The Fuss Over Food in Portland

A vegan Thanksgiving meal at a Portland church? Please, tell me the wine is non-alcoholic!

This morning, loyal TMT reader Joe Ashmore sent me a link today of Portland-area cuisine recommended by the good folks at Panic, a local firm that develops Mac software.

The recommendations included: pizza tartufo bianco from Apizza Scholls, gnocchi at Nostrana and the sardine sandwich from Best Baguette. I’ve never tried these things. I’ll never try these things. No matter how long I live here, I’ll hold fast to the three characteristics that define a meal for we Midwesterners: a meat, a vegetable, a starch. Of course, that should be washed down with a big glass of milk, too.

I’m just not a foodie. I tried. My palate seems to have severe limitations, probably from the 5,000 Totino’s Party Pizzas I consumed in college. I understand and even appreciate an intricate, exotic meal. I’m just not willing to pay for it when I’d be perfectly content with a Hot Pocket.

My girlfriend and I spent countless hours researching Portland about this time last year. We learned this was utopia for sushi and salmon lovers, considering the coastal location. I wanted so badly for this to matter to me. Sushi and salmon get pooled in with U2, Nintendo Wii and hockey among things I want to like, but can’t will myself to enjoy.

We were also told this is the place to be for vegetarians and vegans. I agree with that concept, because I believe there’s a place vegetarians and vegans should be confined to. As previously stated, in the Midwest, meat makes a meal. It’s happened where we’ve ended up at a restaurant where there was not a single animal on the menu. I thought that only happened in Hell. Then again, it has been warmer here lately.

The locals get uppity about gluten-free, too, but I understand that’s a national trend. I don’t know a damn thing about gluten and it’s allegedly harmful affects. I see it’s not on the Department of Homeland Security’s watch list, so that’s good. I tried to look it up on Wikipedia, but a few links later, I was busy reading about how Wilford Brimley actively opposed the banning of cockfighting in New Mexico in 2008. (For the record, the Wiki hop went as such: Gluten-free>Oats>Quaker Oats Company>Wilford Brimley.)

I operate in two modes: Hungry and Full. I don’t have the capacity for food ethics or proclivities that require my food lack gluten or animal products or fun. I make no apologies for my diet, either.

Out here, people like to be considerate of dietary demands. Just yesterday, I heard a co-worker talking about ordering pizza for six people. Two people were gluten-free, one was a vegetarian and the other three were normal. (And yes, I use “normal” to assert the other three people are not.) In the end, my co-workers ordered three pizzas. One was gluten-free. One was without meat. The other — I kid you not — had a young calf and bread crumbs on it.

I feel for my co-worker who had to go to such great lengths to satisfy everyone. My nihilist diet goes out to people like her. I make things as easy as possible by eating without discrimination. In that way, I’m like a goat: Sure, I’ll eat a tin can. It’s not high up on my list, but if I’m hungry…

If you come to Portland, I do recommend the list assembled by the dudes at Panic. It’ll give you a better glimpse of local food culture than I ever could. Although our neighboring Taco Bell is one of the finest I’ve ever dined at.

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6 thoughts on “The Fuss Over Food in Portland

  1. I am eating the Paleo Diet these days because of food sensitivities and I totally get what you’re saying – everyone has these different preferences and needs and it’s totally insane trying to please everyone. But as someone with needs, I’m glad all those options exist.

    • I hear you. There’s people who need these alternatives. However, people who make it a fashion statement (to have a needlessly complex diet) boil my blood. I’m afraid that happens quite often out here.

  2. Could you tell me the story of why you moved to Portland again? I think of myself as being a bit similiar to you in life choices and style. I know I would hate to live in Portland and I now find myself wondering why you live there? I ask not in a bad way but out of curiousness.

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