December 19, 2019 –January 13, 2020
We started out the next day in Eugene with no firm plans other than to explore the city a bit, which we did at a leisurely pace. We drove downtown and after finding a parking space in a parking structure, walked a number of the blocks checking out the shops and eating establishments.
Our first stop was at Noisette Pastry Kitchen, the kind of place you’d frequent regularly if you lived close by, featuring all kinds of baked goods and savory food offerings. We split a large coffee and quite good mixed berry tart, more than enough to send us on our way as we kept exploring.
As we’d been on the move quite a bit in the last month and my back was bothering me from the bike accident just a few weeks earlier, we decided to take in a movie to fill up part of the afternoon. Our choice, and a good one, was the Daniel Craig vehicle Knives Out. As one film critic stated:
Knives Out is a delightfully hilarious whodunnit that questions everything you know and turns your own expectations around on you. Johnson (the director) capitalizes on a cast with the chops for comedy, drama, and suspense, and optimizes the abilities of all actors. This movie was incredibly fun, and worth a watch for both the biggest film critic, and the most casual movie fan.
We would watch it again this spring with Diana and Jim in North Carolina and find it just as enjoyable the second time as we anticipated particular scenes or spoken lines. If you haven’t seen it do so. Having whiled away the afternoon we took off to meet Kemet at The Bier Stein, his recommendation for good beer and food.
Like Noisette earlier in the day, if we lived close to this place, we’d be regulars, much as we were at the Flying Saucer in Charlotte. With an extensive draft beer selection, a diverse food menu of reasonably priced items and a wall of refrigerated cases full of even more beer to take home with you, its popularity is well deserved.
We placed our initial order at the counter, later doing so from our table, and sat down to wait for Kemet to arrive. Among the beers we’d consume were Migration Brewing’s Double Dribble, a 8.5% Double IPA, a Lagunitas Cherry Jane Sour, and for Kemet as he was seeing how long into the new year he could go without drinking any alcohol, a Boneyard Brewing’s Passion Orange CBD Elixir, a non-alcoholic, sparkling CBD beverage that contains only natural ingredients and hemp derived cannabidiol.
For food we’d split a creamy bowl of the Bier Cheese soup, a Reuben, and a Pork Schnitzel, the latter served hunter style (rich brown gravy and mushrooms) with Spaetzle. It would be more than enough food, so much so that most of the Reuben went back to the apartment to join our leftovers from Ta Ra Rin the night before.
Kemet is native of the area and besides getting caught up on his life in the year or so since we last saw him, gave us lots of ideas about things to see and do on our final day in town. And we would follow up on a number of them. We bade him farewell and drove back to the Airbnb, spending the rest of the evening streaming a current fave (likely one episode each of the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan)
Early the next day we made it to the University of Oregon and their recently remodeled and expanded Student Union. My last visit here was in 2007, when my late friend Dusty Miller hosted the annual Pac-10 Directors meeting I would regularly attend during my tenure as the Director of UCLA’s Student Union and Student Support Services.
Each year one campus would host; I did so twice at UCLA, one of those in conjunction with our friends at USC. This meant trips to Seattle, Berkeley, Tucson, Corvallis, and Phoenix, missing out only on Pullman. I would come to treasure this group of individuals and the connection we shared, our meetings comprised of day long sessions sharing information about the operations we oversaw and the evenings full of good food and drink.
It would be at that meeting in 2007 that I came to make a decision that would dramatically alter the course of our lives. I was deeply unhappy at UCLA at the time but stuck in place with many years of service, reluctant to leave, also not keen to disrupt the life we had built in our hometown of Los Angeles. And yet, when Brett from ASU announced that he was leaving to take another position due to circumstances like mine, I knew I too had to take the leap and make the change as well.
And so not long after, I’d apply for a position at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and our lives would change for the better. We would embrace the challenge of uprooting our lives and moving across the country and be rewarded with a great finish to my career, making numerous new friends, and discovering that happiness is often found not where you live, but who you live it with.
Noisette Pastry Kitchen: https://www.noisettepk.com/
Knives Out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knives_Out
The Bier Stein: https://thebierstein.com/
Migration Brewing: https://migrationbrewing.com/
Boneyard Brewing: http://boneyardbeer.com/boneyard-elixir/
Lagunitas Cherry Jane: https://lagunitas.com/beer/cherry-jane
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: https://www.amazon.com/Marvelous-Mrs-Maisel-Season/dp/B06VYH1GF7