Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.

4Jan/090

Eugene Holiday – Day 2

We woke at about 8AM and got ready for our breakfast. By the time we opened up the door the delicious scent of breakfast, coffee & vegetables being cooked, drifting up the big staircase. We were served fresh fruit, a dish of sauteed tofu & veggies, and some delicious muffins that Jack had picked up for us at Sweet Life P√Ętisserie along with tea, rich coffee and some guava juice.

Baiah, who was making our breakfast told us that usually Anne-Marie, the other half of the innkeeper pair, made the vegan breakfasts. She was trying to remember what had been done and was worried it wouldn't be good. We assured her the mixture of crumbled tofu, spinach, onions, garlic, and red peppers was very tasty and flavorful. The muffins were very different and equally delicious. A whole-grain one with seeds and dried fruit, topped with rolled oats. The other was like dessert for our breakfast; a cake-like Marionberry muffin topped with large crystals of sugar. We enjoyed lingering over the muffins and our coffee & tea, talking about the day before slipping outside to enjoy the beautifully landscaped yard of the inn.

Miniature Train Set

To keep things simple, low-key we settled upon visiting museums at the University of Oregon campus. Deciding upon the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and the Museum of Cultural and Natural History. It was an easy trip over, although we were a bit confused about where to park and lacked quarters for the meters. Finally a call was made to one of the museums, we were told they had a lot & would give us a pass for the day!

It was fun looking around the Museum of Cultural and Natural History. The exhibits were put together well, making it easy to identify pieces on display. After we checked out the gift store and were bemused by yet more terrifically friendly Eugene residents! We ended up selecting some lamp work glass pieces, a slug and a snail made by local glass artists! These were charming pieces and we felt they were lovely reminders of our anniversary trip.

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Then off to the beautiful Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the other side of campus. We were told where we could stash our wet jackets and that the museum was free on this day!

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I was thrilled to spot the only Art-o-Mat in Oregon behind the front desk! I read an article about these machines quite a while ago and have always wanted to pop into the art building on the Lane Community College campus to check out the one in Oregon. Turns out this machine is at the Schnitzer museum until March, saving us a separate trip to see it.

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The Schnitzer building itself is very beautiful, including a gorgeous courtyard reflection pool. We enjoyed wandering the revolving and permanent collections until we'd finally walked off our delicious breakfast.

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It was a quick, lovely walk over to the shops clustered near the campus.

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We decided to check out Caspian Mediterranean Cafe and what kind of falafel they made. We ordered the lunch special, a falafel sandwich & bowl of a Persian style soup, and a side of hummus. The hummus was good, different from the very smooth types served at Habibi (well, that entire family's restaurants) and Aladdin's Cafe. The falafel, tahini sauce and bread were all quite tasty, even with out-of-the-bag pita. The best part was the delicious, rich soup made with onions, spinach, lemon, lentils, garbanzos, red beans and some rice! I'd happily go back to have the soup again and I spent part of the time enjoying the soup trying to deconstruct how to make it!

We poked around the Duck Store but weren't tempted by anything with logos on it. Eventually we meandered through town and on to visit the very highly recommended Sweet Life P√Ętisserie. We already knew the muffins were good and decided to go check out the other vegan sweets they were known for.

After quite some time and much prevaricating we ordered a peanut butter cup (for me alone) and I said I'd help with the ridiculously enormous slice of chocolate cream pie (vegan). The place was crazy packed so we sat down outside in the chilly air and enjoyed our treats that way. Both things were excellent! The peanut butter cups reminded me of a candy my Mom would make around Christmas-time, only better (very good, dark chocolate cup). The pie was very rich, very creamy, and delicious. It was also a ridiculous slice, so big we couldn't finish it!

Vegan Treats

We settled into our lovely room after our outing. I'm still down several games of cribbage to CK after playing for a while. There was more cable TV indulgence in watching The Darjeeling Limited, nice since I'd not seen it before. Jack brought us up a nice late harvest viognier from a local winery, Eola Hills.

