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Posts Tagged ‘Eugene

Overall Restaurant – Rating: 3/5. As a college student I eat a lot of Top Ramen. Honestly, the ramen I tried at Toshi’s Ramen (1520 Pearl St. 97401) didn’t taste much different from what I can make at home. Unless someone points out a dish I MUST try from there, I probably won’t be back anytime soon. I might go there if I completely run out of Top Ramen at home and really feel like paying $7.50 for some. I’m not giving the restaurant lower than a 3 because they at least have some ingredients that an average person wouldn’t have at home to add to their ramen.

Toshi’s menu is extremely overwhelming. It’s difficult to figure out where to start if it’s your first time! However, the cashier was more than happy to explain how the menu works:

First, there are three soup bases to choose from:
Sho-yu: Soy sauce based
Miso: Soybean paste based – this is the most popular soup base, she noted.
Shio: Salt based

Once you choose your soup base, you choose what you want in your ramen:

It starts with plain: Ramen noodles with topped with green onions and bean sprouts.
Then the original: Green onions, bean sprout, corn, bamboo shoots, green beans and marinated sliced pork.
After that, the choices are everything in original with one or two more ingredients added to it. The price increases according to what you add to it.

What we ordered:

Toshi's Miso Wakame: Miso soup with seaweed, green onions, bean sprouts, corn, bamboo shoots, green beans, and marinated sliced pork.

Miso Wakame – Rating: 2/5 – Soybean based soup with seaweed and everything in the orginal (green onions, bean sprouts, corn, bamboo shoots, green beans, and marinated sliced pork). I liked the seaweed and corn in my ramen, but the broth was overly salted. I generally like my miso soup a little more bland. I also like my miso soup with tofu and have the tofu soak up the tasty soup, but tofu wasn’t even an option as an add-in on the menu. The pork slice had a little bit too much fat on it.  I did however, like the ramen noodles – they were cooked al dente; I think the ramen noodles are actually made there from scratch.

If I wanted to make something like this at home, I would use Top Ramen and crack an egg in it. I’d watch the noodles to make sure they are cooked al dente and add all those ingredients in the ramen. I learned from my Miso Wakame that I like corn in my ramen so I would add that.

Toshi's Shoyu Butter: Soy sauce soup with butter, green onions, bean sprouts, corn, bamboo shoots, green beans, and marinated sliced pork.

Shoyu Butter – Rating: 3/5 – Soy sauce based soup with original ingredients and BUTTER. I liked this soup based a lot better than the miso. I think it actually had a lot to do with the butter. I was turned off by the idea of a whole stick of butter in the soup, but it actually made a big difference in taste. They had a few seasonings on the table you could add to your soup. There was a shaker with red seasoning in it, which I’m guessing is paprika. My friend added a lot of it to her soup and it made it taste a lot better.

If I wanted to make something like this at home, I would cook ramen noodles as usual, but use only half of the seasoning and add 2 tablespoon of soy sauce. Then I’d add 1/3 cup of butter and any other ingredients, like vegetables or meat I’d like. I’m sure I’d get the same affect as the Shoyu Butter ramen bowl.

If you end up going there, I’ve heard the Gyoza (pork & veggies potstickers) and the Cha-han (fried rice served with a side of soup) is good to try. The gyoza is little pricey for 6 potstickers though,  they’re $4. Those are two items I’d try next time if I come back. If you’re ordering ramen, I’d stick with the shoyu soup and have butter be one of the ingredients.

Toshi’s Ramen doesn’t have a fully active website, but urbanspoon has menus, reviews and other information for the place:
Toshi's Ramen on UrbanspoonHappy eating my fellow foodies!

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Overall Restaurant – Rating: 4 ½ out of 5 – If you search Sweet Life Patisserie (755 Monroe Street, 97402) on Google, you’ll find an average rating of 4 ½ stars with 386 reviews. For the most part, I agree. I love the place and its atmosphere. I make a trip to Sweet Life with my friends almost once a month. Yes, I have a HUGE sweet tooth; I’ve probably been there at least 15 times since I’ve lived in Eugene. It’s a great place to chill with friends. I can’t exactly give the place 5 stars because I’ve had more fail desserts than winners. They have so many desserts and treats to choose from, it’s hard to figure out which one to choose. After going there so many times, I’ve learned that there are definitely some desserts you should just avoid ordering.

