We came. We saw. We ATE.
I am so lucky to live in such an incredible food city and FEAST really highlights some of the amazing chefs that Portland has to offer. This is my second year at this epic food festival and it was really nice to know what to expect from a weekend of gluttony.
The highlight events for me this year was The Grand Tasting, Smoked! and Brunch Village, plus a bunch of fun parties and classes in-between.
Here are the best things I ate, drank and saw during FEAST 2017 in Portland, Oregon:
FEAST WELCOME PARTY
One of the most fun and casual nights of FEAST is the Welcome Party hosted by Williams Sonoma before all the madness begins! This year’s venue was Ava Gene’s and OP Wurst across the street. It was great to hop between two restaurants and a huge patio for a night of food, drinks, gelato and music.
My favourite food station of the night had to be the epic charcuterie platter by Olympia Provisions. It just went on, and on, and on. Perfect for a late summer night with a glass of sparkling rose.
Portland Monthly Magazine Ham + Eggs Party
When ham and eggs means gourmet Iberico ham from Spain and LOTS and LOTS of caviar – then that’s a party I can get down with. As soon as we walked in, we spotted the FEAST ice sculpture loaded with a variety of caviar and potato chips! We also loved all the different tapas Bar Casa Vale put out, that we have to go back for dinner.
Next up was this super cool shooter bar. Yes, those are pure vodka shots!
One of my other favourite things of the night was this Sweet Potato Pie Milkshake from the Late Shake pop-up made with Tillamook ice cream. It truly tasted like a drinkable pie with potato chips on top!
From the Ham & Eggs Party Photo Booth
DIY Kombucha Class with Health-Ade
I’ve always wanted to make my own kombucha, but obviously too lazy to go out there and get all the equipment. So I was super stoked when Health-Ade invited me to a DIY Kombucha Class where each step of the process was explained to me with lots off Q&A with Health-Ade’s founder.
I left with a cute little kombucha kit all put together for me and a lot of inspiration on how easy the process is going to be. I think it’s going to take some practice to get it right, but I’m excited to get started!
THE GRAND TASTING
One of the marquee events of the weekend is The Grand Tasting, held in Pioneer Courthouse Square over Friday and Saturday. This year’s tasting was heavy on wine and alcohol – so it was nice to see a few of my favourite wineries at the event.
A standout bite included the always delicious mini poke bowls from Quickfish Poke in Portland. They are an offshoot of Bamboo Sushi and their poke is one of my lunchtime favourites in the city.
I’ve been dying to try Wailua Shave Ice since their big Portland debut. This Hawaiian chain has had long line-up since they opened for their all-natural shave ice creations. I was finally able to try a little mini version of their triple coconut shave ice and it was worth all the hype! I now need to go to their store and make sure I try all the other flavours.
One of my final favourite bites from The Grand Tasting this year were these Cronuts from Nola Doughnuts in Lake Oswego. I’ve seen them before at New Seasons, but finally got my taste at Feast and it was salty and sweet goodness all rolled in one, with a croissant-like texture, but shaped like a donut. Get it.
This was my very first time at this BBQ-centric main event featuring 22 chefs doing the best version of something BBQ’d, grilled or smoked. I was not disappointed and marvelled at all the creativity and unique dishes at the event.
If you’re looking for an event heavy on food – this is the one. I guarantee you that it’s not possible to leave hungry and with 22 different chefs, there was hardly a long wait at most booths. The $150 ticket includes food, wine, alcohol, beer, oysters, champagne, and dessert. It’s a one-of-a-kind night. Here’s a look at some of the deliciousness being grilled up at Smoked:
I love a good mac & cheese and this pulled pork version featuring three cheese from Mother’s Bistro was beyond! This version featured roasted poblano peppers, onion, corn and green onions.
Char Siu BBQ Ribs keep warm inside a giant Big Green Egg from Fat Rice
I ended up sharing this Deep Fried Turkey Wing because it was gigantic! From Gregory Gourdet of Departure Portland.
I don’t know why I get so excited about homemade spam! But it’s probably because I ate it around our house growing up. So I love the idea of artisanal spam made with love from Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco. This sandwich was a solid – as was that Hawaiian roll!
Now it wasn’t just all meat. There was some seafood to be found at Smoked! and this warm grilled oyster from Pok Pok with a spicy sauce was delightful to slurp and a highlight of the night.
Ok so I wasn’t sure about filling up on corn, but man this was some of the BEST corn I’ve ever had because it was grilled, slathered in mayo, and then rolled in some sort of corn nut mixture and served with popcorn. It was a crunchy, creamy, and sweet cob to pair with all that delicious BBQ.
I didn’t make it to The Country Cat in time before a huge line formed, but look at what they brought to Smoked! It was definitely the talk of the night and people were just walking around eating this tomahawk steak.
The Sunday Brunch Village event had to be my second favourite event after Smoked! I think if it’s your first time at FEAST and you’re unsure about which event to go to – I would pick this one as a great intro event.
It’s more affordable and almost half the price of Smoked! or Night Market and you get lots of creative brunch bites and alcohol included in your ticket price. One of the longest line-ups was the super cool DIY Bloody Mary Bar collab (above) with The Waiting Room.
Also from The Waiting Room was this incredible Fried Chicken + Donut bite which featured a meyer lemon and bacon fat donut with a candied ham glaze and hot honey. The chicken was perfectly moist with a nice crispy crunch.
I’m putting this restaurant on my must-visit list and will have to stop again for more of their fried chicken!
One of my new favourite restaurant in Portland is easily Tusk. Paul and I recently went for brunch and they somehow found a way to make brunch better – with innovative and creative Middle Eastern twists on biscuits and gravy, baked eggs and even crudites.
I loved their yogurt dish with a jam/preserve on the bottom, topped with puffed grains, dates and a slice of plum. It was simple – yet amazing. I could eat a parfait like this everyday.
Paul’s favourite dish at Brunch Village was from Meat, Cheese and Bread – another restaurant we just discovered and will now have to go visit! Their brunch creation featured a tender and buttery corned beef hash with swiss, tomatillo relish on brioche bread with a heavenly creamy fried egg sauce. I’m still thinking about this one…
We both agreed that we loved Mae’s coffee-rubbed lamb on a biscuit with fried okra and smoked black pepper cheddar. Maya of Mae easily had one of the longest lines at Brunch Village but I also think she knocked out of the park with all the textures and flavours in her dish.
Overall, I had a really fun time at FEAST this year and had a really hard time deciding on which events to attend because they all look so great and sell out fast. If you’re thinking of coming into Portland next year – I definitely recommend that you try and snag your tickets the minute they go on sale.
Many events have been sold-out since FEAST announced their lineup. Do spread your events out, so you’re not overstuffed with too many eating events in one day. I recommend squeezing in a weight workout if you can and sticking to green juice for breakfast and maybe just soup for lunch.
As well, stay hydrated! There’s so much delicious food and alcohol that it’s easy to overdo it. If you’re a self-professed foodie – definitely put this festival on your bucket list.
Until next year…