EXCITING FEAST PORTLAND 2018 CHANGES + 2017 RECAP

EXCITING FEAST PORTLAND 2018 CHANGES AND A 2017 RECAP!

Four more days and culinary heaven will be ascending upon us antsy feasters. I am all ready, I have my food and alcohol hangover kit ready with activated charcoal, aspirin, coconut water, and of course I have my car share ride apps all ready to roll. With that said I must share to share more reasons why you should stop neglecting the opportunity to snag some Feast Portland 2018 tickets. While many events have long sold out -within minutes- there are still many festival events open to attend and plenty within a comfortable price range. Scroll below to find a little photo breakdown of what you might be missing out on. 

SANDWICH INVITATIONAL IS OUT AND A NEW KID IS IN TOWN: 80'S VS 90'S

Feast Portland's inaugural Thursday night kick-off event, The Sandwich Invitation, has sadly sliced its' last sandwich during last September 2017's go around.  The sandwiches have gone stale and a new hombre has rolled into town. Introducing the new Thursday night main event The 80's vs 90's. Where a new team era competition is set to take place  with the help of 20 chefs divided into Team 80's versus Team 90's.  Still held at the Rose Quarter Commons -home of the Portland Trailblazers and the Winterhawks- and is still a team competition putting team 80's against team 90's. This new era competition is sure to divide the crowd into Team Pizza Pockets versus Team Tostinos. 

80’s vs 90’s tickets are $125 for 3 hours of unlimited food and beverage.


GRAND TASTINGS: FRIDAY TICKETS STILL LEFT

The Grand Tastings are still the same as previous years and are a great beginner event for any new Feast attendee. They are set up in the sprawling Pioneer Square, right in the heart of Downtown Portland. The event itself feels like a walk through tunnel of every Whole Foods, New Seasons, and Costco store during live demos and sampling from vendor reps (minus the chaos of shopping carts and checkout lanes) just exponentially elevated. 

Just like the years prior there are two Grand Tasting Events, Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon. As of right now Saturday's Grand Tasting has sold out, but there are still tickets available for Friday's Grand Tasting. Aside from tasting every bite from over 80 vendors, bakers, artisans, and makers, do not forget to fill up your wine glass from a myraid of local and national wineries pouring tastings straight from the bottle and then grab a spot on the bricks for one of my favorite sessions, the fireside chats, or look out for the hourly live action cooking demos like this demonstration from last year's Williams Sonoma Booth where Chef Gregory Gourdet of Departure, Portland and Chef Ray Garcia of Broken Spanish, Los Angeles made Charred Brussel Sprouts, Mole Blanco, Habanero, and peanuts with Finex cookware. 

Ticket sales are for $75 each and are all inclusive of food and drink. 21 and over only.

Don't forget to check the daily schedules for the Fireside Chats

Friday:

1:30p - Sean Brock (Husk, Charleston, SC) with Amiel Stanek (Senior Editor, Bon Appetit)

2:30p - Alvin Cailan (The Usual, New York, NY) with Adam Rapoport (Editor-In-Chief, Bon Appetit)

3:30p - Elias Cairo (Olympia Provisions, Portland, OR)  with Adam Rapoport (Editor-In-Chief, Bon Appetit)

Saturday:

12:30p - Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn, San Francisco, CA) with Julia Kramer (Deputy Editor, Bon Appetit)

1:30p - Edouardo Jordan (JuneBaby, Seattle, WA) with Julia Kramer (Deputy Editor, Bon Appetit)

2:30p Bonnie Morales (Kachka, Portland, OR) with Christina Chaey (Associate Editor, Bon Appetit)


DRINK TANKING, STILL ONE OF THE BEST VALUES AROUND!

I've said it before and I will say it again and again, Drink Tank events is where the party is at! 

