Portland is a foodie's ultimate restaurant destination. Ingredients are abundant in the city's amazing year-round farmers' market each Wednesday and Saturday, where an incredible array of restaurants take advantage of abundant seafood and locally-grown crops. There is even an incubator kitchen for potential restaurant owners to test out their concepts on a hungry audience.
One such restaurant that tested the Portland waters is Emilitsa, which serves scrumptious upscale Greek comfort food. The restaurant was opened about five years ago by two brothers, John and Chef Demos Regas, whose parents had raised them up in the restaurant business with their own place in Minnesota. After years of pursuing other careers, the brothers Regas decided they could no longer resist the pull of serving Greek cuisine. When then got serious, they decided to craft their menu around the recipes of their mother, Emilitsa, with artful preparation and the best possible ingredients.
A Greek concept Chef Regas introduced me to on my visit was the idea of philoxenia. This word encapsulates the Greek notion of hospitality. It goes back to the small town way of life, where no one is a stranger for long. For if you pass by someone's home in Greece, they say it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, you will be invited in to sit around a table and partake in the many dishes that your host will be serving. Now that is my idea of hospitality.
See more about Emilitsa and learn more about Portland's interesting DIY culture on Neighborhood Kitchens, this Saturday at 4pm on WGBH 2 or online