feast pdx

Feast Portland, The Sophomore Year

[trip style = foodie + urban]

Fall is packed with a ton of food festivals. Feast Portland is one of them. In case you don't get Bon Appetit on your doorstep or iPad monthly, Portland's food scene is a REALLY big deal, winning more awards than it knows what to do with. Though, in true Portland form, you'd never see said awards displayed---that would be too showy for PDX's earthy tastes.

I went to Feast last September for its inaugural year, and loved it like a just-baked chocolate chip cookie, so when I was invited back for the sophomore showing this past weekend, I grabbed my apron and hightailed it south. Truth be told, you don't actually have to bring an apron, but it does add to your street cred.

For those of you unfamiliar with food festivals, the gastrono-weekend dishes out ingredients from down the road and chefs from across the US---many of whom are PDX based. The schedule runs from Thursday to Sunday and is packed with casual galas, dinner and brunch collaborations between top chefs, tasting panels, speaker series, plus a few free events.

Talking to my fellow Feast-ers, I learned they devoured as much or as little of the weekend’s festivities as their palates could handle. Some chose to take in two or three events, while others packed the weekend tighter than a roast beef. My Feast tendencies fell somewhere in between. After all, to fully understand Feast, you have to stick your fingers into Portland's honeypot {aka the cafes and restaurants around town}.

Trip Styler Tip :: With so many foodies in town, eating out during Feast can get busy, so go to restaurants at off times---think early lunch or late dinner---to avoid waits.

My last night in Portland, I went to one of the marquee events, High Comfort at the Nines, an evening of cocktail dresses and canapés. While daintily nibbling my way through each station at the stand-up affair, I met Jason French, the chef of local restaurant Ned Ludd. Beside the terrarium and driftwood vignette he'd placed on his table, topped with plates of creamed smoked salmon over brioche soldiers, I learned he moved to Portland from the East Coast because it matched his value system. He wanted fresh, he wanted local, he wanted authentic. True to the move, his restaurant's menu changes weekly.

That's the Portland I know. Officially it Feasts in the third weekend of September, unofficially it's all the time.

Know This - Feast takes place the third weekend of September. Dates for 2014 will likely be Sept 18 - 21. - Tickets for the gourmet line-up start as low as $10, and can be purchased in singles or as a package. - Once the 2014 schedule is set, book early to get your prime picks, as many events sell out. - The weekend also has some free events, which are noted in the schedule. - Feel good about feasting; net proceeds go to two Oregon charities. - My top-pick events: the Sandwich Invitational, the Night Market, the dinner and brunch collaborations, the speaker series and the tasting panels.

A Taste of Feast The Thursday evening kick-off event: the Sandwich Invitational.

The scene at the Sandwich Invitational.

Food at the Sandwich Invitational: Portland's Roman Candle Baking Co. served up brioche sliders with peanut ice cream.

Food at the Sandwich Invitational: Duff Goldman of Baltimore's Charm City Cakes offered PB, jelly and bacon.

Food at the Sandwich Invitational: Portland's Lardo created a porchetta sandwich topped with shaved truffles.

Thursday night: Feast dinner collaboration between Aaron Barnett of St. Jack in Portland and Thomas McMaughton of Flour + Water in San Francisco. This salmon crudo is the first course in a six-course meal.

Friday morning: quick stop at Portland's See See Motor Coffee Co.

Friday late morning: early lunch at Luce, a recent Portland dining institution named as one of the 10 best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit in 2012.

Food at Luce: crostinis with fig and goat cheese mousse.

Food at Luce: garganelli with cherry tomato and chili.

Friday's Night Market.

Night Market bites: rabbit three ways by Portland's Boke Bowl.

Night Market bites: tomato churumuri by Portland's Bollywood Theater.

Saturday Night: High Comfort at the Nines. Food: Oregon berry and sweet corn pavlova garnished in Jacobsen sea salt and honey popcorn candy by Portland's Maurice.

Late Saturday night: Dinner at Ava Gene's, named one of the 2013 top 10 new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit.

Sunday morning: Feast brunch collaboration between Portland's Bar Avignon and Seattle's The Whale Wins.

Sunday brunch: oyster shucking station.

[Photos by @TripStyler, except ava gene's]

School Is Cool In PDX

[trip style = urban]

Whether it's just-pressed apple juice, just-cured bacon, or just-foraged mushrooms, everything tastes better fresh. This farm-to-table approach to food defined my weekend at the first-annual Bon Appetit-sponsored Feast Portland, a culinary celebration of Oregon's biggest export besides music, hipsterdom and Pendleton. If you read TS regularly, you know that I'm a big fan of the place and its provisions, so when I got the chance to see the faces behind the food and the techniques behind the craft, I was in like {barrel-aged} gin.

Like iron sharpens iron, diners and chefs keep each other accountable in Portland. There's truth to the Portlandia sketch where Fred and Carrie sit down at a local restaurant for a chicken dinner and ask to visit the farm where the bird is sourced. Putting this to the test, when eating brunch yesterday morning at The Woodsman Tavern, I jokingly asked my server where my bacon was from and he responded with a cheerleader-like fist pump: "It's hyperlocal; the pork hails from a nearby farm and we cure it in house." Touché.

Attending Feast was like going back to school {except cool}. At "Feast U", the principal is a fashionable foodie magazine editor, the gym coach bartends, the teachers dish up 10 courses of passion and the dress code is denim-on-denim. After class, foodie grand central keeps boiling with grand-scale events---sans tuxes or gowns---and a baker's dozen chef-led tasting menus at restaurants like Luce, which was recently voted one of the top 10 new restaurants in the US by Bon Appetit.

Did my culinary classes measure up? My teacher evaluation would give four heaping tablespoons of YES.

A Taste Of Feast

{Thursday Night :: The Sandwich Invitational. Multiple chefs, a bajillion sandwiches. Shown: maple-glazed pork belly with pickled watermelon slaw on housemade semolina buns from Beast---the evening's big winner.}

{Friday Morning :: Coffee That Rocks with the guys behind Portland-based Stumptown Coffee, who demonstrated how to make the most of your morning ritual with five home-brewing techniques.}

{Friday Afternoon :: Strange Brew with local brewers, where I learned about commonplace to experimental craft brews, like lychee beer aged in white wine barrels, or cucumber and lime zest beer with hint of sea salt.}

{Friday Night :: Feast Portland Night Market. An outdoor street food party with corned duck pancakes from Departure, smoked salmon poofs from Bent Brick and a DJ on the side!}

{Saturday Afternoon :: Thai Street Food with Andy Ricker of the always-busy Pok Pok. Note: you can only get Andy's pad thai at sister restaurant the Whiskey Soda Lounge---across the street from Pok Pok---from 10pm onwards.}

{Culinary Techniques for the Home Bartender with Jeffrey Morgenthaler, experimental barman and cocktail blogger from Clyde Common.}

{Sunday Morning :: Brunch at The Woodsman Tavern. Shiffed eggs with local bacon.}

If you can believe it, I did a ton of eating outside of Feast too---my belt has since been adjusted accordingly. I'll share my best extracurricular meals on TS at a later date. Stay tuned.

Fashion Friday :: Falling For Portland
PDX'ing in Pictures
Ace Portland
IMG_FRI :: Portlandia
Vancouver to Seattle Must-Stops

[photos taken by @tripstyler when in portland as a guest of oregon cvb]