Come December, Portlanders flock to the city center to marvel at Pioneer Courthouse Square’s majestic 75-foot-high Christmas tree, bejeweled with more than 14,000 twinkling lights. But for some of the most dramatic views of this festive fixture, with a side of the city’s best Peking duck, head fifteen stories straight up to the top of The Nines hotel, where Departure chef Gregory Gourdet has established a beloved holiday tradition of his own. A true labor of love, each duck is cured overnight in salt, sugar and a spice blend of cinnamon, star anise, coriander, clove, allspice, nutmeg, fennel and chili, blanched in rice wine, honey, salt and more 7-spice, then hung to dry for twenty-four hours, slow roasted, and flash fried. Departure’s Peking pomp and circumstance includes a pre-feast tableside presentation of the mahogany-skinned bird, before it’s whisked back to the kitchen to be carved. It’s returned shortly thereafter—sliced and served with candied kumquats, mandarin pancakes, housemade plum sauce, slivers of scallions and cucumber and a rich, savory duck bone broth. For the grand finale, Gourdet folds any remaining shreds of meat into a decadent garlic and ginger-laced duck fried rice fortified with duck fat, gizzards and liver. The kitchen prepares only thirty ducks a night, and devotees come from near and far to claim them, so reservations are a must.