It might not have been this way ten years ago, but Portland, Oregon is a must-visit for food lovers today. “I love Portland because it’s that stereotype, kind of stuck in its adolescence,” Bon Appétit restaurant editor Andrew Knowlton told Portland Monthly last year, after voting chef Joshua McFadden’s Ava Gene’s one of the top ten best new restaurants in the country. “I like going there because it doesn’t feel grown up—it’s Never Never Land—but I think some of the restaurants needed to grow up a little bit.”
McFadden’s veggie-centric cuisine helped usher Portland into its adulthood, said Knowlton, and now you have a city that rivals Los Angeles. The cocktail game is strong, the local produce is killer (mushrooms! hazelnuts! cherries!), and it doesn’t take itself so seriously (cue the much-needed exhale for anyone living in New York City or San Francisco).
As for Yahoo Food’s Portland hit list:
Biwa: Gabe Rosen’s Japanese fried chicken is better than Grandma’s.
Bunk: For gutsy, sloppy sandwiches that get Mario Batali’s approval.
Clyde Common: Located in the Ace Hotel, this is where Jeffrey Morgenthaler slings cocktails sweetened with marmalade and top-notch daiquiris.
Pok Pok: Chef Andy Ricker’s original Thai joint, which later spawned multiple restaurants in the area and in New York City, not to mention a cookbook.
Angel Face: Recently opened by the owners of Italian restaurant Luce, this cocktail bar features wallpaper hand-painted by local artist Michael Paulus.
Portland Juice Press: Drink off what you drank at Angel Face with an antioxidant-packed green-juice breakfast.
Alma: As our own Alex Van Buren wrote, this chocolatier “knocks unusual flavor combos like Cardamom Burnt-Sugar Sesame and Salted Lavender Caramel out of the park.”
Speaking of Alma, owner Sara Hart’s latest collaboration with Pendleton—the wool company that’s emblematic of the Pacific Northwest—represents much of what’s great about Portland’s food scene in one very tasty candy bar. The chocolate comes from the family-run Woodblock bean-to-bar manufactory, the Oregon-grown hazelnuts were harvested by Freddy Guys, it’s topped with local Jacobsen sea salt, and, of course, it’s packaged in a tribal Pendleton print.
Even the biodegradable cellophane that’s part of the packaging comes from a local company. If you want to get your mitts on one, you’ve got to hit up a Pendleton store; check pendleton-usa.com for locations.
As for Portland, we’ll be there this weekend; tweet at us if you are, too!