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

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Taste of the Nation 2014 Recap: Portland, Oregon (Sponsored Post)

Taste of the Nation was an enormous success!

As I had mentioned in my post prior to the event itself; Taste of the Nation’s purpose is to put together a fabulous evening celebrating Oregon’s Best Chefs, Winemakers, Distillers and Brewers in an effort to end childhood hunger. Proceeds from ticket sales and raffles during the event went towards Share Our Strength as well as local charities- plus at the end of the event leftovers ended up creating over 200 donated meals (and boy were those some fantastic meals)!

Now the event itself? Well first off it was an absolutely stunning and warm Portland evening; so stunning and warm that I figured I’d do the whole Aztec print summer dress and six inch wedges deal. I arrived at 5:30 PM to the Pre-Event VIP Media Soiree to pre-game with Adam Sappington’s crispy chicken lollipops and Union Gin cocktails; and of course as expected I ran into many of my favourite PDX bloggers.

VIP MEDIA PRE PARTY:

As you can see, an impeccable (ad diverse) selection of hors d’oeuvres ranging from Xocolatl de David’s lustworthy fluffernutterbutter sandwich to Pok Pok’s Khao Niaw Sangkhaya Bai Toel (sweet sticky rice with duck egg-pandan-coconut custard in banana leaves).

And as if all of the above wasn’t exciting enough…

TTHE MAIN EVENT:

Rachel from Love, Rachel ended up being my absolutely fantastic partner in crime in navigating the festive sea of culinary talent before us. Plus, she also took this pic of me with one of her darlings, Drew (that I already stole to post on my Instagram and am politely borrowing again to post on this blog):

Enjoying deliciousness from Produce Row Cafe's stand. Photo Credit: Rachel Jane Lloyd
Enjoying deliciousness from Produce Row Cafe’s stand. Photo Credit: Rachel Jane Lloyd

Did I taste everything? Well, with as many vendors that were in attendance I managed to conquer around 77% of the food, 92.5% of the distillers, 51% of the wine, and a meager 0% of the breweries (priorities…). Also, I made up those percentages but you get what I’m sayin’.

So, what were my favourites? Well, from what I did try my top five would be:

1) Departure’s Haitian pepper-stewed chicken

2) Laurelhurst Market’s Mac n Cheese w/ Tim’s Potato Chip Crust and Hot Dogs

3) Grassa: Cacio e Pepe. Simple yet impeccably done

4) Aviary: Soup Dumplings

5) Smallwares: Beef tataki with kimchi, hoisin and cilantro

Overall, it was an absolutely phenomenal and successful evening out on the town (and all for a great cause)! In fact the only mishaps of the night were that I somehow lost my new white linen blazer and then proceeded to nearly trip while coming down the stairs in my six inch wedges (both incidents may or may not have had something to do with the percentage of distilleries I tasted from).

And to cap it all of, Marisa (Margaritas in the Rain), Rebekah (PDX Food Love), Bee (The Spicy Bee) and I managed to get some SUPER cute shots together in the USNAPS photobooth:

Screen shot 2014-05-08 at 5.05.17 PM

A huge thanks to everyone who facilitated this amazing event; especially to Lisa Hill and Heather Jones- we’re lucky to live in a town full of such darling and fabulous publicists!