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A Portland-to-Portland 'food fight'

Patrick Alan Coleman, a food writer for the Portland Mercury over in the other Portland, is trying to start a cross-country inter-Portland food fight, with this post, in which he pledges to "continue to bait" us over here in the original Portland. I say let's take him.

First up, Portland, Maine, is the original Portland - Coleman dismisses this claim, but he should check the program his crosstown rival Willamette Week issued at the 2007 conference of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Right there in front, it clearly says that two men were disputing what to name the new town, and flipped a coin. The choices? Boston or Portland.

Next, his more substantive points:

Ingredients. Not only is our farmer's market going year-round, but we catch fish (and shrimp, and lobster) in the bitter cold of winter.

Mushrooms. Local forager Roger Doiron finds mushrooms within six miles of the center of downtown. Good meat - were do Oregonians go for fresh-slaughtered, halal goat meat? I can name three places right now. Cheese - stop by KHorton Fine Foods in Monument Square's Public Market House (note to Coleman: also open year-round) for just a sampling of Maine cheeses, as well as international flavors Maine cheesemakers and use for inspiration.

Bartenders: There's always Jeff Grundy. And our bartenders might not have been mentioned in the New York Times, but our restaurants sure have.

Don't get me started on booze. "More microbreweries than you can shake a stick at," says Coleman of Portland, Oregon. Can you shake a stick at 13? (And those are just the ones who listed on the 2008 Maine Brewers Festival site - and they left off Run of the Mill and at least one more.) Let's not forget Maine wines, and Maine-made vodka, from Maine-grown potatoes.

And I'll consider the food-writer exchange Coleman proposes.

Go for it, in the comments.

  • C Neal said:

    I think that the first commenter on the Mercury blog made a good point:

    "Somehow, I don't think real Portlanders (Maine, that is) give a fuck about what goes on here--thankfully, they've yet to be overrun with people from around the country who seem to feel the need for validation for their lifestyle choices."

    I spent five years in the other Portland, which is a very nice place but it's altogether way too much in love with itself. Our Portland sometimes risks falling into the same trap. Be careful.

    December 16, 2008 10:12 AM
  • Jeff Inglis said:

    PortlandPSST has weighed in with a few ideas, too:

    December 17, 2008 10:13 AM
  • Andy said:

    The fact that Portland, ME can compare favorably to a city 10 times the size says something.  The fact that it is MORE expensive to live in this tiny city says something.  They have better public transport, and no snow.  We don't have traffic, and being on the ocean is a huge plus.  We both have easy access to skiing, hiking, backwoods camping, surfing, kayaking, etc, etc.  Living more than an hour away from the ocean would be a deal breaker for me though.  I've never been to Portland, OR, but our seafood/sushi HAS to be better.  

    December 26, 2008 2:36 PM
  • Cuisine Bonne Femme said:

    And yes, it is true. Portland, ME is the original. Portland, Oregon was named in a coin toss. Patrick Coleman should know better!

    January 6, 2009 12:17 AM
  • Bernie Gehret said:

    I've lived in both, Portland, Maine has:  better seafood, Ricetta's pizza, better breakfast joints (and Brian Boru's don't forget!).  Portland, Oregon has better coffee, better grocery stores, fewer rednecks and no Brian Boru...

    January 6, 2009 1:30 AM

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