For an hour in length ticket holders are sat in front of a table full of whatever highlighted alcohol has creatively lent itself to the headlining theme. Your table placemat will be covered in more drinks than you can carry and enough to make you a little -or very- tipsy -depending on your stamina to drink and will to hydrate. The Drink Tank events are really one of the most underrepresented classes offered. Each year the themes change and dive into the most recent of drinking trends. Have you been following the recent spike of Rose-inspired beers and ciders in production or the recent influx of natural wines appearing on wine lists?

Just as the themes change so do the attending panelists, for the past 3 years we've had Bon Appetit columnist Marissa A. Ross talk on various wine topics, including my first very interactive Beer vs Wine  Drink Tank from 2016 -an event that had me laughing out of my chair and taste pairing wine, beer, and cheese. The guest panelists are so insightful, often funny, and if you catch them on a good day you can even hear some holesome bar shamming through background stories between the panelists. 

Tickets run from $25 to $55 and there are still tickets left to The New (Old) Italy, Act Naturally: Natural Wine Comes of Age, and Tickled Pink: Why Rose-Inspired ciders and beers are taking over


HANDS-ON CLASSES

Hands-on classes at Feast are just like they sound, hands-on. The class theme and time vary, as do the prices. The classes range from in price from $65 to $160 and the highlights of the class can range from cooking classes with master chefs, turning pie into works of art, learning how to stylize your next dinner gathering into instagramable pictures, to building your very own macrame piece while sipping rose.

Below are scenes from last year's Bon Appetit's "Inside the Test Kitchen" with Brad Leone and Carla Music. Talk about Fangirl moment for me, a longtime reader of Bon Appetit.

There are still tickets available to Macrame and Rose, and Pigeon Toe Ceramics + Lord Birthday: Dream Muggin'. Although these aren't my favorite events I would say this is just more ammo to get tickets early next year.. Just sayin'.


NIGHT MARKET 2018 TAKES A TRIP TO THE PACIFIC RIM

Previous Feast years have taken trips through Latin America and Spanish speaking countries and a long trip through the Asian continent to showcase a global feast very reminiscent of a SE Asian night market. Bright lanterns hang from each food stall, strings of lights illuminate the walkway, a live DJ is pumping out the beats -in the case of last year, spicy latin music-, the atmosphere is absolutely festive and you might find yourself dancing between stands. 

For Feast 2018 Night Market has taken a trip through the Pacific Rim encompassing everything along the America's coast line, across the waters to Polynesia and Australia, and back up the Asian Continent. The Pacific Rim is going to be a festive event with a live DJ, over 20 participating chefs, and many participating sponsors presenting cocktails, and eats.  

Also, if you are an Alaska Airlines Card holder be on the lookout for special perks like VIP entrance to some events but most importantly to VIP lounges, which will be the case at Night Market. 

This event is currently sold out, better try to get them next year!

Left to Right: Potato and Ham Croquetas from Bar Ama, Tuna Tostadas from Local Oceans, and Carrot Nachos from Ghost Donkey. 

The bustling scenes from Night Market


SMOKED! ZERO REASON TO CHANGE AN ALREADY FABULOUS EVENT!

Wonder what's so hot about this famed Smoked event that sells out every year? Well, the key is experiencing Smoked first hand. Nothing can describe the excitement that boils in your veins as you drive up to the Fields Park on night three of Feast week greeted by plumbs of smoke marbling the evening skyline into a hazy fog. If you can't quite make out those smoke signals allow me to interpret, "You've made it to Smoked!" Feast Portland's final main evening event which takes place in the open air in the heart of the Pearl District at The Fields park. 

This grand event runs every Saturday evening of feast week and it happens to be a crowd favorite selling out every year -and this year in under 9 minutes. There are many reasons why some events win the hearts of feasters but Smoked is an event unlike the rest. The event showcases over 20 chefs preparing dishes using their interpretation of smoked. In previous years there were Smoked Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies, Smoked Root Beer Floats, Grilled Snake River Farms Tomahawk bathed in Smoked Bone Marrow, and items without a direct smoked correlation like the Ricotta Fritter, Apple Butter, Rosemary and Pork Fat Powder. 

