These days, rising-star chefs are flocking to Portland. In this playground of sustainability and creativity, lots of the city's hottest restaurants change menus weekly—sometimes even daily—depending upon the ingredients they have delivered to their door that morning from local farms. A combination of fertile soils, temperate weather, nearby waters, and an urban growth boundary means that a bountiful
harvest (be it lettuces or hazelnuts, mushrooms or salmon) is within any chef's reach.
And these chefs are not shy about putting new twists on old favorites. Restaurants like Le Pigeon (yes, they serve "squab"), Beast, Ned Ludd, Natural Selection, and Aviary have all taken culinary risks by presenting an exciting blend of menu offerings based on sustainable ingredients. Because there's such a near-fanatical willingness for chefs to explore their creative boundaries, one's palate hardly knows what to expect from restaurant to restaurant, season to season.
The other benefit of this culinary craze is that menus extend across nations and continents. First-time visitors to Portland always seem to be impressed by the diversity of its restaurants. Lovers of ethnic foods have their pick of Chinese, French, Indian, Peruvian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Middle Eastern, Tex-Mex, Thai, and Vietnamese specialties. Of course, Northwest cuisine is prevalent, taking advantage of the availability of fresh salmon, halibut, crab, oysters, and mussels from the rivers and the Pacific Ocean.
Most of the city's reliable classics are concentrated in Nob Hill, the Pearl District, and downtown. But an abundance of high-quality establishments can also be found on the east side of town as well, near Alberta Street, Mississippi Avenue, Williams Avenue, Fremont Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Hawthorne Boulevard, and Division Street, and tucked away in many neighborhoods in between. True food enthusiasts will be well rewarded by doing a little research to find some of the out-of-the-way places.
Throughout Portland at any given mealtime, around 500 food carts are dishing up steaming plates of everything from Korean tacos to shawarma...
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