It seems that I was premature in singing the praises of my ‘impeccable’ health this winter. I awoke with a sore throat on Friday, which for me, is always the telltale sign of something wreaking havoc on my immune system. I could not think of a more inopportune time to succumb to this. I hope with all my heart (and stomach) that I make a speedy recovery as I consider this time of year to be the epitome of how I enjoy spending my free time here in Portland. Please note that I am not bowing out completely from Restaurant Week, but regrettably I will not be partaking in it with quite as much vigor as previous years. As I mentioned in my inaugural post, the nose and tongue work in tandem to translate flavors. Congestion limits one’s ability to detect fragrance and therefore leaves the palate a bit handicapped. Not to mention the fact that there’s absolutely nothing sexy about being sick, so why would I dare present myself in public in such a state? Basically I won’t be having the grand ol’ time I had envisioned for myself during this celebration of people, places, and plates. I encourage all of you with fully-functioning tastebuds to take advantage of this 10-day event. You certainly don’t have to restrict yourself to the set-priced menus, but it can be a little softer on the wallet. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to explore our culinary community and also support local businesses during their slow season. My challenge to you is to get at least three restaurants under your belt with these suggested guidelines: one old favorite, one place that’s been on your to-do list for ages, and one wild card. The wild card can either be a restaurant you know next-to-nothing about OR a familiar place but choose a course outside of your norm.