Feast 2016: SET YOUR ALARMS

Some people set their alarms and save up their lunch money for Coachella, other people set their alarms and cancel their gym memberships to save money for Feast Portland. I’m one of the latter types and it is not just because massive crowds of overly trendy people wearing $500 distressed booty shorts give me anxiety but also because four days of back to back eating and drinking some of the best food and beverage in the country while hanging out with all the chefs, food writers, distillers,brewers, bartenders and food geeks is my idea of a spiritual experience.

It has been eight months since Feast 2015 concluded and the final closing party left a pretty epic impression on me combining all my favorite things. In short it was a beautiful September Sunday, warm and clear skies and what started out as eating Gregory Gourdet’s delicious fare on the Departure rooftop with the blogger squad and all the chefs I have “coolness crushes on” resulted in an epic sunset dance party that marked the beginning of my obsession with “Hotline Bling,” (I’m serious…that was the first time I heard it).

With Feast going on its fifth year (and each one getting better), I’ve got high hopes for Feast 2016 and guess what? The schedule goes live tomorrow at 9am and tickets start going on sale MAY 20th at 9am PST. Set your alarm, will you? It is bound to sell out real fast. REAL FAST.

Check out my coverage from Feast 2015’s Night Market HERE

http://www.feastportland.com/

savethedatefeast

Give Me All the Sandwiches: Feast 2014 Sandwich Invitational

I know, I know- the Sandwich Invitational was something like two weeks ago. What can I say? The unemployed life gets real hectic sometimes between scoping out new opportunities and catching up on the sleep that your prior high-stress 60-70 hour work week job sucked out of you; so now that I’m bright eyed without the help of an under-eye ointment and have a 16 ounce mug of Stumptown, I’m ready to talk to you about sandwiches.

Someone once said (meaning myself, but I’m certain there is someone else in history that also said this) that all the best foods are arguably some type of sandwich. And there is a lot of truth to that considering the infinite concoctions one could create and still label as a sandwich.

Considering how epic the Feast 2013 Sandwich Invitational was, I was extremely grateful that for the second year in a row I was given a ticket to the invitational as a birthday gift from my friend, Anne. Though the event was not included in my Blogger Pass, I still felt the need to wear the tag- basically so I didn’t feel like an intrusive badger every time I wanted to run up to the front of the line and snap a few photos.

So, like last year, I did not manage to try every single sandwich because there were fourteen of them and I had little self control with the ones I want to get seconds on…but I did manage to try MOST of them.

Rick Gencarelli of Lardo’s pork burger also was slathered with some “dirty mustard,” peaches and American cheese. Despite drawing one of the longest queues of the night, they STILL managed to not run out. Impressive.

From what I did try, here were some of my favourites:

Paul Kahan’s gyro was absolutely out of this world! I personally like my sandwiches packed with saucy unique condiments and a juicy dose of meat and like the other options above the gyro killed it (and stole my vote). I was also a huge fan of Dustin Clark’s water buffalo short rib sando- Chef Clark was at the now shuttered Wildwood, which had been a personal favourite so I am certainly looking forward to the opening of The Oddfellow Social, his next culinary venture. Another surprising favourite? From Stephanie Pearl Kimmel of Marche in Euguene- I’m a sucker for anything with Middle Eastern flavours so her submission also got five gold stars from me.

Another favourite was of course Salt n Straw’s PB&J; also the winner of the People’s Choice:

Tyler Malek’s magical dessert dish was a scrumptious concoction of buttery grilled brioche topped with marionberry jam, peanut butter ice cream, whipped cream and peanut butter Cap’n Crunch. I’m salivating just recounting that.

Some of the other bites I managed to chew into included Broder’s ultra Scandinavian gravlax on rye rendition, Bar Avignon’s deconstructed Cubano and Dallas based FT33’s pimento and bologna sandwich (which if you ask me would be exactly what I would want to eat at 2am to soak up a night’s worth of cocktails).

The winner of the invitational from the judges’ vote was Bonnie Morales of Kachka with her smoked Sprats, egg, and smetana on butter fried toasts; an usual though gorgeously assembled sandwich. I didn’t try this one nor do I have a photo, but I’m sure if you peruse Pechluck or Michelle’s blogs you’ll be able to find one!

