"The Eater Guide to the Pacific Northwest" dropped last week, https://www.eater.com/pacific-northwe... . Meghan McCarron penned a nuanced look at the current eating scene, long but worth a read.
" . . . Not so long ago, Portland was the food world’s obsession, celebrated as the incubator for the next wave of American cooking, and the template for so much of what was considered Good and Honest in urban hipster culture. Then the other side of the story hit the national consciousness: Many of these craft kitchens were in radically gentrified neighborhoods, and people of color were scarce in these lovingly designed dining rooms splashed across magazines. Craft was a rebellion for the few. All those antlers on the wall and third-wave coffee shops and chickens with names seemed not just goofy, but shameful.
But were the antlers and chickens ever what defined Portland? Or did they only embody the utopia, or dystopia, in the national imagination — the Portlandia, if you will? Even a classic example of the craft kitchen form like Ned Ludd has a wry sense of humor about the whole enterprise. And so many restaurants in Portland don’t fit the Portlandia mold at all — and don’t want to.
On a recent visit, a great deal about Portland’s food culture, arguably the most over-covered in America, surprised me: the stunning Vietnamese restaurants; the density of taquerias and taco trucks; the other Thai restaurant empire, built by Bangkok-born chef Earl Ninsom; historic businesses like the century-old Ota Tofu factory; the city’s Support Black-Owned Restaurant Week; the newly arrived elite Japanese ramen. Portland is still one of the most important food cities in America, and not just because so many of the restaurants are very good (which they are). It’s also the place where conversations about food, equity, and who 21st-century cities are for are happening most urgently. . . "
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