This event sold out in 9 minutes this year meaning it will only become increasingly popular, with the potential to sell out within the first minutes like many other events have in previous years. 

Montrel Smoked Beef Tartare, Grilled Bone Marrow, Preserved egg, and Shaved Horseradish from St. Jack Restaurant, Portland. 

Favorite bites Left to Right: Pork Ribs and puffed rice from Fat Rice, Ricotta Fritter, Apple Butter, Rosemary and Pork Fat Powder and ,Hama Hama Oysters, Smoked Tomato Kasundi, Pickled Mustard Seeds, and Cilantro


BRUNCH VILLAGE

The final day four of Feast Portland has arrived and with it being the last day of all events what better way to send off the throngs of feasters than to send them through Portland's most quintessential meal, Brunch. And not just to a plated brunch buffet of tired eggs, dried out sausage, and a puddle of hollandaise teetering on the verge of the danger zone but to an entire village dedicated to brunch. I'm talking about half of Pioneer Square covered under a tarp with over a dozen talented chefs from across the nation supplying their best morning versions of eggs and biscuits, yogurt parfaits, fried chicken sandos, build-your-own bloody mary bar, kombucha on tap, and mimosas, the perfect start to your sunday funday!

Tickets are still available for Brunch Village: $95 a ticket for three hours of food and drink.


FUN-SIZED EVENTS: BECAUSE BREAKFAST

Feast Portland's Fun-sized events have truly become one of my most anticipated events. They are not quite as grand as the Main events and not as intimate as the Dinner series. The Feast Fun-Sized events offer a more focused, as the name implies, Fun-Sized approach. The atmosphere is a little more of everything with a little less of everything. Less waiting in lines, more places to sit, less of the hurry up and grab ideology, and more time to chat with some of your favorite participating chefs. 

Below are scenes from last years Sunday Fun-sized event "Because Breakfast."  The running theme of this year's event was a collection of instagram-ready breakfast goods, including pastries, crêpes, drool worthy donuts and morning cocktails. Handcrafted creations from Clare Gordon (General Porpoise Donuts, Seattle), Kim Boyce (Bakeshop, PDX), Jehnee Rains (Suzette, PDX) and Michael Scelfo (Waypoint, Boston). Treats so pretty, you might feel guilty eating them.

There are still tickets the following 2018 Fun-Sized events:

Tickets are still available to a few events, if you have the chance, you do not want to miss out! Head to www.FeastPortland.com to snag the last few!


Disclosure: I was invited to participate and provide Feast Portland social media coverage with a staff pass which included entry into all main events, hands-on classes, fun-sized events, and Drink Tanks. I was not provided the pass in exchange for coverage but to help with their social media platform. I wrote this post because I am a big fan of Feast Portland felt the need to share my love.

As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

MY BIRTHDAY FOOD AND COCKTAIL CRAWL IN PORTLAND

HOW DOES ONE CELEBRATE HER BIRTHDAY ON A WEEKDAY... LET ME SHOW YOU HOW!

My birthday rolled around at the beginning of May and, as tradition would have it, I took a whole day to be selfish; doing all of the very things that make me happy  -outside of time with my little family.

So what kind of trouble would I get myself into for my birthday ?

Let me start by telling you I love a day off in the middle of the week, better than a weekend. So, naturally, as my birthday fell on a Tuesday I took the whole day off. This meant so many great things: little to no wait for highly coveted seats at top Portland places (which do not take reservations), no added costs of hiring a sitter since my child was at daycare, little to no traffic while hopping about town, and, a FULL day to myself at my leisure, THE BEST!

Before this wonderful day arrived I made a list or two of the restaurants and things I really wanted to do. Through much deliberation and I was able to sort my day out by timeline and location. I wrote out a Birthday Girl itinerary and woke up in the best mood as I had prepared myself a full day of eating, drinking, and general happy moments!

