Julia Crowley - Page 14

Wine Down Eugene


Eugene’s Wine Scene April 27 – May 3

Wine Bars

Territorial Vineyards & Wine Co.: Thu. 5-11p Live music by Ravinwolf-Psychedelic Sagebrush Blues; Sat. 3-9p “Kids Are Alright” featuring kids art in the tasting room with teacher Tim McLaughlin and rockin’ kids music.

LaVelle Club Room at 5th Street Market: Tues. 5-7p ½ off glass pours for Tasty Tuesday Women’s Networking Group; Wed. 5-8p ½off glass pours for ladies; Thurs. 6-8p Live music by Michael Conley; Fri. 6-8p live music by Jerry Zybach, Chef Evan dinner specials: Portobello Mushroom stuffed with bacon, sun-dried tomatoes and cream cheese, side of brussels sprouts and polenta along with a soup or salad for $16.

The Broadway Wine & Deli: Fri. 5-7p House Picks & Pours

Café Lucky Noodle: Tue. Wine Night – all bottles 35% off

16 Tons Beer & Wine: Thu. All day celebration of first anniversary & release of 16 Tons very own barrel aged beer-Oolong Tea Saison Ale.

Café 440: Wed. all day Wine Flight Night with Barnard & Griffin

Granary Wine Bar: Wed. all day $5 glass pour of house white or red

Marche Provisions: Fri. 5-7p FREE wine tasting

The Washburne Café: Fri. All day Philip’s Phabulous Clam Chowder paired with a glass of Sarver Winery Estate Grown Pinot Gris $8. Portobello Panini paired with a glass of Patchwork Cellars Pinot Noir $9


Wineries & Vineyards

Pfeiffer Vineyards: Sat. Tasting, Tapas, and Tango at Pfeiffer Vineyards! $40 per person. For more information about this very special event call 541-998-2828 or email [email protected]

LaVelle Vineyards Winery in Elmira: Fr. 5-9p Friday Night Flights-free flight of wine samplings, live music by Skip Jones, food offered by DEVOUR; Sat.6:30-9:30p Murder Mystery Dinner “Last Breath in Paris”. $79 per person, Call 541-935-9406 for reservations

Silvan Ridge Winery: Sat. 6p Winery Dinner featuring Marché Restaurant [email protected] for reservations

Noble Estate Vineyard: Fri., Sat., Sun. Try Noble Estate’s award winners at the Astoria Seafood & Wine Festival

Sarver Winery: Join their new Wine Club! Head out to the winery for details or call 541-935-2979

Sweet Cheeks Winery: Fri. 6-9p Twilight Tasting, wine & cheese pairing, live music; Sun. noon-6p Mimosa Sunday, live music on the patio, bring your own brunch.


Reserve Now

May 4: 5:30-7p Ambrosia’s First Wednesday Wine Tasting

  • Taste 10 different wines and enjoy house made appetizers $15 per person

May 7: 6-9p 16 Tons Wine vs. Beer Cheese Pairing

May 7: Sam’s Party Shuttle Presents: Girl’s Day Out!

  • Round trip transportation with professional wine guide
  • Lunch & Wine at Pfeiffer Vineyards
  • Wine & Olive Tasting at Shadow Mountain Vineyards – Olive Oil tasting presented by Olive Grand
  • Specially prepared dessert and sparkling wine at Domain Meriwether
  • $45 per person, bus leave’s Sam’s Place at Noon, return at 5p Call 541-221-8592
Wine Down Eugene

Agate Alley’s Awesomeness

Agate Alley's street side outdoor seating

I usually try to limit my use of the word “awesome”, but when I think of Agate Alley Bistro, the word simply and continuously comes to mind. Agate Alley Bistro is really awesome.

