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Portland, classic with an artisanal twist

Friday, September 21, 2012

Portland has plenty of rough edges, but we have a taste for the classic too. It’s easy to forget about some of the more refined elements of the Portland artisanal food scene, but you’d be missing some of the city’s finer flavors.

Nothing’s as classic as an Aviation cocktail. Yet Bartender Jacob Grier of Metrovino is never one to be content with tradition. Aviation cocktails have a beautiful color from crème de violette, a violet petal liquor, but the lime juice kept making the drink cloudy. Solution? Clarified lime juice. The result was named Cleared for Departure. For all the geeky details check out Jacob’s blog.

And then there is Cathy Whims of Nostrana. She’s Portland’s face of classic Italian cooking. Pizzas, roast chicken, you name it. And the wine list is fantastic. Her Insalata Nostrana is an example of what happens when simple is done right. Whims tosses crisp and slightly bitter radicchio with a tangy Caeser dressing and house made rosemary-sage croutons.

Chef Sarah Schafer of Irving St Kitchen is a ‘Chef’s Chef’ after developing her skills in New York and San Francisco. Schafer found Portland to be the perfect fit for her twist on classic cooking. Try her Truffle Stuffed Breast of Guinea Hen with Heirloom Tomato Panzanella. The dish is clean, comforting, bold and balanced. Nothing feels forced or out of place. It’s just what good cooking is supposed to be: Nourishing and smart.

Only in Portland can you find things that are so perfectly classic yet wholly original.

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