I have, admittedly, been a fair-weather blogger lately. I am ashamed. Working full-time and taking classes has been tricky, and to top it all off now I have a cold. Boo. Needless to say, I have not made anything worthy of a blog post lately, so this week I'm going to blog about an amazing restaurant I've been meaning to write about since I ate there in August.
Belly Restaurant describes its food as "rustic, European, farmhouse, soul food". I couldn't agree more! Located in the bustling college town of Eugene, Oregon, Belly is my kind of place. It is a small, 10-table restaurant with one or two servers and a exquisite menu that rotates with seasonal foods. Locals boast that it is a market-to-table kind of place that cuts out the middle man. The items are unique, and honestly, not for the faint of stomach. It was the perfect place to enjoy a special occasion with my closest friends, who also happen to be the foodiest people I know.
The evening began with a few bottles of nice wine from local vineyards. I was previously unaware, but the area to the east of Eugene is Napa-like rolling hills covered in vineyards with quaint wineries dotting its patchwork frame. We had an amazing Riesling at Sweet Cheeks Winery. If you ever have a chance to taste it, please do.
Wine accompanied a variety of appetizers that we passed around so everyone could have a taste. Delicate gougeres, savory bacon-wrapped fresh figs with apple cider gastrique and hazelnuts, and potted rabbit passed round and round. What is potted rabbit? Delicious flaky rabbit prepared in a small clay pot, served with bread, coarse salt, and pickled onion. It was possibly my favorite part of the meal and I have cravings for it to this day.
Entrees were just as impressive. I chose chicken and dumplings with wild mushrooms and truffle oil. It was served in a huge clay bowl, and I ate every last bite. Others in our party enjoyed everything from pork shoulder confit, to cumin and coriander rubbed skirt steak, to pan roasted salmon. The meal was savory, fresh, unique and overall amazing.
We finished with a birthday cake from a local bakery and champagne. Now that is a meal!