Today my friend and I went to Eugene, FINALLY.
I mean, we’ve been talking about it ever since we went to EVEN’s (Eugene Veg Education Network) little vegan fair in… August. Yeah, kind of a while ago. But I won a gift card for $10 for Keystone Café in a drawing! That was kind of awesome. So ever since then we’ve intended to go back to Eugene to check out this Keystone Café and hit the Goodwill. We’re so exciting, right???
Today at last our schedules and other things coincided and we went. I took Lou Who. GooGoo stayed at home with Daddy and M’s kids were all in school, so it was a peaceful mommy day out. 🙂
First we went to Goodwill, where I did not find shoes for GooGoo as I had hoped, but I did find other things, like a shirt that’s way too big but it has a blue brontosaurus and “vegetarian” on it. I couldn’t resist. And a 3-in-1 Thomas Kinkade puzzle for 99 cents and a glass punch bowl with 12 cups for $4, and a couple other things. Like a 99 cent little husky dog for Lou Who who is really, really into cuddling stuffed animals and dolls. She clung happily to that thing from the moment it got into her hands until we got home, barring the time we were eating.
After Goodwill, we made a run to Walmart because I forgot to bring diapers for Lou Who and she was starting to get Damp Pants. After Walmart it was off to the Keystone Café.
The place is small with tables pretty close together. We got treated to a lot of fascinating conversations around us while not being able to have much of one of our own.
The waitress was very friendly and got us our food quickly. We had 11 specifically vegan items we could order, which were handily grouped together on the menu, and both decided to get the Vegan Tofu Skillet+extra homefries.
Here’s their description of the dish:
Grilled Tofu Scrambled with Homefries, Spinach, Zucchini, Green and Red Bell Peppers, Onions, and Mole Sauce. Topped with Cabbage, Salsa & Cilantro. Served with Corn Bread Topped with Enchilada Sauce & Nutritional Yeast Gravy.
And here’s a picture:
And here’s our rundown. The nooch gravy: excellent. Like, really good. I’m not great at gravy making, and I would love to be able to make that good of gravy at home. The spinach was perfectly steamed, which was great. The homefries were very good. I mean, I can make comparable ones at home, but they were good.
All in all, though, there was just flat-out too much going on with this dish. You have the cornbread topped with TWO sauces. Both were good, but just the gravy would have been better. The tofu had obviously been frozen, and not all the water was cooked out. There was also absolutely no detectable flavour to it. It looked like it had a rub, but I’m positive there was no marinade or anything to pep it up, and it really didn’t look or taste grilled. I added a bunch of salt trying to make it edible. Then there was some crazy spicy sauce mixed in with the veggies that made the veggies pretty much inedible. I don’t mind spicy but it just didn’t… mesh with the dish. It’s hard to describe. Seriously, three sauces in one dish?
M had the exact same reaction I did. In retrospect we wished we had ordered different things just to see if everything was mediocre or if we just didn’t pick a good dish. My suspicion, though, is that vegan isn’t their specialty – it appears to just be an option they offer to cater to the Eugene population. Next time, I plan to go to the Cornbread Café instead, where the entire point of the restaurant is to make amazing vegan food that you can’t easily recreate at home. I haven’t been to the CC, but M has, as well as another friend, and they all rave about it. CC’s Facebook page is a constant stream of delicious food photos that make me want to just go there almost daily.
So, we left there feeling a little blah and decided to go to Vanilla Jill’s.
We almost didn’t go, but we were SO glad we did. We ordered the cocoanut lime creme flavour from the vegan options, mine topped with chocolate chips, and it was SO good it completely made up for the Keystone meal. Now that is something I couldn’t make at home. SO GOOD. Did I mention it was good? We kicked ourselves a little when we saw “VEGAN SANDWICHES” advertised on the whiteboard. They were probably pretty fab vegan sandwiches.
Then we drove back to the place where I had left my car and sat in the parking lot and talked for a long time before she left to pick up her kidlets and I went home.