What I’ve tried:

Drinks

Mixed berry smoothie

Mixed berry smoothie – Rating: 2/5 – It tasted like a margarita without the alcohol. Okay, so a virgin mixed berry smoothie/margarita should be decent, right? Nope. It tasted like watered down fruit juice with an off-after taste.

Raspberry cremosa – Rating: 4/5 – Loved the cremosa and the raspberry taste, but I’d avoid sweet drinks with sweet desserts. It’s a sweetness overload! Stick with water or milk.

Desserts

Lemon bar

Lemon bar – Rating: 5/5 – If you like lemon bars (love it or hate it type of dessert), then this is a good lemon bar to try. The tart taste of the lemon bar is very well- balanced with a good amount of confectioner’s sugar. Yum.

Pumpkin cookie

Pumpkin cookie with frosting – Rating: 3/5 – Pumpkin desserts are kind of iffy to me. The pumpkin cookie was slightly too sweet and had a tad bit of nutmeg spice.

Red velvet cupcake – Rating: 2/5 – I read this article discussing the necessities of an authentic red velvet cake and the red velvet cupcake at Sweet Life didn’t seem to have any of the listed components, besides being red. The frosting was definitely not cream cheese.

Strawberries-topped cheesecake

Strawberries-topped cheesecake – Rating: 4/5 – Rich, a tad bit heavy but the strawberry topping balances the richness of the cheesecake.

Chocolate cream pie

Chocolate cream pie – Rating: 1/5 – No, don’t do it. What happened? The chocolate custard was way bitter, but had no taste of chocolate. It tasted more like cheap coffee ground. I am a chocoholic, but the chocolate custard just did not taste like chocolate. I was thoroughly disappointed. I took three bites hoping it’d start to taste better, but just ended up taking home the majority of the slice hoping to fix it somehow.

Tiramisu – Rating: 2/5 – Their Tiramisu tastes funny. I’ve had better Tiramisu from Fred Meyer’s, Safeway or even Cash N’ Carry’s frozen cake.

Cream cheese brownie

Cream cheese brownie – Rating: 5/5 – Oh my gosh, yum. My go-to dessert. So rich and so decadent. It totally satisfies my sweet tooth. My friends had theirs heated to make it even better. Warm or not, the brownie is delicious either way!

Brownie sundae

Brownie sundae – Rating: 5/5 – I saved the best for last. I’ve been to Sweet Life so many times, but once I discovered this dessert, I have not been able to try anything else. You can create your own brownie sundae by picking your choice of brownie and topping it with your choice of gelato. My favorite all-time combination: cream cheese brownie topped with dark Venezuelan chocolate. The turtle brownie topped with Tahitian vanilla gelato is amazing too. Describing this makes me want some right now. Yum!

Overall, Sweet Life is a great place to go to satisfy your sweet tooth, but be aware that not everything they offer will do the trick!

Check out Sweet Life Patisserie’s website for their menu and other information: http://www.sweetlifedesserts.com/

Here is urbanspoon’s reviews of Sweet Life:

Sweet Life Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Happy eating!

Overall Restaurant – Rating: 4 ½ out of 5 – Success! Finally found a bomb hot wings joint in Eugene. Check out their Facebook: Hot Mama’s Wings’ Facebook.

Hot Mama’s Wings (420 West 13th Avenue, 97401) just opened yesterday and you can already find a ton of information about the hot, new restaurant on the Internet. Big ups to them for using social media as a marketing tool! Instead of going into details about the whole restaurant, I’ll just recommend to you what to order from there. If you’re interested in learning more about the restaurant, you can check out Oregon Daily Emerald’s article or Eugene Weekly’s article on the joint. I’ll just eat there and tell you what’s good.

So first off, I got to tell you: Their wings are meaty. This is a good thing. I had wings at the other hot wings joint near campus last weekend and those were literally just bones. Those tasted like frozen wings you buy at the grocery store and reheat them in the microwave.

The wings at Hot Mama’s however, are real, meaty chicken wings.

Here’s what my friends and I tried today:

Starters:

Crispy, brown French fries

French fries – Rating: 5/5 – They were brown, but crispy. The color of the French fries threw me off at first, but dang, they were good. They crunch in your mouth.

Jalapeno Poppers - Jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon

Jalapeno poppers – Rating: 3/5 – Hollowed out peppers, stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon. The pepper-filled cream cheese was a bit rich for my taste. I ended up just eating the bacon wrap.

Tater tots – Rating: 4/5 – Crispy tater tots, good, but could have used more seasoning.

