I’m going to say this: I do not believe that I’m a foodie. Many friends and acquaintances would surely disagree, but I think that somewhere in the definition of this gastronomic subculture, I begin to diverge. I’m not sure where the deviation takes place, but I can tell you that I do not necessarily feel akin to those folks I see at the table beside me, talking breathlessly about a particularly deft risotto, or a baguette they would kill for from some small Parisian café, or “goodness isn’t the rillette so great here but so not as great as the place where we ate this weekend and oh I need a picture of this salad and have you ever eaten at…”
Who knows, maybe I’m a self-hating foodie. Maybe I feel threatened. Maybe I’m just a grumpy bastard who’d rather not be distracted by the flash photography from the down the banquette while trying to savor something particularly lovely. Maybe it’s just the word that sets me on edge—when I was working as an intern at Portland Monthly then food editor Camas Davis had issued a moratorium on the term. How about good old gastronome? Or hedonist? Or gourmand? Or glutton? Oh! Feedonist? Fuck it…
Don’t get me wrong. I do not disdain the foodie. I like their pluck, drive, commitment, and disposable income. They do what they do for love. I do what I do for love and a paycheck. The fact is I admire the more aggressive eaters in the city and the blogs and forums they’ve created as a labor of love. Portlandfood.org collects an opinionated and intelligent membership that discusses the finer points of Portland dining in minute, enlightening, and often hilariously viscous detail. Portland Food and Drink, is helmed by mystery man Food Dude, who is more than willing to spill a couple thousand words for one well-considered food review. I’m actually surprised that his identity remains a secret, because if I ate as much for each review as he does, you’d be able to recognize me from space. And those are just the two go-to sites. That’s not mentioning such favorites as Guilty Carnivore, Food Carts Portland and a myriad of others.
Although I eat widely and often throughout Portland, I’m only one man; so, even though I’m constantly dining out, there are many many dishes in the city that I haven’t tried, or missed in the near constant barrage of openings and new restaurant reviews. And though I’d expect you, dear Blogtownies, to read my review before you trundle off into the interwebs to read the opinions of those who disagree with me, I consider most Portland food blogs and forums (and the… ahem… feedonistas that create them) an essential part of discovering what food means to our city.
To that end, I’d like to draw your attention to pdxPLATE, and their list of "100 Things to Eat and Drink in Portland." It’s a pretty astounding list, and one that goes farther afield than many would be willing to go. What’s nice is that the list draws from a tight group of forum members who have ensconced themselves as regulars in various restaurants and ethnic food scenes throughout the city, and the strength of that experience is fairly clear. I also like that I can agree with many of their recommendations (a good thing when I consider actually eating my way through this list—woof). I’ll post the first 25 after the jump, (click here for the rest). But before you get too hungry. I’m curious to know what you think they left off (I, for one, think Simpatica is an egregious omission). I’m also kind of hoping this will set off a “100 Things” food blog/forum arms race. Because it can only mean that we all eat better.
The first 25 things...
# 50 Plates - dirty rice "beignets"
# Alba Osteria - tajarin with lamb sausage ragu
# An Xuyen - Chinese sausage banh mi
# Andina - "5 Elements" ceviche
# Apizza Scholls - apizza amore
# Asian Station - xiao long bao soup dumplings
# Aybla - super gyro
# Bar Mingo - polpettine
# Barista - vac-pot coffee
# Bastas Trattoria - razor clams
# Beast - foie gras bon bon (charcuterie plate)
# Besaw's - Uncle Earl's famous bloody mary
# Best Baguette - Saigon bacon banh mi
# Biwa - Biwa ramen
# Broder - smoked trout hash
# Brooklyn Park Pub - a whole bunch of whiskey
# Bun Bo Hue - bun bo Hue dac biet
# Bunk Sandwiches - pork belly cubano
# Byways Cafe - corned beef hash
# Cafe Nell - chorizo and clams
# Cava - steak frites
# Chennai Masala - dosas
# Clyde Common - sweetbread ravioli
# Cool Moon Ice Cream - kulfi ice cream
# Country Cat - grits and gravy