Portland OR kicks New York's Ass!
I returned from my trip to Portland OR last week with a whole new perspective, and frankly a whole lot of disappointment in my home town and self proclaimed food capital of the US, NYC. In my four days of eating and drinking in Portland, I'm convinced that New York is a second rate city food wise. Sure, we have the star chefs and all the hype generated by big media. But when it comes to substance, we are seriously lacking. We are the media capital, not the food capital.
Why does Portland trump NY? Let me count the ways. Rents are cheap attracting more young talent, so there are restaurants, cafés that roast their own beans, breweries, specialty food shops, farmer's markets everywhere. They have strict land use laws there which have limited urban and suburban sprawl, and preserved park lands and encouraged farming.
Impossible to find here without lots of trekking are readily available in common grocery stores, such as FRESH (not frozen or powdered) Galangal, Turmeric, Kaffir lime.
An abundance of mushrooms, microgreens and other produce line the shelves. I was even able to find TRUFFLES, just sitting on the shelves. Ridiculous. Cheese shops, fresh pasta shops... Oysters and Dungeness Crabs in live tanks, not over ice. Geoduck sushi. Whole Porchettas, freshly roasted, sitting in the deli case. Food carts all over town, serving all kinds of fare, from waffles to burgers to tacos of every kind, some of them are specialized in only serving egg sandwiches.
And that brings up another subject: people keep chickens in their yards, I went to a flower shop that sold heirloom breeds of chickens!!! Fresh pastured eggs abound at every breakfast place.
Twenty miles out of town is the Willamette Valley, gorgeous wine country with wines that are frankly delicious, less expensive and staffed by friendly people without the snooty attitude of the Hudson Valley winemakers.
I'm kind of depressed being back in this overpriced and overhyped and frankly mediocre navel gazing city.