Gluten-Free Hiking

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were the staple food of my childhood. Anyone else? From the playground to hiking trails, the sticky-sandwiches were Ziplocked and stashed in my pack on an almost daily basis.

So you can feel my despair, when all of a sudden…no more PB&J. It’s the Gluten-Free (well, almost GF) life for me now. So here are three of my favorite gluten-free hiking snack alternatives to keep you feeling like that energizer-bunny, school kid on every mile.

Recipe for a good hiking snack:

  • packed with protein and calories
  • light weight to carry
  • doesn’t need to be refrigerated

Trail Mix

Try making your own! It’s cheaper, plus then you don’t have to pick out all the ingredients you don’t like. I enjoy a simple mixture of raw almonds with white raisins and chocolate chips.

trail mix

Rice cakes with peanut butter

Slap two of these together and enjoy almost like a real PB&J! If you want to mix it up more, try the apple cinnamon cakes with almond butter or nutella.


Home made granola bars

These are way cheaper than the prepackaged snacks and customizable to be gluten-free – just make sure to use GF rolled oats. I like adding sunflower seeds, toasted almonds, white chocolate chips and coconut to my creations. Just bake and wrap in plastic to make it to-go friendly. Here’s a tasty recipe!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

What is your favorite treat to bring hiking?

*Always check package descriptions and ingredients when buying gluten-free snacks.

Tapas at Red Agave

For a small meal that is oh so fine…oh so fine, take a seat at Red Agave in Eugene, Oregon for their tapas. Ranging from $6 – $14 these small meals tingle the taste buds and satisfy your gourmet food fix for the month without killing the pocket book. Swing in right as they open to grab a table or go late in the evening to enjoy with their specialty drinks.

Ahi Ceviche

Zwicklemania: Eugene Brewery Tour

Trading in my hiking shoe for the day, I took to a different kind of trail in Eugene, Oregon – the Ale Trail for Zwicklemania.

Featuring dozens of Oregon breweries and brewpubs across the state, Zwicklemania is a sudsy celebration of craft brew. In its fourth year, Zwicklemania is a free event hosted by the Oregon Brewers Guild on President’s Day weekend. Organized by regions throughout the state, visitors have a chance to meet the brewers and sample their favorite beers for a unique day of pint-filled fun.

Named after the small sampling value that can be attached to fermentation tank, this event is made for Zwicklemanics, homebrews, craft brewlovers…but most importantly anyone interested in drinking great Oregon craft beer!

In Eugene, five breweries and pubs opened there doors for the event and a bus sponsored by Rogue ran on a loop around town to shutter visitors.


Known for their super rare, single-batch medleys, Oakshire crafts high quality brews with creativity and spunk. Located along the railroad tracks in the industrial part of Eugene, Oakshire produces three year round ales: Amber, Watershed IPA and Espresso stout.

Oakshire Brewery Company beer samplesFor Zwicklemania, I ordered up their tasting board which featured their three year-round brews plus a tasting of the Spring Seasonal, O’Dark 30.

Like an overly-honest friend, The O’Dark 30 with a dark malty flavor was upfront and awesome. With its richness and weight that ignited your taste buds without killing them with zing, the O’Dark 30 was by far my favorite sample from this brewery stop.

Oakshire’s tasting room is open every Saturday from noon – 5 p.m. with brewery tours occurring at 1 p.m. & 3 p.m. Additional hours include: 3 – 6 p.m. Monday – Thursday and 3 – 7 p.m. on Fridays.

1055 Madera St., Eugene, OR 97402 – ( 541) 688-4555

Ninkasi Brewing Company

Located in the heart of the Whiteaker Neighborhood, Ninkasi serves up tingling-good craft brews. From their Total Domination IPA, which has taken the craft brew market by storm in the Pacific Northwest, to the brewery’s popular seasonal flavors like Renewal and Spring Reign Ale, Ninkasi’s beers offer delicious variety for every beer-lovers’ tastes.

For the event I stated with a sample of their always-awesome IPA with a beef slider on their outdoor patio and then moved indoors to taste their Pilsner.

Ninkasi is open Sunday – Wednesday, noon – 9 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday, noon – 10 p.m.

272 Van Buren Street, Eugene, Oregon 97402 – (541) 344-2739

Falling Sky Brewery tour and tastingFalling Sky Brewery

Eugene’s newest brewpub, Falling Sky Brewery joins the pouring club and in style for its first Zwicklemania. With a full house of regular customers this saturday, the brewery and pub is a lively spot located between downtown and the University district. Serving a selection of hand craft beers from around the state along with recently released in-house creations, Falling Sky specializes in rainy day pints – when it pours outside, Falling Sky pours for 25 cents off. (Lucky for us Eugenians because it rains an awful lot!)