The weekend was wrapped up with a rather tasty dinner at Ring of Fire, also highly recommend and within walking distance of the inn (one of those moments where good food is found in a very assuming, mall-like environment). We had tempura style veggies for an appetizer -- it is hard to go wrong with deep-fried food served with a sweet sauce and this was very tasty. For our shared entree we picked the Pra Ram, a Thai peanut sauce curry, with tempeh. The veggies were crisp, the nappa cabbage particularly nice I thought, and the sauce flavorful and I would have enough to have for lunch late Saturday during a break in yoga teacher training! We also ordered a couple of drinks (the restaurnt is very highly rated for cocktails), a "Dragonfly" (a guava juice based drink containing no alcohol) and a "Blue Devil" (containing Bombay Sapphire gin, Curacao, and a ginger lemonade.

We'd enjoy another excellent breakfast on Saturday morning before heading back to Portland, the same sauteed dish, red potatoes with onion, and more yummy muffins from Sweet Life again! That breakfast we were joined by a Eugene couple just staying the night for an easy get away. We enjoyed hearing more about things check out on a future visit!

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4Jan/090

Eugene Holiday – Day 1

We slept in a bit on the first having finally fell asleep past 1AM after coming home from the very full night of celebration at the Dharma Center. There had been rather serious discussion about going to Joy's New Year's Day yoga class at Prananda; end the year in zazen, start with asana. Since morning found us moving slow and still needing to pack up a couple of things we got ourselves together and on the road to Eugene.

It was a uneventful drive down aside from the pounding rain. We made it down a little ahead of schedule but the gracious innkeeper at the C'est la View Inn, Jack, showed us the rooms available. We'd reserved the Matisse room but switched to the Monet room after seeing the lovely koi details and the amazing etched window (a gargoyle of Notre Dame de Paris overlooking the Seine) above the enourmous tub.

While we settled into our charming room Jack called a few restaurants he knew served vegan food but after a bit he told us he'd not had any luck reaching any, a lot of places were closed for the holiday. He gave us some directions to a couple of markets where we could find a snack and we set out to do a little foraging/exploring.

We found Capella Market and picked up some hummus, dolmas, bread and vegan marshmallows! I also found a bottle of the Italian sparkling wine I'd forgotten in the fridge at the flat. We sat in the car eating the tasty food. We both had realized that it was 5PM, we'd eaten at Laughing Planet many hours ago, and were now very hungry.

Feeling better we set out into the dark, wet of Eugene, following signs pointing us "downtown". We made a note of restaurants actually open, I spotted the bakery Jack was going to get us muffins from, and we eventually came around the corner and past Sam Bond's Garage, which was listed on the Happy Cow page as having vegan options.

It was a great feeling place immediately. At a couple of tables a couple of youngish 20-something guys argued the politics of economic with what appeared to be a trio of older lesbians. Not angry, good natured debating and airing of opinions. We sorted out that ordering was done by going to the bar and telling them what you wanted from off the chalked up menu. CK selected the pizza & a seasonal ale and I decided to indulge in the tempeh sloppy joes & an oatmeal stout.

CK was told there were cards & games on a shelf around the corner; we were wishing we'd brought the cribbage board with us. We settled down at a cozy table made from a slice of log and were enjoying our beers in pint jars when a couple asked us if we wanted to play a card game. Perhaps they had seen us eyeing their deck with envy?

We're not sure if people in Eugene make people in Portland seem like angry misanthropes, but these folks were just indicitive of many people we'd meet. Enthusiastic and pleasant, willing to share. Morgan and Cat taught us a very simple, quick and fun card game. When our food arrived we all sat and chatted.

The pizza was very tasty and gave us great ideas! Instead of a red sauce the pizza was covered in mashed yams! This tasty base helped hold the toppings in place - cranberries, slices of pear, roasted garlic cloves and mushrooms (which were picked off). Seasonal ingredients and an excellent combination. The tempeh sloppy joe was served on a whole grain bun and was very tasty, very filling. It came with a salad of mixed greens served with a garlic tahini dressing that reminded me of the sauce on the falefel at Habibi. Yum!

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