Feast Portland 2017

Today marks one week until Feast Portland 2017 – which is when the equivalent of Foodie Christmas happens. It’s 4 days (Thursday September 14 – Sunday September 17) of 40+ food events celebrating local chefs and local purveyors of food and drink. It’s all for a good cause – partner Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. Since its inception in 2012, Feast has donated more than $300,000 to help end childhood hunger in Oregon and across the country.

Feast Portland - Grand Tasting Feast Portland - Grand Tasting
Photos from Grand Tasting 2016

There are still tickets available for some Feast PDX events, there are some Feast Collaborations you can access even without a Feast event ticket, and I want to share my tips for those who are attending Feast Portland 2017.

Feast 2017 Tickets

As of today’s publication date of this entry, although most of the 40+ events are sold out there are still tickets available for a few events, such as

  • The Friday Grand Tasting event. 1-5 PM in Pioneer Courthouse Square. If you haven’t attended Feast before, this is the event is the most affordable at $65 for all inclusive all you can eat and drink  sampling for 4 hours. I have attended the Grand Tasting for the past 4 years and I always discover new local vendors as I walk around  to all the food and drink available. As you can see from the map below from last year, they definitely take up all the available space for food and drink stands and there are many, many booths – more than 80 vendors to visit.
    Feast Portland - Grand Tasting Feast Portland - Grand Tasting  Feast Portland - Grand Tasting
    Photos from Grand Tasting 2016
    As a bonus, unlike most of the other Main Feast events, the Grand Tasting features entertainment! While the other events are more walk around and eat and drink, at the Grand Tasting you can sit at chairs or the bricked steps of the Pioneer Square to watch panels or cooking competitions and such.
    Feast Portland 2016 Grand Tasting
    Pro tip: if you do have tickets to the Grand Tasting Friday or Saturday, I always highly recommend stopping at the USA Pears Booth First – they always have an amazing guest chef who they partner with to show how pears can be used in multiple small tastes in a tasting menu, and there’s always a line.
    Feast Portland - Grand Tasting, tasting menu sponsored by USA Pears
    Photo from Grand Tasting 2016
    Also, don’t miss out on the Travel Oregon section (for the past few years it has been towards the weather machine) which features various chefs from Oregon.
  • Drink Tank Events for Beaujolais Wine or on Pilsners on Friday, and then on Saturday ones on Single Malt Whiskeys and Party Punches. I always try to make a Drink Event every year because it’s a great way to try a sampling of that particular featured beverage and get a lot of knowledge dropped from the panel. Every Drink Panel always includes the flight of beverages and a shared snack plate.
    Feast Portland 2016 Drink Tank Feast Portland 2016 Drink Tank
    This is particularly true of the beer and more liquor based talks, as you don’t usually see these educational / continuing education discussions about the history and the future of the beverage. The Drink Tanks last year on Aperitifs and another one on Daiquiri for instance were super fun.
    Feast Portland 2016 Drink Tank Feast Portland 2016 Drink Tank
    I sat with these two – a guy who brought his mom to explore daiquiri! So fun to talk to so many other food and drink loving people also attending Feast.
    Feast Portland 2016 Drink Tank Feast Portland 2016 Drink Tank
  • Hands on Classes on Sunday that have availability still include Palate Cross Training with Smith Teamakers to learn to discern subtle nuances and describe complex aromas and flavors, or learn how to use tea as a cocktail mixer with Bull in China at a Spiked Tea class.
  • Fun Sized Events on Sunday that have availability still include Because Breakfast event if you didn’t get tickets to the larger Brunch Village event to still get your Sunday brunch on. Or sleep in and later that afternoon attend a Pizza and Burgers party.

