And in 2012 Portland became a better place to drink coffee: with two coffee shops, the SPECKLED AX and TANDEM ROASTERS bringing a new level of craft and ambition to the roasting and brewing of beans. Meanwhile the huge CREMA CAFÉ AND BAKERY, from the Arabica folks, always seems full despite its size. And while Crema has some good soup, and the famous Arabica toast, the best thing in Portland to eat with coffee might be the potato-based HOLY DONUT, with a new shop out on Park Avenue.

And unfortunately 2012 was the year that several restaurants surrendered to the difficult circumstances of the last several years, spots like District, Gogi, and Havana South. The one that may be most sorely missed is Figa, which seemed to have so much going for it: a great space, a talented chef, and an interesting Latin twist on American cuisine.

Is the coming recovery just a little peak in a jagged downward line? Will the aging of the population, the pilling up of student debt, the rising of the oceans eventually turn everything back to crap? Probably. But that's all the better reason to enjoy this little break while it lasts.

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