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Oregonian ROY 2014


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#1 Jill-O

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 02:43 PM

http://www.oregonliv...restaurant.html

 

 

For giving us Langbaan's vivid clam and mussel curry; Holdfast Dining's dainty cornbread madeleine crowned by a square of luscious honeycomb; and many other incredible bites served in the most unusual places, Portland's pop-up dining scene is, collectively, The Oregonian's 2014 Restaurant of the Year.

 

Seriously? Newcomers: American Local is rocking it hard, Ataula seems to be everyone's darling, Davenport is very well-liked about town...and this is what they came up with. At least Ataula and Davenport are mentioned on their 'also ran' page.

 

 

I'll just leave you with the same comment I posted on their FB page:

 

An ongoing dinner program in the same space week after week or month after month or a fine dining option in the back room of the same owners' restaurant is now a pop up? No, I don't think so. Especially if the folks doing it don't even call it that. Wow...just so disappointing. All of the amazing restaurants in town and they just threw this chance to recognize one of them away. No wonder we'd rather read about our own restaurants in the New York Times...they do a better job covering them.


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#2 ExtraMSG

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 09:23 PM

I actually skimmed over it several times, then read it more carefully, to realize what they were doing. I like it, though, only because it shows so clearly how hollow food media in this town has become.

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#3 Jill-O

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 08:06 AM

And really, my opinion of this is not meant to take away anything from Holdfast or Langbaan (though I have been to neither) AT ALL. I am happy for them for the praise and notoriety they received.  But hey, they are not calling their dinners pop ups either.

 

Further, this piece makes it sound like pop-ups are new (not even close, not even in Portland...and this stuff sure did not start here), revolutionary (no, not really), and all worthy of high praise (yeah, I am sure there are no pop-ups that completely suck and that every course in every pop-up is worthy of a ROY designation, sure).

 

Hollow? It's a vacuum.


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#4 pwillen1

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 10:42 AM

I think the choice is great. Pop-ups are postively contributing to the creativity and culture of Portland, so why not recognize them?  True, the article wasn't clearly written but I applaud the general idea.

 

Caveat: I don't go to many of pop-ups because I don't like eating rushed, on a stool, getting the same food as everyone else and being forced to buy highly marked up, shitty pairings of current release, $12 wines.


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#5 Angelhair

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 06:52 PM

 and being forced to buy highly marked up, shitty pairings of current release, $12 wines.

 

Try beer dinners!



#6 ExtraMSG

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 01:32 AM

I think the choice is great. Pop-ups are postively contributing to the creativity and culture of Portland, so why not recognize them?


You mean besides that the ones that are actual pop-ups are transitory, others mentioned are not pop-ups at all, and the piece undoes itself at the end all the while establishing a false narrative about the history of pop-ups?

Pop-ups have gotten recognition. This was restaurant of the year.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#7 nervousxtian

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Posted 19 June 2014 - 09:49 AM

Yeah, it's sad because though the places listed are legit good... they are misrepresented as to what they actually are.

 

Just really highlights who the O is writing for these days... it's not food enthusiasts.



#8 Adam

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 08:55 AM

Yeah, it's sad because though the places listed are legit good... they are misrepresented as to what they actually are.

 

Just really highlights who the O is writing for these days... it's not food enthusiasts.

 

Right, because non-food enthusiasts just love their pop-ups.


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#9 polloelastico

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 05:18 PM

Just seems like sort of a cop out, like when Time Magazine name the Person of the Year "You". Just create some emeritus award and still name an actual restaurant. The too clever act is weak sauce.


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#10 ExtraMSG

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 09:46 PM

Just seems like sort of a cop out, like when Time Magazine name the Person of the Year "You". Just create some emeritus award and still name an actual restaurant. The too clever act is weak sauce.


