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A Portland-to-Portland 'food fight'

Patrick Alan Coleman, a food writer for the Portland Mercury over in the other Portland, is trying to start a cross-country inter-Portland food fight, with this post, in which he pledges to "continue to bait" us over here in the original Portland. I say let's take him.

First up, Portland, Maine, is the original Portland - Coleman dismisses this claim, but he should check the program his crosstown rival Willamette Week issued at the 2007 conference of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Right there in front, it clearly says that two men were disputing what to name the new town, and flipped a coin. The choices? Boston or Portland.

Next, his more substantive points:

Ingredients. Not only is our farmer's market going year-round, but we catch fish (and shrimp, and lobster) in the bitter cold of winter.

Mushrooms. Local forager Roger Doiron finds mushrooms within six miles of the center of downtown. Good meat - were do Oregonians go for fresh-slaughtered, halal goat meat? I can name three places right now. Cheese - stop by KHorton Fine Foods in Monument Square's Public Market House (note to Coleman: also open year-round) for just a sampling of Maine cheeses, as well as international flavors Maine cheesemakers and use for inspiration.

Bartenders: There's always Jeff Grundy. And our bartenders might not have been mentioned in the New York Times, but our restaurants sure have.

Don't get me started on booze. "More microbreweries than you can shake a stick at," says Coleman of Portland, Oregon. Can you shake a stick at 13? (And those are just the ones who listed on the 2008 Maine Brewers Festival site - and they left off Run of the Mill and at least one more.) Let's not forget Maine wines, and Maine-made vodka, from Maine-grown potatoes.

And I'll consider the food-writer exchange Coleman proposes.

Go for it, in the comments.

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