FEAST PORTLAND 2016 RECAP PART 2. THE GRAND TASTING

Last year was my first year EVER year attending feast -I know super late bloomer here. After experiencing all of the magic of eating and drinking to my heart's fill I knew I couldn't do another year sans feast. 

One of the main events, the grand tasting, is held across two days, Friday and Saturday and located within the pioneer courthouse square -a brick amphitheater within the city center. The grand tasting is an event set up to sip and sample many new-to-the-market items and many wonderful food items prepared by local chefs. This year I was given an amazing opportunity to attend as a guest blogger -which allowed me entry to both grand tasting days. Since I had attended the grand tasting the year prior I had a great idea of what to expect and even planned a strategy on how to get the most of my time at the grand tasting. 

Below are a few highlights from my time at the Grand Tasting events that from both Friday and Saturday:

FEAST PORTLAND 2016 GRAND TASTING

USA PEARS

Just like the year prior I had a good guess that there would be a tasting station with a food and wine pairing somewhere within the grand tasting, so this year I made it my mission to find it straight away. After doing a quick run-through the grand tasting I found it immediately and got to enjoy some tasty bites before the massive crowds discovered it.

Local guest Chef Doug Adams, formerly of Imperial and currently working on his proposed restaurant Bullard (opening 2017), was behind the cutting board at the USA Pears tent serving up delicious bites featuring USA PEARS. An additional wine pairing featuring wines from Chateau Ste. Michelle was also present.


DECADENT CREATIONS BAKERY

beaverton

Being the big fan of sweets I made a mad dash to find Decadent Creations Bakery as this bakery has been on my list to try. The baking gods must have known I was coming because the gals were serving up a few of my favorite flavors; pumpkin, passion fruit, and salted chocolate. For starters anything pumpkin flavored will always get my personal taste test, as does salted chocolate, and passion fruit so slap me a little because I couldn't believe my eyes when I noticed three of the four items they were featuring were among my favorite taste profiles.

Decadent Creations' drunken pumpkin cake was by far my favorite bit of the entire grand tasting. The cake was super moist with a wonderful balance of pumpkin spice, a rum cinnamon ganache layer, and a thick creamy dollop of hazelnut meringue buttercream. This little bite was heaven. I may have had a few extra pieces, more than my share as it was so darn good!


DRY SPARKLING

I've been a big fan of DRY SPARKLING for years, the beverages are fizzy, and delightfully light in flavor. 


BON APPETIT TENT

For two days there were so many goodies featured under this tent, Olympia Provisions featured a beautiful array of their finest charcuterie, Bee Local Honey and Jacobsen Salt Co. shared bites highlighted by their flavor enhancing salt and honey, Yogi Tea served up hot tea, and Wolf Gourmet featured grilled chicken tacos and roasted plum and ricotta tartine with their high-performance countertop items.


OREGON FRUIT PRODUCTS

Oregon Fruit Products featured three wonderful items: crispy pork belly bites topped with black berry gastrique and whipped herb goat cheese on a bed of endive and frisee, and vanilla bean wanna cotta topped with dark sweet cherries  poached in oregon pinot noir and topped with salted pistachios, aside from the eats Oregon Fruit Products was also serving up refreshing strawberry lemonades with their pourable fruit.


OREGON CHEESE GULID

The Oregon Cheese Guild featured four local artisan cheeses, chubut wedge, chèvre with cajeta drizzle on a apple chip, fiesta cheesorio in a cup, and brindisi squares.


RANGER CHOCOLATE


WILLIAMS-SONOMA + JACOBSEN SALT CO.

I hope you all had a chance to get you hands on any of the dishes that came off this table. Both days at the Grand Tasting featured back to back chef demos from our very own local chef talent and chefs across the nation.

Guest Chef Gregory Gourdet of portland's Departure restaurant and finalist on Top Chef behind the cutting board prepping his dish for his upcoming demonstration time slot. 

