Feast Portland 2017: The Experience

One food festival that I had been yearning to visit over the years is Feast Portland, an annual food and drink festival held each September in Portland, Or. This was the 6th year since it’s inception which I attended September 14-17, and my first attending this incredible Feast.

The festival is made up of several signature events that run through this 4 day festival, additionally, there are chefs collaboration dinners, hands on workshops, seminars, plus after parties nightly in restaurants and bars throughout the city.

Rick Gencarelli, Lardo (Portland, OR)

Melissa McMillan, Pastrami Zombie by Sammich (Ashland, OR).

I attended all of the signature main events, starting out with the Sandwich Invitational on the first night at the Rose Quarter Commons, here 19 restaurant chefs battled it out from restaurants across the USA, attendees voted for their favourite People’s Choice winner. The winners were Judges Pick: Rick Gencarelli, Lardo (Portland, OR) and for People’s Choice: Melissa McMillan, Pastrami Zombie by Sammich (Ashland, OR).

Rodney Muirhead, Podnah’s Barbecue (Portland, OR)

Matt Christianson, Urban Farmer Restaurant (Portland, OR)

Chefs at work, Urban Farmer Restaurant (Portland, OR)

Kate McMillen, Lauretta Jean’s (Portland, OR) Rib Biscuits

Each of the restaurants served up mini versions of their specialty sandwiches for all attendees to enjoy along with various beverages that included beer and cocktails. It was a festive gathering of foodies who enjoyed some great eats and a dj spinning music to add to the celebration.

After the Sandwich Invitational, I attended the first After Party of the festival at Bar Casa Vale and what a fun and delicious night it was, featuring a spread of their Spanish tapas, plus a selection of curated chefs from other parts of the country featuring caviar and other bites, plus cocktails, kombucha and more.

Portland Sangria, (Portland, OR)

NOLA Doughnuts, (Lake Oswego, OR)

The next day, the Grand Tasting was the big afternoon event with restaurants from all over Oregon and the USA featuring tasty bites along with sips from wineries, brewers, distillers, and more. Taking place under the big tents at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland.

Billy Schumaker, Taqueria Nueve (Portland, OR)

Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, OX Restaurant (Portland, OR)

In the evening I made it over to Zidell Yards for the Latin themed Night Market, such a fun event with Latin music and delicious Latin food and drinks. There were of course lots of tacos to be had, plus all sorts of other dishes and some killer desserts from Tillamook.

Following this fun event, I headed over to one of the two after parties of the night, Bon Appetit Magazine was hosting one of the After Parties at the Skyline Tavern in NW Portland, located up in the hills this was another fun party, Mexican themed with delicious eats from Guero (Portland) and Guerrilla Tacos (LA).

Gregory Gourdet, Departure (Portland, OR)

Lisa Schroeder, Mother’s Bistro (Portland, OR)

John Gorham, Toro Bravo (Portland, OR)

Abraham Conlon & Adrienne Lo, Fat Rice (Chicago, IL)

The next day, it was another round of the Grand tasting, followed by Smoked at The Fields Park. This signature event was very well-organized featuring restaurants and chefs from across the USA barbqing and cooking up delicious dishes, desserts and cocktails. The is one sweet event and one of two of my favourite Feast Portland events.

Bollywood Theatre restaurant was the local for the last festival After Party, Indian food themed it was another tasty affair with Bollywood dancers and music to match.

On Sunday, it was time for Brunch Village, the last signature event of the festival, with tasting stations throughout Pioneer Courthouse Square, chefs and restaurants served up tasty dishes and drinks. It was an incredible way to enjoy brunch on the last day of the festival having experienced so much deliciousness during the 4 day festival.

Feast Portland 2017 featured 134 chefs, 31 wineries, 15 breweries, 11 artisans, and 12 distilleries. There were almost 18,000 attendees at Feast Portland 2017. The festival charitable partner is  Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon 

As I had expected Feast Portland was a food festival worthy of visiting, one that must be planned ahead even before tickets go on sale. Keep an eye out for next years Feast of Portland which takes place September 13-16, 2018, I can’t wait to return for more.

By: Richard Wolak