I grew up here in the Bangor area, but moved to Portland right after high school and stayed for about 20 years. there used to be a joke in Portland that if you said you played in a band, the immediate follow up question would be, "What restaurant do you work at?" So for the 20 years I was there, I made my rounds through just about every culinary situation you can think of.

I worked in pubs, fine dining, nursing homes, colleges, diners...you name it. I even owned a couple of my own places. The city has literally every kind of cuisine you can possibly imagine. Thai, Irish, Italian, Eritrean, Japanese, Caribbean, and honestly, I could go on forever.

That's why Bon Appetit magazine has named Portland it's City of the Year. They've given the award four years going, and this is the first time Portland has gotten the highest honor, according to the Portland Press Herald. the magazine described the city as "one of the most unexpected culinary destinations in the country". Which, if you looked at my little list above, makes total sense. You could eat something different every day for a year, and literally never have the same thing twice.

When touring through Portland's eateries, Bon Appetit's editor-at-large Andrew Knowlton, was amazed at the enthusiasm he witnessed. It was almost feverish.

Sitting at the bar at Little Giant, you’ll hear people talking about a dinner they had at Chaval. Or you’ll hear somebody at Chaval talking about Drifters Wife. Or someone at Drifters Wife talking about Cong Tu Bot. And people at Cong Tu Bot talking about The Shop. You know a town is food mad when you walk around and you hear conversations about food. It happens in New York. It happens in San Francisco. And it happens in Portland, Maine now.

Compared to the cities Knowlton mentioned, Portland is literally 1/100th the size. So to be honored in such a way is a testament to the quality of food being turned out down there. Big city food, in a small town setting. And it's all for us. Sure there will always be the tourists that come through, and get to experience the foodie wonders of Maine, but generally, we get the fruits of all that labor of love.

Maybe it's time you took a long weekend, and went down to good old P-Land and sampled some of the amazing grub. I know I go whenever I get the chance. Bangor is catching up slowly, and I couldn't be more pleased. We all like to eat good food. And two hours isn't a far drive for a life-changing meal.

But come on, Bangor. Let's up the ante, and become the next big culinary destination!

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