Feast Fab Collabs

The Feat Fab Collabs are collaborations food and drink items between various artisans who are also taking part in Feast, but these food and drink items are also available outside Feast events. This year for 2017, the Feast Fab Collabs can be found at select New Seasons Market locations, retail locations of the local artisans participating in the collaboration, and online for the month of September. A portion of proceeds from all Feast Fab Collab items will be donated to Feast Portland’s charitable partner, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. The items include

  • New Seasons Market + Hopworks Urban Brewery “Farm To Feast” Fresh Hop Saison
    • Description: Brewed for Feast in collaboration with New Seasons Market, Hopworks wanted to make a beer highlighting relationships between sustainable farmers, brewer, and retailer. They brewed a beautiful farmhouse Saison with 300 pounds of fresh Centennial hops from Crosby Hop Farm, spelt, and Salmon-Safe malted wheat and barley from Mainstem Malt. 6.5% ABV / 40 IBUS
    • Available: $5.99 retail, 22 oz bottle. Sold at select New Seasons Market locations.
  • Stumptown Coffee Roasters + Alma Chocolate Whipped Mocha bar
    • Description: The Alma team LOVES Stumptown’s chocolate cold brew and wanted to create a rich mocha “milkshake” experience in a bar, and so The Stumptown + Alma Whipped Mocha Bar came to be. It is essentially a sophisticated three musketeers bar with a creamy mocha center, dark chocolate shell and a sprinkle of finely grown Stumptown coffee. The OG 74% Dominican chocolate is paired with Stumptown’s OG Holler Mt. Blend.
    • Available: $5.99 retail. Sold in Alma stores, select Stumptown stores, select New Seasons Market locations and available online.
  • Chef Tom Douglas + Smith Teamaker BLEND: No.190 Arbequina Oolong Tea
    • Description: BLEND: No.190 Arbequina Oolong is a full leaf oolong tea. A creamy and nutty oolong balanced with soft citrus notes, perfect with any meal, teatime or even steaming dumplings. Crafted by Smith Teamaker in cahoots with Chef Tom Douglas of Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen Restaurants (Seattle, WA) for Feast Portland to support a wonderful charity. Enjoy this tea while giving back to those in need. A blend of high grown Taiwanese oolong scented with Oregon Olive Mill Arbequina olive oil and Italian bergamot.
    • Available: $15.99 retail. 15 Sachets NET WT 1.85 OZ (52 G). Sold at the Smith Teamaker shop and select New Seasons Market locations.
  • Olympia Provisions + Tillamook Cheddar Cheese Sausage
    • Description: This partnership with Tillamook proves that Meat + Cheese = love! Olympia Provisions’ classic frankfurter, made with pure pork shoulder and smoked over hickory and maple, sized up to grilling sausage proportions and studded with amazing melty pockets of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar.
    • Available: Suggested retail – $10.25/lb. Sold in select New Seasons Market meat counters and prepared foods sections throughout September. Bon Appetit’s Brad Leone will also be grilling them up at Feast Portland’s Smoked! event.
  • Olympia Provisions + Full Sail Beer Bratwurst
    • Description: Olympia Provisions teamed up with Full Sail Brewing to put those old drinking buddies, bratwurst and beer, into one perfect package. 100% pork sausage flavored with white pepper, ginger, and nutmeg and a heavy pour of Sessions beer.
    • Available: Suggested retail – $9.65/lb. Sold in select New Seasons Markets through September and featured at OP Wurst during the week of Feast Portland.
  • Chef Nina Compton + QUIN Mango Chili Lime Dreams Come Chew
    • Description: Mango Chili Lime Dreams Come Chew with Quin Candy is a fruity, chewy candy inspired by of Chef Nina Compton of Compère Lapin (New Orleans, LA)’s childhood memories of eating fresh mango on the beaches of St. Lucia.
    • Available: $10 retail, 15 pieces/box. Sold at QUIN in Union Way (situated between Burnside and Stark) at 1025 SW Stark St and quincandy.com.

More Feast Portland 2017 specials are a Salt and Straw ice cream flavor PDX Rainwater and Spruce Tips and next Saturday September 16 look for a limited soft serve  collaboration to pop up at Wiz Bang Bar with San Francisco-based Souvla bringing Greek Yogurt and toppings like baklava and honey or sour cherry syrup.

Tips for Attending Feast

I have shared these before, but as a four year Feast alumni, my top are tips for attending Feast, whatever ticket you have, are

Tip 1: Dress Comfortably &  have Easy Pockets or a Tote Bag

For all the main events, you will be visiting a lot of different booths as you are progressive eating through a food market. That means you will be on your feet a lot of the time. In some cases, you will be walking on grass (Smoked) or gravel (Night Market – make sure you have good padding in your shoes). So wear comfy shoes every time.

You will also be eating for several hours – so dress like this is Thanksgiving. This is not the time for your form-fitting dresses and skinny jeans. You want to dress in clothes that have a little tummy give.

