The line that divides Europe into two gastronomical regions is really a mountainous squiggle. North of the Alps, the cuisine is infused with butter, shallots, duck fat, and root vegetables. To the south, it’s all about the sun: olive oil, lemons, tomatoes, and thyme. Despite the fact that Portland’s climate resembles that of northern Europe, our restaurants tend to serve southern European fare. Survival might have something to do with it—food-inspired fantasies help us endure rain an...

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