Complimenting their beers, Falling Sky Brewery also offers a lunch and dinner menu featuring food items that are bigger and better than your average brew-pubs such as Pork Rillette and Beer Poached Chicken, but still at a great value.

Falling Sky Brewery is open Sunday – Wednesday, 11 a.m. – midnight and Thursday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 1 a.m.

1334 Oak Alley, Eugene, OR 97401 – (541) 505-7096

McMenamins High Street Brewery & Cafe

From classic Ruby bubbles to zingy IPAs and the most delicious Cajun tots around the McMenamins on High Street showcases brews that go down like old friends. Located in a historic, renovated 1900s house styled with dark wood tables & booths (kind of like what I imagine the Three Broom Sticks -Harry Potter pub- would look like), this McMenamins has all the pub charm needed plus fantastic beer and food to tops – plus it was the first microbrewery in Eugene since Prohibition.

The Brewer, Charlton Fulton, who creates specialty batches of his own recipes from the basement of the house along with the chain favorites, produces craft beers for both the High Street and North Bank locations. For Zwicklemania, Fulton took visitors on tours of the basement brewery, which features its painted steel cask.

In September visit for the annual Mid-Valley Brewfest.

High Street Brewery & Café is open Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 1 a.m. and Sunday, noon – midnight.

1243 High Street, Eugene, OR 97401 – (541) 345-4905

Rogue Beer SampleRogue Public House

The home of Track Town Ales, the Eugene Rogue Public House knows how to serve its customers and keep them running back for more with in-house favorites and tried & true brews.

Based from the original historic Eugene City Brewery, Rogue keeps a laid back pub style that is cozy and comfortable for sharing a couple of pints with friends. Crafting artisan varietals, the pub has 35 beers on tap including the infamous Track Town Ales: 100 Meter, 200 Meter and Triple Jump. Along with their wide variety of brews, Rogue also serves a full lunch and dinner menu and during the week hosts fun trivia and bingo nights.

Rogue Public House is open Monday, noon – 10 p.m., Tuesday – Thursday, noon – 11 p.m., Friday & Saturday, noon – midnight, and Sunday, noon – 9 p.m. and offers brewery tours weekdays at 4:30 p.m.

844 Olive Street, Eugene, OR 97401 – 541-345-4155

More Eugene Area Breweries & Bottle Shops:

Top Posts of 2011

Thank you for all of the support this year. I have enjoyed sharing my travels, adventures, photos and thoughts with all you and look forward to another great year as the Joyful Shoehorn continues to grow.

Leaping into 2012

Thanks to your views, comments & likes here are my top posts of 2011:

1. The Final Leap – Jumping Covered Bridges

The big hurrah-hurrah and last two freeze-frame jumping photos to finish off my almost two-year long journey to visit each of the Covered Bridges of Lane County.

2. How to Survive Winter in the Pacific Northwest

11 Tips to get over the rain, wind and constant gray-ish gloom of the Pacific Northwest.

3. Buick Tweet House Road Trip: King Estate

The first leg of my road trip to Napa with the Buick Tweet House crew for the Napa Valley Film Festival. Sipping delicious wine and savoring fantastic food, the first stop of the trip featured Oregon’s largest winery, King Estate.

4. Tasting Wine Older than Me

Sampling wine nearly twice my age at the Buick Tweet House in Napa. From a rich, earthy 1974 Cabernet Sauvignon to a delicate yet sweet 1976 Riesling, this is one tasting experience I will never forget – no matter  my age.

5. How NOT to Cook Nachos

One of my many mishaps in the kitchen. (It makes me smile that this is one of my top posts of year – lol)

6. Best Photos of 2011

A review of my favorite photos from 2011 since I started my blog in April.

7. Worry-Free Waterfalls

Hiking adventure in Oregon to visit three waterfalls just outside the small town of Dorena. Just remember to fill that gas tank before exploring back country roads!

8. Jumping Covered Bridges – McKenzie River

Ventured deep into the McKenzie River valley to jump at two covered bridges as part of my Covered Bridges of Lane County tour.

9. Elijah Bristow State Park: The Ugly Step Child

This muddy and barren State Part just outside of Eugene may not be the pretty site for recreation, but I can find an adventure under any boring rock.

