Seaside – Jan/Feb/March 2018
Cannon Beach – February – April
Olympia – Jan/Feb 2018
Medford Rogue Valley Feb – March
Pensicola – Feb and March

Portland Feast 2017: Best Savory Bites

Smoked Banboo sushiImagine five days of utter, unrestrained gluttony of the highest caliber, and you begin to form a picture of Feast Portland.

134 chefs conspired to stuff happy guests with an extraordinary abundance of goodness by strategically blending beaucoup carbs, sugar, and animal fat. Plenty of beer, wine and spirits were on hand to wash it all down.

This foodie extravaganza featured six large-scale “Main Events,” five smaller, themed “fun-size” events, 12 lavish multi-course dinner events, 11 hands-on classes, and six “Drink Tank” events. Combine just a fraction of these with various after-parties, media events and hospitality lounges, and it’s a recipe for sweet, gastronomic overload.

Yes, the overload was enough to overwhelm this dutiful reporter, but I’ve recovered sufficiently to offer a survey of the best savory bites I encountered at Feast 2017, in no particular order of merit. My disclaimer: Devoted as I am to my journalistic responsibilities, I couldn’t try every dish available. This is my subjective list of the dishes that rang my bell, floated my boat, buttered my toast, at the spectacular feeding frenzy which is Feast Portland.


Dish:                           Skipjack tuna with wasabi chimichurri and late summer salad

Restaurant:               Bamboo Sushi, Portland Oregon


Chef:                          Jin Soo Yang

Event:                         Smoked! Presented by Tillamook

Bamboo Sushi stood out at Smoked! by courageously taking a stand against the prevailing heavy, rich, red-meaty contenders with this light, fresh and vibrant combo. It was a real delight to be left wanting more.



Bollywood’s pork vindaloo transported me to the Mumbai waterfront.

Dish:  Pork vindaloo and Juhu beach corn

Restaurant:  Bollywood Theater, Portland Oregon


Chef:  Troy MacLarty

Event:  Smoked! Presented by Tillamook

Bollywood’s pork vindaloo had all the snap and flair you’d hope for: a precise and inspired dance of hot, pungent, tart and sweet. The sweet grilled corn transported me to the Mumbai waterfront. Bollywood Theater knocked it out of the park, reinforcing that their simple and thrifty order-at-the-counter interpretation of Indian snack foods can play with the big leagues.


Smoked Departure turkey

Turkey legs to die for.


Dish: Crispy turkey wing with sweet Korean chili glaze

Restaurant: Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Portland Oregon


Chef: Gregory Gourdet

Event: Smoked! Presented by Tillamook

I wanted a Colonal-Sanders-sized bucket of these! Departure’s spicy-sweet Korean Gochujang sauce gently embraced crunchy-crispy turkey wings, showered with green onions and black and white sesame seeds. This was nothing fancy–which made it just perfect. Possibly best in show!





The long line was worth the wait.

Dish: Matt’s BBQ brisket, tomatoes and peaches jungle curry, garlic rice

Restaurant: Langbaan


Chef: Earl Ninsom

Event: Smoked! Presented by Tillamook

There was such a frenzy, such a monster line, that I initially skipped this offering from the legendary, book-your-expensive-prix-fixe-meal-six-months-in-advance Langbaan. However, I did snap a picture of their very showy presentation. Ast the evening wore on, I was so full I could hardly bear to eat another nibble. So why NOT get in the longest line in the place? I had a lovely chat with the strangers behind me, and 25 minutes later arrived at the counter to receive the THIRD-TO-THE-LAST portion of the whole night. I hardly felt worthy, but I accepted my portion–avoiding eye contact with the disappointed legions behind me. Yes, my appetite was restored, and it was delicious.

Smoked-StJack (

St. Jack’s offering was a luscious, decadent metaphor for all that Feast represents.

Dish:  Montreal smoked beef tartare, grilled bone marrow, preserved egg and horseradish

Restaurant: St. Jack, Portland Oregon


Chef: Aaron Barnett

Event: Smoked! Presented by Tillamook

Oh Wow. That was the prevailing view: Oh Wow. St. Jack’s offering was a luscious, decadent metaphor for all that Feast represents, and especially for the general conceit of Smoked! Reflecting the prevailing values of the more primal, the more brutal, the more pure, the better, this carnivore’s delight had everyone’s eyes rolling back in their heads in a rhapsody of unctuous flavor. Probably the most Instagrammed dish of the night.


Blue Smoke Sandwich

From Blue Smoke in New York a tasty smoked sandwich on a donut.

Dish: Smoked bologna grilled cheese donut with blackberry jam

Restaurant: Blue Smoke, New York


Chef: Jean-Paul Bourgeois

Event: Sandwich Invitational Presented by the Portland Trail Blazers

Opinions varied wildly on this one–your glazed donut and blackberry jam played quite a sweet foil to the warmly savory bologna and cheese. I give Blue Smoke major points for coming across the country and throwing this bold entry into the ring, although I confess I’d probably enjoy it even more on a nice toasted ciabatta.



