Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Gone to Oregon


It’s always nice to visit some place new. (I can say that with confidence because I’ve already visited Newark, NJ.) Right now I’m in Eugene, Oregon for a couple of days of speaking with the nicest, most socially committed people imaginable, helping them look at new ways to get out their message about what they do. This is my first visit to Oregon, birthplace of my good friend the writer EM Lewis and, for all I know, many other people as well. I have found a lot to like. Principally among them:  crisp clean air that reminds me of my birthplace in the Pine Barrens in the late autumn; friendly service; and good beer.

The Bier Stein, above, presents one perfectly valid reason to visit Eugene, Oregon. Within, one can find billions of biers from which to choose, as well as fine kraut and sausages to accompany them. What I did not expect was this:  a cream of portabello mushroom soup with smoked gouda, roasted red peppers, and spinach, that was so slam-bang good that you would swear off all competing soups for the rest of your life. Look, I know:  That soup sounds a) like a cliched Oregon soup gone bad, and b) like something I would not only never eat but would also gladly mock. Too fey, too hippie, too something. But I asked the bartender or whatever they’re called around here what was good, and I drank the bier he recommended and it was good, and I asked him what was good to eat, and he recommended that soup and he was absolutely right. Here’s a tip:  Whenever you’re someplace new, ask the locals, or the bartender or whatever, what’s good. And then order that. As a general tip for living, this is a good one to follow. I wish I had taken a photo of this soup to help cement it into my memory, but I inhaled it faster than any digital camera could have captured it.

As is unfortunately all too often the case, I won’t get to see too much of this city. Last year I did a lot of traveling around the country, and when my wife would ask me how, say, Castle Rock, Colorado was, I would say, “Do you mean the airport, or the hotel?” ‘Cause usually that’s about what I get to see. I hope I get to come back to Eugene and spend some more time with the fine people here, and if I do, I’m ordering that soup again.

4 Responses to “Gone to Oregon”

  1. Joe Says:

    Too bad they can’t serve you a 1985 Rolling Rock in a glass pony bottle.
    I’d pay real money for that!

    I remember I once put a case of said into the US postal service and mailed it to you.

    What a goofball I was…

  2. Uncle Rich Says:

    When Ruth and I went to Seattle a while back to visit our daughter we found a place near the famous Pike’s Market that sold only soup. Went there several times and were never disappointed. Ruth has fond memories of their chowder.

  3. Joe Says:

    Ah yes, the lure of the specialty restaurant, every town has one…


  4. leewochner.com » Blog Archive » Update to my Oregon story Says:

    […] Remember back here I was lauding the fine soup and beer I had while in the Eugene, Oregon? I was just filing my receipts and realized I left out the key element:  the charge for the home-made soup, and the  beer (a Boddingtons), cost a grand total of $6. I can say with authority that in LA, that would have cost more like $13. (Eight bucks for the Boddingtons. Five bucks for the soup.) And then we would’ve added state sales tax, to the tune of 9.75%, for a whopping $14.75. In Oregon, The Bier Stein did add tax, by the way:  a nickel. I think that was to cover the can. […]

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