Local Chef Peter Cho of Han Oak helping being the scenes at saturday's grand tasting


SALT & STRAW

Hello, a Salt & Straw cart and no line?! You bet I got in the non-existent line and ordered up three mini scoops of every flavor I was curious about, the tom douglas triple coconut cream pie, the white toast and apple butter, and the strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper!


NECTAR CREEK MEAD

I cannot wait to get my hands on some more of that Waggle Mead, a lightly carbonated and fermented honey adult beverage. 


NATURE'S PATH

Nature's path featured two yummy dishes, a vegan raspberry eton mess with coconut cream, crushed meringue, raspberry and chia granola, and crispy avocado tacos with panko bread, pumpkin flax, granola, avocado and tahini.


PORTLAND SANGRIA

Portland Sangria is a spritzy blend of rose and juice in a can


ADDITIONAL FEAST BITES


MY FEAST STRATEGY

My biggest tip for all Feast main events: find the biggest plate that you can and save, this will be your tray during the remainder of the event. I figured out this method last year when I recieved an alaska airlines tray, that tray was put to great use during my first feast weekend but since I didn't keep the tray from last year I scooped up this plate and used it during the entire event. Having this plate helped me gather more than one bite at a time which meant I was able to stay in lines longer while I stocked up on bites. It made taking the time to enjoy my food loot much more enjoyable as I was able to sit and enjoy it all at once.


full disclosure: i was kindly provided a Feast 2016 pass that included entry to the grand tasting and media events in exchange for media coverage. all opinions expressed are my own.


PREPARATION TIPS FOR FEAST PORTLAND 2016

2015 was my first year attending Feast: I went to Friday Night Market, and Saturday's Oregon Bounty. for both events i showed up like any event with my cross-body purse containing my normal items within; over-stuffed wallet, smart phone,  cosmetic bag, sunglasses with case, and entrance tickets. aside from what was within my purse i was also carrying my big DSLR camera and let me tell you, i was overwhelmed with the amount of items I came with and even more overwhelmed when i started to load up on food, drink, and swag. below are the mishaps i experienced and the solutions to tackle them for this year's events!

ISSUES/SOLUTIONS

below:


  • ISSUE: camera strap and purse strap were constantly tangled.
  • SOLUTION: between lugging around my big DSLR camera and my cross body purse, both with straps, i was a tangled mess. my solution this year: ditch the purse and bring only the bare minimum, so i purchased a fanny pack and will only pack my event tickets, smart phone, ID plus debit card, and a few cosmetics, that is all the extra i am bringing besides my big camera. i know a fanny pack might be a bit extreme for ya'll but once you experience hands free, it is a life saver.  fortunately there are tons of options out there HERE, HERE, and HERE. having used a fanny pack for multiple adventures in the past i know this is a great option for myself and anyone else that can go to an event with just the basics.  

  • ISSUE: dropped and cracked very expensive sunglasses
  • SOLUTION: well the easy answer is to not ever drop them but somewhere between hanging my sunglasses off my shirt and bending over to tie my shoe gravity took over and down went my sunglasses. the lens cracked and lets just say the cost to replace the lens and the hassle of installing were too much, i wound up just replacing the glasses with a fresh new pair, so this year i will not let them fall and will be wearing glasses retainers.

  • ISSUE: dead phone battery
  • SOLUTION: of course my phone died, i was snapping photos, and drained the battery with every media post and extra little item i just had to document. the best solution is to invest in a battery case like this one  HERE. there are multiple case charging options available, this one suites me as it can simultaneously charge the case and phone using the same port, and the case also provides some drop protection for my wonderful clumsy life. this case has already come in handy over a recent road trip where i had forgotten to place my phone in airplane mode while i drove for hours through an out-of-range area, needless to say my battery was drained by the time i did receive service. once the case was on my phone the battery came to life with the hit of a button. i will have my phone in case during the festival and full of juice to start the day's events.
  •  

  • ISSUE: lost camera lens cap
  • SOLUTION: this is an easy fix, buy a lens cap strap like this one HERE. the funny part of the lens cap strap is it does allow for you to remove the cap and have it still attached to the camera, however, depending on the camera angle, i would go a step further and remove it entirely, so just save yourself the headache and place it around your arm like a hair tie or put it in your back pocket! i found a pack of five and bought those online, as i'm sure i'll be losing more lens caps in the future.

