Farm to Table
Get Dirty Farm Tours is a recent and unique addition to Portland's cuisine scene.

[Get Dirty] "creates custom tours for groups to see where the great food in our local restaurants is grown," Hibdon says.

From organic veggies to goat cheese, tour participants will become more familiar with the farming process and just how eco-conscious Oregon is. An itinerary might cover organic vegetables at Gathering Together Farm and sea salt and oysters at Netarts Bay.

After a Get Dirty tour, groups dine in one of Portland's popular group-friendly eateries.

One such restaurant, located in Northeast Portland's Concordia neighborhood, is Nonna.

"Nonna exemplifies the Portland approach to food in that we use quality, in-season, local ingredients and prepare them properly and with respect," says Leb Borgerson, Nonna's general manager.

For groups, Nonna offers an attractive dining room. The entire restaurant is available for rent and for smaller parties, the wine bar section of the restaurant is available.

"Our food is very friendly to family-style dining, allowing for a dining experience akin to eating at a little old Italian grandmother's house, except with a really nice modern bar attached," Borgerson says.

If the group would prefer to just grab something sweet after a long day of meetings, Maurice, a new downtown addition, is "a lovely little dessert spot," according to Hibdon, who says the pastry chef whips up stellar creations, including black pepper cheesecake, tarte au chocolat and fig tarte tatin.

Whiskey Wisdom
Whiskey may never take top billing in a state drowning in praise for its beers and wines, but purveyors of the harder stuff are influencing the mix of Oregon's beverage output.

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Though their Portland-made whiskey is still in barrels, Hibdon says Bull Run Distillery currently imports bourbon and whiskey from other producers and blends a line called Temperance Trader. The Bullrun-made spirit is expected to be released sometime in 2015.

Bull Run tours are available for larger groups. Participants taste Temperance Trader, as well as housemade gin, vodka and rum.

Two other whiskey stops, both available for events, include Pope House Bourbon Lounge, which offers private Bourbon 101 classes, and Multnomah Whiskey Library, a new downtown venue with a worldwide assortment of more than 1,000 whiskies in a brick and leather setting.

Longtime contributor Carolyn Blackburn lives in Oregon, not far from that black pepper cheesecake and a nice glass of red.