Top Tips for Feast Portland and some Previews!

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.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational presented by Dave's Killer Bread, Feast 2014. Scott Dolich of The Bent Brick (Portland, OR) had my vote for the best sandwich of the nite with his BBQ Goat Frybread Feast Portland 2014, Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting Beans & Booze panel at Feast 2014

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.

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 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.

Whole Foods tote bags at Feast 2014

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!
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.

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!
Feast Portland 2014, Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting Elizabeth Chambers wine Feast Portland 2014, Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting, Dave's Killer Bread Hazel on a Mission open faced sandwich sample

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.

I’ll be on Twitter and Instagram myself covering Feast, so I hope we are already friends on Twitter @pechluck and on Instagram @pechluck .

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!

Feast 2014, Tillamook Brunch Village participant Lisa Schroeder of Mother's Bistro & Bar who was the consummate professional and mother who never ran out and was superfast at doling out her delicious buttermilk biscuits with sausage gravy to nourish the hungry masses Feast 2014, Tillamook Brunch Village participant Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, (Chouilly, France) helped me finish with happy bubbles thanks to their Brut Rose

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.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational presented by Dave's Killer Bread, Feast 2014. Hugh Acheson of Empire State South (Atlanta, GA). Nothing but love for his sweet goofyness and for bringing pimento cheese. Feast Portland 2014, Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting Feast 2014, Tillamook Brunch Village participants Widmer Brothers Brewing and King Estate Wines come together for the Hefemosa with Widmer Brothers Hefe, Orange Juice, and King Estate 2008 Blanc de Gris

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.

Friendly skies by @AlaskaAir #iFlyAlaska bc they charge ur device at each seat & generously pour Canoe Ridge WA wine Congrats @skilletstfood on being highlighted by @AlaskaAir & getting more bacon jam fans! #bacon #baconjam #eatlocal

View on the shuttle back between Seattle and Portland on Alaska Airlines

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!

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

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.

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Comments

  1. Great tips Pech! I love those shirts too! I’m SO bummed that I won’t make it this year, but am super excited to start planning for 2016. I’ll be there!!!

  2. Great tips! I am totally bringing a tote this year. I ran out of space in my purse last year for carrying things!

  3. Ohhhh darnit! I miss this every year. Next year I have to remember. I enjoyed your tips for comfort. So very very PDX.

  4. The Alaska Air wine thing is pretty great and I WILL be looking up more about this drink tank series for sure. Thanks for giving the inside scoop on everything.

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