And with that, another ultra successful Sandwich Invitational under Feast Portland’s belt. Already looking forward to what deliciousness is in store for 2015.

Feast Portland Night Market: The Haute Couture of Street Food

I was extremely fortunate this year to have my Feast Portland Blogger Pass include a ticket to the USA Pears Night Market, an event which I did not attend in 2013 but heard remarkable things about.

This year, the Night Market took place at Zidell Yards, a large open space below the Ross Island Bridge at the South Waterfront. The weather was warm, a slight tinge of muggy and the market was set up as a wide boulevard lined by each of the prestigious chefs’ booths along with a large assortment of breweries, wineries and distilleries offering delicious libations with an international twist. There was a stage at the end with performers and bhangra music provided an appropriate atmosphere given the event. What was fantastic about Night Market is that there were loads of picnic benches lining the waterfront making the munching/sipping/photographing juggle a million times more feasible.

Night Market in Action
Night Market in Action

Out of all the Feast events, I had the most anticipation for Night Market given that it had the largest number of my favourite Portland restaurants being represented (Departure, Bollywood Theater, Biwa and Levant to name a few). Plus, I’m a humongous fan of Middle Eastern, Indian, Pan-Asian and Latin cuisines so there’s really no better event to taste them all than here.

Sadly I got too full to sample every dish, which was a shame considering that all of them looked and smelled incredible. Some of the ones I did get to taste though are below (and there are some whose photos magically disappeared, but go check out Michelle from Hummingbird High’s post on the event for some next degree food porn from the event).

Chef Jose Chesa of Ataula killed it with this juicy rabbit skewer- an interesting melange of Japanese and Spanish flavours.

Top Chef Boston contestant/Departure Chef/one of the most genuinely COOL people in Portland, Gregory Gourdet also killed it (as usual) with this light pork dish. Plus they were giving away free multicoloured Departure emblazoned sunglasses at their stand (and of course I grabbed a pink pair that I wore to the after party).

What a splendid event this was. Just like the Tillamook Brunch Village, the USA Pears Night Market was beautifully executed from the vibrant street market atmosphere to the impeccable selection of food and beverage. Plus, I got to take a karaoke bus there and back from the Sentinel Hotel with the rest of the Media/Blogger crew…and yes, that did mean that Brooke and Olivia of Little Green Pickle accompanied me in singing Gangsta’s Paradise en route (though we later realised our microphones were off the whole time…oops).

Once again, a HUMONGOUS thank you to all the geniuses behind Feast Portland for producing such a fantastic event.

Feast Portland Tillamook Brunch Village: The Most Epic Brunch Experience of My Life

Now that I have slept an entire day following the four day extravaganza that was Feast Portland 2014; I am ready to start rollin’ out the recaps. I would also like to acknowledge how much I admire all the other Media/Blogger folk who were able to knock out posts while Feast was in session. The best I was able to do was an instagram or a tweet here and there so I could soak up the most of what this epic food festival in it’s third year running had to offer.

This year, Feast added a new main event to its roster of the usuals (being Sandwich Invitational, Night Market, and High Comfort) and it was the Tillamook Brunch Village in Pioneer Courthouse Square. First of all, adding a brunch event as part of Feast is not only genius, but absolutely necessary and the perfect way to end an exhausting albeit exhilarating weekend.

There was a Brunch Cocktail Competition, a plethora of brunch dishes being whipped out by some of the country’s finest Brunch Pioneers (aka chefs), an endless supply of cocktails/beer/wine/Stumptown coffee, an epic Bloody Mary bar, and a starting time of 11am (reasonable given how late most of us Feasters were partying the night before and double fisting milk cartons full of White Russians).

I arrived at 11:25 am since I did after all have to go home and change from my prior night clothes (which was a kimono, leather skirt and snapback-hardly “Brunch Clothing”) since I was up late at the Chefstable party the night prior nursing my Monkey Strong scotch induced drunchies with the most epic drunchie platter of all time:

Absolutely EPIC assortment of Drunchies from Lardo/Grassa/Racion
Absolutely EPIC assortment of Drunchies from Lardo/Grassa/Racion: From top left- Fried Chicken Slider, Patty Melt, Corndog, Herby tots, meatball in marinara, creamy mac.