I love it when I’m heading somewhere specific with a plan in mind, then suddenly and unexpectedly I end up somewhere else with a serendipitous surprise of ‘awesome’ food, wine, and service…

Entrance and side patio

Last week, I had plans with a friend to meet up at our usual appetizer and brew hang out, McMenamin’s East 19th Street Café; however, plans changed while I was trying to parallel park my big truck into a tight spot along the curb of East 19th. A small crowd of people enjoying the bit of warmth and sunshine on the front patio of Agate Alley Bistro eyed me as I nervously maneuvered my truck back and forth. Fortunately, one of the warmth worshipers headed my way and waved me into the space with ease, kind enough to spare me the embarrassment of looking like a total goof with a serious lack of expertise when parking a big rig in a small spot. I thanked him for his help, and before I could head across the street, he asked if I had ever been to Agate Alley Bistro. I hadn’t, and he said, “You really need to try some of Agate Alley’s awesome food and drinks.” With that said, I convinced my friend we should try something new, and we headed through the gated entrance to Agate Alley Bistro.

Green Grape Hanging Light

There were more warmth goers sitting on the side patio next to the restaurant entrance, imbibing and having a good time. Once we were inside, I immediately noticed the unique lighting and funky décor. Hanging over the hostess stand was a large 70’s era stained glass lantern style light, and to the left, a huge cluster of green glass grapes lit the hallway to the two bathroom doors that were not gender specific: one door read “either” the other door read “or”. The waiting area had a 60’s carousel style pseudo fireplace that created a homey feeling, while the hanging Moroccan style lanterns and table lanterns created a dim and inviting ambiance.

waiting area - when it's busy!

We decided to make our way into the bar to have a look at the drink and lunch menus. Their appetizer, entrée, wine, beer and cocktail menu all had choices that were as unique as the lighting and décor. Some of the many appetizer choices included Grilled Artichoke, Smothered and Covered Fries, Pumpkin Enchilada’s, and Spanish Mussels. The not-so-typical salad choices included Spinach and Poached Pear, Ahi Nicoise, and an olive oil Roasted Beet Salad with tossed greens, Oregon goat cheese, candied walnuts and champagne white truffle vinaigrette. Their sandwiches looked equally delicious with choices like Le Meatloaf Gourmet, Oregon B.L.T., and The Greatest American Gyro. With such great choices, we made our way to a bistro table in the center of the room and continued to scan the menu. The appealing and diverse pizza choices baited us into a frenzy of indecision, and we knew we’d need to try at least one of them. Some of the enticing choices for a 10 inch thin crust are:

  • The Olympus- A Greek mountain of artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives, red onions, sun-dried tomato relish & goat cheese over fresh tomato sauce topped with a blend of six cheeses
  • Fig Prosciutto- Brandied figs, prosciutto, gorgonzola & olive oil, baked and topped with a fresh balsamic-dressed arugula.
  • Thai Chicken- Marinated chicken, mushrooms, peanuts, green onions and mozzarella cheese with a spicy peanut sauce, garnished with fresh cilantro.
  • Wild Mushroom Mushrooms, caramelized onions, garlic, with fresh rosemary and thyme over a garlic cream sauce.  Topped with a blend of six cheeses.
Covered & Smothered Fries

In an idyllic world, we would have ordered one slice from each pie, to share. But knowing that we would want to be welcomed back to this funky little bistro we had just discovered, we instead glanced over the excellent selection of wines by the glass. Mainly from the Pacific Northwest with some California, French and Portuguese wines, I ordered a glass of the local Opine Cellars Syrah. Opine Cellars is located in Eugene, and winemaker John Jarboe focuses on making small lot Rhone varietals from grapes grown at Chukar Ridge Vineyard in Washington. The climate in Washington is perfect for growing Syrah, Viognier, and Rhone style red blends. My Syrah was filled with blackberry, cinnamon, prunes and sweet spice flavors all followed by the expected peppery finish of a good Syrah. My friend ordered the Two Birds & A Sheep Willamette Valley Pinot Gris which had strong aromas of ripe pears, and the taste was peachy with a hint of lychee which produced a light, crisp, and well balanced wine.

