Monday, March 14, 2011

Back in Eugene. by violet

I have subjected to you long posts about my love of the University of Oregon and Eugene (here and here). But you get another one because a few weekends ago JP and I went down to spend the weekend with our friends Stacy and Ray. There’s something about spending a weekend there that feels a little bit like coming home. It is one part the fond memories and two parts gracious hosts.

We arrived in Eugene in time for dinner. Let’s be honest half the reason I keep coming back to Eugene is to eat at certain restaurants ordering certain dishes. But this time around, we tried some place new. Ray has taken up home brewing. This has led him to become even more of an expert on Eugene’s local breweries of which there are many.

After sampling Ray’s own brews we headed over to Ninkasi Brewing Company to sample so of theirs as well. And as luck would have it Devour’s VW van was parked out in front.

While the tasting room was packed, the outdoor courtyard was deserted, so even though it was roughly 25 degrees we warmed ourselves by the fire, sampling beer and downing our delicious sandwiches.

Saturday was more beer but we added basketball into the mix.  We started with tasting at Oakshire.

One of the main reasons behind the trip was to check out the Ducks’ new basketball arena. Believe the reviews, the place is pretty much amazing and has just about every amenity that Mac Court lacked. The Deep in the Woods floor might look funny on TV but in person it’s really cool and much like Boise’s blue turf definitely gives it a signature look.

However, having spent less than half a season in the place, it is also lacking soul. The great thing about Mac Court was that you knew 100 years worth of students and fans had rooted for their team there. Blood, sweat and tears went into that building and that floor. Sure the place was in danger of falling over but the student section could shake the baskets. People say Autzen is loud but my most ear-splitting memories are in Mac Court. It had a history.

Matt Court is a bit like moving into new construction, sure there are all the bells and whistles but it takes a little bit until it feels like yours. As the Ducks rack up more seasons in Matt Court and the program resurges it will start to feel like home. Buzzer beaters, highlight reel ally opps and no look passes will start to seep into the walls. And the kids will get loud. And, eventually, it will feel like home. Right now it feels like there still a few boxes left to unpack.

For dinner was my personal request to return to the Beer Stein. Luckily I didn’t have to twist too many arms to make that happen. The Beer Stein has the best beer cheese soup I have EVER encountered. It is literally the perfect texture. Pair it with one of their amazing sandwiches and you have yourself a little event.

Oh and you should know, their nachos? They basically pour the soup over chips and add the classic accompaniments. It is blow-your-mind good.

We were too full to do much else that night besides watch The Hangover again and eat too many Starburst jelly beans.

Once again, thanks to Stacy and Ray for being such gracious hosts. We will see you all again in just a few months.

Violet in Converse All Stars

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