Friends - Joey - gif of These are my Thanksgiving Pants

If you are going to an evening event, think about layers as the weather will get cooler later. If you’ve got tickets Smoked, be prepared that the cooking aromas can permeate the air and your clothes will absorb it. In general you don’t want anything requiring dry cleaning!

I  highly recommend wearing something with easy accessible pockets or have a tote bag. That way you can store your napkins or utensils or camera or phone while leaving your hands free to hold and eat food and drink, but also get to those objects easily. I don’t like to create a lot of waste at these events, so I will try as much as possible to use every last corner of my napkin and reuse my utensils. At events like the Grand Tasting, they also have coupons or other items (like koozies or recipes) they may give out!

Official Feast Tote bags at Feast 2015 Feast PDX 2016 Grand Tasting National Honey Board
Left, bag from Feast 2015, Right, Photo from Grand Tasting 2016, National Honey Board

Specifically for the Sandwich Invitational, it is easy to get really, really full on all those 15 or so sandwiches. My secret trick for big multiple station food events like this is that I only take a couple bites of each dish. But since I feel bad throwing the rest away when it’s so delicious I store it away in a few ziploc bags I have in my tote bag and eat it for lunch the next week! This doesn’t mean to go grabbing multiples of a dish: have respect for letting all your fellow guests get a chance to try the dish too.
Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational presented by Dave's Killer Bread, Feast 2014. Cathy Whims of Nostrana (Portland, OR) was still giving out a relaxed vibe from her return from Hawaii as she presented her sandwich of Peach Whim Smoked Lamb Ham, Cresenze Cheese, Watercress, Tomato, and Spicy Onion Relish which was paired with the Widmer Portlandic Porter, my favorite sandwich and Widmer beer pairing of the night.
Photo from Sandwich Invitational 2014

Limiting yourself to only a couple bites, or sharing with a friend, is pretty much the only way to try everything because there is too much for a normal appetite. Don’t feel like you have to eat and drink everything either.

By the end at all the events, don’t be surprised if some of the booths may have already served up all their plates either so make sure you go in the order of chefs or dishes you want to see the most so you won’t be disappointed you missed someone you really wanted to see. I particular like visiting the out of town chefs first rather then the hometown favorites (though I visit them too) since it’s a unique chance to try their food without having to fly to their city.

Tip 2: Use your Phone or Camera to take Photos for Notes

One of the best things about Feast is being introduced to so much new deliciousness. To help remember what you ate or drank, take a photo of them. The visual cue of seeing the descriptions (particularly wine bottle labels) when I look on my phone is so helpful later!
Feast Portland 2014, Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting Elizabeth Chambers wine Feast Portland 2016 Grand Tasting, Farmhouse Culture Gut Shot
Photos from Grand Tasting 

In some cases, the presentations and combinations they  make are great ideas to re do at home later! I know I’ve recreated from last year the Face Rock Creamery bite of Face Rock 2 Year Aged Cheddar Almond Bites with Face Rock 2 Year Aged Cheddar, Marcona Almonds, 34 Degrees Natural Cracker, and Virgin Olive Oil Drizzle.
Feast Portland 2016 Grand Tasting, samples from Face Rock Creamery perfect for a party, Face Rock 2 Year Aged Cheddar Almond Bites with Face Rock 2 Year Aged Cheddar, Marcona Almonds, 34 Degrees Natural Cracker, and Virgin Olive Oil Drizzle Feast Portland 2016 Grand Tasting, samples from Face Rock Creamery perfect for a party, Face Rock Raspberry Peppercorn 'Cheesecake' Bites with Face Rock Peppercorn Harvest Cheddar, Local Raspberry Preserves, and Effies Oat Cakes
Photos from Grand Tasting, samples from Face Rock Creamery perfect for a party 

Don’t forget to bring a charger because all those photos (and if you are recording any notes on your phone) will eat up your battery. I have a portable external battery phone charger I always keep in my bag, as well as the wall charger attachment and if you are driving, for your car as well. Having cell phone juice is particularly important if you want to make sure you have enough for your phone to ride Trimet with their online app or be able to call a cab or Uber or Lyft for a ride.

Tip 3: Talk to Strangers, and Smile!