Wine bottle pendant lights hang over the bar

We were thrilled with our wine choices, so we decided to start off with the too tempting ‘Covered and Smothered Fries’-delectable skinny fries lightly seasoned with pepper and sea salt, covered in a rich demi glaze and then smothered with fresh mozzarella. We also decided to settle on one of the pizzas to share: The Wild Mushroom Pizza. While we dove into the rich, creamy, and delicious fries, I noticed more unique lighting that hung over the bar: green label-less wine bottles, with dimly lit bulbs inside added a touch of creativity to the ambiance. We looked around the room at other interesting décor items; for instance, two white chairs in the shape of large hands, aglow from red lights within, sat in the corner of the room; in fact, the whole bar was loaded with interesting conversation pieces, and we had a lot of fun talking about each of the unconventional and off-beat ornamentations.

Roasted Beet Salad with Champagne White Truffle Vinaigrette (photo courtesy Agate Alley)

Feeling like we needed a little greenery after polishing off the heaping mound of deliciously sinful fries, we ordered the olive oil Roasted Beet Salad and the Spinach & Port-Poached Pear salad with house-cured pancetta, red onions, toasted almonds, blue cheese, and a tangy carrot vinaigrette. Both of these salads exploded with delicious and unique flavor combinations that paired harmoniously with one another, including pairing perfectly with our wine selections.

Delicious House-Made Sangria

When the Wild Mushroom Pizza arrived, I knew after my first bite that I had just tasted the most awesome pizza of all time. The garlic cream sauce, in place of a traditional red sauce, was an unforeseen blissful match with the wild mushrooms, caramelized onions and fresh rosemary and thyme. The blend of six cheeses did not overpower the savory and meaty flavors of the mushrooms, and the rosemary and thyme brought all the flavors together to create a pizza that was out-of-this-world delicious; especially, with the Opine Cellars Chukar Ridge Syrah that I was happily sipping with every bite of pizza. It was awesome.  To top off the extraordinary meal we had just devoured, we decided to skip dessert and try their house made Agate Alley Sangria, and even their Sangria burst with unique flavors of fruit soaked in port wine, cloves, cinnamon and all-spice. This, too, was awesome.

The Marionberry Mint Margarita (photo courtesy Agate Alley)

So, the next time I head down E. 19th Street, I’ll be eyeing any big openings somewhere near the awesome Agate Alley Bistro. I already know I’m going to order the Pumpkin Enchilada’s, Fig Prosciutto Pizza, and a bottle of Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir from their extensive and impressive bottle list. For dessert, the Marionberry Mint Margarita will be what fills my glass.

Thanks to the guy who helped me get my truck into that spot without a hitch, he was right on when he suggested I try Agate Alley Bistro’s awesome food and drinks. The food, drinks, service, and unique décor are all part of what makes Agate Alley awesome and places like Agate Alley are truly what makes Eugene a great place to live and enjoy life. Cheers!

Agate Alley Bistro
1461 East 19th

Weekly events include: Fondue Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Econopint Wednesdays, Drink Wheel Thursdays, and House Party Saturdays.

Julia – Writing About Eugene’s Wine (& awesome food) Scene

The Granary Pizza Co. – Pizza…and then some.

The Granary Pizza Co.

Welcome to The Granary: Pizzeria-Nightclub-Jazz Bar-Cocktail Bar-Poetry Forum-beloved Dead Head hang out; well, at least it is on their Grateful Dead Live Tuesday night venues, and wine bar. I had heard that the owners of The Granary kept the feel of the old Jo Fed’s by continuing their live music venues, but I truly had no idea what a night out for pizza would evolve into.


A friend of mine and I originally headed to The Granary for a good old-fashioned pizza, but when we were immediately greeted by stocked shelves of local and international wines and a sign that read, “Welcome, Please Seat Yourself in the Wine Bar”, we were surprisingly sent off course and directly into a cozy, candle lit wine bar with bistro tables lined along windows that stretched from floor to ceiling with front row viewing of the happenings on 5th Street. The granite rectangular shaped bar was lined with leather cushioned bar stools, and beautiful glass blown pendant lights hung from the exposed duct, high ceilings.