  • ISSUE: switching between my camera phone and DSLR camera
  • SOLUTION: well before the solution, the story is, i typically use my smart phone to post immediately and my DSLR camera to obtain blog quality photos, so there is a lot of switching back and forth between the two cameras. the DSLR beats the quality of camera phone every time, but i can't help the need to want to post to social media as the event unfolds, so my solution this year: purchase a wi-fi SD card for my fancy camera. the plan is plain and simple: only whip out my smart phone to download the needed photos and do immediate posting to social media as needed, no need to cover the same shot on both cameras, however i will be doing some snapchat and instragram stories, so the smart phone will never lose its place in my social media line up.

picture 1: three straps too many; wine glass strap, camera strap, and purse strap.

 picture 2:  dressed appropriately for the evening; additional layer tied around my wait to add-on when the temperature drops.

GENERAL TIPS FOR FEAST:

  • READ THE LINE UP AHEAD OF TIME: you will miss someone's table, you will find yourself overwhelmed by the massive amounts of food and celebrity chefs, you will undoubtedly find out, after the fact, that so-and-so was there who you happen to be a big fan of. do yourself the favor of looking at the line-up for your main event. to lessen the urge to overwhelm yourself and visit everyone, build a strategy and write down your top five stops to make during each event. 
  • TRANSPORTATION: most of the events are going to be at very public areas, that means parking is going to sparse and very pricy to park privately, best option is to take public transportation, call on a friend for a lift, a taxi, or uber your way there! plus if you plan to imbibe staying away from the wheel is the best case scenario. 
  • DRESS COMFORTABLY: you will be on your feet over 80% of the time, wear some comfortable shoes, and bring at least one layer to add-on if going to a night event, and add a lightweight layer to discard if going to an outdoor/sunny event. best to bring something that can easily tie around your waist.
  • PACE YOURSELF: although it might be possible to eat a little bit of everything at the main events, the real side is some of the servings are pretty hefty. one strategy i learned from last year: split items with a friend. don't both wait in line for the same item, instead split up and get different items and then share down the middle, you will keep yourself decently paced and will be able to try more options before walking away too stuffed for another bite!

FEAST PORTLAND 2016 COUNTDOWN. TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE

13 MORE DAYS UNTIL FEAST KICK OFF!

You guys! We are so close to my favorite weekend in September, a weekend I've been planning my life around. Of course this isn't just any weekend, it's FEAST weekend, four days of eating, drinking, hands-on classes, dinners, tasting panels, main and fun-sized events all while meeting our foodie crushes, finding new food affairs, and most importantly feasting to put an end to childhood hunger. 

Last year I attended two main events: the Friday Night Market presented by USA Pears, and Saturday's Oregon Grand Bounty; both events left me wanting more! Scroll down to the very bottom to catch my recap of last years events!


WHAT IS FEAST? 

Feast is not a typical half day food festival, but rather a four day gastronomous affair filled with numerous workshops, hands-on classes, tasting panels, private dinners, and expansive main events for every food lover's dream. Not only is there food to be hand, but it's lots of "Portland" food which we all know is ranked really high among the nation we even have some of our own talented well known chef's cooking our of Portland, Oregon, how can you love food, live here, and not become a foodie?

