Prior to our trip I’d done some research and Farm Cafe was recommended on one of my favorite foody blogs. Their web site looked promising too, with a focus on fresh, organic, locally sourced ingredients. The place itself is small and unpretentious. But it’s very popular, so there was a bit of a wait until we could be seated. It was a warm night and time passed quickly over a glass of wine in their open air courtyard. The menu is short, but apart from the carnivorous items everything sounded great. The food definitely lived up to the reputation: Wendy enjoyed an expertly grilled fresh Halibut with a delicious lentil side. I opted for gnocchi with wild morels – the gnocchi were tender and they did not scrimp on the morels. Starters and dessert were excellent too; in particular a deceptively simple rhubarb crisp that was the perfect texture and just the right balance of sweet and sour. Prices are very reasonable too. Overall, it was a great experience and we’d love to come back on a future visit to Portland.
Andina was a recommendation of the concierge at our bed and breakfast. I was initially quite skeptical: both of the concept of Peruvian haute cuisine, and also because the place is quite large and was absolutely packed. It’s hard to imagine food prepared with great attention to detail, when the kitchen is sending out dishes at breakneck speed. Happily, my concerns were unnecessary. We were seated at a small 2-top table tucked into a niche on the side of the dining room, a little island of calm amidst the frenzy. The noise level at the restaurant is fairly high, but fortunately dominated by South American music performed by a trio of musicians, and still permitting casual conversation. The food itself was remarkable and surprising in a very positive way. It was bold and unusual (at least for us who are not familiar with the style of food) in its use of ingredients and spices, a succession of wonderful and surprising flavors. Despite its reputation and popularity, prices at Andina were also quite civilized.
Portland has a lot to offer to enjoyers of good food. We had two really excellent dinners, but there are many more places to try on future visits.