When I first arrived at Brunch Village, I decided to make a beeline for a couple of brunch cocktails…you know to double fist while having to wait in the ever-growing food queues. I know I’ve already said “double fist” a couple of times in this post, but if you aren’t double-fisting at Feast then you aren’t doing Feast right. In fact, Alaska Airlines provided at the Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting wooden portable tray tables with a slot for your wine glass so you can essentially QUADRUPLE FIST while still having one hand free. There was also a wine glass lanyard provided by one of the wineries so you can even WEAR your wine glass. So ergonomically brilliant.

I started out at the Bon Appetit Cocktail Tent

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The three choices were a Meadowsweet Mimosa (made with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, sugar syrup steeped with foraged meadowsweet flowers, and Bolerno blood orange liqueur), a Frozen Ramos Gin Fizz (Hendricks Gin, pressed citrus juice, cream, sugar syrup steeped with vanilla bean orange flower water, and nutmeg), and the one I chose which was a Pimm’s No. 9 made with Milagro tequila, Bolerno blood orange liqueur, Madeira combined with mint, ginger, and Tamarind soda.

The next stop was Urban Farmer and Whole Foods’ absolutely epic Bloody Mary bar.

With so much to choose from I ended up sticking to chicken, olives and some Marshall’s Haute Sauce. Now that I had a Bloody Mary and a Pimm’s in hand, it was time to hit the food.

What I’ve learned from Feast this year is that you’ve really got to hit the popular stuff first, because otherwise it is almost guaranteed that they will run out…and if they don’t then their chef is a saint (I’m looking at you Rick Gencarelli for somehow still keepin’ the Lardo sliders rolling at Sandwich Invitational last Thursday).

I decided to start with the Franklin’s BBQ line. I’ve never been to Austin, where this BBQ hotspot is from but anyone who is a BBQ aficionado needs to know about Aaron Franklin and the sorcery this man is capable with when given a slab of meat. My friend Zoe (of Toasty Talk), insisted I hit this queue first citing that one bite of his luscious brisket will give even the hangriest and most hungover patron an inevitable “Brisket Glow.”

Brisket Glow indeed. Franklin’s BBQ ended up running out before 1PM so BOY am I glad that I got to get a slab of that- I think I would actually go to Austin just to have more of this brisket…it’s THAT good. Juicy, delectably seasoned and with just enough melt in your mouth fat- this seemingly simple breakfast taco was enough motivation for me to work hard at life so I can get rich and fly Aaron Franklin out to cater my wedding one day. I might need to wear a bib though given the amount of juicy spillage potential…but that’s a problem I’ll focus on later.

And what was the other infamous Feast queue?

Eggslut.
Eggslut.

Perhaps the most beautiful of all the dishes at Brunch Village, Los Angeles based Eggslut was clearly one of the other crowd favourites. By the time I got to it though, I was reasonably full so a group of us bloggers snagged one container to share (after we each took a go with the camera). That my friends, is kimchi fried rice- once you take your pic, you close the container and shake it up and enjoy.

While I did get too full to try all the dishes; here’s a sampling of what some of the other ones I did get to taste were:

What an event. I am incredibly impressed with how beautifully executed Feast 2014 was; there was not a single logistic forgotten and all the time, energy and creativity put into making this celebration possible paid off in every sense. There aren’t enough people to thank for what is truly one of the nation’s best food festivals- most notably Emily Crowley, Mike Thelin, Carrie Welch, Jannie Huang, Melissa Broussard, Carly Diaz, all the amazing hardworking ladies of Little Green Pickle (Chloe, Olivia, Frances, Brooke, Zoe) and of course the many sponsors including Bon Appetit Magazine, Travel Oregon, and Tillamook (see full list of sponsors HERE), AND the many volunteers who kept the wheels oiled throughout this past week.

If you know what’s good for you, you’ll snag tickets to the 2015 Brunch Village once they become available because believe me, this event WILL sell out even faster than it did this year.