10. Cheers to Being Single

Hey, sometimes it not that bad being alone!

Thanks for hanging in there for the first year at the Joyful Shoehorn

Also here are my top photo posts based on views for 2011:

  1. Eugene Christmas Lights
  2. Best Photos of 2011
  3. Gluten Free Banana Blueberry Muffins
  4. Over the River and through the Fog
  5. Voluntourism in  Cape Town
  6. A Beautiful View Even When Lost
  7. Cold Feet in Eugene
  8. I’m an Aunt!
  9. Planking at the Oregon State Capitol
  10. Oregon Winter Trees

Cheers to an exciting new year!

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Plate Cleaning at Cafe 440

I eat like a bird, but my first flight into Café 440 I said bye-bye birdie, hello appetite.

A locally owned eatery that has the swank of a big-urban city restaurant but with comfortable space and locally grown products, Café 440 is a fresh, fun and fabulous foodie spot in Eugene. Located on  Coburg Road near Vanilla Jills (an organic frozen yogurt place that is a must-try if you have been for dessert), Café 440 offers a lunch, dinner and gluten-free menu with northwest specialties, fresh produce and locally harvest meats – additionally all the natural “knee Deep” burger are available with a homemade black-bean patty. Beyond the usual, this classy restaurant also pads up their menu with coosh-redos of mommy-made comfort foods such as gourmet Mac N Cheese with a creamy cheese sauce over petite penne and House Meatloaf that is all natural and served with mashed potatoes topped with garlic-basil butter. Plus for you Eugene beer fans out there, Café 440’s Executive Chef Kathryn Reeves also serves up a Ninkasi braised beef short ribs.

For my dinner selection I went with the black bean burger on a grilled ciabatta roll with French fries. As one of my favorite go-to choices when I’m eating out, I have tried many-a-vegetarian burger – but this thick, not-overly seasoned version definitely stood out – so much so that I finished the entire thing! With a soft texture and taste that actually resembled black beans (imagine that) with a light mixing of corn, the burger didn’t cut corners on size and quality – I think it was actually bigger than my sister’s traditional beef burger. The ciabatta roll gave the burger a nice structure and helped to keep this finger food in hand while also offering a nice contrast of texture to the mashed bean. The fries on the side also stood their own (I would go there for just the fries, sad I know, but sometimes you just want some good deep-fried potatoes). With an even crunchiness and a soft seasoning that reminded me of gourmet version of Arby’s or Shari’s seasoned fries, this side dish didn’t need any condiments for dipping because they were tasty enough to savor alone. The only downside of my meal was that I had to pay a dollar more for cheese (most of the add-on cost more unfortunately) but with a fair starting price and my simple burger style, it didn’t break the bank.

Café 440 also has a great drink menu with local wines, beer and a fruity selection of cocktails. Every Wednesday, the bar also offers an evening wine flight to try three small tasters of something new.


Monday – Thursday, 11am-9pm; Friday, 11am-10pm; Saturday, 11am-9pm; Sunday brunch, 9am-2pm

44o Coburg Road, Eugene, OR, (541) 505-8493

For special deals and updates follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Some Eugene Restaurant Love

I’m not usually someone who eats out often, but in the past two weeks you could say that I have significantly boosted the Eugene economy with my food cravings. For those who haven’t experience the culinary mastery that is Eugene’s eclectic and exciting foodie scene, it’s easy to get wrapped up into delicious ethnic cuisines and signature fresh provisions.

Sushi Pure

Just one of the many amazing restaurants located in the Fifth Street Public Market, Sushi Pure creates a Japanese flare that is hard to forget. Serving traditional Japanese cuisines and a wide variety of hand-made sushi, the dark-lit restaurant pops with high-quality food paired with an atmosphere that emphasis the customer experience. Soft black and red fabrics balanced with the sharp edges of the dark tables and offset by soft yellow wall lanterns, the interior demonstrates the restaurant’s value to detail like its hand-rolled, made to order sushi.

Sushi Pure, photo courtesy of

With a wide variety of sushi from simple to chef specialties and ranging in price that makes sushi accessible anytime, Pure Sushi is a wonder spot for a light lunch or formal dinner. The menu also provides sushi alternatives such as traditional chicken teriyaki served in a creative lunch box to soups and other full Japanese entrees.

