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Touring Taste of the Nation's VIP Plate

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Portland's Taste of the Nation (mini-recap coming later; we're still in recovery) may have boasted nearly 50 restaurants, but tastes from the five deemed "GEMS" — Beaker & Flask, Beast, Genoa, Gruner, and Thistle — required ponying up an extra $50 per ticket. So what did a fifty buy (aside from early admission and some added breathing room)?

Clockwise, starting with the egg: Recent ELLE centerfold Chris Israel offered up a pickled egg with horseradish-based filling; from McMinnville's Thistle, it was bite-sized duck preparations served several ways. James Beard-nominated Naomi Pomeroy was personally on-hand to dole out her lamb with cherry jam; Beaker & Flask's trio of crostini included liver mousse with pickled asparagus (and jumping over one, a ridiculously amazing mackerel escabeche); on the spoon is Genoa's tortellini, swimming in a veggie-based broth.

Seven rich bites = Half a Benjamin.
Access to Taste pre- crowded clusterf*#k = priceless.

Genoa

2800 SE Belmont Street, Portland, OR 97214 Visit Website

Beast

5425 Northeast 30th Avenue, , OR 97211 (503) 841-6968 Visit Website

Grüner

527 SW 12th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205 503-241-7163

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