Look at for my posts on other Feast Events from this weekend coming up in the next few days! Also check out all the food porn under the Instagram hashtag #feastpdx

Feast Portland 2014 Strategy Guide: How to Stay Hungry, Awake, and Flossy

The countdown is on! One of the nation’s largest and most prestigious Food & Drink festivals is a mere 22 days away. Therefore, the time has come to begin your three week preparation to ensure that you will get the most out of the four most delicious days of 2014.

I attended Feast Portland last year and had the privilege of enjoying a plethora of tastings, main events, speaker series, classes, tasting panels, happy hours, and after parties back to back for four days straight between what was included in my Blogger Pass and additional events I purchased tickets for. This year however, I’ve ramped up my itinerary to include the Widmer Brother’s Brewing Sandwich Invitational presented by Dave’s Killer BreadUSA Pears Night Market at Zidell YardsOregon Bounty Grand Tasting presented by Alaska Airlines, and Tillamook Brunch Village along with numerous happy hours, socials, and after parties in between. So, yes, that is A LOT of beverage, even more food, and many hours of standing/walking/schmoozing/writing/photographing.

From my experience last year, I’ve decided I would like to share with you all some of my tips, tricks and strategies to ensuring that you get the most out of Feast.

Strategy #1: How to Stay Hungry

There will be a lot of food at Feast. Like more than you’ve ever seen in one place, and it will all be stuff that looks like an ad for Bon Appetit magazine’s Instagram feed. Yes, it’s overwhelming being surrounded by all your celebrity chef crushes handing you plates of foie gras lobster dumplings or lamb belly sandwiches.

Prepare yourself in advance. Don’t overeat during the next three weeks, but don’t starve yourself either because then your stomach will shrink and ‘Quel Dommage,’ only two bites of a Lardo mini sando will have you too full to move on to Bunk. And that’s just no fun, that’s how food FOMO happens. Instead, do that whole eating six times a day small meals thing so that you’re accustomed to feeling hungry more frequently. And in the days prior to Feast do the same, drink lots of water, get in your exercise and a whole lotta sleep.

Be Picky and don’t feel like you have to try everything. Go for the samples that you don’t get to have often, go for dishes that incorporate your favorite ingredients, or the ones that are so unusual and perplexing that they’ll be a conversation starter at your next social. Don’t stuff yourself until you can’t move and take your time- most Feast events last for at least a couple of hours so nosh at your leisure.

Wine. Alright, let’s be real here, we all know wine lowers your blood sugar and as a result you get that beautiful famished, “I can eat everything in sight x 5” feeling. And there’s really no better place to feel famished than Feast. So, yeah, go for it. Sip between events- not too much and stay hydrated but hey sometimes you need a little buzz to zing your appetite so you do get to try every single sandwich at Sandwich Invitational or all the charcuterie Olympic Provisions has on display.

Strategy #2: How to Stay Awake

Feast is an all day thing, like ALL DAY and a significant portion of the night as well. That’s a whole lot of hours to stay awake, alert, and actually feel that way. Last year on one of the days I attended an 8am media breakfast, the Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting at noon, a speaker series right after followed by a wine happy hour, then High Comfort at The Nines, followed by two afterparties- one at Chopsticks Express and another at Bunk Sandwiches. I got home at 3am; slept until 5pm just in time to attend a final Feast party at Departure. If you choose to also go balls to the wall on events, here is my advice:

NAPS are essential. I spent intermissions between events running home to power nap; if I had a morning event I’d go home after take a quick snooze then come back for whatever afternoon delight was going on. If there was time after that, yes I’d run home for another hour dream fest before going into the night. Nap when you can and sleep as full of a night as possible.

Stumptown. Coffee is essential; well- I know some of you do not drink coffee but Stumptown Coffee was certainly the main sponsor behind keeping my eyelids open for a significant portion of Feast 2013. Along those lines, do that in moderation and make sure to drink LOTS OF WATER. Keep a bottle on hand if you can and sip between noshes, booze and coffee so you don’t start to feel sluggish.

Don’t overeat too early or else, yes your body will want nothing more than to be a lump in front of your Netflix queue.

Strategy #3: How to Stay Flossy

Outfit Planning: Do this before, choose outfits that are comfortable, low maintenance, weather appropriate but also chic because HELLO this isn’t your neighbourhood potluck. My advice? Go glamorous with the accessories and opt for cute sheath dresses, A-line skirt and blouse pairings, leggings/jeggings with boots, a silky top and a utility jacket and avoid too much white. Also make sure your shoes aren’t going to be a pain in the arse because you will be standing in them for many, many hours.

