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Portland's James Beard Award Finalists; Farm Spirit Dinners Coming Soon

Welcome to CascadiaWire, a weekly collection of restaurant news from up-and-down the Pacific Northwest corridor.

AWARDS SEASONThe James Beard Foundation announced the final nominees for its 2015 James Beard Awards, and Portland just doubled its chances to once again take home the Best Chef Northwest crown that Beast and Expatriate’s Naomi Pomeroy claimed last year. Will Castagna’s Justin Woodward keep the crown in Stumptown? Will Ox’s Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton share it, or will some other city clutch it away? Stay tuned. The James Beard Foundation award winners will be announced in Chicago on May 4.

SPRING (AND SUMMER)TRACKING We’ve already seen a whole bunch of high-profile openings in the last three months, and it looks like things are gonna heat up even more as the weather does. Not only are we going to get a pair of sports bars, both ambitious in scope, our anticipated openings also includes three high-profile ChefStable projects, including a 99-tap beer hall, a ham and cocktail bar by the man and woman behind Oven & Shaker, and P.R.E.A.M, Portland’s Wu-Tang-inspired hip-hop wood-fired pizzeria.

DOWNTOWN Aaron Adams, the former brains and brawn behind Portobello, Stumptown’s favorite vegan Trattoria, is returning to his fine-dining roots. Farm Spirit will feature 12-course vegetarian dinners at Adams’ 14-seat chef’s counter. There will be only one seating per night and every course will be almost entirely plant-based. Adams expects to seat his first guests sometime in mid-May.