I’ve spent summers in the Mid-Atlantic, the South and the Midwest. But in my opinion, the Pacific Northwest does summer the best. I think all Oregonians have a dreadful, creeping thought in the back of their heads…we only get 3 months of this, so we better enjoy it.
I hosted a local food show, Tasty Tuesday, which allowed me to sample lots of different restaurants and food trucks throughout Eugene and Springfield. Here’s a breakdown of some cool spots to check out during Eugene’s fleeting summer months!
Buck Buck graces the main photo for this post- a towering fried chicken biscuit sandwich decorated with pickled onions and buttermilk sauce. This little food truck is parked outside of Oakshire Brewing and cranks out fried chicken delights all day long.
I hit up Buck Buck at the end of June for a Tasty Tuesday episode. I’d heard a lot of good things about it, and I wasn’t disappointed. The chicken is crispy and juicy, with a little bit of spice to mitigate the carbs and fat. These dishes are decadent.
Buck Buck is a fried chicken joint, but it plays with the flavors. Exhibit A: their chicken and waffles, pictured to the right. Drenched in marionberry syrup, and topped with blackberries and thinly sliced mint leaves. Berries and chicken? Do NOT knock it till you try it.
Buck Buck has a loyal following that’s followed them since their opening in late December. The owners, Mikey Lawrence and Edgar Arellano, advised me to never to open a food truck in late December- but they survived and thrived!
The eternal struggle- find food that’s both delicious and not going to clog your arteries. Buck Buck is good for the soul; not the heart. If you’re craving refreshing fruity goodness, Big Kahuna Bowls is your stop.
They serve acai and pitaya bowls, which are essentially thick smoothies poured into a bowl and topped with fresh fruit, granola and nuts and seeds. The smoothie is so thick, you eat it with a spoon. The bowls are as gorgeous as they are delicious- a rainbow of fruit decorating a fruit puree that tastes fresh and is just sweet enough.
Big Kahuna Bowls is also one of the few restaurants I’ve returned to months later…and it had BIGGER servings! That’s the way to do it.
Whenever I tell my Californian friends that an acai bowl place exists in Eugene, they immediately freak out. Much like the next entry, it was a West Coast treat desperately in need of representation in Eugene.
Poke! Pronounced Po-kay. A Hawaiian dish made from raw fish marinated in vinegar, mixed with seasonings and toppings, and then piled on top of rice. It’s a dish that both caters to my love of fresh seafood, and appeals to my love of the Pokemon video game series. Okay, bad joke. Moving on.
Moi Poki is the brainchild of the Sporks A La Carte owners, another food truck in Eugene. Both trucks are posted at Beergarden. Moi Poki serves poke, and pokerritos, which is essentially a seaweed-wrapped poke burrito.
I’m not Hawaiian, so I have no frame of reference, but in my opinion, the poke they serve there is pretty dang good. The fish is fresh and delicate, and the toppings are generous- edamame; kimchi; and masago, or fish eggs, like little jewels on top of the raw fish.
The owners are friendly, patient people who walk customers through the ordering process, which is a mix-and-match deal. A summer day involving a bowl of fresh poke and a good beer? Sold.
This food truck is just across the street from Ninkasi Brewing in the Whiteaker neighborhood, which is exactly why I stumbled upon it- drinking beer and in need of sustenance.
General Bao’s basically serves two things, and serves them well- steamed buns and fried rice. I ordered the barbecue pork buns and pork fried rice and eagerly waited on Ninkasi’s patio.
Score! The generous portion of food came out steaming hot and delicious. Steamed buns are basically lightly-sweet rolls filled with pork, tofu or another savory protein. The combination of sweet bread and shredded barbecue pork was divine. The pork fried rice was a welcome addition to the plate, seasoned perfectly and decorated with crunchy vegetables.
The best part? I had enough for leftovers the next day! Win win.
I grew up in Baltimore, which claims the Snowball as its icy summer treat- and while snowballs hold a very special, cold place in my heart…I have to applaud Sweetbay Shave Ice for their fantastic shave ice treats. A girl’s dream- a summer treat on both coasts!
Sweetbay, located in Oakmont Park, serves towering creations made from finely-shaved ice, doused with flavoring and a combination of toppings. My favorite is the Pineapple Whip. It’s a pineapple shave ice topped with crushed pineapple and sweet cream. Can you tell I love pineapple? Their flavors run from Blue Raspberry to Lavender to Pickle, and the have a variety of creations like the Pineapple Whip. A great treat for a hot day!
If you have dietary restrictions, Sweetbay offers fat-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and dye-free options. That’s the only free part- it does cost money!
This is just a sample of the some of the places I recommend trying out in Eugene this summer.
Do you have any favorite summer spots where you live? Send them my way.
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