Don’t Bring Too Much: Avoid heavy jackets that you’ll feel too hot in and inevitably have to carry around a market, avoid purses that are top handle or too heavy and invest in a camera strap or even one that you can put your iphone in and have around your neck. Last year I carried around a crossbody bag so I could have both my hands free and brought nothing except my phone, charger, wallet, keys, mini parfum, eyeliner, lipstick, Listerine strips, a pen and deodorant wipes. Trying to take photos at Feast is quite the feat with hundreds of patrons wandering around, having to hold on to a drink and a plate at almost all times while still trying to get the best angle. Pockets are also a MAJOR plus.

Freshen Up on the Regular: Most Feast Events will take place in glamorous locations (or at least near them), so go ahead and stop by the restroom, swab out running mascara- add a fresh coat of gloss to your lips and use a deodorant wipe to prevent smelling like the gourmet kimchi you just tried. Also if you do choose to nap at home between events, change your clothes and do a few rounds of mouthwash after sipping a cup of ginger tea.

Be Organized. Plan out the events you plan on attending each day; where they are, what time they are at. Figure out the best place to park, charge your phone, and when to take your nap breaks. If like me, you live out near Lake Oswego then also figure out how traffic patterns might affect your nap commutes and whether it would be wiser to take a snooze break at your office or a friend’s house that might be closer by. If I didn’t already max out my quota this fiscal quarter on spontaneously booking rooms at The Nines then I would have just booked one for the weekend out of the sheer convenience.

Take Advantage of the Opportunity. See one of your chef crushes? Say hi! If you feel flossy, awake, and still hungry then don’t reject invites to any other spontaneous Feast events that might pop up throughout the weekend. Socialize, meet other people in love with food and dining, bring your business cards…who knows you might even meet your next husband/boothang/platonic Tuesday night dinner date. Take lots of pictures but not too many that you’re missing out on the actual experience and do try to take the following Monday off as a recovery detox day.

Hope to see you there! For more information about the following, please see below:

Tickets/Schedule/Events Info/Sponsors

Volunteer Application

Hotel Packages/Specials

Air Travel Discounts

Fighting Hunger with No Kid Hungry and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon

feast2014

Bon Appetit Hot 10: Experience MÅURICE at Feast Portland’s Dessert for Dinner Event

Delicate, cute, quaint and eloquent. These were the first adjectives that came to mind when I met up with my friend, Anne for a glass of wine and some baby nibbles at MÅURICE, a somewhat new pastry shop/dessert bar/luncheonette on SW Oak a block down from it’s polar opposite establishment, Sizzle Pie.

I’ve wanted to venture out to MÅURICE for several weeks now; it’s location tag on instagram brings up a plethora of stunning images of miniature china topped with elegantly composed dishes such as lefse, a polenta clafoutis with poached egg or their already famous desserts with descriptions such as “Kristen’s signature Black Pepper Cheesecake, 3-Nut Sablé Cookie Crust, Strawberry Leather” or “Fig Tarte Tatin with Blue Cheese Gelato Duck Fat Puff Pastry.” Plus on top of that, Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit Magazine just named MÅURICE one of America’s Best  New Restaurants in his 2014 Hot Ten list. Now that’s quite the feat.

Pastry chef, Kristen Murray is the gastronomy genius behind MÅURICE; and with a resume that includes establishments such as Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit and Gramercy Tavern you can be reassured that you’ll not only swoon indulging in what she lays upon that miniature china, but you will also want to take a picture since it will make you feel like a professional photographer.

MÅURICE is only open until 7pm, and like any good pastry shop you can imagine that the closer it gets to closing, the less options are available. Anne and I made that mistake by sauntering in at 6:41 PM with a hankering for that black pepper cheesecake; however we were still thrilled with the alternatives that remained and have also learned our lesson that our next excursion over will happen a little closer to lunch hour. Plus we still got to get a taste of both the savory and sweet sides of the menu offerings:

Farro, melon and tomato salade with feta.
Farro, melon and tomato salade with feta.
Korora double chocolate cookie, petit kaffe cardamom macarons and roasted nut and sultana truffles.
Korora double chocolate cookie, petit kaffe cardamom macarons and roasted nut and sultana truffles.

