Portland residents know how good they’ve got it when it comes to the options available for dining out. This city has quietly become a real foodie heaven, with something for everyone at all budget levels and representing damn near all cuisines, too. And it’s not only diners who are enjoying it – chefs are coming from all over the place and settling here, which only adds to the delicious mix.
The New York Times recently featured a piece about all the chefs making their Portland pilgrimage, calling Portland a “full-fledged dining destination.”
This is a golden age of dining and drinking in a city that 15 years ago was about as cutting edge as a tomato in January. Every little neighborhood in this city of funky neighborhoods now seems to be exploding with restaurants, food shops and markets, all benefiting from a critical mass of passion, skill and experience, and all constructed according to the gospel of locally grown ingredients.
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One of the restaurateurs in the article says that a huge reason there’s such an innovative restaurant scene in Portland is that it isn’t financially impossible to contemplate going out on a limb the way it might be in cities like New York or San Francisco. Portland, which has also recently been called America’s Eden for the same reason, has a relatively low cost of living for the quality of life that’s enjoyed here.
The excellent restaurant scene is, of course, directly related to the large amounts of high-quality vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, wine, beer and cheese – a huge percentage of it being organic – that is all grown, raised, brewed and created within an hour or two of Portland. And the reason that’s important is that it means this isn’t just a city for chefs or experienced cooks who know what to do with food, it’s a city for food lovers of any stripe who are encouraged to try their hand at whipping up something at home, too.
Of course, for me (a complete mess of a cook), all this article does is make me want to go out to the restaurants listed in the article. My favorite place in Portland is actually one of them, but I’m not going to tell you which one, because I’m still hoping that I can get a table there occasionally.