It’s no secret among foodies, that Portland is the place to be. Not just the place to be in Oregon, but THE place to be.
For years it seemed that: 1. America stood in Europe’s shadow in the world of fine food, then, 2. Portland stood in the shadow of NYC and SF… maybe Seattle or LA? But now, the home of James Beard — “The Dean of American Cookery,” as he was titled by the New York Times in 1954, is also the home of some of the best food in the world. Although Beard left Portland and became known worldwide in fine cuisine circles, his food sensibilities seem to have been forged at a young age, right here, in Portland. Sure, the Beard Center is in Manhattan, but the James Beard Public Market is coming to Portland, and it will be a food Mecca, fuel for the wildfire that is the raging food scene in Portland. We’re ready.
The great ingredients available to chefs in Portland are certainly a huge element of the creative, and delicious plates to be had, but a real “foodie vibe” has come to resonate through the entire region, and it seems to propel chefs, farmers, restrateurs and the like to greater heights. The ease of life in Oregon helps. One can hop in the car and breeze from Portland to the coast in an hour, or be standing in the middle of a sustainable, rotational grazing, free-ranging, organic farm in only minutes. Try that in Manhattan, or heaven forbid… LA.
One of the superstars of the Portland food movement is Bruce Carey. A native Oregonian, who came home after a stint at San Francisco’s Zuni Café, and Fog City Diner to wield his considerable talent to prospect for restaurant gold in Portland. His efforts have resulted in gems, in the form of his restaurant collection built on his pioneering Portland eatery, Zefiro. A very palpable formula for success is evident: Great food, great service, and a flair that focuses on dining as entertainment with cool, movie-set-worthy interiors setting the stage. Carey holds a Masters in the visual arts, so the cool decor is apropos, and we can only assume his talent with the food is natural. In the coming issues, we’re going to highlight some of his work. This series begins with…
23 Hoyt — What’s it like?
If you want a slice of portland, 23 Hoyt is it. Chic and arty meets Northwest Pine lodge is our immediate impression. Cool AND cozy, a great balance between casual and upscale.
Innovative while still familiar, chef Chris Carriker serves up a menu of delicious, local food ranging from Wild Keta Salmon to a Cheeseburger — both a wise choice.
23 Hoyt has an impressive bar, and an impressive bartender who mixes up unique and interesting drinks like “Beetstreet” – roasted beet vodka, vanilla-scented soda, dandelion & burdock bitters – 6 bucks. Also look for a vast selection of wines, beers, and ciders – all great.
Keep in mind there are different, and wonderful treats for different appetites and times of day. Order from the late night menu, the happy hour menu or the brunch menu. For brunch, how about Custard Brioche French Toast with whipped cream & Meyer lemon curd? Or an omlette with Tails & Trotters ham, brie, yellow foot mushrooms, arugula and house potatoes? Yes please. On the happy hour menu, the cheeseburger with white cheddar & aioli, on a rosemary bun for only 7 bucks. You can add bacon for a dollar. Is that even a question? Get it.
Definitely don’t forget dessert!
Absolutely save room for the Warm Donut Holes with powdered sugar and salted caramel. So good. So, so good. Or, there’s a great selection of cheeses, a few of them actually, pick one, or two!
Reservations are recommened at 23 Hoyt — by them, and us!
A quick trip up I-5 from anywhere in the valley, it’s a fun night on the town. Book your table online with OpenTable now (via the 23 Hoyt web site). You’ll be glad you did.