Sad when I clasp the last piece of sushi, my meal was beyond good. Served on a modern, white square plate and perfectly presented, my dinner consisted of eight spicy tuna rolls surrounded by light purple sticky rice and six mini sushi rolls with soft, succulent shrimp accented by crunchy cucumber. Each piece I ate slowly to enjoy the lovely mixture of flavors and textures and in hope that the experience would continue for as long as possible – something that I hope each new visitor to this excellent sushi restaurant can enjoy and savor sweetly.

296 East Fifth Avenue, suite 220, Eugene, OR 97401, (541) 654-0608

Open Monday – Saturday, 11:00 am – 2:30 pm (lunch), 5:00 – 9:30 pm (dinner), Sake bar open until 2:00 am Friday and Saturday


In a light, modern space at the Oakway Center, Sabai, one of the newest residents to this lively outdoor shopping complex, sends you in hungry and sends you out blissfully content. Serving diverse flavors and cuisines from the Pacific Rim, the restaurant emphasizes fresh ingredients with simple recipes that are light on the stomach but precisely prepared. Accented with traditional Thai food, the menu also offers the opportunity to individualize your dish with level of spice and protein options that include vegetarian selections, hand-cut meats and fresh seafood.

Sabai, Sarah enjoying Pad Him Ma Parn

With a variety of Noodle dishes, curries and stir fries on their main entrée menu, my selection was difficult – but I was excited to see that each of my friends chose a different item. I had Sabai’s signature noodle dish, properly names Sabai Noodle with chicken as my protein. A Pad Thai rice noodle stir fried with egg, fresh bean sprouts and topped with peanuts and a dash of lime, my meal was evenly coated with the lightly sweet sauce and the texture varied with the crunchiness of the nuts with the cool, pleasant slim of the thin noodles. Contrasting to the Sabai Noodle, my friend’s plate of Pad Him Ma Parn dazzled with spice. A stir fry with chili paste, onions, bell peppers, carrots, water chestnuts and cashews and served with family style rice, this meal cleared my sinuses with a delicious mixture of spices.

Highlighted by extremely accommodating and friendly wait staff, Sabai is one restaurant that I imagine will stay bustling for a long time. But with that fact in mind, reservations are recommended for dinner especially on Friday and Saturday evenings. Also look out for the bathroom hall door, it sometimes locks itself! But just peak your head in the kitchen and they will free you to your food again.

27 Oakway Center, Eugene, Oregon 97401, (541) 654-54-24

Izakaya Meiji Company

More than just whisky – though this bar has a very extensive list – Izakaya Meiji Company in the Whitaker Neighborhood of Eugene, is a moody low-light, local-filled restaurant whose scents make you salivate as soon as you enter door. With wonderful service and even better food, this Japanese influenced restaurant offers an exquisite mixture of spices with fresh vegetables, grilled items and rice bowls. Served family-style servings to share that come out individually throughout the meal, the dining atmosphere is like a casual conversation with your food that thrills your mouth with each bit.

My dinner partner and I enjoy two appetizers and two entrees so to be able to taste a variety of items. The first to appear on our small square wooden table, lit by a hanging bare, industrial light bulb were five Gyoza. Perfectly pan-fried with a lit crispness to the outside of the sticky casing, these pork, cabbage and garlic homemade pot stickers slowly disintegrated in your mouth with a lightness of air. Our second appetizer, shitake mushrooms with miso butter served on a skewer, had a powerfully pleasant flavor that was by far my favorite item of the night – and I’m typically not a big mushroom fan. The shitake mushroom grilled lightly and mixed with the salt along with the full texture of the butter made me savor the spongy fungus with the delighted expression of the richest ice cream. And from there it continued to be amazing. For entrees I had a Japanese Style Curry with chicken and vegetables that had been cook gingerly for an hour and my friend had the Mabo Dofu, a minced grass fed beef balanced with tofu textured in spicy garlic and served with rice.

Outside the restaurant, photo courtesy of

While the food deserves five stars at this restaurant, the drink menu is definitely not to be ignored. With a full two-page list of whiskey and bourbons, along with beer, sake, wine, and unique house cocktails (I recommend the Black Chai – Jim Bean Black, chai tea infused vermouth and Angostura) you will not go thirsty. Both a great dinner location with surprisingly fare prices and after-hours hang out, Izakaya Meiji Company is a hot spot that I will return to every chance I get.

Open daily 5 pm – 1am

345 Van Buren, Eugene, OR 97402, (541) 505-8804

P.S. Can you tell what type of food I’ve been craving?

What’s your favorite Eugene restaurant? Where should I go next?

– Kelsey