Flashbacks of Feast 2017

I always say that the food community has been very welcoming to me since I moved up to Portland from Little Rock, Arkansas.  At Feast Portland this year, the close knit community of talented, inspiring chefs and talented, inspired food writers were equally amazing.

Feast wall

This was the sixth year for Feast Portland, sponsored by Bon Appétit, an event which donates net proceeds to Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon.

Feast Portland 2017 featured:

4 Days of 45 Unique Events

134 Chefs

31 Wineries, 15 Breweries

11 Artisans, 12 Distilleries

17, 948 Total Attendees

Here’s the timeline of events that I was able to attend!

Wednesday, September 13th

Ava GenesMy participation with Feast began on Wednesday at the Little Italy Welcome Party presented by Williams Sonoma. I was super excited to have been granted a blogger pass to attend.
I met up with my friend Jenny Ross (the Instagram sensation @eatrichordietryin)
and we headed over to Ava Gene’s together. I looked around and recognized a ton of other bloggers I’d been following since last year at Feast. We went to the bar to get a drink, and I spotted one of the Top Chef Season 14 contestants. John Tesar from Knife Dallas, whom I’d met over the holidays at his restaurant. He had told me then that he would be in Portland for Feast to cook with BJ and Gregory.

In the Sous – Chef chapter of the book Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain said, “Jimmy was a brilliant cook.” (John is the character Jimmy Sears in the book.) That, along with how he said that Jimmy (John) was cooking for Mariah Carey and Tommy Mottola on the side, gained my instant admiration. I love MC!! I have to say he looks so much younger than Bourdain. I was surprised he had hired him as his garde manger in New York. I only know what that is because Chuck Hughes is my favorite chef ever, and that’s the name of his restaurant.

The rest of the Welcome Party night was a lot of fun, catching up with other blogger friends, like the super cool Maxene, chatting with Gary the Foodie, and sampling all the many delicious treats provided to us by the team at Feast. The patio of OP Wurst was filled with people handing out food and drinks for us. My heart was so full for having the opportunity to experience it all, and my stomach was so full from the abundance of delicious tastings!

Thursday, September 14th

Beaujolais
What Type of Beaujolais Are You at Park Avenue Wines

Beaujolais Tasting

Thursday morning, I was running late, knowing I’d RSVP’d to this private event, and I wasn’t sure if it was okay to just show up within the window of time. But…one email and I was informed that it was a seated luncheon. I needed to be there on time. After having accepted my blogger pass and the requirements for the access to certain Feast events, I was invited to certain other events not listed on the official site. This was one of them, which included delicious tastings of wine as well as a family style tasting of food such as lobster mushrooms, burnt beet soup, and crispy pork. It was a very educational discussion about beaujolais, and I had the chance to mingle with other writers.

Hospitality Lounge.jpg

Next up! I checked out our Hospitality Lounge at the Sentinel Hotel lobby. This was open to us pretty much the entire time with complimentary food and drinks as well as transportation to the major events. You really get the red carpet treatment when you get a media or blogger pass to Feast! I had a couple of drinks with Becky and Analiese, a couple of freelance writers from the luncheon. I also met Missy Maki and the guy from Right at the Fork in the lounge. My friend Erin from Platings and Pairings was also there for the sponsored wine tastings.

Friday, September 15th

Media Breakfast

Media Breakfast

Friday was my busiest day. The media breakfast was held at Gracie’s Restaurant inside the Hotel DeLuxe. It started at 9 a.m., but I arrived about an hour late. It was packed, and there was so much food, including a build your own bloody mary bar. And in true Feast fashion, tons of booze. I was trying to pace myself.

Health – Ade Kombucha Class

Directly after the breakfast, I attended a kombucha making class in a conference room inside the hotel. The founder told us all about her business, and she was super entertaining. We all left with our own kombucha making kits! Thanks Health – Ade!

Grand Tasting

The Grand Tasting was one of the main events that took place during the day on Friday and Saturday at Pioneer Courthouse Square. It included over 80 vendors, including some of the best chefs, vintners, brewers, bakers, cheesemakers and food artisans from the Northwest and across the country. It started at 1:00 each day, but on Friday we were granted early access with our blogger and media passes to get pictures and talk with the vendors.

I attended a couple of hours at the Grand Tasting, then went home for a pedicure and a change of clothes. For the night events, I planned to Uber.  

Night Market

Night Market took place at Zidell Yards, had a Latin theme, and felt so festive with the stringed lights overhead. Over 20 standout chefs from across the country cooked for us and cocktailians provided drinks for us.

Night Market.jpg

I don’t usually eat crab rangoon, but my friend Erica was raving about how good it was, so I gave in and tried it. It was one of the best things I ate that night. The next day, the chef who made it was interviewed by Bon Appétit on their stage. His name was Greg Baxtrom, and his restaurant Olmstead has become Brooklyn’s hottest restaurant, according to Eater. His version of the crab rangoon was made of crab, kale, and ricotta. “We kind of made it as a joke,” he told us after the on stage interview. But it was seriously so good.

Jackrabbit After Party

Every night of Feast there was an after party where the media and bloggers and participants had the opportunity to mingle over complimentary drinks and snacks. I only RSVP’d to one. (I’m not much of a late night person.) Chris Cosentino, the executive chef of Jackrabbit, was having fun shooting Saxx underwear out of a plastic gun to the crowd. Saxx was the sponsor that night, and they’re my husband’s favorite underwear, so I got lucky and came home with a new pair for him!

Saturday Grand Tasting

We were back at it, but this time with plenty of water. The great thing about the Grand Tastings is that if you’re a fan of chefs in the food community, you have an opportunity to say hi. Departure’s Gregory Gourdet and Pok Pok’s Andy Ricker were both super nice and took a second to snap a photo with me. I’m a big fan of their food.

Grand Tasting.jpg

Sunday Feast for All

Feast for All was an event that was added on at the last minute to help aid hurricane victims in Texas and to raise money for victims of the Eagle Creek Fire in Oregon. I use Twitter as my main source of news, so I spotted the event and bought a ticket as soon as I saw it. It was held under a tent outside of the Kitchen Cru space, which was a good thing, because the rain had returned. Saturday I was in shorts and sandals, but Sunday I was in a sweater and knee high boots. Some of the chefs that I’d met at the Jackrabbit after party also cooked at Feast for All, so I had a chance to say bye to the guys leaving town, and I got a picture with them.

BBQ Team.jpg
BJ Smith, Doug Adams, me, Ryan Lachaine, Richie Nakano

Mark your calendars for September 13 – 16 next year, and follow me along on Twitter to keep up with more updates. As soon as the Feast schedule is announced, I’ll let you know! Just act fast, because some of the events sell out super fast!!

Disclosure: I was given a blogger pass to attend several events at Feast Portland presented by Bon Appétit. All opinions are my own.

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