That's exactly the first thought that came to my mind as well. Not to mention, I don't think this year is especially good for pop-ups anyway -- except in this weird extension to include restaurants connected to other restaurants only open for less than 7 days a week. But you know, Russell hasn't really been that engaged in Portland's food scene as long as most here so maybe it seemed exciting to him. Or maybe he couldn't decide on one restaurant clearly worthy of the honor and went with something that would annoy people and result in click-throughs.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#11 ExtraMSG

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 09:58 PM

Actually, what this reminds me of is when Russell wanted to write about La Taq's puffy tacos and made some weird genealogical connection to salbutes in order to do so and make a survey out of it.

The greatest service chemistry has rendered to alimentary science, is the discovery of osmazome, or rather the determination of what it was. ~Brillat-Savarin

Nick Zukin, Mi Mero Mole

Co-Author, Artisan Jewish Deli at Home

Formerly, Kenny & Zuke's


#12 nervousxtian

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 07:30 AM

Yeah, it's sad because though the places listed are legit good... they are misrepresented as to what they actually are.

 

Just really highlights who the O is writing for these days... it's not food enthusiasts.

 

Right, because non-food enthusiasts just love their pop-ups.

 

that's not what I meant... it's because it's a buzzworthy word.. it sounds so exotic to someone who doesn't follow the food scene.     Thus they might even think these places qualify as being pop-ups... when in fact that's not what they really are.     They took a buzzworthy niche trend and try to sell it to the masses because it sounds exotic and cool, and doesn't everyone want to be part of the next buzzworthy trend?  /s



#13 Adam

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 11:11 AM

 

Yeah, it's sad because though the places listed are legit good... they are misrepresented as to what they actually are.

 

Just really highlights who the O is writing for these days... it's not food enthusiasts.

 

Right, because non-food enthusiasts just love their pop-ups.

 

that's not what I meant... it's because it's a buzzworthy word.. it sounds so exotic to someone who doesn't follow the food scene.     Thus they might even think these places qualify as being pop-ups... when in fact that's not what they really are.     They took a buzzworthy niche trend and try to sell it to the masses because it sounds exotic and cool, and doesn't everyone want to be part of the next buzzworthy trend?  /s

 

My apologies, nerviousxtian, I misinterpreted what you meant.

 

I thought I'd just offer my two cents on this whole thing, for what it's worth, and leave it at that. I contributed to the Diner guide along with Ben Waterhouse and a few others, but I didn't have any input on Michael's list. That said, knowing Michael personally, I do not believe he went with pop-ups because they are "buzzworthy" or "exotic and cool." Based on several conversations he's had with me over the past several months, I believe he is genuinely excited about these restaurants and the food they are serving. I do not believe his intention was to latch on to a growing trend and hope that it made him or the paper sound like they're on the cutting edge of food journalism. The response to going with a group of restaurants as opposed to picking a single one for the #1 spot has produced a pretty negative response in both the article's comments and here, as could probably be expected. But hindsight is 20/20, and I can't speak to his thoughts on this decision or if he saw this reaction coming.

 

As for including restaurants that don't really qualify as pop-ups...yeah, Langbaan doesn't qualify, although he does say "It's too early to tell whether the current class of pop-ups will birth the next great round of Portland restaurants. Langbaan has already spread its wings." Which says to me he doesn't classify Langbaan as a pop-up. An unconventional dining experience, but still a restaurant with regular hours that has moved on from pop-up status. I agree with pwillen1's comment above: these restaurants still deserve to be recognized. Maybe they all should have been lumped under a different category than "pop-up," but I feel that's less important than the sentiment that these are places serving terrific food in a different way than most places operate. Is there a better umbrella term that the places Michael listed could fall under? Would titling the article "The Year of the Pop-Up, Back-Room Restaurant, and Underground Supperclub" frustrated everyone here a little less (apart from going with a group of restaurants over picking one, which is what most people probably won't get past)? Genuinely asking. 

 

That's my perspective on the matter. Make of it what you will.


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#14 polloelastico

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 11:32 AM


Would titling the article "The Year of the Pop-Up, Back-Room Restaurant, and Underground Supperclub" frustrated everyone here a little less (apart from going with a group of restaurants over picking one, which is what most people probably won't get past)? Genuinely asking. 

