Before diving deep into what makes Nostrana’s famous radicchio salad so awesome, let me mention that Nostrana has been open for fifteen years in Portland, Oregon. In terms of the life of a restaurant, fifteen years is pretty much forever. Which means chef Cathy Whims is doing a few things right. Cathy and her husband David West opened Nostrana in 2005, in the heart of the Buckman neighborhood, which encompasses the Central Eastside Industrial District. With the coziness of the wood decor and pizza oven inside and the patio seating outside, it very much has a neighborhood bistro feel to it.
For decades, Cathy has been a
frequent traveler to Italy, where she has built friendships, strengthened her
relationship to Italian cooking, and studied with the famous Marcela Hazan. Lucky for her (and us), Italian cuisine
adapts very well to the Pacific Northwest.
Mainly because they both draw on the natural bounty of the region,
supporting local farmers, fisherman and ranchers. Starting with the best ingredients and creating
rustic, simple dishes, can result in some of the most complex and tastiest
food. I read a quote by her that really
struck a chord, “at Nostrana, the farmers and the ingredients cultivate the
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