Location, Location, Location
Foodie cities often cause quite the buzz in America. People from all over the country visit various cities just to experience the unique or iconic cuisine served there. While there are countless lists and opinions of the top foodie cities in the U.S., you’ll find that Portland, Oregon often ranks rather competitively. While looking for a suitable culinary school, why note immerse yourself near one of the top-rated foodie cities in the country? Located in beautiful Vancouver, WA, Northwest Culinary Institute is only minutes away from Portland, OR.
While there are tons of lists, you’ll find the Portland, OR has ranked within the top 10 foodie cities in the U.S. on most. For example, Wallet hub has ranked it 1st, TimeOut has ranked it 1st, and U.S. News has ranked it 9th. Why is this? Portland, OR is known for its fresh/local ingredients, unique food trucks, a wide diversity in food, and the famous Portland Farmers’ Market. Being the most food-cart friendly city in the U.S., Portland offers many different areas with a seriously wide range of food carts to try from. According to Portland Neighborhood, the last count yielded over 500 licensed food carts in Portland. The diversity of food within these food carts (or even among the restaurants) is astounding to most visitors. With food from all over the world, Portland boasts that there’s something for everybody. Whether you’re looking for ethnic cuisine, sweet desserts, or even something tailored to specific diets (particularly vegetarian/vegan), this is the place to be. Having such a wide array of options to enjoy throughout your culinary studies is an opportunity that’s hard to compete with.
Aside from just Portland, the Pacific Northwest also thrives on coastal foods. Some popular coastal seafood options include Dungeness crab, scallops, clams, mussels, oysters, prawns, shrimp, abalone, squid, octopus, and so many more. With the coast being around 90 minutes away from NCI’s campus, you can bet that fresh food from the Pacific is a regularity in the Pacific Northwest! In Vancouver, WA and the surrounding areas, there are countless seafood restaurants to explore with food caught as early as just a few hours prior to your visit! Restaurants like The Cove, Coast to Coast Fish House, and McGrath’s Fish House are some of the popular picks for local seafood near Vancouver, WA. On the Portland side, some popular seafood establishments include Salty’s on the Columbia, Fishwife Seafood Restaurant, and Flying Fish Company LLC if you’d like a quick, delicious bite!
Some other local foods that you’ll be exposed to in the Pacific Northwest include Marionberry pie, Walla Walla onions, and LOTS of fresh salmon. Marionberries first came to light in 1945, when they were developed at Oregon State University. A Chehalem blackberry (a berry with native blackberry, loganberry, and raspberry) was crossed with an olallieberry (a blackberry cross). The result was a unique, indescribable berry named after Marion County in Oregon. Coming to the market in 1956, the marionberry became a local favorite. Today, the marionberry is the star of marionberry pies. When you come to the Pacific Northwest, this iconic dish is something that we’d highly recommend trying! Aside from marionberries, the Pacific Northwest is the home to sweet Walla Walla onions. For a detailed history of sweet Walla Walla onions, please click here. The hype with Walla Walla onions is that they are both sweet, and they don’t make you cry as with standard onions. Because of this, Walla Walla onions can be eaten in a variety of ways including atop a salad, burger, fried into onion rings, or even eaten by themselves. With their unique sweetness, Walla Walla onions don’t find too much trouble in becoming the star of a variety of dishes. Another big Pacific Northwest highlight is salmon. While you might already know this, salmon is a huge part of the Pacific Northwest. Chinook, Coho, Chum, Pink, and Sockeye salmon inhabit many of the Pacific Northwest National Forests. During your stay in this part of the country, you likely won’t have any issues finding a great salmon dish.