The Wine Bar

Their wine list was far from limited, and included an impressive selection of boutique wines from Oregon, a few wines from California, and an extensive selection of wines from Italy.  Although we could have been adventurous and ordered something we weren’t real familiar with, like an Italian Dolcetto/Nebbiolo/Barbera blend, we instead decided to keep it local, and pick out a bottle of Pinot Noir from their list of 10 different Pinot’s, all from Oregon with the exception of one California Pinot. Being that I’m a huge fan of Pinot Noir’s from the Willamette Valley, we chose the 2008 Penner-Ash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. While waiting for the cork of our Pinot to be popped, we glanced over the two sided menu. One side was entirely dedicated to pizza, and just a few of the appealing topping choices were egg plant, blue cheese, and asparagus, even dates were an option. The other side of the menu had an alluring selection of appetizers, salads, and pasta dishes.

Wine Herb Marinaded Calamari

After we spotted the Baked Artichoke Stuffed with Italian Herbed Goat Cheese, Roasted Garlic & Parmesan served with Garlic Crostini and the Calamari-Wine Herb Marinade, Crispy Fried with Lemon Herb Aioli our craving for pizza was no longer what needed to be satiated. Alternatively to pizza, we ordered these two appetizer’s for starters and an adult style Mac and Cheese of Orchette Pasta with Sharp Tillamook Cheddar and Parmesan for an entrée to share.

The Oregon Pinot Noir glass

The cork was popped on our wine, and the waitress filled our Riedel Vinum XL Oregon Pinot Noir glasses with the highly acclaimed, garnet colored Penner-Ash Pinot. For all you wine snobs out there, I know the words that just caught your eyes (aside from Penner-Ash): “Riedel Oregon Pinot Noir glasses”. Yes, the Granary Pizza Co. serves your wine in what I consider to be the ultimate of the ultimate stemware.

Riedel’s crystal lead Vinum XL Oregon Pinot Noir glass was created during several workshops with famous Oregon wine growers and producers. The tulip shaped glass showcases the luscious Pacific Northwest fruit forward juice we’re so well known for, all while minimizing and balancing the acidity and toning down the alcohol which creates the perfect flow from glass to lips, with every sip. George Riedel claims that this glass is the “Perfect Oregon Pinot Noir dream glass”.  I was clearly impressed to be sipping an outstanding Oregon wine in a glass that was made specifically for that wine.

Tatami room

While we thoroughly enjoyed noshing our baked, stuffed artichoke and crispy, yet tender calamari, we learned that the Granary is co-owned by the owner of the neighboring Lucky Noodle Café and west Eugene’s Ring of Fire restaurant. The name Granary came from the historical building that the restaurant is housed in, which was once a Silo. The restaurant and wine bar are upstairs, and the nightclub, cocktail bar, and stage are downstairs. There are themed rooms within the Granary Pizza Co., like the Asian inspired Tatami Room; where you must remove your shoes before entering and sit on cushions that are placed around a sunken dining area.

view of 5th St. from wine bar

There’s also a very private alcove with a long booth and high ceilings- appropriately named, ‘The Silo’. There are some bar stools along a railing with an eating bar that lurks over the edge to the stage below, where live music and performances reign seven nights a week.  Every Sunday, enjoy a free show by the Green Mountain Blue Grass Band. Mondays are Jazz and Poetry night, and the Grateful Dead plays live-on the big screen, of course, every Tuesday for the Granary’s Grateful Tuesday. If you’re in the mood for a mellow dinner set, Wednesday’s your night with a singer/songwriter theme, but Thursdays are saved for the big bands and big sound. On Fridays and Saturdays, two sets are played each night by local, well-known musicians, and every other Friday, local reggae talents take over the stage.

After we devoured the appetizers and the deliciously creamy adult- style Mac and Cheese, we headed downstairs to finish off our bottle of Penner-Ash Pinot Noir from our specially made Oregon Pinot Noir glasses, and watched the Grateful Dead play live, on the big screen.

