Arguing for Portland: Food blogger/cookbook author Ivy Manning (she writes for national magazines). Small, funky, adventurous, and thoroughly locavorian: That’s how Portland rolls. Unlike our big sister to the north, we aren’t swaddled in red tape (how are those distilleries coming, Seattle?) or snarled up in traffic on our way to dinner. No. Dining in Portland means riding your bike to a 4-course, under-$10 vegan brunch, or toasting the man who made the gin or Pinot Noir in your glass. This is perhaps the most democratic food city in the West, a place where chefs have found a culinary sweet spot between cheap rents and easy access to local meat and produce that’s grown a stone’s throw from city limits. All of which boils down to a world-class food town ... without a worldly price tag.
Arguing for Seattle: Cookbook author Jess Thomson (she contributes to Seattle Met and EdibleSeattle). Of all cities, Seattle knows it doesn’t pay to be popular in high school. You might be pretty now, Portland, but when the food-truck fire fizzles, The New York Times isn’t going to be thick enough to keep your flame burning. Go ahead: Make your farm-to-table roots look deeper by snuggling closer to your beloved animals. We’ll keep making great food from a more diverse culinary background, using ingredients from the best artisanal markets in the country, created by chefs who have a knack for winning awards. And then we’ll shift into high gear.