Everything was amazing. The salad was the perfect summer appetiser and so simple that each individual flavour and texture got to shine through. The treats, also impeccable, unique and inspiring. Definitely the sort of nibble you’d like to have beside you as you watch The Great Gatsby in an Oscar de la Renta nightgown by the fireplace on a tranquil Wednesday night.

Besides a MUCH recommended venture over to MÅURICE, I also have another option for you to partake in if you’re looking for a glamorous and delectable dining experience that will simultaneously fulfill your biggest childhood dream. Plus, for any men in my audience looking for a gift to give their special one, I’m about to make you the best husband/fiancee/boyfriend/boothang/platonic date ever with this suggestion…

Feast Portland’s Dessert for Dinner Dinner Series! If you’re free on Thursday, September 18th at 7PM then what are you waiting for? Grab a pair of tickets to this out-of-this-world DELICIOUS event on the first night of one of the nation’s finest gourmet food festivals! Besides Kristen Murray of MÅURICE, you will also get to enjoy sweet treats from these chefs:

Alissa Frice (Frice Pastry)

Tim Healea (Little T Bakery)

Carrie Merrill (Urban Farmer)

Philip Speer (Uchi Restaurants in Austin, TX).

So, QUICK! Tickets to Feast events are selling faster than that black pepper cheesecake so grab them before they’re gone right here!

feast2014

San Francisco Eats and Cliche Vitamin D Deficiency Rants

I’ve been terrible at blogging…amongst other things (mainly split end and desk organisation related). And yes, you can consider this spur of the moment random posting a full-arsed effort to beef up the frequency of my posts so that I can hopefully meet the application criteria in order to receive a Feast Portland 2014 Blogger Pass.

The past couple of months, my work responsibilities have substantially increased and while this has been incredibly exciting, motivating and fruitful- it has also been exhausting- mentally, physically and every other condition that ends with -ally that you can think of.

Plus the harsh and S.A.D.-activating Portland winter has caused my skin tone to lighten up another two shades- enough that my ethnic ambiguity has cancelled out people guessing that I’m of central/south American lineage. I mostly just get “vaguely Persian looking or Lebanese” these days. Oh well. Winter is tough. Life is tough. Who wants to get some tapas and craft cocktails with me tonight?

I’ve also become slightly malnourished. And by slightly I mean a vitamin D, iron and electrolyte deficiency possibly due to my recent diet of premium fair-trade chocolate samples, Stumptown hairbender, and well…champagne because champagne is ever present in my life.  Oh well, more the reason for me to blog more and get that Feast pass I suppose.

So now that you have read skimmed past my slightly self-deprecating rant; I do indeed have a stunner of a food post prepared for you. Last week, I was sent on my first business trip- and perhaps the most fantastic sort of business trip I could have possibly been sent on: A trip to San Francisco to attend the Winter Fancy Foods Show- essentially a showcase of over 1300 gourmet food brands and distributors  and plenty of delectable samples (amongst networking and work of course).

My Fancy Foods badge
My Fancy Foods badge

San Francisco is one of the nine cities I consider a hometown. I was born there and used to live not far off in Marin County up until starting college in Portland- one of the things I wanted to do in my free time on this short business trip was to reconnect with some friends and dine at a few of the city’s fantastic restaurants. The first night I arrived, my best friend from high school, Marta picked me up from SFO and we headed to Gitane, a delightful eatery in an alley near the Financial District.

Gitane was stunning. The craft cocktails were beautifully constructed albeit not too strong while the food was beautifully executed. The braised lamb stuck out in particular, amazingly succulent.

My second night in San Francisco; after spending seven hours on the floor at Fancy Foods, I met up with my dear friend, Olive for mezcal cocktails at Delarosa and supper at A16 in the Marina District.

The burrata was fantastic; rich, creamy, and simple. A16 is also known for their pizzas, but after walking around all day I wanted nothing more than a beautiful slab of steak and some veggies.

