Brian Duff, how do you do it? How exactly does the energy flow from brain to keyboard, to introduce a year-end restaurant wrap up in The Portland Phoenix like this: "Our lives are dominated by strange forces we cannot control — economic, demographic, epigenetic, psycho-sexual." Perhaps best not to think about it too much and read on to reach Duff's high points for 2012: off the beaten path" restaurants such as The Kitchen Garden (at right) in Stueben and Schulte & Herr in Portland; places to get an interesting cocktail like LFK and Eventide; the new wave of coffee bars. When Lee Farrington shutters it on Dec. 29, he will miss "Figa, which seemed to have so much going for it: a great space, a talented chef, and an interesting Latin twist on American cuisine.
[Photo: The Kitchen Garden/Official Site]