Last year's 2015 feast was the first year i attended any of the events and let me begin by shaming myself and admitting that i had never been to any of the years prior...

from the moment i walked in to friday nights nigh market i was in heaven. just imagine 1 part harry potter welcoming feast, 1 part of every Bon Appetit's drool worthy layouts and covers, 1 dash of all of the magic that is a full thanksgiving dinner spread, a pinch of the surprise happiness you feel when someone brings in a fresh dozen of your favorite donuts to work, and 2 parts of all of the happiness you feel when you receive a gift certificate to one of your favorite dinner spots. that is what feast is to me!

if you love food, are an adventurous eater and follow the restaurant scene closer than the presidential elections than feast is the event for you. my childhood music crush could be in town for a secret show at mississippi studios and i would be in line at whole foods to have my cookbook signed by Yotam Ottolenghi or John Gorham, because that is where food is on my list of life priorities.

as soon as tickets went live for feast 2016 i immediately snagged tickets to Oregonian Media Group SMOKED! presented by Tillamook, and Brunch Village presented by Whole Foods. these two events were ones i did not attend the year prior and i made a vow to go this year. thankfully i was quick on the draw and had my strategy in place because SMOKED! sold out within hours and Brunch village wasn't far behind to sell out.  

aside from the above events, i was granted a feast 2016 blogger's pass for the following events: Friday and Saturday Grand Tasting, USA Pears Night Market present by Alaksa Airlines and a  Drink Tank presented by Imbibe tasting panel. i couldn't be more excited to be at two new-to-me main events this year as an attendee and to attend those listed above as a blogger, it certainly feels like a honor to help promote something i am already passionate about!

be sure to follow along on my social media trails:

i'll be running around four main events this year, plus a drink tank; be sure to follow along on my social media trails: instagram: @Maxenestrail and twitter: @Mytrailofcrumbs and follow hashtag: #maxeneatfeastpdx to sort out my coverage amongst the many other fabulous bloggers!

 


scenes from Friday Night Market 2015


scenes from Saturday Oregon Grand Tasting 2015

FEAST GRAND TASTING 2015

TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE FOR:


FRIDAY:

SATURDAY:



FEAST PORTLAND 2015: OREGON BOUNTY GRAND TASTING -SATURDAY

OREGON BOUNTY GRAND TASTING. SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH, 2015

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Saturday's afternoon event; oregon bounty grand tasting was an amazing food lovers play date in Oregon's boosum.

For three.straight.hours: I ate. I drank. I loved it.                                                        

From the moment I walk into the gates I experienced a culinary overload; wine to the left, food to the right, photo booths, and swag everywhere, my head could not stop spinning. I was happy as can be at my second Feast event of the weekend. Shortly after I figured out the layout I quickly made my way around bountiful and beautiful Oregon without leaving pioneer square. To start my morning off correctly I quickly grabbed my first tasting of wine, placed it into my new snazzy wine glass necklace, and of course I snagged a wine and food combo holding tray. Just like a real road trip I had snacks, a road soda and some stops to make. 

feast grand tasting
feast 2015 grand tasting portland, or
feast 2015 grand tasting portland, or
feast 2015 grand tasting portland, or
feast 2015 grand tasting portland, or

Since this was my first year attending Feast I didn't have much else to compare it to, except that it beat each and every one of my expectations. If anything, during those short hours a Feast I learned a few things and even took a few notes while watching others.

TIPS FOR NEXT YEAR:

  • MISSING TABLES: you may miss someone's table. It will be okay, you don't know it now, but you will survive. Be prepared for next year, build a strategy. Take note of the top 5 places you must go to and make it a point to check those off immediately. Remind yourself that everyone else is a treat, even if you do still manage to skip your most loved chef, tasting table, remember everyone at the bounty event is from Oregon -or even better they may be local.
  • WHICH KIND OF BAG TO PACK: try to go as hand-free as possible. Ditch everything you do not need. If you must use a purse or need to carry your wallet think about a cross body bag, backpack or a fanny pack. You will need a place to store photo-booth photos, business cards, sunglasses, and swag. A fanny pack is awesome it allows for complete hands free!
  • CAMERA: set your camera settings and lock them in. Find a good distance and work with that. I had a hard time trying to balance between taking photos and grabbing samples.  If you can plan out a good focal distance for photos, make it your standard and if you can't get a good photo because you're too far away, tough. This is why prime lens are great -you only have one window for getting those photos.

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