Editor’s Note: Feast Portland, the nationally-known food and beverage festival with more than40 events, is now in its fifth year. We sent frequent RFT Contributor and all-around foodie, Liz Rose, to the event again this year. She says, “All participants agreed… it gets better every year.”– BH
The huge food festival, Feast, which showcases the best foodie Portland has to offer, is all about ending hunger in Oregon, especially childhood hunger. This year, Feast supported Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon (PFHO), focusing on raising awareness for their efforts to expand school breakfast participation. Feast is working with PHFO toward their goal of signing up 100 schools throughout the state for this year’s School Breakfast Challenge (up from 30 schools in 2015). The Challenge schools served 82,000 breakfasts last November; in 2016 they aim to triple that. If you’ve ever experienced a little one nodding off in school due to lack of a good breakfast, you’ll understand. By having a nutritious breakfast available right at the school, this necessary meal is provided stigma-free. And that is why we Feast!
Last year, I reported here at RFT on a new event… Smoked! This year, another innovation caught my attention. Feast Portland moved their popular sandwich smackdown to a larger, more-accessible location, the Rose Quarter Commons. Friday night’s Sandwich Invitational drew 15 chefs, mostly from Seattle and Portland, to create culinary masterpieces. It was a libation-fueled party with craft brews, cocktails and wine. And, judging by the lines, at Ruby Jewel Ice Cream, the desserts proved popular too.
Feasters entered the outdoor venue through colorful arches of balloons. Volunteers greeted visitors with wine glasses, which were quickly filled by Washington Wineries such as Columbia Crest and INTRINSIC.
A steam-punk cocktail-making contraption designed by Hendrick’s Gin out of New York entranced me… but it was the local House Spirits Aviation Gin with their romaine lettuce-infused and bacon-garnished BLT cocktail that won rave reviews.
Bring on the Sandwhiches
So what about the sandwiches? My fav was the fried fillet-o-fish. Not the McDonald’s original but Nomad’s, featuring cod mousseline and creamy kewpie tartar sauce. Nomad staff’s red shirts with a modified golden arch design were a fun-filled risk taken by Nomad.pdx. And there was news. After two years of nomadic wandering, Nomad.PDX will open at 575 NE 24th St., just steps from Tails & Trotters and Providore Fine Foods. Target open date: Fall 2016.
The winning sandwich was the Korean flag-topped Bulgogi Club from Portland’s Korean barbecue truck Kim Jong Grillin. Portland is the place where food truck chefs rank right up there with the trendiest brick and mortar types. I was not surprised to find out we’ll soon see Kim Jong Smokehouse opening in the indoor Pine Street Market.
Of course, I had to stop by Bunk Sandwiches, the Portland eatery that doesn’t have to stretch to create delicious sandwiches. They do it every day.
There were hearty club sandwiches, succulent pulled pork between slices of house-made bread and more over-the-top creations like the delicate fried avocado from Nashville’s Butcher & Bee.
Everyone agreed the Rose Quarter Commons was a great improvement over the previous crowded downtown venue. There was even room to grow. Lines flowed more easily and there was space to sip and chat. Another plus was on-site parking and easy MAX light rail access.
I’ve already marked my calendar for Feast 2017. You should too. – Story and photos by Elizabeth Rose, RFT Contributor
If You Go
Feast Portland is held annually in September. The kick-off public event is Friday’s Sandwich Invitational. Tickets, sold months in advance, go fast so always watch the Feast Portland website and their Facebook page.
Once you have your ticket, everything is included… drinks, eats and fun. Go hungry. Go forth and Feast!