As luck would have it, I could only reach one gal pal to meet for breakfast but I still had a great day spent mostly alone. 

In true fashion I kick-started the day by getting a good sweat session in at the gym at a leisurely pace -which is uncommon since I only have 40 minutes most mornings- and promptly sat on the sofa -still smelly and hot from post gym bliss- and enjoyed my morning coffee. After a long shower I was ready to start birthday funday as planned:


Sweedeedee is a cute little shop in NE Portland that gives off massive Scandinavian vibes. This breakfast and lunch spot is always a weekend hit -with the lines to prove it-, and they make an insanely sweet pie that is often raved about. Leave it to me to make use of a weekday to conquer this place -instead of waiting with the throngs on a weekend.  

Ordered: breakfast sandwich on a biscuit, cornmeal cakes, and a slice of salted honey pie!

  • 10:30a coffee to go at Proud Mary

After my hearty and savory-sweet breakfast at Sweedeedee I needed to cut through the sugar and grease with a nice cup of coffee so I took a quick drive up to Proud Mary Coffee, a fine breakfast cafe and coffee shop with quite a huge following on the weekends. I ordered a cup of coffee to go expecting to head home and rest up for an hour. That was until I found myself driving pass confetti lined streets. I pulled my car over and realized it was petal confetti from all of the bloomed cherry blossoms. The sidewalks and some streets were lined heavily, it was a beautiful sight, so naturally, I had to document it. 

Spring is such a beautiful time of year in Portland. The contrasting splash of spring colors breaks up the grey skies and brightens up the dull weather.

  • 1 p.m. House Spirits Distillery Tour

One of the greatest things about Portland is we have zero shortage of fine artisans within close proximity who are perfecting their craft and graciously sharing it with us all much like House Spirits Distillery does, a local distillery located in SE Portland offering distilling tours right where production of their award-winning spirits are made. All spirits are small batch made and ethically sourced and here is where you can find made-from-scratch Krogstad Aquavit, Volstead Vodka, Casa Magdalena Rum, and many limited release spirits. The staff is incredibly helpful and very happy to explain the process, from the grain to the barrel, and the tours are a real behind the scenes glimpse into the productions of small batch spirits. 

House Spirits Distillery offers daily tours of the largest whiskey distillery in Oregon. Each tour is $20 per person and includes a spirit flight and a taste of House Spirits' whiskey wash.  

  • Weekday Tours available at the top of every hour, starting at 1p
  • Weekend Tours available at 1 and 3 p.m. on Saturdays and 3 p.m. on Sundays
  • 2:30p time to soak up the booze at  Maurice.

After tasting numerous samples of House Spirits Distillery spirits I had a wee bit of time to kill so I concluded that the most fitting of ways to burn some time was to enjoy delightful pastry treats and bites from Maurice, a cute Scandinavian luncheon shop in Downtown. 

As a huge supporter of variety and treating one's self, I had to order an assortment of bites like Chef Kristen's Smorbord De Jour which featured cottage cheese, rhubarb, greens, and peaches. Then, I moved on to more of her sweet offerings like the creamy and velvety smooth Black Pepper Cheesecake, the most creamy bite to spread across the roof of your mouth -in all the cheesecake bites you have ever tried. If I had the words to describe it so eloquently I would. better yet, just imagine sweet whipped butter melting into toast and that is this cheesecake. Lastly, I tried the Bird Seed Coconut Tea Cake, served warm and topped with a generous dollop of fresh butter and a golden pour of honey. Crunchy and nuttier than a squirrel turd but, absolutely tasty, make this a priority when you visit. that is, if she doesn't sell out. 

  • 4p. Happy Hour at Departure with my food baes

With a whole day to myself, a babysitter on deck, and no time card to punch-out on I set myself up on a happy hour date with some of my favorite girlfriends. The destination, Departure. Departure is the ultra-hip restaurant on the 15th floor inside the of the swanky Nines Hotel. The restaurant is run by executive chef Gregory Gourdet, a Top Chef season 12 contestant and a beloved participant in Portland's local food festival Feast Portland. Departure's cuisine is pan-asian and does it ever satisfy the need for a variety of Asian dishes, tropical desserts and cocktails. Departure is the place to go for stunning views of Portland's cityscape and asian fusion bites. 