Since everyone around you is a food and drink lover like you and me, we can ALL surely be friends. Start conversations with strangers! Something as simple as “What are you having? Where did you get that?” or “Did you have a favorite sandwich/sample/wine/etc” is a great conversation opener. This can help give you a heads up on something you try that you didn’t know about. There is a lot going on at each event, so to make sure you see everything so talking to people in line or while by a cocktail table eating is fun and a way to get the scoop of what’s hot.

When you’re at a booth, make sure you flash a smile to whoever is working to show your appreciation for them being on their feet prepping and serving food and drink samples to the crowds. Ask all the questions you’d like with the various vendors (stepping to the side so others can still get to samples), and thank everyone you see working hard to keep the event clean and running smoothly and your plates and cups full!

Feast Portland 2016 Grand Tasting Feast Portland 2016 Grand Tasting
Photos from Grand Tasting 2016

If you really like their food or product, make sure you give them that feedback, ask where you can find their product. If you have a social media account, let them know how much you enjoyed it on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Doesn’t everyone like hearing a compliment and validation that their hard work was enjoyed?

Feast Portland - Grand Tasting
Photo from Grand Tasting 2016

Tip 4: Go with Friends, go Alone, just GO!

Being at Feast is sort of like being able to talk to anyone and everyone rooting for your same sports team at a game – but here the game is FOOD.

That means you also don’t worry about going to any event alone. I have gone to food festivals alone and with friends – and both have their pros and cons. Of course, going with friends means you can share the excitement before, the experience during, and the memories after. In some cases, you might even strategize with friends by waiting in different lines and coming together to share samples.
Feast PDX 2016 Grand Tasting, Oregon Cheese Board plate Feast PDX 2016 Grand Tasting, Oregon Cheese Board plate

Photos from Grand Tasting 2016 cheese plates from Oregon Cheese Guild

Going alone also has its pros in that you are much more likely to meet new people, and you are able to move faster through food stations. You will naturally get full over time, so the faster you can eat the more you can try before getting to the uncomfortably stuffed point. On your own, you can make your own calls about how you want to proceed through the food areas based on your preferences at your pace.

Feast 2015, Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting Feast PDX 2016 Grand Tasting Braised Pork Belly, Mini Buttermilk Biscuit, White Gold BBQ Sauce and Pickled Apple Feast Portland 2016 Grand Tasting, Durham Ranch
Photos from Grand Tasting 2016

I hope my Top Tips for Feast and links to previews to get you in the feasting mood are helpful to you. Here are links to my previous posts from Feast 2016, 2015 and 2014 for an idea of the incredible bites of previous years at some of the events:

Be sure to follow Feast Portland on Twitter (@FeastPDX), Instagram (@FeastPortland), and Facebook, and also follow the official festival hashtag, #FeastPDX!. I’ll be at Feast official events starting Friday (after my Thursday work conference event for 1000 women that I am organizing the logistics!) but you can see glimpses of opening and after parties through my Instagram Stories and highlights of the official events on my Instagram feed @pechluck.

If tickets to everything were still available, what event would you want to attend for Feast?

Feast Portland - Drink Tank 2016: Wine Vs Beer Pairing with Cheese
Drink Tank 2016: Wine Vs Beer Pairing with Cheese

Disclosure: I have attended previous Feast events using a Blogger Pass or I paid paid some events on my own and provided some coverage in exchange for the Pass but was not compensated in any other way. This year I have a Media pass but again also paid for some Feast tickets out of my own pocket. Even when an event is complimentary, I will always provide my honest opinion and assessment of all products and experiences I may be given. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are entirely my own.

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Comments

  1. Love the tips you shared! It’s my first year attending.

  2. Ahh I also equated it to Christmas for foodies in my post today! 🙂 You are truly the ziplock bag queen of preparedness at Feast – I bow down to your food festival ways, Pech! Looking forward to another fun year FEASTing with you!

  3. I still have yet to make it to Feast because I’m either snuggling a newborn or out of town. Maybe next year will be my year! Have fun!

  4. I hope to go next year! I’ll be out of town this go around but I love your tips. You’re clearly a food fest pro!

  5. I am so excited to be attending Feast again this year. I totally agree with you – talking with strangers is a must! I am definitely using your advice about taking Ziploc bags this year too – there were so many things last year that I only took a small bite of that I wanted to take home and share. (Here’s my ProTip: Elastic Waisbands.)

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