Castagna Restaurant in Portland, Oregon not only happens to be in my hometown, it is also one of the finest restaurants at which I’ve had the pleasure of dining. One of many things in life I’m grateful for is the fact that my husband loves to cook and has quite a talent for making everything: from dashi to demi-glace, pasta or seared duck breast with peppercorn infused, poached pears. Because of this, it’s very difficult to find a restaurant that can out-do what my amazing partner in life creates in our humble home kitchen. Castagna is the only restaurant we’ve been to together where when we sit down, we prepare for the question that always arises, “how did he do THAT?” The food at Castagna is art and is often celebrated, (and criticized), for the same reasons. However, there is one undeniable fact: you can’t eat like this anywhere else in Portland. The food at Castagna has amazing attention given to not only the quality of the ingredients, but also the beauty of them. The service is absolutely world class. The desserts, like this chocolate dish, are some of the best I’ve ever encountered, thanks to the pastry chef, Eve Kuttman. Although I love the food scene in Portland, I’ve always felt that Castagna is in a class of its own. This year, the chef Justin Woodward is receiving the recognition from the James Beard Foundation in the form of a nomination for Rising Star Chef of the Year. Congratulations Justin! Thank you for all of your creativity, hard work and delicious, incredible food.