And, my final night in San Francisco, I headed to Bar Agricole with my coworker, Trevor and some friends of our COO. Bar Agricole is a Portland-esque spot in SOMA with a stunning craft cocktail list.

Bar Agricole was on point. I’m not typically a deviled eggs person- but from the approximately 17 times in my life I have had deviled eggs, these were by far the best. I also discovered that night that I am actually NOT allergic to Brussels Sprouts and probably just ate some slightly rancid ones back in college that led me to believe that I was. Exciting. Too bad Brussels Sprouts season is coming to an end. Now I know.

Feast Portland, Day 2: Imperial, Tastings and A Party at Lardo

Day 2 of Feast began for me at 8am, an hour I don’t typically engage with unless it involves getting on a plane. However, this is Feast after all so an 8am presence must involve something incredibly delicious.

And delicious it was…

I started off my Friday morning at the Feast Portland Media Breakfast, which took place at Imperial at the Hotel Lucia. The buffet selection was a delicious spread full of Imperial’s signature brunch items (think fry bread, corn cakes and fantastic pastries) as well as Bloody Mary’s and Irish Coffees (which I resisted considering it was…err…8am).

***
Apres Imperial, I had intended to chill out with a cup of Stumptown and blog at the Urbanspoon Media Lounge, however this thing called ‘needing a nap’ got in the way, so I rushed home for a two hour power snooze before heading back downtown for the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting at Pioneer Square.

The gist of the Alaska Airlines sponsored Tasting (which spanned over both Friday and Saturday) was that a tent was set up featuring Oregonian vendors and artisans providing samples of their fare. The majority of vendors were regional wineries and craft breweries, but there were also local bakeries, restaurants and local artisans such as Jacobsen’s Sea Salt, Bee Local, and Masala Pop (think tamarind masala popcorn snacks and the like). There was also a KitchenAid stage where celebrity chefs showcased cooking demos, a Whole Foods booth where you can get free printed tote bags, and a Bon Appetit Magazine tent that featured the famous Olympic Provisions Meat Spread.

After gorging myself on samples of breads, wine, cheese, and chocolates (rough life, I know); I headed home for yet another nap. I know, Feast is exhausting.

I ended up going out to a light dinner with Anne at Interurban since I didn’t get tickets to the Night Market, which was the main event du jour (or du soir rather) for Feast.

Afterwards however, we headed down to Lardo West at the Indigo for a Chefstable Feast after party…and boy was it fun. I do admit though I regret having skipped the party right before, a soiree at Irving Street Kitchen that included a FULL ON CAVIAR BAR. Oh well…at least we made it to this one.

When reaching there, Anne and I met up with Adam, one of our friends who runs his own professional knife shop (talk about the perfect kind of afterparties to network at). As three of Chefstable’s restaurants, Racion, Grassa and Lardo are all interconnected at the bottom floor of the Indigo, all were opened up to accommodate the massive amount of people who showed up to this party. There were chefs, famous food writers, judges, other industry workers, bartenders, event sponsors, media/blogger peeps and everyone else lucky enough to be ‘in the know’ about such a fantastic party.

Plus, as can be expected from such a party, the food and booze is something to write home about. We’re talking Aviation Gin and Juice kegs in one room, 40s of Olde English mixed with OJ, sangria jello shots and champagne otter pops. Oh yeah, and the game of Flip Cup that took up half of Grassa…so in other words we were at a very high class frat party.

At around 1am or so, I headed home- there was yet another full day of Feasting left and I needed nothing more than a good night’s rest and a couple of bottles of Acqua Panna. If you think day 2 of Feast looks awesome, wait until I show you what Day 3 was like!

For more information on the Friday Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting (and the vendors who were present), check out this link:

Feast Portland Day 1: Widmer Bros Sandwich Invitational

Excuse the three day lag in my first Feast Portland post; it’s just I’ve been on a nonstop agenda of wining, dining, sampling, mingling, instagramming, tweeting, and partying with Oregon (and the nation’s) top chefs, artisans and vendors.

On Thursday, I acquired my Blogger Pass (which got me free entry into every event I attended with the exception of The Sandwich Invitational and High Comfort):

My Blogger Pass for Feast Portland
My Blogger Pass for Feast Portland

As much as I wanted to post about my incredible experience at High Comfort last night (and the melange of out of this world unofficial after parties that ensued), I’ve decided to do my posts in chronological order…and also keep them light on the text because we all know the pics are what matter.

