Next week we're off to Portland, Oregon and surrounds. We've been a couple times before, but the last visit was roughly five years ago and it will be interesting to see what's new. Many old stalwarts are still around, like Higgins, Paley's Place, and The Heathman. But a couple places that impressed the most when we were last there - ClarkLewis and Gotham Building Tavern - have undergone multiple changes. The former at least seems to maintain some of the spirit of the place I visited in 2006, but the latter is unrecognizable.
In digging back through the archives, my fuzzy memory was happily surprised to see a now-familiar name was associated with both ClarkLewis and Gotham back then - Naomi Pomeroy. Chef Pomeroy, who recently got some extended airtime on Top Chef Masters, now runs Beast, a fixed menu ("substitutions politely declined") affair that has gotten much critical acclaim. And the sous-chef at Gotham Tavern? Gabriel Rucker, now the chef at Le Pigeon and recently named the James Beard 2011 Rising Chef of the Year.
With the kids in tow, we'll not be doing Beast, but Le Pigeon is on the agenda. The rest of that agenda, as usual, is filled with many more places than there will be opportunities to dine, but the short list includes Pok Pok, Castagna, Clyde Common, Little Bird (Rucker's more casual sister restaurant), Grüner, Tasty n Sons, Ned Ludd, and St. Jack. Portland also has a vibrant food cart scene which I'm looking forward to exploring.
We'll also have a couple days on the Oregon Coast in Cannon Beach, and any suggestions for that area, as well as any and all Portland advice, are very much welcomed.
Though the kids' patience or lack thereof, and impending chef shuffles, may take it out of the mix.