So, when you decide to head over to the Granary, whether it’s for a pizza or to pitch some poetry, or maybe to reminisce about your first Grateful Dead show at Autzen, “please seat yourself in the wine bar”, order a glass of wine,  swirl it, sip it and savor it. You’ll be glad you did. Cheers.

The Granary Pizza Co. is on Facebook
259 E. 5thStreet – Eugene

Julia – Writing About Eugene’s Wine Scene

A Perfect Pairing: Pinot & Panini

Yes, this is Springfield!

Whether your palate prefers a crisp, refreshing Pinot Gris or a hearty, fruit-forward Pinot Noir, you’ll be able to choose from a number of delicious Panini’s offered at The Washburne Café to devour while sipping on a glass of locally hand-crafted wine.  Located on Main Street in downtown Springfield, the Washburne’s historic yellow building, arched doorway and big picture windows were what first gained my full attention, but once inside, the refinished wood floors, exposed brick walls, and high ceilings enticed me to order up and stay a while.

choices choices choices

Super excited to see an excellent line-up of local wines; I immediately knew I’d need to scan the menu for something to pair with the wine of my choice, which was a glass of Patchwork Cellars Pinot Noir.  The menu had an alluring selection of Panini’s, Wraps, and Salads.  Two of the Panini’s caught my eye: The Portobello Panini (fresh spinach, roasted red peppers, gorgonzola aioli, & roasted Portobello mushrooms) and the Black Forest Panini (Black Forest ham, spinach, provolone cheese & sun-dried tomato garlic pesto). Knowing that Pinot Noir always pairs well with ham, I went with the Black Forest Panini.

The Black Forest Panini
Cozy and urban at the same time. A very inviting place.
Todays bill of fare.

The full-bodied, earthy Pinot Noir was, in fact, a perfect pairing with the slightly salty flavors of the ham along with the earthy infused flavors of the sun-dried tomatoes. Grilled to perfection with a side of kettle chips, the Panini and wine were gone just in time to notice a band setting up at one end of the café. I soon found out from the owner, Karen Hageman, that downtown Springfield now boasts a lively and well attended Second Friday Art Walk. Karen keeps the café open late every second Friday of each month to host artist receptions along with live music performed by local jazz and blues bands. She also brings in a different winery or brewery for each event, so guests are able to sample, free of charge, some of the area’s best wine and microbrews. Proud to support our local industry, Karen said she plans to continue to bring in local wines and microbrews. Currently, she has wines from Sweet Cheeks, LaVelle Vineyards, Patchwork Cellars, and J. Scott Cellars along with an ample selection of microbrews from Ninkasi, Oakshire and Hop Valley. I raved to Karen about the perfect Panini and Pinot pairing that I had recently discovered, and she noted that they aren’t well-known only for their savory Panini’s, but their homemade soups have acquired a sort of cult following.

The great brews are well represented.

Regulars flock the café when the soup specials involve their well-known Lobster Bisque or Philip’s Phabulous Clam Chowder. Their Hungarian Mushroom Soup has been dubbed by regulars as ‘The World’s Best’. Although my perfect pairing for the day was a Pinot and a Panini, I’m looking forward to pairing the LaVelle Pinot Gris with the Lobster Bisque on my upcoming visit, which will happen on April 8th, the Second Friday Art Walk. I plan to arrive early (before 5:00pm) because the café becomes a full house during these special events, and I’m thinking it will be very busy: Karen’s booked the Dennis St. Germain Jazz Quartet, photographer John Thomas’s ‘Portal to the World’ photo’s of old European architecture will be displayed throughout the café, and the guys from Oakshire Brewing will be there with samples of their stellar microbrews. So, whatever you’re craving- a glass of wine and a Panini or a microbrew and a cup of soup, the Washburne Café’s got you covered.

The Washburne Café
326 Main Street


The Washburne Café is on Facebook

All photo’s courtesy of Seen Eugene www.seeneugene.com

Julia – Writing about Eugene’s Wine Scene

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