A few things about my home area and then some other more general comments.
Portland's recent development as a a food tourist center has led to a lot of local commentary about why this is so .And some of it is stuff that is at the heart of the road food debate.
Portland is known for salmon but most chefs here don't serve all that much salmon anymore. They serve many variations of pork dishes because it is cheaper than salmon and there are excellent abattoirs that serve exceptional local pork. Chefs are more inclined to work with local meats, fruits vegetables, and wines and no tavern in Portland can survive without local microbrews on tap. Coffee roasting is also done by locals. Cheap Vietnamese sandwich shops are now as important to road food type places in Portland as Jewish delis are/ were to New York.
Roadfood has won in Portland (and I believe in much of America). Chefs here make great sandwiches, great hamburgers, interesting ice cream and other American traditional foods and are as creative as anybody. And places like the Cameo Cafe mentioned by Ed Sails here serve excellent combinations of American traditional foods along with international additions that serve to make these American standards even better. These
dishes that are as good as anything made in the past.
My road food philosophy is very simple"Good is Good" and good food should be eaten and reviewed on road food. An excellent Hungarian place in Albany, Oregon is a find and a great experience and sheld be shared here. Hamburgers
are a national food and just because you can get a good hamburger in Fort Wayne or Providence does not mean a roadfooder would not be interested in a good hamburger in Los Angeles, Meedford. or Chico when traveling
I guess I agree with Davvydd a lot. Portland has a large vietnamese population of long standing and, like Minneapolis , has a large population of creative chefs who frequently take American classics, upgrade the ingredients and turn out burgers, Mac and Cheese, sandwiches and other items that are creative and tasty, the essence of road food. Our standards evolve and change. I am much less tolerant of inferior beer and coffee than when I first started reading road food books and respectfully I have never seen the distinction between road food books and website reviews. I love this place and just wish I had contributed more.
Phil from Philly, thank you for opening this topic. An opinion that is well reasoned is always welcome and i hope to hear more from you. And i must say that Michael's review of southern pizza place with unusual toppings was a feature of the pre website days as well. There was a place in Lafayette, Louisiana called Dean-O that he reviewed in one of the books that featured pizza with crawfish topping which I remember very well and i recall how good the pizza was and not being very worried about how regional the dish was.
<message edited by mr chips on Fri, 02/8/13 7:57 PM>