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Take a leisurely trip around Oregon to experience the unique food culture of this US Pacific Coast state – start with quirky Portland’s outstanding culinary scene, then head on for wine country, forest foraging and legendary seafood

Time seems to pass in a languorous, unhurried drip in Oregon.

Ricotta hotcake with seasonal berries, edible flowers and meringue at Proud Mary. Opposite: Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site lies just off the Oregon Coast Highway south of Cannon Beach

Maybe it's in sympathy with the climate: Oregon specialises in rain, with peeks of bright sun and rainbows, and reliably misty nights. At times, the dampness seems inescapable. But the conditions have created something special: a backdrop of vivid-green farmland and moody coastline, and a swathe of passionate, close-knit communities. These communities all live by a philosophy of food innovation driven by top-quality local produce - from craft beer and plump pinot grapes to seafood plucked direct from the cool icific waters.

Our food- and drink-lovers' trail focuses on the northwestern corner of Oregon, beginning in the state's largest city, Portland, known as one of America's best food destinations.

Short rib bibimbap bowl with a beer at Kim Jong Smokehouse.
Photographs ALANNA HALE @alannahale

Arrive in Portland Hungry

VISITORS MAY HAVE HEARD OF PORTLAND'S unofficial slogan: 'Keep Portland Weird.' It's a defiant declaration, one that salutes the city's independent spirit, liberal attitude and taste for the offbeat. But for all that, Portland is also curiously hard to pin down. A cluster of girder-heavy bridges spanning its Willamette River lend the city an industrial air markedly at odds with the trail-rich, dense evergreen forests that surround it. To its immediate south lies Oregon's sprawling vineyard country, but the city is arguably best known not for wine, but for its scores of craft microbreweries - it has more than any other city in the world.

It's also known for its flourishing coffee culture - so well known, in fact, that one of the city's newer coffeehouses, Proud Mary ( travelled over 8,000 miles to lay down roots here. The 2017 arrival of this revered Australian coffee brand in a town inundated with coffee (Portland has more than 40 roasters, most also functioning as cafes) was a gutsy move. But founder Nolan Hirte - red-bearded and merry as they come - and his crew quickly gained a following for their space on mural-heavy Alberta Street, in the city's northwest quadrant. It was built without an architect or designer, ut after a consultation with a feng shui expert.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Lonely Planet - October 2018
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