Today is the start of the 3 day food event on the Waterfront Park known as Bite of Oregon 2014, running from Friday August 8 – Sunday August 10. Admission is $5 (but kids 12 or under are free! And they have several booths of games and Chef hat decorating and a Kids Entertainment stage especially geared for them). This grants you access to the Bite all day as it runs from lunch through dinner and then some, 11 AM – 10 PM Friday-Saturday and 10 AM – 8PM Sunday.
This will be my fourth year attending, as it is also for a good cause to support Special Olympics Oregon. And, it is a celebration highlighting food and drink, so of course I’m there. I thought I would share a few tips.
Your $5 is a small price for admission (which is good all day that day- they give you a wristband to show for re-entry). There are usually several booths giving out free samples (for instance last year I sipped various tastes of Cupcake Vineyards and ate a whole Chobani yogurt Flip container), and there is also plenty of seating, multiple stages for live music so something always playing, there’s a show with various culinary Iron Chef, Iron Mixologist, plus other chef competitions and demonstrations all day, two beer gardens, and a wine pavilion and even some representatives of the Portland food truck scene.
You need to purchase your various bites of food and drinks with cash once you are inside. There are ATMs at the park, but just be prepared with cash when you come visit.
One thing I always highly recommend is to check out the Oregon Bounty Chef’s Table which usually has more complex flavors piled into affordable $4 bites. As an example, at past years I tasted what you see below: Duck Mousseline with Berry Chutney Tomato Confit Bread, Traegar Smoked Food Forest Farm’s Berkshire Pork Porchetta, Served Open Faced on House -made (gluten free) Focacceta Rolls Drenched in Smoky Pork Jus Topped with Nero and Ricotta Cheese (a mouthful of a description but mmm look at the photo!), a Pinot Noir braised Oregon beef on polenta with greens, Marion Berries on Nitro with Fruit Compote & Cookie… Did I mention these are $4?
To give you an idea of the many offerings this year for the 2014 Chef’s Table, the Oregon Beef Council promises 18 Hour sous vide Oregon Beef Flat Iron Steak with Butter whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes and Herbs de Provence, and the Seafood Oregon Commission lists Oregon Black Sable Cod Hazelnut Smoked on a bed of fresh Herb and Yakisoba Noodle Salad finished with a Root Beer Rum Barbecue Sauce. And that’s just 2 of the 16 items! Here is a glimpse of some of what you can get for that $4 Chef’s Table ticket (you buy the ticket for $4, and exchange it for one of the Chef Table plates – this way they don’t ever handle money since it is a separate section. The tickets are only good for the Chef Table items).
Make sure you come hungry… there are lots of other booths as well, and $2-$9 per item and offering some of the sights and aromas like these…
So my second tip is to make sure you first walk around to plan out what you want to eat and drink so you don’t find yourself too full once you come upon some amazing strawberry shortcake sundae like the above.
My next tip is bring the family and friends because then you can share bites together and try a larger variety of things. Though no judgement if you eat it by yourself, that’s cool.
Another tip is to make sure you visit the Wine Pavilion. One of the things I really like about the Bite of Oregon is that there are two dozen booths for tasting here. You don’t have to drive from tasting room to tasting room- they are all gathered here for you, and you can have sips for a tasting fee or just buy a glass in many cases to enjoy out in the sunshine/shade of the Waterfront Park boundaries of the Bite! Some of my favorite wineries like Macindoe Family Cellars and Rizzo Winery and Zerba Cellars will be there and you will not find their wines easily in stores, but they’ve brought it all to us downtown for this weekend.
Look for someone holding a bunch of “Age Verified” wristbands as you enter the Wine Pavilion (they are also located at the entrance of the two Beer Garden areas)- they will check your ID and give you a wristband that proves you are over 21 and can drink.
This year, there is also a special Wine Bar by SE Wine Collective and they have created several wines specifically for Bite of Oregon attendees, including the 2013 Collective Rose of Pinot Noir, 2013 “Bite of Oregon” Red, 2013 Collective Pinot Noir and “Bite of Oregon” White. The wine bar is located on the other side of the bite from the Wine Pavilion, so look for it near where the food carts are parked.
There is a little area of various distilleries, and for my next tip I highly recommend you stop by Glaser Distillery and taste their delicious limoncello and award-winning coffee liquor. They are based in Roseburg, Oregon (as part of Glaser Estate Winery) but are working on opening a tasting room in NW Portland in the next half year. I find this news super exciting that they will soon be so much more convenient to replenish my bottle supply (they also offer a too delicious Butterscotch and Chocolate liquor). Their tasting room in Roseburg, where you can also taste wine, has a relaxing patio in the back overlooking a river, and on the front porch there was a skeleton… who came to supervise the tasting booth as I sipped a Limoncello and Ginger cocktail.
Don’t miss stopping by the cider section either – the Atlas Cider company is offering super refreshing apricot and blackberry cider that you will probably walk away having bought a pint of after a taste. After getting that 18 hour sous vide Flat Iron Steak, I enjoyed it with their apricot cider. If you haven’t had Reverend Nat’s Hard cider, try it out too!
If you decide to visit one or both of the two beer gardens, may I recommend something to go with your beer? Such as these Mt Angel Sausage Company homemade European sausage or the food cart The Angry Unicorn‘s Unicorn burger, made with “Unicorn meat” a magical meat with ground bacon, strips of bacon, cheddar on a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut
Besides the truck looking adorable, the Dannon booth is also giving out various samples of from their yogurt line if you are interested in trying a different yogurt flavor or type of yogurt for free.
For the lactose intolerant or even just to try because this is a healthy good alternative, try So Delicious Dairy Free brand booth. They had free samples of their almond milk, coconut milk, and a surprisingly tasty Cococcino coconut milk ice coffee latte made with organic coconut milk and fair trade coffee. They also had dairy free coconut milk ice cream sandwiches and a mocha almond milk fudge bar samples they were giving away!
My last tip is to make sure you save room for cake from Gerry Frank’s Konditorei from Salem. Although you could share the cake, you could also choose to take the cake home for later if you’d like. That $6 gets you a very generous slice of that extravagant cake that comes in flavors such as Birthday Cake, Raspberry Lemonade, Caramel Pecan, Coconut, Champagne, and more.
If you’re having your piece of cake at the Bite, consider stopping by the Portlandia Ice Cream Parlor to add a scoops of ice cream to your cake slice. The ice cream in this booth has all been donated so all proceeds from this booth go directly to Special Olympics.
Have a great weekend – what are you doing for fun this weekend?