The Food Network’s
Victory tasted especially
sweet, given the nature of the contest, in Portland, Ore.,
when the city was named the top “Delicious Destination of the Year”
at the inaugural Food Network Awards, presented in Miami in April.
Portland beat out two strong competitors -- Minneapolis and East
Coast namesake Portland, Maine -- for designation as the country’s
“new and rising food capital.”
A 20-person panel, led by staffers at
the Food Network Kitchens, the team that tests all the recipes for
the cable network, selected the nominees based on factors such as
diversity of cuisine, national recognition and thriving local
Minneapolis was honored elsewhere this
year with two chefs nominated for best in the Midwest by the James
Beard Foundation: Tim McKee of La Belle Vie (www.labellevie.us),
a French-Mediterranean restaurant, and Alex Roberts of Restaurant
Alma (www.restaurantalma.com), a new American eatery.
Portland, Maine, had its own James
Beard nominee, Rob Evans, chef and co-owner of Hugo’s (www.hugos.net). And the
city’s Fore Street (www.forestreet.biz) was named one of Gourmet
magazine’s top 30 restaurants in the country for 2006.
Meanwhile, back in Portland, Ore., two
more buzz-worthy eateries have opened since the Food Network Awards
were announced: Rocket (www.rocketpdx.com), which has an eco-friendly roof
garden, and Clyde Common (www.acehotel.com), at the new 79-room Ace Hotel.