Food Diary: The Best of FEAST 2016

feast-opening-party-portland

I survived my first FEAST!

What is it that I love about Portland? I love that it’s a city full of people like me who LOVE food and that’s what FEAST is all about. I was lucky to be granted a Media Pass this year and attended the Opening Night Party, The Sandwich Invitational and The Grand Tasting.

Here are the best things I ate from my weekend at FEAST:

ava-genes

I have yet to go to Ava Gene’s, but the team there put together this beautiful vegetable spread that is most definitely worthy of mentioning. Farm fresh vegetables with a creamy dip and big crackers that you could break off were a lovely vegetarian option for the night. It also provided a nice light contrast to all of the heavier things being served at the FEAST Opening Night Party.

feast-party-portland

At first glance, you think – hmmmmmm…trail mix. Oh man. This was the most deliciously wild and interesting Japanese-style trail mix I’ve ever eaten. It featured bits of ramen, which I loved! Along with salty and sweet nuts, pretzels and seaweed. I could’ve eaten a whole bowl.

portugal-the-man

Presenting sponsors Underwood Wine, Jacobsen Salt Co. and Williams Sonoma surprised us all with an intimate concert by Portugal. The Man. They are easily one of my favourite bands on Spotify right now and it was great to sway along with about 150 people while sipping on wine.

They put on about a 30-minute set and played a bunch of songs off their latest album Evil Friends. You should definitely give them a listen here.

feast-sandwich-invitational

The next day, my sister and I were headed to The FEAST Sandwich Invitational at the Rose Quarter Commons. The event was held outdoors with tents, nice clean indoor bathrooms and lots of covered spots to hang out in case it rained.

The event featured 16 chefs with their take on the ‘sandwich’ with lots of tasty bites to try. In addition to our ticket, wine, beer, water and cocktails were also included!

I really enjoyed this Pulled-Pork Sandwich (above) by John Stewart of Meat Cheese Bread. First off, it featured ooey-gooey melted pimento cheese, then it’s topped with collard greens and pulled pork before the soft and butter brioche bread is grilled. Yeeeeaaaah… it was pretty perfect.

filet-o-fish

This is no basic Filet-O-Fish. This fish masterpiece by Ryan Fox of Nomad PDX was the best damn sandwich at The FEAST Sandwich Invitational this year. From the creamy sauce, contrasting with the crispy fish on a homemade bun – it was perfection between bread.

I was vowing only to take a couple bites from each sandwich I encountered and share with my sister – but I ate this whole damn Filet-O-Fish myself. For the record, I could’ve eaten a second one – but I didn’t because I wanted everyone else to try this!

feast-sandwich-invitational-portland

Big creative props goes out to this Mumbai Monte Cristo by Troy MacLarty of Bollywood Theater. It was the most innovative and complex sandwich of the night. The ‘bread’ was made out of breaded pakora, giving the sandwich a ton of weight. The pakora was then stuffed with ham, turkey, swiss cheese and minty cheese before a dollop of roasted plum chutney was heaped on top.

It was definitely filling, but it was unlike any other sandwich there and it tasted great which is why I had to give it a very special mention for The Sandwich Invitational.

rachels-ginger-beer

How do you wash all those sandwiches down? Well Rachel has pretty much perfected ginger beer and her Pink Guava Moscow Mule did the trick. I love my ginger beer and I am so excited that Rachel’s Ginger Beer from Seattle will be opening a location in SE Portland in the fall. I can’t wait to stop by for an all-natural ginger beer float. Everything is made from scratch with real seasonal fruit!

toaster-strudel

The next day I stopped by Hotel deLuxe for an early morning Media Breakfast at Gracie’s Restaurant. The BEST thing I ate was this homemade toaster strudel. I don’t even like sweet pastries for breakfast but gimme this with a dark coffee any day and I would be in heaven.

A fruity filling is packed inside this flaky, buttery crust and then drizzled with an almond-flavoured icing glaze.

grand-tasting

Our final event of the weekend was The Grand Tasting at Pioneer Courthouse Square. They were lots of new food products to sample and LOTS of wine to taste with over 80+ food and drink vendors at this event alone. It was pretty crowded at the start of the event and tough to get to everything.

fried-chicken

We were starving when we got there and was gracious to find huge full pieces of Crispy Fried Chicken from the Williamette Valley Visitors Association. I don’t know where all that chicken was coming from but it was juicy on the inside with lots of crispy bits all over. The even put out a big vat of pickled vegetables to go with all that crispy goodness.

meat-platter-feast

Bon Appetit magazine put out an incredible serve yourself charcuterie spread of salami, sausage, cured meats and pickled veggies. Though the line moved quite slowly, it was well worth the wait and easy to share.

cheese-plate

Oregon Cheese Guild made up these cute little cheese plates with various hard and soft cheeses and a very creative cheese ‘stuffing’. Perfect with one of the many glasses of wine at The Grand Tasting.

pourable-fruit-oregon

How did I not know about Pourable Fruit by Oregon Fruit ProductsI LOVE a good fizzy drink. I took one sip of their raspberry pourable fruit with sparkling water and I was sold on this Salem, Oregon company.

I had never seen this product before and it’s GMO-free and found in the freezer section at Fred Meyer. The best thing about it is that it’s only 35 calories per tablespoon and has nice chunky pieces of real fruit in every sip. I’ll definitely be picking this up.

Overall I had a great time at FEAST and will definitely be buying my tickets ahead of time for next year. There were so many great events to choose from and I learned that they sell-out FAST. I would also say that it’s smart to spread your events out so you’re not overstuffed! Thanks again to the FEAST team for having me at the festival!