Oregon Holiday Recap

Happy New Year’s from the Big Apple! Ken, Cruzzie, and I just arrived back home from our Oregon holiday trip visiting my family in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon.  For a medium-sized college town (go Ducks!), Eugene has a lot to offer, so I wanted to share some highlights of our visit. (By the way, the Oregon football team plays in the Rose Bowl TODAY! Not that I care that much about football, but I am an avid supporter of anything from Eugene).

Oregon Wines
While most people think of Sonoma and Napa when it comes to West Coast wines, The Willamette Valley (where Eugene is) has become a growing hotspot for wine enthusiasts.  The climate and environment are perfect for growing grapes, and the region has become famous for its pinots in particular (especially because they are more affordable than their California counterparts).  Some of the most popular pinots include:

King Estate

King Estate

King Estate

Broadley Vineyards

Broadley Vineyards

Broadley Vineyards

Cristom Winery



St. Innocent Winery

St. Innocent

St. Innocent Wine

The below bottle is what we had on New Year’s Eve.  It was amazing, and only $14.95/bottle!  It is an exclusive for our local wine store, Sundance, which you can visit online here. Or you can call 541-687-9463 and ask for Randy.


EUG Pinot Noir -- made by the Sundance Wine Cellars

Sundance ships around the country, depending on your state’s local liquor laws.  Enjoy!  And next time you are ordering wine at a restaurant, look for Oregon wines.  They are delicious… and reasonably priced!!

Wandering Goat Coffee
Oregon is also known for its coffee houses and roasted beans. Wandering Goat — a local and fabulous coffee shop has the most delicious (you guessed it) coffee. This small local joint roasts their own coffee right next door and serves sustainably-grown coffee drinks and homemade baked goods.

Wandering Goat

Inside Wandering Goat Coffee Shop

They also sell their coffee beans in local stores and online here too. Or if you are lucky like I am, your mother sends you pounds of coffee from Wandering Goat in frequent care packages (yes, she still does that, and yes, I love it).



I have a feeling that Wandering Goat is the next Stumptown Coffee — just a local, low key, laid back, down-to-earth coffee joint that all of a sudden explodes and becomes HUGE.

Spencer’s Butte
By far, one of my favorite activities in Eugene is the quick hike up Spencer’s Butte. Located right in Eugene, a 10 minute drive from my parents’ house, it is the perfect workout in the perfect natural environment. In the summertime when I am off from teaching and visiting my parents, I like to hike the Butte every day.

Spencer's Butte

Here we are this past Summer on the Butte.

Tata and Cruzzie

My father carrying King Cruz. Hiking backpack is KEY!

The Butte is even great in the wintertime, despite the rain, mud, and not-so-perfect conditions. We had the opportunity to go up the Butte only once this trip, but it was for sure one of the highlights. The views on top of the mountain were breathtaking and a great reminder of why I love Oregon as much as I do. The lush green, the mountain ranges, the sounds of the wind and animals, and the crisp smell of the fresh air are all extremely calming and relaxing.


Ewok Forest, kind of.


Ken and Cruzzie admiring the view from half-way up the mountain. We had no backpack on this trip, so Ken was a super hero and carried him the ENTIRE time. He has HUGE muscles.


Mountain ranges, clouds, Oregon beauties.

Café Yumm – Yumm sauce
Surprisingly, a bazillion different healthy products are produced in Eugene and sold nationally – most of the products these days can be found in any grocery store. Examples include: Toby’s Tofu Pate (delicious), Emerald Valley Salsa (can’t get enough), So Delicious Coconut products (just getting big now), Nancy’s yogurt (a family staple), and many more…

Yumm sauce


Yumm sauce is a hippy-dippy-healthy-unexplainable-sauce that is made in Eugene and sold in many grocery stores and online. The sauce comes in three flavors (original, garlic, and chipotle) and is a great addition to dishes – it adds some pizzazz and spice, and is great if you are a sauce person. We love having it on the side for squash, rice and beans, fish and meat. Give it a shot!

Cafe Yumm

Eugene has several Cafe Yumms around town. One is super close to my parents and is actually walking distance.

Family Time
Family time in Oregon is priceless.  I might be one of the few people who loves spending as much time as possible with my parents and siblings, but I can’t get enough of them. Each minute is sacred and special, and I feel so lucky to have them in our lives. Until the next time together…..I will miss them greatly!

Family shot

One of the family dinners chez home. My mother is such an unbelievably good cook that you never have to go out to eat. She is like a healthy-experimental-no-recipe-Julia-Child. (Ignore me stuffing my face).


Cousins -- Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum.

Until Wednesday, Have a great first week of 2012!

Josie Girl


  1. This is a fabulous review of Eugene–good advertising for local vendors. I enjoyed seeing all the pictures. Thank you for doing an excellent blog==I look forward to reading this blog three times weekly, Maxine

    • Thanks! Eugene is paradise….miss it already! That said, it is so nice to see the sunshine here in freezing cold NYC.

  2. Looks amazing! We are happy recipients of said care package (and Wandering Goat coffee) and finding Nancy’s yogurt outside of Oregon is always a treat. Sorry that we missed out on the wonderful food and company!
    Go Ducks!

    • Go Ducks! I am going to try my hardest to sit and watch the ducks game this evening and try to understand everything. Isn’t Wandering Goat coffee great?

  3. What a great post! Oregon really is a beautiful place with amazing foods, and this post captures that wonderfully. I can’t wait to get some Nancy’s yogurt and yummy Yumm sauce. Go Ducks!!

    • Yumm sauce now sells online and ships nationally. We ate a bunch of meals with it this week and it was yummy. My mom always figures out a way to incorporate it into meals better than I do…. Go Ducks!

  4. Fun read on Eugene – you so nailed my favorite things as well! (Carmen’s corn chips with that Emerald Valley Salsa is pure perfection.) The TREES, the wine, the Yumm… I just wish I could mail order time with your beautiful fam!

    • How special are the trees? I forget how beautiful Eugene is and how old and magical the forests are…..yes please time with you and your fam.

  5. My favorite thing about Eugene is seeing old friends! Sorry to have missed you (by just a day!) at our South Eugene mini-reunion. And, you forgot Humble Bagel!

    • Sorry to have missed you! Yes, definitely family and friends are the highlights of Eugene! And Humble Bagel is my favorite — but for challah not for bagels. I am not a fan of their bagels, but the CHALLAH! I think we ate 7-8 loaves when we were there (no joke) and just had a challah sandwich (yes old and flown across cross country) right now! And metropol too. So many things I love about Eugene…….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *