It’s here! The food holiday time of year in Portland – Feast week. It’s Feast Eve!
This year from Thursday September 17 – Sunday September 20 2015, Feast promises 4 days of belly busting events showcasing delicious eats and drinks. This is Feast’s 4th year, featuring 35 events and 87 all star chefs celebrating the bounty of the Oregon and the Northwest in food and drink.
The main event kick off starts with the Sandwich Invitational – one of the few main events that still has tickets and is not sold out. There are tickets also still for the Friday version and Saturday version of the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting (which are the biggest value for your eating and drinking buck events – $12 an hour progressive sampling of all you can eat and drink for 5 hours!).
It all finishes on Sunday with the last of the Hands On Classes and Drink Tank series whose various classes and panels run throughout the Feast days and who there are also some tickets still available. Other events are already sold out.
While satisfying and expanding your palate with the showcase of food as an attendee, Feast also has a mission overall to fight hunger in Oregon, so you will be eating for a cause. The Feast festival net proceeds go towards ending childhood hunger through Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry. Since 2012, Feast Portland has raised over $162,000 towards combating hunger.
This will be my third year attending Feast, and here are my top tips for Feast Portland. At the end of this post, I also will be listing some link love for previews of food available at Feast, AND some food that celebrates Feast but you can get even if you are not at any of the Feast events!
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). So wear comfy shoes.
You will also be eating for several hours – so dress like this is Thanksgiving. This is not the time for your tight-fitting dresses and jeans. You want to dress in clothes that have a little tummy give.
If you are going to an evening event, think about layers as the weather will get cooler later. If you’ve got tickets to Night Market or 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.
Specifically for the Sandwich Invitational, it is easy to get really, really full on all those 15 or so sandwiches. My secret trick is that I only take a few bites, but since I feel bad throwing the rest away when it’s so delicious I store it away in a ziploc bag I have in a bag and eat it for lunch the next week!
I know the weather says it may be rainy on Thursday/Sandwich Invitational night. I recommend wearing weatherproof hooded jacket instead of an umbrella so you don’t have to juggle a food sample, drink glass, AND your umbrella. Plus, your jacket should then come with pockets!
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!
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.
This is particularly important if you want to make sure you have enough juice in your phone to ride Trimet with their online app or be able to call a cab or Uber or Lyft for a ride. Another important reason is to check social media to hear about after parties and extend your food partying!
In order to see what is happening and hot, be sure to check the hashtag #feastpdx on Twitter #feastpdx or the handle Twitter FeastPDX and follow on Instagram Feast Portland to also see what everyone is talking about – maybe that’s how you’ll know to hurry and get into a particular line for a food dish before it runs out. If you yourself do share, make sure you tag #FeastPDX too.
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 it’s difficult to make sure you see everything so talking to people in line or while by a cocktail table eating is fun.
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, and thank them!
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?
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.
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.
Tip 5: Alaska Airlines flies your wine and helps cut the line
When possible, I try to fly Alaska Airlines to my destinations from Portland. I love how they always showcase local producers of beer, wine, and snacks. If you are flying south from Portland, try to sit on the left/east side for a view of Mt Hood (reverse that if flying in). And flying north towards Seattle sit on the right side for a possible glimpse of Mt Rainier.
If you are flying in from out of town, or flying out to visit family and friends, don’t forget that Oregon Wines Fly Free (plus enter to win a free Oregon Wine Country trip!). Plus, local wineries invite you to enjoy a complimentary tasting when you show your in-bound boarding pass (paper or digital) and proof of your Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan membership at any of more than 300 participating wineries.
For those of you with a current Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card, take out your card and cut the line at Brunch Village (they are one of the title sponsors) by going through the VIP entrance. The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card VIP Cardholders’ entrance will be located on SW 6th Avenue.
Preview for Feast 2015
To get you in the mood, I have a few previews for Feast 2015 to share in my linkfest below!
- Whether you are going to Feast or not, or the Sandwich Invitational or not, you can enjoy the Chef Matt Christianson of Urban Farmer sandwich creation. He isn’t participating in the invitational, but he has teamed up with Whole Foods to make a special Feast “Urbanh Mi” that is a Roast Pork Shoulder Banh Mi. Although he won’t be competing, the sandwich will be available in all Portland Whole Foods at the prepared foods department. $1 from every purchase goes to the Whole Kids Foundation.
- Widmer Brothers Brewing has 4 brand new Collaboration Beers created for Feast that are beer collaborations with Andy Ricker of Pok Pok, Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and Prosciutto di Parma USA. Get some great details at the article at the New School Beer article or Brewpublic article. The beer is featured at multiple events at Feast but will be available also at the Widmer Brothers Pub and a few select restaurants and craft beer bars in Portland.
— The New School (@NewSchoolBeer) September 10, 2015
- If you will be at the Oregon Bounty Grand tasting, be sure to check out the Oregon Raspberries and Blackberries Commission booth. They have been tweeting previews already of what is in their works with Ringside Steakhouse, and to date that includes
- Berry macarons, sumac spiced raspberry chocolate confiture
- Duck Liver Mousse, boysenberry beet gelee, pistachio, candied grapefruit
- And more…!
- AM Northwest / KATU has been having Feast Friday previews for the past couple weeks. Some of the previews they have covered include
- Get a peek at the Bluehour’s Rabbit Torta that Chef Carriker will have at the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting taking place Friday and Saturday.
- Departure’s Gregory Gourdet talks inspiration of a chinese crepe for his entry of the Sandwich Invitational. How will his sandwich fare against other participants like BJ Smith from Smokehouse Tavern who showed a Smoked Beef Tongue with Deviled Egg Yolk and Chef Scott Snyder from Levant doing a play on a shwarma sandwich, or Chef Vitaly Paley of Imperial and Portland Penny Diner’s fry bread taco with soy braised pork belly, spicy mayo?
Eli Cairo of Olympia Provisions showed a hot dog with an Asian twist. But per KATU New’s article here previewing 3 sandwiches from Olympia Provisions, Little T Baker and Meat Cheese Bread, Eli might be serving an Italian grinder!
- At Night Market, which I’m attending, I’ll get to see Chef Stephanie Pearl Kimmel of Marché version of Pan Bagnat and Carlo Lamagna of Clyde Common (who “bedazzled” salmon crudo in his segment hee)
- Urban Farmer Chris Starkus hinted at what he might have at Smoked with his ceder brined salmon dish. Beau Carr of RingSide Steakhouse showed a smoked and bbqed Smoked Wagyu Shoulder Tender and I’m sure Melissa Mayer of Olympia Oyster bar will be doing something with oysters. Adam Sappington of The Country Cat will also be participating with Tomahawk Chops (I was drooling watching him make his Fried Chicken & Bacon Spoon Bread with Pecans and it was so fun with Harry Connick Jr also in the segment!)
- Sarah Schafer from Irving Street Kitchen will be part of Brunch Village with Smoked Bison Oaxacan Mole Tameles. Also there will be Daniel Oseas of Cafe Broder bringing Aebleskivers to brunch.
- At the Sandwich Invitational, Tillamook will be providing their Tillamookies, waffle cone cookie ice cream sandwiches filled with Tillamook Ice Cream. As a sponsor of Brunch Village, Tillamook has partnered with the team at Pine State Biscuits to serve baked apple butter and Tillamook Smoked Cheddar “pop tart” served a la mode with Tillamook Ice Cream.
Images of the Tilamookies courtesy of Tillamook
- Every year I get a souvenir shirt for Feast from Flavour Gallery‘s booths. Their foodie tshirts include lots of celebration of food, food festivals, and chefs. They have images of the Feast 2015 designs plus some of the 2014 ones they are bringing on their website now so take a look what will be at the booth! I love how comfy and soft their shirts are, and often wear them for travel on planes to show off my Portland food love.
Images from Flavour Gallery website
I hope my Top Tips for Feast and links to previews to get you in the feasting mood are helpful to you. For more tips, check out the perspectives of my blogger friends like
- Martha Chartreuse post on “What’s In My Bag”
- Rachel Jane Lloyd on “Feast Portland Tips and Tricks: 2015”
- Salt.Water.Coffee. post on “FEAST Week is Here: How to Take Care of Yourself Before, During, and After.”
Maybe I’ll see you at Feast? Don’t be shy about coming to say hi!
Disclosure: I was granted a Blogger Pass for Feast Portland 2015 for blog post and social media coverage but I am not otherwise being compensated. Even before I was given the Blogger Pass I already had tickets for some Feast events! 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.