This weekend marks the inaugural Feast Portland, presented by Bon Appétit magazine. Since Portland is home to amazing vineyards, more breweries than any other city in the world, local seafood, and produce that grows practically year-round, a few people thought it’s high time we get our own world-class celebration of food, drink and everything else that makes Portland awesome.
Jeff and I kicked off the festivities with a feast of a different sort: Dinner at Jessica’s apartment with her friends Todd and Erin. Jessica’s community garden plot provided a bounty of food that she needed to liquidate, Erin brought some whiskey and we brought a couple pints of Salt and Straw ice cream (Feast’s Oregon Bounty and Honey Balsamic Strawberry with Cracked Pepper flavors). Yum. Jessica and I met the following night for a Feast Portland talk from New York Times columnist Mark Bittman at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall…I don’t think Mark’s a big fan of the agricultural sciences industry I used to work in, but it was still an interesting talk on U.S. food policy…
On Saturday, Jeff and I started our morning with a Greenleaf Juicing Company strawberry, kiwi, orange, carrot, beet, kale and celery juice from its Pearl location. Lately I’ve been trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies and fewer sweets into my diet (super tough for me), so I figure fresh-pressed fruit and veggie juices are one easy way to do that. Raw juices are different from juices at the grocery store since they’re not pasteurized and are full of living enzymes, vitamins and nutrients. I even signed up for a weekly delivery of Portland Juice Press juices – which won’t be a forever thing since it’s pretty pricey – but I think the tides might be turning that I crave more healthy stuff than junky stuff. Hooray!
Juice in hand, Jeff and I walked downtown for the Feast Portland Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting event in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Famous chefs like New York City-based April Bloomfield from The Spotted Pig signed cookbooks (and even drew a little pig inside ours), Paul Qui and Naomi Pomeroy of Top Chef fame gave cooking demos, tons of local winemakers and brewers offered swigs while chocolatiers, tea companies, bakers, salumerias and salt companies handed out samples of their goods. It was so. much. fun. We stayed the entire time, noon to 4 p.m.
Some highlights of mine in the food/beer/wine category:
- Two limited-edition beers, only available for a couple weeks: Heater Allen Brewing’s Bobtoberfest (a tribute to the brewer’s deceased brother) and Deschutes Brewery’s Fresh Hop Mirror Pond pale ale – supposedly it’s fresh hops season right now, which the brewer was really excited about.
- Jacobsen’s hand-harvested sea salt was incredible on a slice of baguette with butter and honey. All of a sudden, we realized all the chefs’ cooking demos included the stuff. It’s awesome.
- Of the many, many wine samples we sipped, a few stood out – keeping in mind the sunny weather put us in much more in the mood for fresh whites and rosés: Anne Amie Vineyards’ 2011 Cuvée A Amrita white blend, a delicious wine we can actually afford on a regular basis; Willamette Valley Vineyards’ 2009 Pinot Gris, which includes small amounts of Pinot Blanc and Muscat; and Van Duzer Vineyards’ 2011 Pinot Noir Rosé.
- Olympic Provisions’ simple salt-and-pork sausage Saucisson D’Arles, Little T Baker’s pretzel bread and tomato tarts, Briar Rose Creamery’s Spicy Chipotle Chevre cheese…I’m salivating thinking of them all.
We closed the night at the Feast after-party event, Yelp’s Fifty Shades of Plaid at YU Contemporary Arts Center. It was free with RSVP! (Thanks to our neighbor Kent for posting the event notice on Facebook.) Wearing our requisite plaid shirts, we snacked on food from Pine State Biscuits, Smokehouse 21, the Heathman Hotel, Tamale Boy and more, and drank Ninkasi beer and New Deal Distillery spiked punch.
Now it’s back to more fruits and veggies for me again…