From September 15 to 18, foodies flooded the streets of Portland, Oregon in celebration of the city’s premiere food and wine event: Feast Portland. As its name suggests, Feast is a, well, feast of an event. Without surprise, all Feast events were sold out and crowds turned out to every event, even when the weather turned sour on Sunday night.
Feast kicked off on Thursday night with the Sandwich invitational. Featuring the sandwich creations of 15 chefs from Portland and around the country, crowd favorites included the crisp Mumbai Monte Cristo from Chef Troy MacLarty of Bollywood Theater. But a panel of judges ultimately bestowed the title of best sandwich upon the Bulgogi Club from Portland Korean BBQ truck Kim Jong Grillin.
Among the best and most popular booths was the one hosted by USA Pears, featuring a chef-curated menu centered around pears with wine pairings by Chateau Ste Michele. “Top Chef” finalist Doug Adams was behind the helm on Friday, while Seattle chef Brian Clevenger was Saturday’s special guest.
USA Pears Night Market
Operating under a Latin-inspired theme this year, Feast Portland’s second main event transformed Zidell Yards’ gravel floor into a festive dance party with 19 chefs. Culinary highlights included a Costa Rican sweet corn copo from Tyler Malek of Salt and Straw, and a juicy beef rib taco with hatch chili cheese sauce from Podnah’s Pit BBQ.
By the last full day of Feast, Portland’s warm, sunny weather dissipated into typical Pacific Northwest rain that fell all day. But even that couldn’t put a damper on the final night event of the weekend: Smoked! The second-annual cookout featured 25 chefs from Portland and around the country firing up their outdoor grills and cooking up everything from skewered quails, guinea hens, pork shoulders, and much more. Local favorites included Andy Ricker of Pok Pok, Nong Poonsukwattana of Nong’s Khao Man Gai, and Gregory Gourdet of Departure. Other chefs from outside of Portland included Nina Compton from New Orleans-based Compère Lapin, Christine Flynn of Toronto-based iQ Food Co, and Jason Alley of Virginia-based Pasture, to name a few. Perhaps the tastiest bite of the night came from Clyde Common chef Carlo Lamagna and his Filipino bites of grilled quail served with vegetarian pancit.
The final event of Feast’s 4-day colossal celebration was, appropriately, a massive Sunday Brunch. Essential staples were of course present including a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, a spread of meats from Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions, and a sumptuous egg and fried chicken biscuit sandwich by John Gorham of Toro Bravo. There were also deliciously creative ethnic dishes including congee by Johanna Ware of smallwares and an Asian-inspired tamale by Seattle chef Rachel Yang (fresh off the opening of her first Portland outpost).
Some of the most fun and buzzworthy events of Feast Portland are the ones that aren’t on the schedule. There are After Parties and even After After Parties to keep the Feast buzz going all weekend long if you please. Among the most noteworthy was the closing night tiki-themed Ring of Fire after party at Irving Street Kitchen. Featuring boozy rum cocktails served in whole coconuts, a molten cheese fountain in the shape of a volcano, meat-laden taco bar with a whole pig’s head in the spotlight, and tropical hula dancers, this was the best send-off for a weekend of feasting.