Feast Portland, Day 3: More Tastings, More Wine, High Comfort, Chopsticks and Bunk

Besides meeting up with my best friend in Rome this summer, I would have to say that Day 3 of Feast has officially taken the cake as my most exciting day in 2013. And yes, that even trumps my birthday party at Departure where I got to prance around for four hours attention-whoring in Jimmy Choos and a tiara.

I started off the day by returning to Pioneer Square for the second round of samples and cooking demos at the Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting:

Most of the vendors at the Grand Tasting were the same as Friday so I basically tried all the ones I’d neglected the day before and went for repeats for the favourites…*cough* the foie gras chocolate at Cacao.

After spending an hour or so sampling and sipping, I headed over to the Portland Art Museum to attend a Speaker Series presented by Whole Foods Market called “Portland Matters”. Portland’s culinary landscape and emerging status in the food and dining world was the main topic of discussion and exploration at this particular series. The prestigious panel consisted of Karen Brooks of Portland Monthly Magazine, Feast co-founder Mike Thelin, Todd Davidson of Travel Oregon, Francis Lam of Clarkson Potter (and also a Top Chef judge) and Andy Ricker of Pok Pok and was both informative and incredibly interesting.

Whole Foods Speaker Series
Whole Foods Speaker Series

I walked out of it not only with a plethora of great quotes to tweet, but also with a newfound gratefulness that I live in such an agriculturally fortunate part of the country where fostering such a rich culinary culture is feasible and luckily embedded with all the creative freedom our artisans, vendors and chefs have.

After the Speaker Series, I returned to the Urbanspoon Media Lounge for a delightful tasting and pairing courtesy of Archery Summit Winery:

***

Now, comes the outfit change. I headed to Erica’s apartment; whipped off my trekking gear and threw on a sequined frock, some five inch Jimmy Choos and a fresh swipe of the reddest lipstick I could find as we were about to head to Feast Portland’s most glamorous event, High Comfort at The Nines Hotel.

All dolled up ready for a glamorous evening out
All dolled up ready for a glamorous evening out

And glamorous it was indeed. Our friend, Anne and Erica’s boyfriend also joined us at the hotel where we were greeted with flutes of champagne upon entry.

High Comfort was comprised of several rooms in which top chefs from around the country had booths where they served their rendition of “comfort food pushed out of it’s comfort zone.” In other words, think TONNES of foie gras, offal and other decadent ingredients.

This event was AMAZING. A tad of a splurge but nevertheless one of the most glamorous and delicious events I’ve attended in Portland. There was also a plethora of Northwest wineries and a Hendrick’s Gin stand to help reactivate our appetites after each succulent sample.

Unfortunately, the lighting was rather poor and it was difficult to constantly balance my wine glass (or gin cocktail) with the sample of the minute while taking a photograph. However, I certainly did have some favourites which I’ve listed below:

1) M.A.C. (Phillipe Boulot) Puff pastry stuffed with veal, foie gras and sweetbread. Absolutely decadent and atop some sort of delicious pesto-like aioli

2) Lincoln (Jenn Louis) Lamb Tartare. One bite and a bit of a refreshing relief from some of the heaviness of the other options

3) Ink (Michael Voltaggio) Pho. This was hands down the tenderest piece of meat I have had in my whole life. Worth the long wait in line.

4) The Dutch (Andrew Carmellini) Foie Gras Hot Dog. Enough said.

5) Restaurant Beck (Justin Wills) Water buffalo bratwurst. I’m not normally a fan of brats, but this one was absolutely splendid.

I did love everything else I tried (which was everything except for the smoked ham/raspberry ice cream from Salt and Straw…as I got too full); however these were the standouts. There was also options such as goat chili, a bolognese from St. Jack’s and a fermented grain porridge from San Francisco’s Flour + Water.

***

And if you though High Comfort was the end of the night…and the last of the food and libations to be consumed…well you’re dead wrong. In fact, my night persisted another four hours and between two star studded after parties; one hosted by Bon Appetit Magazine at East Burnside karaoke bar, Chopsticks Express and the second at the tiny space that is Bunk Sandwiches on SE Morrison.

At the Chopsticks party, there was a menu full of delicious Aviation Gin cocktails (some containing ingredients such as fish sauce) and perhaps one of my biggest dreams: unlimited Pok Pok fish sauce chicken wings. So despite having just consumed enough foie gras to brand me forever illegal in California…there were wings. And lots of them.

After mingling and dancing and eventually becoming inebriated by how starstruck I was to be partying alongside people such as Chris Cosentino and Naomi Pomeroy…I headed over to another Feast after party with my friends Adam and Triska at Bunk Sandwiches.

And at Bunk, there were more sandwiches. And lots of them. And they were all filled with ridiculous amounts of splendid meats…and I ate them all.

There were also jello shots, bottles of Breakside beer and massive trays full of cheeto dorito nachos…aka food I never thought I’d touch but ended up being the cleverest drunchies of all time.

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