If a miraculously resurrected F. Scott Fitzgerald decided to have a night on the town in Portland, he'd probably lead his glamorous, drunken entourage toward Carlyle for dinner. Bruce Goldberg's Slabtown destination diner is fancy but fun, friendly and casual, and refreshingly detached from the downtown/Pearl scene. It's a low-lit rendezvous with a come-as-you-are dress code—very Portland. Bonus: The food is simple and delicious, with great attention to detail. The seared foie gras starter ($19) is a pure fatty delight of vaguely illicit bird liver, as it should be, but what makes it a great dish is the lowly sweet corn succotash underneath. Best corn ever, yo. If you want to feel like Hagar the Horrible, get the lamb loin entree and gnaw the meat right off the bone. Yarrmf! For straight-up make-you-happy food, try the hand-cut pappardelle with pork ragoût. The wine and cocktail list is exemplary: Notably, the "margatini" (tequila, triple sec and orange liqueur) comes with a limit of two per guest. Apparently, the bartender got into some trouble with this invention. Ignore his warning at your peril.
IDEAL MEAL: Meat, wine, meat, wine, wine, apricot soup.