Mac Makes “Foodiest” List

By Karl Klooster

America’s “foodiest” magazine, Bon Appétit, sent its restaurant editor out across the country to come up with picks for the “foodiest” cities under 250,000 people. So, with New York, San Francisco, Portland, New Orleans and the like out of the running, guess who came in number two?

The magazine’s October 2010 issue lists Oregon’s own McMinnville as second only to Boulder, Colo., a city with nearly three times the population — Us: 32,760. Them: 94,268 — as the best place for all things eating.

Rounding out the top six were Big Sur, Calif., Traverse City, Mich., Louisville, Ky., and Ithaca, N.Y. Among the many blogger posts, most vociferously voiced was the exclusion of Charleston, S.C. from the list.

In addition to being somewhat smaller than a megaplex, other criteria included quality farmers’ markets, concerned farmers, dedicated food media, first-rate restaurants, talented food artisans and a community of food lovers.

We wholeheartedly agree with Mac’s high rating in all those categories, while doing the best we can here at Oregon Wine Press to fulfill our role as one of those dedicated members of the food — and wine — media.

In its comments on McMinnville’s food scene, Bon Appétit paid particular tribute to the International Pinot Noir Celebration, as well as to newcomer Thistle Restaurant.

Kudos for orchestrating the most upmarket mass feeding anywhere over the past quarter century have certainly been well earned by IPNC. And Thistle chef/co-owner Eric Bechard has quickly become known for his creative talents in the kitchen.

But one might wonder if recent publicity of a less tasty kind inspired singling out his restaurant for special mention.

It would also be edifying to know, from a restaurant standpoint, whether or not the magazine took into account only those dining establishments situated within the city limits of each municipality or also considered ones in the surrounding area.

In the case of Boulder, that would include some substantial suburbs, since the metro population is more than 293,000.

 Were McMinnville proper to be bolstered by our satellite cities of Dundee, Dayton, Carlton and Newberg, the epicurean eatery count would be considerably increased.

Still, runner-up nationwide is something to savor. This year. 

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