Breakers Yard and Oakshire Brewery — A Great Match

Yaicha and Jesse at Oakshire

Yaicha enjoying a pint while I indulge in the barleywine

I’ve come to the conclusion that craft beer and Delta blues music goes well together like peanut butter and jelly. Yaicha and I traveled to Eugene for Thanksgiving and we were treated to a fine performance at Oakshire Brewing from one of my best friend’s in his band, Breakers Yard. Jordan “Slim Bones” Trio plays suitcase percussion and kazoo in this band and it’s been interesting to see him mature musically throughout the years of knowing him. We’ve been friends for over half our lives and I’ve seen him go from listening to rap and metal to electronic dance music, blues and jazz. It was our first time at Oakshire Brewing, but I’ll definitely go back.

The atmosphere was buzzing when we entered the tasting room. I’m not sure if everyone there was for the live music, but it looked like Oakshire was having a Black Friday sale on their beers, because the place was packed. We enjoyed some exclusive ales served mainly at the brewery and took two special bottles with us back home: the Big Black Jack Imperial Chocolate Pumpkin Porter and the Perfect Storm Imperial IPA. Both of those were fantastic beers and worth the price of $7 per 22 oz. bottle.

Breakers Yard plays at Oakshire fairly frequently, so I recommend checking them out if you’re ever in the Eugene area. Buy a CD and help support local music!

Breakers Yard at Oakshire Brewing

Breakers Yard playing some Delta blues in the Oakshire Brewing tasting room


The 4th Annual Whiteaker Block Party 2010

Whiteaker Block Party 2010, early afternoon

Words and pictures by Jesse Radonski

Eugene, Oregon is a campus town with an awesome local culture where just about everything is within walking distance and something to do, even without spending money, is just a short jaunt away. August 7th, 2010 marked the 4th Annual Whiteaker Block Party, another free event that’s based in the Whiteaker area of Eugene. If you haven’t been to this area yet, you’re missing out on a culture with honest roots.

This year the Whiteaker Block Party was advertised as being located on West 3rd street between Blair and Adams, which technically makes it more of a street party rather than a block party. Regardless, if one were to meander among the eclectic mix of people, I doubt they would’ve cared less about how this event has grown in four years.

Over 30 bands rocked various stages around the neighborhood this year and the food carts were out in full force, feeding the faces of many. Ninkasi Brewing had people quaffing beverages left and right at their outdoor beer garden available with their flagship ales Total Domination IPA, Believe Double Red Ale, and the summer seasonal Radiant Ale, (though the line to get in would’ve taken the patience of a monk as the evening progressed.) Olive Juice supplied the usual eye-candy with their fashion forward styles available for purchase at their funky-fresh locally owned store. Many of the houses also had their own events that people could just wander into including metal shows and silent art auctions. New to the Whiteaker Block Party was a screen-printing area and photo booth for attendees.

Overall, this was the first time I’ve ever attended the Whiteaker Block Party due to conflicting schedules in past years but I’d have to admit that I thought it was pretty cool. I was hesitant that I’d fully enjoy it since I see so much of this off-kilter mix of individuality near my place of employment in downtown Eugene, but I was proved wrong. This is a definite must-see and experience if you’re into people watching and a great cost-effective way to spend a day during the summer.

Images from W.B.P. 2010:

Whiteaker Block Party 2010

The Vintage, Restaurant: My Impression

The Vintage: A Place of Waiting

The Vintage: A Place of Waiting

There’s a restaurant nestled in the heart of Downtown Eugene, Oregon between 8th and Broadway on Lincoln Street called “The Vintage.”  This little converted house into restaurant flaunts some tasty meals, desserts, and drinks without an exceptionally expensive menu. When I first started dining at this establishment, I was greeted with service that wasn’t the best I’ve ever had but above-average because the size of the establishment doesn’t allow for a enormous group of customers to dine at once.  Lately, though, the delightful experience I once had has gone down the drain.