Ordered: Half of the Happy Hour Menu and a birthday dessert. Departure is an amazing place to eat for anyone with diet restrictions, they are vegan, gluten-free, diary-free, and vegetarian friendly! 

This last adventure of the night was a delicious spanish-inspired dinner at Bar Casa Vale, one of my favorite go-to spots for wood-fired seafood, tapas, and gin and tonics served in goblets. 


Well, there you have it. A full day of eating and drinking on a weekday. I know, I could have crammed way more fun adventures into my day but since I go to the gym extra early (6a) I knew it was going to be a very long day, plus, add having to put a kid to bed before going out to my last destination and that amounts to a even longer day on my feet. I was just a happy kid to do most of everything I wanted to do and even got some downtime in with my main squeeze. Below are the remaining things that made the list but not the cut for the day.

Great weekday birthday alternatives:

  • Kennedy Soaking Pools
  • Knot Springs
  • Brunch at Tasty n Alder
  • Spend an afternoon hitting balls at Top Golf
  • Food cart crawl through downtown
  • Dessert crawl down SE 28th (There is a lot of soft serve and desserts right on this street).
  • Coffee crawl through SE Portland.

WHAT'S ON MY RADAR: APRIL 2018

WHAT'S ON MY RADAR: APRIL 2018

Starting this month, Travel Portland has teamed up with over 18 local hotels, restaurants, and bars to launch the Portland Charity Cocktail Program where one dollar from each speciality cocktail's sale will benefit our local charity Transition Projects. This program will go through the month of June while Travel Portland will track donations and distribute the funds donated to support Transition Projects' Mobile Engagement Program, which connects people experiencing homelessness to the services they need. 

Partners include:

Kachka

Pok Pok

For a complete list of participants and to learn more please visit Travelportland.com/charitycocktail


SUNDAY DINNER WITH RALLY PIZZA

Sunday, April 29th

My favorite pizza eatery in Vancouver, Rally Pizza, will be hosting the second installment of their "Sunday Dinner" series, this time highlighting the Food and Wine of Rome. Come taste and learn about the local food and wine of Rome in Rally Pizza's upcoming dinner featuring an optional regional wine pairing. The five-course dinner is $45 with the optional four-course wine pairing for an additional $20. Reservations are recommended and menu listed below:

MY ULTIMATE PORTLAND DINING GUIDE 2018

MY ULTIMATE PORTLAND DINING GUIDE

Portland, Oregon, where there is no shortage of tattoos, donuts, strip clubs, bike lanes, brunch lines, food carts, and breweries. This town is filled to the brim with everything a trip away needs: walkability, bike and car-share programs, reliable public transportation, high-class hotels, and a great assortment of home-sharing options. And, while you're here you should take advantage of our close proximity to the Oregon coast and mountains (Mt. Hood & St. Helens), our daily music offerings at various fun venues ( Mississippi Studios, Doug Fir, and the Landmark Saloon), and our fresh and local produce found at one of the many neighborhood farmers' markets. So, if you've suddenly found yourself planning a trip to one of the greatest foodie cities there is then, let it be known, there is no greater compliment than to give my input on where you should eat and drink and how to do it like a local around the streets of Portland. So here you have it, my most accurate list of places I frequent or recommend wholeheartedly! 

Just to note: Portland is divided into four quadrants, well, technically five, but for the sake of it all being easy to follow along I've broken it down into the general four: Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest. The city is bisected by the Willamette River and further divided by Burnside.  Enjoy!

NORTHEAST 

Northeast Portland, East of the Willamette River, North of Burnside and my favorite side of town. I have lived in the NE square for over six years and I have never loved another district quite like Mississippi Ave. where close range pub crawling, patio cocktail drinking, oddity shopping, and eating all exist. Here's my recommendations for when you find yourself on the Northeast side of Portland. 

