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(article, Kim Carlson)
One thing I appreciate about the food scene here in Portland is the enthusiasm of it all. On the first day of this season’s farmers’ market downtown, there were 10,000 people milling about, buying meats and spring greens, eggs and flowers — in the rain. The most popular grocery store here is the New Seasons chain, which has branded the label “Home Grown” to tout locally grown produce and locally made foods. CSAs deliver to most neighborhoods in the city, and restaurants regularly change their menus to reflect the latest local bounty. [%image map float=right width=250 caption="Putting Portland on the map." credit="Photo: iStockphoto/Digiphoto"] Oregon is known for its coffee, wine, beer, tea, and gin, as well as the only Douglas-fir-flavored eau de vie I’ve ever heard of (and have yet to taste). Portland is home not just to Culinate but to a variety of eat-and-drink publications, including Northwest Palate, Imbibe, and Barista. So this weekend, when the New York Times travel section featured Portland in its regular 36 Hours department, I read hungrily, thinking, “They’re sure to mention the food.” They did, sort of: Park Kitchen, which deserves kudos, was featured, as was St. Honoré Boulangerie, one of our local staff hangouts. But that was about it. Still, at least the folks at the Food Network were paying attention when they crowned Portland the network's "Delicious Destination of the Year" at their nationally broadcast awards ceremony the other night. (The other nominees — Minneapolis and Portland, Maine — are equally impressive in their own fashion.) To hear chef/author/TV host/celebrity Anthony Bourdain tell it, though, I’m not sure this is a distinction Portland should brag about. Calling the awards ceremony a "breathtakingly awful, interminable cruelty," Bourdain nevertheless agrees that Portland is a "terrific food destination." He also gives kudos to our mayor, Tom Potter, for his discretion: "Portland's mayor," he writes, "wisely did not bother to show."