Foodies are reliable pilgrims, so cities work hard to market themselves as culinary capitals. But as Americans' palates grow more experimental, chefs must react in kind. Karen Brooks, author of the new Portland, Oregon-centric book The Mighty Gastropolis, takes us on an open-mouth tour of the city's most inventive hot spots.
Try one of David Briggs's ganache truffles infused with pig's blood? Candy bars studded with homemade fried pork rinds or sea salt and olive oil? Only after we finish the tub of Foietella, a chocolate foie gras spread.
For most, foraging evokes images of mushroom hunting and not much more. But for the Castagna team, it's a way of life and a never-ending mind-set. One day's finds of fresh geranium leaves, edible ferns, sea lettuce, or wild ginger determine the next day's menu.
Din Din Supper Club
Courtney Sproule makes communal tables exponentially more interactive with roving performance-art meals that range from 23 tiny courses in a 1920s funeral parlor to skateboarding waiters and menus legible only through magnifying glasses.
Sweetbreads in barbecue sauce. Pho soup with pigs feet. Beef-lip-stuffed squash blossoms. For chef Gabriel Rucker, cooking with spare body parts inspires his creation of precise but unfussy combinations and dishes.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.