Pizza: Lovely's Fifty Fifty, Life of Pie, Pizza Jerk 

Coffee: Hot Pot, Kopi Coffee

Sweets: Pip's Donuts, Eb and Bean Frozen Yogurt

Breakfast: Tasty n Sons, Interurban, The Bad Habit Room, Broder Nord

Lunch: Cedo's, Mee-Sen Thai, Gueros

Dinner: Pok Pok Noi, Ox, Toro Bravo

Happy Hour: Tasty n Sons

Cocktails: The Box Social, Victoria Bar, Interurban

Beer: Ex Novo, 

Late Night: La Taq

Instagram Hot Spots: 180 Xurros, Salt n Straw, Tea Bar


SOUTHEAST:

To the East of the Willamette and to the south of Burnside is a wonderful wonderful food mecca filled with some of the hippest neighborhoods on the global radar, including Hawthorne, Belmont, Division, and Mount Tabor. Aside form my neighborhood in NE this is my most frequented side of town. 

Pizza: Apizza Scholls, Ranch Pizza inside of Poisons Rainbow

Coffee: Tov Coffee, Crema

Sweets: Cheese and Crack

Breakfast: Trinket, Tannery Bar, HunnyMilk

Lunch: Cheese n Crack snack shop, Nongs Khao Man Gai, Meat Cheese and Bread

Food Carts: Kim Jong Grillin, Chicken n Guns, The Bivy

Happy Hour: Bar Casa Vale, Nostrana 

Cocktails: Sapphire Lounge, Tannery Bar, 

Beer: Base Camp Brewery, Wayfinder Beer, Loyal Legion

Dinner: Bar Casa Vale, Kachka, Trifecta Tavern

Instagram Hot Spots: Tusk, Doe Donuts, Cheese n Crack, 


NORTHWEST:

One of my favorite streets in Northwest is the lengthy, yet congested 23rd Avenue. The street is decked with numerous eateries, coffee shops of both local and national fame, clothing shops, and skincare lines. And, when you get tired of exploring the storefronts there are plenty of local parks to relax at while enjoying some coffee or take away. 

Pizza: Oven & Shaker

Coffee: Commissary, Nossa, 

Sweets: Papa Haydn

Breakfast: Olympia Provisions NW, Isabel, Irving Street Kitchen

Lunch: Boke Bowl, Tilt

Dinner: Olympia Provisions NW, Mediterranean Exploration Co, Andina

Happy Hour: Oven and Shaker, Serrato

Cocktails: Tear Drop Lounge, The Fireside, The Waiting Room

Beer: Breakside Pub & Brewery, 10 Barrel Brewing


SOUTHWEST

To the east of the Willamette River and to the South of Burnside, the Southwest area is my least explored area of Portland and quite possibly one of my most loathed parts due to parking. Nevertheless I do have some gems and favorite spots to recommend should you be staying or enjoying this side of town.

Pizza: Nel Centro

Coffee: Kiosko

Sweets: Blue Star Donuts, Departure

Breakfast: Imperial, Tasty n Alder

Lunch: Quick Fish Poke, Pine Street Market, Alder Street Food Carts

Dinner: Ringside Steak House, Fogo De Chao

Happy Hour: Imperial, Ringside Fishhouse, Nel Centro, Departure

Cocktails: Driftwood Room inside of Hotel Deluxe, JackKnife, Barlow

Beer: Bailey's Taproom 

Late Night: Luc Lac

Instagram Hot Spots: Blue Star Donuts, Tasty n Alder, Departure


And there you have it, a lengthy list of all of my favorite coffee shops, brunch spots, breweries and more throughout the four quadrants of Portland. If you've asked me for places to eat and drink at while in visiting Portland then you've possible heard of these places in my list of recommendations


BUEN PROVECHO!