Main course:

Wings – Rating: 5/5 – Meaty & crispy. The best part: Not messy. It’s like they cooked the sauce into the wings. It’s not your usual deep-fried wings smothered in sauce. You get the flavors when you bite into the wings without having your face and hands covered in sauce. They offered tempeh, grilled and fried wings. We all went with the fried.

Upper left: Chipotle Bourbon, Upper right: Jalapeno Poppers, Middle: Hot

Flavors of wings we tried (I don’t have the exact flavor names. I made the mistake of not taking a picture of the menu):

Hot – Rating: 3/5 – Not too flavorful, but spicy. Have some fun, order something that’s spicy and flavorful.

Medium – Rating: 4/5 – Not too flavorful, but a good amount of spicy for those who cannot handle hot.

BBQ – Rating: 4/5 – Plain, standard BBQ flavor, as expect. Maybe they should offer Honey BBQ also so it’s not as standard.

Cilantro Lime – Rating: 3/5 – The flavor of the cilantro did not come out, neither did the lime. It just tasted like a piece of fried chicken.

Root-beer Glazed – Rating: 5/5 – The table’s first favorite. A tad bit sweet, a tad bit spicy and a tad bit salty, perfecto. You can taste that spicy, sweet root beer flavor. Awesome! *Must try!

Pineapple – Ratings: 3/5 – More like limey than pineapple-y? A little bit too tangy of a flavor for wings.

Chipotle Bourbon – Rating 5/5 – My table’s second favorite. Extremely spicy and flavorful at the same time. *Must try!

All of us ordered 9 wings for $8.50 and chose three different flavors. Appetizers were about $4 and drinks were $2. They had many other choices of food besides wings, but we went for the wings. I’ll post a copy of the menu for prices and choices as soon as I get my hands on one. Post comments if you tried anything else from the restaurant that I should review! I’ll definitely be back there soon.

Check out urbanspoon’s rating of Hot Mama’s Wings:

Hot Mama's Wings on Urbanspoon

Happy eating!

Eating like there's no tomorrow.

I started this blog knowing only one thing: I wanted to write about food.

But, what about food? I don’t know. I just know I love food when I’m hungry…or bored.

After talking to a fellow journalist, he suggested I review local restaurants around campus to give Eugenites some insight and ideas on where to eat and what to eat.

I liked the idea, but thought it was too local; I want to appeal to anyone from anywhere.

But then, he asked me how do I expect to generate buzz nationally, when I haven’t done so locally?

Ah, words of wisdom, my friends. So, here goes the new direction and focus of my blog:

I will be stopping by local restaurants around the University of Oregon campus area and around Eugene to review their food, prices, menu selections, atmosphere and anything else that comes to mind.

I am, however, a starving college student and therefore cannot afford to go out to eat so often, so here’s what I am going to do: Alternate between restaurant reviews and recipe reviews. Quite the tongue-twister there.

Well, folks. Wish me luck!

"The Big Easy" Eggs Benedict from Studio One Cafe: Cajun hollandaise on top of poached eggs, jack cheese, grilled tomato, spinach, and a grilled English Muffin, served with a side of homefries.

I am a complete supporter of small, local businesses. I rarely choose to go out to big name restaurants. I prefer to try out local, small restaurants. You never know when you’ll walk into a hole-in-the-wall that serves the most amazing food you’ve ever tasted!

Today I went to Studio One Cafe in Eugene, Oregon for brunch. I got “The Big Easy” from their Eggs Benedict menu. Now I’ve tried eggs benedict in many, many places. But The Big Easy from Studio One Cafe is my most favorite! And to think, I would’ve never found this out if I didn’t try local restaurants and only went to iHop!

My mom owns a little salon in Gresham, Oregon called Paradise Day Spa & Salon. Her business has been suffering for a few years since the economy went into recession. My mom’s a single mom, raising three kids while attempting to run a business, pay off a house and a car.

Being the eldest, I wish there were more I could do for her business. Back in high school, I would go out to her shop and work as a receptionist. I worked to build relationships with the customers. I greeted everyone by their names and made sure customers felt completely comfortable.

Now that I’m away for college, there’s not much I can do. I’m hoping to take the public relations and communication skills I learn from my PR and business administration courses to help her business out once I graduate! I started a Facebook page for her business, but I’m having a hard time gathering any fans. I’ve figured out that personal use of social media is much easier than business’ use of social media. Kudos to those businesses that succeed in the social media world!


Blogger Linda Lam

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