Anyhow, the premise of the Sandwich Invitational: 15 unique ‘sandwiches’ presented by America’s top chefs where two winners are selected (one by a  panel of judges including food celebs such as Naomi Pomeroy and Francis Lam) and the other by the votes of attendees. Oh yeah and there was also tonnes of Widmer beer, a selection of wines and Reyka vodka.

While I did not manage to get a pic of all the sandos; check out the gallery below and then I’ll recap at the bottom my favourites.

The two winners which ended up being selected? The Country Cat’s Lamb Burger and Laurelhurst Market’s Smoked Beef Tongue sando- and I can wholeheartedly agree that both were impeccably done.

My Top Five however?

1) Ruby Jewel Ice Cream NW Club: This was by far the best ice cream sandwich I have ever had; the chart indicated that the layers were brown sugar cookies, marionberry caramel, hazelnut ice cream, chocolate and cocoa nib cookie, bacon, caramel ice cream, marionberry caramel, and another brown sugar cookie topped with a candied sage leaf and hardening chocolate. Last week I had the privilege of being invited by Ruby Jewel to taste test all their various ice creams, cookies, and sauces to assist in concocting the perfect submission. And yes, these ladies did an excellent job.

2) The Country Cat Lamb Slider: While a seemingly simple submission, this miniature burger was  done damn well. Sometimes simple takes the cake…or the sandwich trophy.

3) Clyde Common Crab Slider: Another relatively simple sandwich, but the melange of flavours worked well and it was nice to see a seafood submission in contrast to all the pork and red meat-centric submissions.

4) Ox Duck Confit Waffle: I don’t mean to use the term ‘Holy Yum,’ but actually HOLY YUM. Not only was this a unique combination, but boy did it work. At first I was sceptical of the idea of having pickled peaches mixed with duck confit and a savoury waffle…but the Dentons killed it. I mean, come on they own 2012’s Restaurant of the Year after all!

5) Laurelhurst Market Smoked Beef Tongue: Alright, I’m sure you all know by now Laurelhurst Market is my absolute favourite restaurant in Portland and besides foie gras torchons and fantastic steaks, they know how to make a sandwich.

***

While the above were my top five, all the sandwiches I tasted were absolutely impeccable. I loved Tillamook Cheese’s gooey comforting dessert grilled cheeses, the amazing options at Roman Candle and even the ridiculously meaty Hillbilly Fried Bologna sando between two slices of white bread from Charleston, South Carolina’s McCrady’s. What a fantastic event! For more information on the vendors from Sandwich Invitational, check out Feast’s Event Page for it here!

Hope to see ya there next year!

Feast Portland: Get Your Tickets While They’re Still Available!

One of the country’s most prestigious food and beverage events is coming up in eleven short days, aka Feast Portland so if you haven’t got your tickets yet, now is the time to as events are selling out FAST.

feastlogo2013

And while some of the events are indeed over $100, there are still tickets available for the Friday and Saturday Oregon Grand Bounty Tastings at $60 per day (including ALL food and beverage) where you can taste and experience our region’s most celebrated wineries, breweries, artisans and vendors. Who you can expect to see? Naomi Pomeroy for Beast, Gabriel Rucker of Le Pigeon (aka one of my biggest chef crushes), Willamette Valley Vineyards, Ninkasi Brewing and many many more! Check out tickets here for Friday and here for Saturday!

Since my prior post regarding Feast and how awesome it will be to get to experience most of the events; I have a couple of awesome updates:

a) I got my ticket to the now sold out High Comfort at The Nines event

b) Anne so kindly bought me my ticket to the Widmer Brothers’ Sandwich Invitational as a very very generous and thoughtful birthday gift

c) Ruby Jewel Ice Cream invited me to a tasting tomorrow night of various ice cream sandwiches they are planning on submitting to the Sandwich Invitational. So yes, I will be having dessert for dinner tomorrow

Anyhow, get your tickets to the events that interest you fast before they sell out, you won’t regret it!

See you there!

xx Sara