Well, it's official (I guess), the 50 World's Best Restaurants have just been announced.. at least according to S. Pellegrino anyway.
As usual the list consists of some fairly fru fru, high priced venues around the world where mainstream people usually don't go and probably won't step foot into in life! Noma in Denmark snatched the #1 spot from El Bulli of Spain, who had held the position for 4 years and now sits at #2. According to CNN, El Bulli accepts 8000 reservations annually out of millions of requests but will be shutting down until 2011 and 3 years later will become a non-profit organization for young chefs. Surprisingly 8 of the 50 restaurants are located right here in the US, a fairly commendable feat when you think of the decades long struggle for American chefs to be recognized and respected by epicureans around the world.
The thing that gets me about these lists though is they almost never cover regular establishments serving regular food to regular people. I'm not talking about chain restaurants like Applebees or McDonalds but mom and pop small businesses with prices people who work for a living can afford! I remember a year or so ago there was a major uproar when Zagat added a little hole in the wall noodle place (I think it was in Hong Kong) to its list. There were no fancy paintings on the wall, no snooty waiters or pretentious little appetizers posing as $100 meals on big fru fru plates. It was clean, cheap, no frills good food and apparently had people lining around the block for hours BEFORE Zagat added them to the list. I guess when a place is deemed Best Noodlehouse in the World by thousands of happy customers, you can't exactly ignore it even if they aren't charging very much.
This is what I'm talking about though. Yes, if you ever get the chance to experience a fancy restaurant at least once I say do it. The ambiance is nice and the food is usually very good even if you do have to run for a burger an hour later;) But, there are plenty of establishments that serve decent food for decent prices and they don't all involve burgers and fries, fat and grease.
So, what are your favorite, non-chain local places to eat? Who makes the best breakfast? Where's a nice place to go for lunch? Where's your favorite place to go on a date? Let's compile a top 50 list of our own shall we?
On the candle front, there are 6 days left for the NAMI Art Walk and I am PUMPED! The weather looks to be decent, sunny and mid-60s although there's supposed to be one of those bad thunderstorms moving through when the temperature drops 20 degrees like they're saying it will and I'm hoping I won't have to set up in the mud:( I'll be developing one more votive candle but the rest of the week will be devoted to setting up and finishing touches. So next week's blog will be all about NAMI with lots of pictures about the event. So, all you Mainers out there and visitors to the Portland area be sure to visit Back Cove (it's a kind of park off 295 exit 7) from 10-4 and root for the walkers taking part in a good cause, get some food and face painting, listen to some local musicians, support your local artisans and quite possibly you might get a chance to meet Glenn Close:) It promises to be a pretty day so get off your duffs and get some air! Chow for now.
UPDATE: Shortly after this posting I discovered vendors of the Art Walk will be situated in a horseshoe around a tent (assuming it's the BringChange2Mind tent) where Glenn Close will be signing tshirts and having photo ops so it should prove to be an interesting day:)