I think the pizza at Marche Provisions can hold it's own it's more famous cousins to the north and you don't have to line up to enjoy it. The reheated slices aren't as tasty as ordering your own pie, but the salad and slice deal is alluring at lunch. The tuna "niscoise" salad upstairs at the Marche outpost in the international food court is tasty during albacore season. I really like most of their lower price point offerings, but find the actual restaurant to be too pricey for what you get for dinners. It's good, but it shouldn't cost that much. Why can I eat similiar meals for much less in Portland?

            I love tacos and taco trucks. I really liked my lunch at Lucky Taco on W. 11th but wish the salsas were a little more soulful. For 1.50/ generous taco, I can't really complain, though.

            I wasn't into the waffles at "Off the Waffle" but lots of people were. They have moved out of my 'hood and into a storefront on Willamette, but you might like to try them.

            4 Replies
            1. re: trillium

              Thanks for the rec's, trillium. I'm a big fan of fresh noodles and taco trucks. Off the Waffle is in my 'hood, but I'm leaning toward NOT putting it on my list.

              1. re: stuck_in_ohio

                I wouldn't put off the waffle on the lunch list, but if you've never had a "real" (Liege) Belgian waffle, it's worth stopping by for a snack. It's about as close as you can get to the real thing up there--and it IS different than the Belgian waffles on most diner menus (pearl sugar baked into the waffle like the waffle stands in Belgium).

                By the way, if you like BBQ for lunch, we liked the two "Hole in the Wall" locations (one in Springfield is newer / nicer).

                1. re: stuck_in_ohio

                  Yeah, I've had liege waffles before and theirs didn't do it for me but some people really love them.

                  The other places I like to go are Wagon Yard BBQ ...crap...just looked at their website for address and they're closed. WT..? Looks like they're doing dinners and catering though. I'm biased because my friend owns and smokes at the best bbq restaurant in Portland, but he promised me they were good and they are/were. I'm sad they're not open anymore.

                  Oklahoma Smokehouse on Hwy 99 isn't bad, if you love BBQ and can't get it where you live. Hole in the Wall falls into the "I won't eat it even when it's free" cataogry for me, but to each thier own.

                  I want to try the new Izakaya Meiji place in Whitaker, but it's because I'm always hopeful the Asian food situation will improve in Eugene (the fact that people here seem to demand bad Thai or sushi as their only Asian options is demoralizing), it's within walking distance, and nothing could be as bad as what was there before.

                  1. re: trillium

                    On the subject of different strokes, I love Hole in the Wall. Off the Waffle is for snacking imho.

                    Izakaya in the Whitaker? Tell me more!!

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