Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces Is Born!

Last week, I had a baby.

No, not a REAL baby! I need a few more years of uninterrupted beauty sleep, uninhibited imbibing of Tempranillo, and unburped-on sweaters before I go that route. But I did produce a little paper baby, which I named Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces Stevenson. Or something like that. 220 pages, 4.25″x6.25″. A bit on the small side, I know, but that’s okay because sometimes you need your baby to slip right into your pocket while you grab for your chocolate praline croissant/foie gras bon bon/pork belly and fried egg sandwich/Tums.

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Because blogging is wonderful (um, could we please pretend I didn’t actually vanish from the blogosphere for the past five months…oops), but there’s nothing like holding an exquisite little perfect-bound bundle of joy in your hands. And while technology may be smothering traditional publishing with its ruthless red e-tide, I still believe in the power of paper. Besides, sometimes your iPhone flat-out refuses to get a signal when you’re in dire need of a dozen oysters, or up and dies because you’ve been using it to Google map taco trucks for six straight hours. And then what?

And so Mette The Designing (Half) Dane and I created the Best Places To Stuff Your Faces. According to the front cover, it’s a lovingly-curated insider’s guide to the most delicious, delightful and unique dining experiences in Portland, Oregon. I also think it’s a small miracle. For the last year and a half, we’d bandied about the idea, but I happen to be Portland’s Best Procrastinator, a problem that was only compounded by the formidable task before me–distilling the city’s ever-burgeoning, impossibly exuberant, ridiculously delicious food scene into 100 top choices. (Mette put the kibosh on my suggestion that we just give up and make it Portland’s 122 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces).

I envisioned the book as a comprehensive overview of the best eats in town–be they from a restaurant, food cart, bakery, pizzeria, chocolate shop, specialty market, cheesemonger, or school bus. So finally, after countless sleepless nights and innumerable cases of heartburn/food poisoning/theobromine overdose-induced anxiety, I finished the last writeup, and Mette worked her illustrating and designing magic with a vengeance. Shellie, our production manager, editor and Official Eagle Eye, had her way with my grammar and punctuation blunders, and we were ready to print. And so one chilly “summer” morning last last week, we found ourselves ogling the printing machines at North Portland’s Brown Printing, watching cover proofs fly off the press. It cost a bit more to print locally, but I think it’s pretty neat to have a book that’s completely written, designed, edited and printed right here in Stumptown.

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I hope you enjoy the book. It’s petite, so it fits right in your pocket/handbag/nosebag. It’s beautifully and cleverly designed, because that’s how Mette rolls (seriously, find the double-decker bike in the Northeast map and the tiny ham on the handle of the cover fork). It’s got amazing maps–Mette created gorgeous full-color front and back gatefold cover maps so you’ll never get lost, unless you’re me, who gets lost in her own studio apartment sometimes (reference aforementioned imbibing). And it’s written with an obsessive, relentless love and respect for Portland’s brilliant, intrepid, one-of-a-kind food scene (I lost count of how many three-dinner nights I had along the way, or how many late-night hot water bottles my stomach hosted) and the amazing and amazingly dedicated people who make it happen.

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Inside you’ll find 100 writeups for all my very favorite Portland eateries. Why these particular 100? Well, I think eating out should be a romance of sorts. I want to fall in love with my food. I want to wake up thinking about it, whether I had an elaborate five-star tasting menu or a simple paper-wrapped bundle of chicken and rice or just a perfect chocolate peanut butter shake. All the spots in the book have that little sumpin’ sumpin’–a cocktail of deliciousness and moxie and unforgettableness. For many years now, I’ve been scouring Portland, eating everything in sight, forming a myriad of lusty little food crushes all over the city, from bustling downtown food carts to homey SE 82nd soup shops to exquisite Sellwood teahouses to airy St. Johns cafés. I couldn’t fit all my infatuations in the book–which was painful and believe me, I spent many a night staring disconsolately into a tub of passionfruit gelato, agonizing over it, but I’ll continue to add all my favorites to Under The Table With Jen, and when the Facestuffer app launches later this summer, it won’t be confined to 100.

Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces makes a loyal companion for everyone, really. Locals and travelers alike. Experienced foodies, total face-stuffing novices, and people who love to eat and appreciate exceptional food but don’t make it out all that often and want to go somewhere special and meaningful when they do. I use it myself all the time–I might be a walking Portland restaurant directory, but everyone draws a blank now and then when they’re craving meatballs on the fly.

And since everyone likes a good game, and making tiny checkmarks, Mette created the spectacular Eat Sheet, which is a hand-drawn checklist of all 100 spots in the book. You can chart your progress as you eat your way through town. I keep mine pinned to the treadmill. Just kidding. I do keep it taped to my bathroom scale though. If you want an Eat Sheet of your own, and you know you do, just go to bestplacestostuffyourfaces.com and download a complimentary copy.

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And last but not least, I hope you can come to the official Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces launch party. Due to a congested summer social calendar, we scheduled it a few weeks away, on Sunday, July 17th, at Olympic Provisions Northwest, from 6-8pm. Come nibble the world’s finest charcuterie and sip bubbly and celebrate my new baby. I promise it won’t spit pureed yams on your cashmere pullover or knock over your Tempranillo.*

*I, on the other hand, might.

Portland’s 100 Best Places To Stuff Your Faces can be found at bestplacestostuffyourfaces.com and at these fine local retailers (click here to see the list).