Crafting a sandwich around mackerel was brilliant.

Dish: Smoked mackerel escabeche sandwich

Restaurant: Revelry


Chef: Rachel Yang

Event: Sandwich Invitational Presented by the Portland Trail Blazers

Rachel Yang has made a big splash in Portland with Revelry, after making her name in Seattle with Joule, Trove and Revel. Crafting a sandwich around mackerel, that decidedly unglamorous but highly sustainable working-man’s fish, warms my heart. Gochujang slaw, pickled fennel, celeriac and kimchi introduced punch and crunch, herbs and butter and soft pillowy bread answered with an earthy, mellow counterpoint.


Ringside updated the classic Reuben–with duck!

Dish: Duck confit Reuben with pork belly, watermelon kraut, cherry Russian dressing

Restaurant: Ringside Steakhouse Uptown


Chef: Beau Carr

Event: Sandwich Invitational Presented by the Portland Trail Blazers

Another best in show! Ringside nailed it, updating the iconic Reuben and creating a gem both utterly familiar and intriguingly new. Duck confit filled the wonderfully rich and meaty shoes ordinarily filled by pastrami, with that extra touch of slight gaminess of duck dark meat. Watermelon kraut brought an extra freshness and crunch in the conventional sauerkraut role. Cherry Russian dressing introduced that element of fruit which pairs so beautifully with duck. A winner, Ringside!

Suzette Creperie

Chef Jehnee Rains created piperade crepes with bell peppers, tomato, goat cheese, and a fried egg.

Dish: Piperade crepes with bell peppers, tomato, goat cheese, fried egg

Restaurant: Suzette Creperie, Portland Oregon


Chef: Jehnee Rains

Event: Because Breakfast

Nothing ground-breaking, but oh so perfect from Portland’s Suzette Creperie. Funky creamy goat cheese; meltingly sweet slow-cooked pepper; crepes the texture of a child’s beloved flannel blankie. And those cute eggs–are they quail? No: Chef Jehnee has such an eye for detail that she separated whites and yolks, and reconstructed them with the help of the handy squeeze bottle as miniature fried eggs to fit these dainty crepes. Lovely!

Hunt & Gather popover

Mouthwatering bite-sized mini-popovers filled with Dungeness crab, heirloom tomatoes and so much more.

Dish: Toad in a Hole: Dungeness crab, fried quail egg, dehydrated heirloom cherry tomato conserve, sous vide aged white cheddar hollandaise, sweet pimenton and micro basil on a mini-popover

Restaurant: Hunt & Gather Catering with Breville USA


Chef: Andrew Biggs

Event: Grand Tasting Presented by New Seasons Market

A rustic classic, transformed! The traditional Toad in a Hole is humble fare: sausages baked in a Yorkshire pudding, which is basically a popover. Hunt and Gather Catering took it quite over the top with an outrageous line-up of bright flavors all confined in a precise little bite no larger than a walnut. I had two, at least.


Andina Restaurant

Beautifully balanced and bold flavors illustrate Andina’s creativity.

Dish: Cebiches mango verde y langostinos

Restaurant: Andina Restaurant


Chef: Dustin Koerner

Event: Night Market Presented by Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card

Stalwart novoperuvian restaurant Andina has spent nearly 15 years at the top of the every-growing heap of Portland restaurants. This dish explains why they’re worthy. Sweet, tender shellfish; sharp slivers of red onion; the autumn sweetness of almost-al dente sweet potato; tartly firm green mango slices. The dish offered beautiful balance, and a bold statement of light, cool deliciousness in contrast to the surrounding excess.

Ox sandwich

Homey, rustic flavors of Ox Restaurant’s Ecuadorian roast pork sandwich hit the spot.

Dish: Ecuadorian roast pork sandwich with pickled red onion and ají crillo mayo

Restaurant: Ox Restaurant


Chef: Greg Denton And Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton

Event: Night Market Presented by Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card

It just worked! Ox took familiar and much-loved ingredients and deftly wove them into a hearty sandwich which hit all the cylinders. This sandwich may not have been Instagrammed as wildly as some, but the homey, rustic balance of flavors has me reminiscing fondly. This is a sandwich I could eat once a week and keep enjoying.

Want to feast on dishes like these? Mark your calendars for Portland FEAST 2018: September 13-16, 2018.–Story and Photos by Annelise Kelly, RFT Contributor


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Annelise Kelly

Annelise Kelly is a freelance writer based in Portland, Oregon. She’s traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and North America. Constantly on the lookout for the delicious, the unusual, the quirky and the culturally significant, Kelly finds camel trekking in Rajasthan and exploring downtown Los Angeles equally compelling and exotic. Her writing has appeared in publications including National Geographic Traveler, Destination Hyatt, Waldorf Astoria Magazine, and Latitudes. She’s been interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday by Liane Hansen about her summer cooking gig in Martinique. She cooks professionally, and brags about her dream gig: a month in the USVI every winter.