Meet Melissa Bahen, food blogger, from Willamette Valley, Oregon. Melissa has learned to cook in her mom’s kitchen, who learned to cook in her mom’s kitchen. This passion for homemade food, passed down from generation to generation, has made Melissa’s life revolve around meals: one of her favorite things to do is plan out her family’s weekly menu. She started her blog, Lulu the Baker, in 2008 as a place to collect her family’s favorite recipes. Here’s Eugene, Oregon, in her own words.
My Edible City
Eugene, Oregon. My husband and I moved to Eugene over 6 years ago when our oldest daughter was just 10 months old. We didn’t know anyone here or have any family nearby, but we felt at home immediately in this funny, friendly little college town. Eugene has so many things that we love: you can cross town in 30 minutes or less even on the busiest day; it’s surrounded by beautiful farmland, and you can go 15 minutes in any direction and find a farm stand, orchard, or u-pick farm; and it has such a nice, small-town atmosphere–we rarely go out to dinner or run errands without running into someone we know! And we somehow talked both sets of parents into moving here too. So now, in addition to the friendly people and beautiful scenery that we like so much, we are surrounded by so many of the people we love! We are very lucky to call this beautiful corner of the world home.
My Favorite Dish
Cheeseburger, onion rings, and homemade ranch from Dickie Jo’s Burgers. I love a good hamburger, and in my opinion, Dickie Jo’s has the best burgers in town! They make their own buns, which I think makes a huge difference, and use beef from the Pacific Northwest. I always like to know where my meat is coming from! They make crazy-good garlic fries, but I’m especially partial to the onion rings that they serve with this amazing, garlicky housemade ranch. And they have really good shakes and root beer floats too. When they first opened, their menu was pretty small, but they’ve since expanded it to include classic American diner fare like BLT’s, wedge salads, and chili dogs. And I’ve snuck more than a few of the Ritz cracker-coated chicken fingers off my children’s plates, and they are so delicious! You really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu–it’s all fantastic!
- Plan a weekend in Eugene with the help of these guides: 36 Hours in Eugene (The New York Times) and 48 Hours in Eugene (Sunset Magazine)
- Did you know Willamette Valley was Oregon’s premiere wine region? Get to know Oregon’s wines and learn more about the valley’s smaller wine producers: Willamette Valley’s Boutique Vineyards (Travel+Leisure)
Photo Credits: All pictures by Melissa Bahen.