The last three times I’ve gone to The Vintage we’ve had a service and/or an experience that was much below my expectation.  I’ve waited until now to blog about it because I feel that everyone in the service industry has an off-day and one daily experience with a restaurant isn’t enough to bash their overall integrity.  Three times bad service in a row does equate to something that needs to be said whether it be vocally or in print.  Here’s what has happened the last three times I’ve gone to The Vintage:

1.  My girlfriend, Yaicha, and I invited her parents to The Vintage for a Mother’s Day brunch.  We understood that almost any restaurant we’d go to on that day would have a slight wait.  This wait wasn’t too long and they sat us outside on the slightly chilly patio.  We ordered our food and most of us got what we wanted… except my girlfriend’s Mother.  She ordered fish & chips and upon arrival of her meal, she requested tartar sauce and malt vinegar.  The waitress returned about five minutes later explaining they were completely out of tartar sauce and offered ranch instead.  What restaurant sells fish & chips without tartar sauce?  We didn’t get any discount for not serving a meal correctly and especially for the Mother on Mother’s Day!  Overall, to get our drinks, food, and checkout, it took well over an hour.  An extra bonus goes to the chef who was blasting a radio in the kitchen that we could hear through the vent next to our table.

2.  The next time Yaicha and I decided to go to The Vintage was shortly after we received a gift certificate from a new friend of ours in appreciation to all the hard work Yaicha put into her newly sister-in-law’s bachelorette party.  We arrived on a notoriously busy night called “Thirsty Thursday” where you can get a burger and two beers of your choice for eight bucks.  It’s a great deal and we were willing to wait.  After about a half hour, we were sat next to this group of hippies who were done eating but were still lingering on a night where the restaurant specifically asks customers to hurry along so that others can be seated.  Then they started making what they considered to be music on their glasses.  CLANG CLANG BANG!!!  It took about two minutes (and many glares from customers including us) before a waitress finally asked them to stop.  As soon as we ordered our food, the waitress speeds off without asking us what we’d like to drink.  This seems to be pretty notorious for The Vintage in my opinion.  I only get one refill at most when I’m there and it takes forever.  So, we finally get our food and ask for our other beer because we’re afraid we won’t get our second beer until after we’re already done with our food.  Once we’re finished dining, we received our check which brings me to my other pet peeve of The Vintage.  Once someone is served their check, please, come back in two minutes to check them out.  Don’t wait ten minutes to come back to the table who’s ready to leave and is done with their drinks and food.

3.  This is probably the last time I’m going to eat at The Vintage until I hear that they’ve shaped their establishment up.  Yaicha and our friend Lorien went to The Vintage less than a week ago.  By the time I arrived, they’ve already gotten their food and drinks.  I’m sitting at the table for about 10 – 15 minutes and their waitress still hasn’t come by to ask if I’d like anything to eat or drink.  I finally approached the bar to ask our waitress if she’d mind stopping at our table so I could order a drink when she had a moment, to which I received a hastily rude reply that she’s busy with others and will be there when she can.  Shortly after that she stopped by and I asked for a Jalapeno Margarita which arrived 15 minutes later.  Should it really take 15 minutes to get a mixed drink?  Where’d she go?  She didn’t have to cut up any jalapenos because the mix is already made and displayed in a decanter on the bar!  Shortly after we received our check, it happened again; we got the check but the waitress didn’t come back to the table to pick it up and finish ringing up the credit card.  I’m not sure how long it took to get the check because I left after waiting for 10 minutes.  I can tell you that I bicycled to a store to get something to drink a block away, bicycled home about eight blocks from there and still made it home before they arrived in a vehicle.  Yaicha explained that it took longer than expected because they messed up the check and had to fix it which, I’m guessing, wasn’t easy.

Overall, I must say that I’ve had better service at Chile’s connected to the Valley River Center mall.  What makes going to independent restaurants so nice over the chains is not just the food but also the cozy atmosphere where the customer is important.  I’ve never felt important nor cozy and I won’t be choosing to eat at this establishment until their waiters and waitresses have been educated on basic serving essentials.