Headed home this morning. But on our way Leslie talked me into an overnight in Portland. We had lunch reservations at Higgins in Portland anyway and by the time we arrived we were feeling weary so she got on the phone and got us reservations at the Clarion Hotel near the airport. But first, Higgins!
I now understand why this restaurant has received such distinction. Rated by Gourmet magazine as one of the top 10 restaurants in the country, it exceeded all my expectations. The flavors and combinations were masterfully created, took their cues from the seasonally available, locally-made charcuteries, fromages, fruits and vegetables. That is Greg Higgins way. It is his trademark. He is a master. The French bistro influence is apparent both in the decor and Greg's philosophy of cooking. Buying local and cooking seasonally is not something new. The French never lost track of it. It was the way of things have been for thousands of years for most people. But in a 20th century where we got further away from the source, turned fresh foods into canned or cryogenically sealed or prepackaged in layers and layers of plastic, we have succeded in nearly losing touch with what our food and where it comes from. We can now buy most foods we like on a whim. Want cherries in January? No problem. Chile is growing them. It doesn't matter that they must travel thousands of miles to get to us or what carbon footprint it leaves.
How wonderful it is that we are beginning to see more and more people understand the beauty and importance of eating and living in the seasons, in sustaining local farmers and merchants. The positive impact this lifestyle can have on every part of your local economy is nothing short of amazing.
Greg Higgins restaurant is a microcosm of this philosphy. He doesn't sacrifice quality. In fact the quality is all the better because the ingredients were harvested only minutes or hours before appearing on your plate. Higgins is a place I will return every chance I get when in Portland.
Tomorrow we head home. I will look forward to checking on my garden and to harvesting greens for a fresh salad made with a fresh herb vinaigrette. Ah, home sweet home.