Culinary Serendipity, Eugene

Funny what happens when you don’t have time to consult Chowhound. Things work out, somehow.

I had worked night and day to carve out time to get to Eugene for the Console-ing Passions Conference. I had to rely on local knowledge, and the culinary sensibilities of fellow-academics.

The first evening of the conference, I joined forces with two charming profs from Canada. We were in a bar. We needed to eat. Jetlagged and hungry, I approached an older, inebriated man, whose wobbly finger pointed us in the direction of Excelsior. Not bad for a random rec from an aimiable drunk. Local greens, homemade pasta, great wine. We talked about TV all evening long.

The next night, Puget Sound oysters with champagne mignonette, at Marché, in the company of the Brainy Femme Fatale, the Butch Theorist and the Mysterious Montrealer. Femme Fatale had, in fact, consulted Chowhound and, like me when I take on this role, felt responsible for our gustatory happiness. No worries. They had me at “Rhubarb-Vanilla Cocktail.” More spring-themed originality in the cornmeal cake with rhubarb compote and creme fraiche ice cream, shared four ways. We fought over the last succulent bite.

The following day, sublime green papaya salad with grilled chicken with The Sage Film Critic at a Thai restaurant situated on a freeway. Conversation about second wave feminist film and video. Bites of tangy salty-sweet deliciousness.

I couldn’t find a bad bite of food in Eugene.

It was a good lesson. Sometimes, you just need to let go.

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