 

I think if he would have just named an actual "Restaurant" for "Restaurant of the Year" and even said that it was Shari's that would be at least adhering to some sort of protocol. "Restaurant of the Year" is pretty simple to grok. The distinction doesn't need to be "post-rock". He doesn't have to destroy the award with nihilism in order to restore its glory. This isn't some Yoko Ono performance art installation.


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#15 Adam

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 12:15 PM


Would titling the article "The Year of the Pop-Up, Back-Room Restaurant, and Underground Supperclub" frustrated everyone here a little less (apart from going with a group of restaurants over picking one, which is what most people probably won't get past)? Genuinely asking. 

 

I think if he would have just named an actual "Restaurant" for "Restaurant of the Year" and even said that it was Shari's that would be at least adhering to some sort of protocol. "Restaurant of the Year" is pretty simple to grok. The distinction doesn't need to be "post-rock". He doesn't have to destroy the award with nihilism in order to restore its glory. This isn't some Yoko Ono performance art installation.

 

I asked "apart from going with a group of restaurants over picking one." I'm just wondering if people are angrier that he went with multiple restaurants instead of just one, or that the restaurants he talked about are listed under "The Year of the Pop-Up."


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#16 polloelastico

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 12:33 PM

Then the answer to your question is no. The bed is already shit, calling it a commode doesn't improve things.


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#17 Jill-O

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 01:19 PM

I agree with the pollo...no, I would not have been less ticked off that a deserving restaurant got overlooked in favor of "a concept" no matter what title you give to that concept.

 

And, I'm not frustrated as much as continually disappointed by what we have as our newspaper of record and their lack luster food coverage.


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#18 Flynn

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:37 PM

 

 

Right, because non-food enthusiasts just love their pop-ups.

 

Unlikely, but you're only in the business of pageviews and other online metrics at this point. I can't imagine your ROY choice moves the needle on print subs.

 

I'm sure that it's calculated that a "boring" choice will generate fewer of all the metrics that keep a dining section going on any Advance property. Blogger outrage and online discussion is probably better fuel for all that at this point. Tough to do the Easter Egg hunt gimmick on Twitter for "pop-ups" though.



#19 nate

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 02:09 PM

This is disappointing, but sort of assumed at this point. Adam, in answer to your query, I would've been equally frustrated with any "Year of the X" copout rather than actually trying to pick a Best Restaurant in most circumstances. Exceptions:

 

1) If the X in "Year of the X" were something that was truly revolutionizing the way we eat. If there were suddenly 10-20 restaurants that were SUCCESSFULLY serving all of their customers in unlit dining rooms, I would wholeheartedly endorse skipping the ROY and dubbing this "The Year of Eating in the Dark," or whatever. I'm prepared to be wrong about this, but I don't think popups are going to be a revelation that changes the industry, and nothing in this year's piece suggests otherwise to me.

 

2) If the restaurants featured in "Year of the X" were already in contention for ROY. If these popups were consistently turning out the best food in town (something one would be hard-pressed to derive from the article, which spends shockingly little time talking about the actual food), I could also see it. I haven't been to any of these popups (or popups for the sake of this piece, Roe or Langbaan).

 

It also seems like the popularity of popups have dropped off from Boke Bowl and Bowery in their popup phases. Even if there was a Year of the Popup, it's dubious to state that this was it.

 

To me Restaurant of the Year was always meant to answer the hypothetical question,"If I'm a couple, of limited means (and obviously don't take the time to obsessively follow every restaurant opening), and we only get to go out for one super-special dinner at a fancy restaurant each year, where should we go to get the best overall dining experience (food/service/atmosphere/etc.), and what should I expect from it?" I don't see any plausible reading of Russell's column that answers that question. Maybe I'd be happy at Holdfast. I'd probably do well at Roe, but that's not really a popup. But what I'd really like is an in-depth profile of a single restaurant that I can read and think about, looking forward to a special meal there whenever we next get to go out.



#20 Jill-O

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 02:29 PM

That was a really well thought-out post nate.

 

Thanks a lot for taking the time and posting it!


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