This is a good article from the San Francisco Chronicle, that shows what I meant when I said Portland’s star is fading as other cities catch up. It might give some insight to those who took me to task for for that statement.
In its January 2011 issue, Food & Wine magazine calls Los Angeles “the best place in the country for chefs to experiment with new ideas.” San Francisco isn’t even mentioned in the three cities featured in the “Where to go next” article.
That’s a surprise. After talking to colleagues around the country, I’d be hard-pressed to name another place generating as much excitement as the Bay Area. On both ends of the price spectrum, it feels as if trends are starting here that will eventually show up in other parts of the country.
When we look back in a couple of years, I think we’ll realize that 2010 was pivotal.
I’m in my 25th year writing about food and restaurants in San Francisco, and I truly believe this is the best year for openings. That’s doubly amazing in this struggling economy, yet the economy might be part of the reason the scene is so vibrant – with a strong dining culture, restaurateurs have been forced to focus and create something that makes their places stand above the competition.
Ben Waterhouse says
I don’t put any stock in those magazine lists, because I know, as someone who writes them, that there’s a lot of pressure to come up with new winners every year. They couldn’t crown the Bay Area or Portland the Hot New Food City because they’ve already done that. They’ll probably come back around to us in a few years. POVA spends way too much on national advertising for Portland to disappear from the national dining agenda. If our self-confidence as a city is dependent on recognition from editors in New York, we still have a long way to go before we can call ourselves a grown-up city.
Lush Angeles says
While LA shrugs, SF scoffs. All is still as it should be in the new year.
I didn’t feel like reading the whole article. Anyone care to summarize what’s happening in SF that is “exciting” and “pivotal”?
food carts? no, not that, uhhm, organ meats from organ grinder monkeys?
monkey grinders? no? uh, no no don’t leave yet….uhh, Oh! Oh! I know!
extreeme vegan, like food what never was alive anyway, like, uhh rocks, gathered by monkeys,
umm, with sea salt? DEAD SEA SALT?
Something on a stick, served in a cone?
Cheesecake factory? Oh, monkey on a stick, anything but that…
Portland has many good restaurants..San Francisco and L.A. have MANY great ones.
Catherine Cole says
As a former Portlander, current San Franciscan and forever food-scene follower, I’m critical of what’s happening in both places. Of course there are similarities and of course there are differences between the two.
In a very, very short summary –
Similarities: local sourcing, (but really, this is everywhere by now) artisan cocktails, food carts, third-wave coffee.
Differences: Difference – there’s is so much range in SF given the ethnic make up. Take (just about) any genre of food and you’ll have a handful of choices. There’s not just pho, for example, there’s Northern style and Southern style. I can’t even keep track of the different sub-sects of Mexican and Chinese. And then there’s all the fancy fusions.
The previous comment regarding the media lists definitely has some merit. There’s no way any media company is going to repeat itself.