Editor’s Note: Portland, Oregon, is recognized worldwide as a foodie town with new and veteran chef’s redefining Northwest cuisine with the natural bounty from fertile farms and fresh seafood from the Pacific Ocean. Food enthusiast and travel writer Elizabeth Rose is a serious fan of Portland’s dining scene and gives us a preview of the upcoming Dining Month in this food town.
Call it March Madness for foodies. Portland, Oregon’s Dining Month kicks off March 1, offering 31 days of three-course meals for $29 at more than 120 restaurants. It is through Portland Dining Month that many of us discover new restaurants and experience fine dining that would usually stretch the budget.
With new restaurants popping up monthly on the Portland dining scene, you’ll want to cross a few off your must-try list. Perhaps you’ll want to take in the view at Altabirra City Tavern at the trendy new Hotel Eastlund. Aside from the trendy mid-century modern décor, the real draw for Hotel Eastlund is the rooftop bar, restaurant and out-door patio. Their Altabirra City Tavern takes full advantage of the beauty of the Portland skyline and Willamette River while offering American cuisine and 16 local craft beer taps.
Several years ago, my first Dining Month allowed me to get acquainted with Chef Aaron Barnett’s cuisine at St. Jack. The $29 menu started out with an excellent beet salad (mild yellow beets and fresh arugula and toasted walnuts). We were then treated to Basque style chicken in a huge pottery bowl—a savory combination of peppers, capers and olives in sauce with polenta and moist chicken. Our group asked for more French bread to help us savor every last drop of the sauce. We were full after enjoying this hearty dish, but we still topped off the meal with a little bowl of light Madeleines with a hint of lemon. This delightful meal was the deciding factor in checking our calendars to dine at St. Jack again.
And then there are the celebrity chefs. Have you ever wanted to dine at Chef Vitaly Paley’s Imperial or Chef Gregory Gourdet’s Departure? Keep in mind that those reservations will go quickly.
For each reservation through OpenTable, Oregon Food Bank receives a donation. Last year, nearly 15,000 diners used the system, contributing $2,000 to agencies fighting against hunger. Travelers who book accommodations at select hotels via TravelPortland.com (for stays through March 31) can score additional deals and freebies.
Portland Dining Month is an opportunity to expand your culinary horizons, to experiment with new food trends and see what the buzz is about while sticking to your dining budget.– By Elizabeth R. Rose, RFT Contributor
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