11/05/2012 04:04 pm ET

Cloudy With A Chance of Stinging-Nettle Flan And Tomato Coulis

When I asked Joe Guth, who founded Provvista Specialty Foods in the early 1990s, for an explanation of Portland's growth, he answered, "Cheap rent, cheap rent, cheap rent." From that foundation evolved what might be the most affordable upscale urban economy in America. It certainly offers the most pleasure for the price. If dinner is too expensive, happy hour is not. In Manhattan, happy-hour cuisine tends to consist of tortilla chips. In Portland, it's practically the proverbial free lunch. Many restaurants have two happy hours, one early and one late, and food is always offered because the law demands it.

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