Each September, dozens of award-winning cooks, brewers, food writers and tastemakers flood into Portland for a world-class celebration of food and drink. Feast Portland pairs the city’s top culinary talent with an international cast of Michelin-starred chefs and famous foodies to host dozens of dinners, discussions, classes and all-you-can-eat soirees.
Can’t make it to the festival? Here’s how to create your own Feast Portland experience any day of the year — no tickets required!
Event: Sandwich Invitational
2015 Local All-Stars: Vitaly Paley, Gregory Gourdet
When he isn’t slicing bread at Feast’s killer kick-off event, visitors can find Iron Chef America winner Vitaly Paley’s creations at one of his three Portland eateries. Lunch options at downtown Imperial include a mouthwatering tuna melt, house-smoked turkey and “fancy grilled cheese;” next door, casual Portland Penny Diner plates up BLTs, Reubens and other classics. Paley’s Place may not serve sandwiches, but you can’t go wrong with elegant eats like chilled oysters, foie gras and escargot.
Placing second in Top Chef Season 12, Portlander Gregory Gourdet garnered national attention for his creative, health-focused cuisine. At Gourdet’s home base, Departure, perched high above Pioneer Courthouse Square in the Nines Hotel, guests gorge on Malay meatballs and smoked salmon sushi. The menu may be short on sandwiches, but you’ll find plenty of buns — barbecued short-rib buns, that is!
Event: Night Market
2015 Local All-Stars: John Gorham, Bonnie Morales, Jin Soo Yang, Earl Ninsom, Troy MacLarty
The chefs at Feast’s night market represent a globe-spanning roster of exotic eats. Start with squid ink pasta and chorizo empanadas at John Gorham’s Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant, Toro Bravo. Next, travel to Kachka, a vibrant, vodka-fueled Russian restaurant run by first-generation Belarusian immigrant Bonnie Morales, where herring salad, cheese dumplings and other traditional zakuski anchor the menu.
The international tour continues with a trek across Asia. Executive Chef Jin Soo Yang slices fried oyster rolls and smoked salmon nigiri at Bamboo Sushi, the world’s first certified sustainable sushi restaurant. Earl Ninsom’s tiny Thai eatery, Langbaan, was named GQ’s #2 Most Outstanding Restaurant of 2015, thanks to its ever-changing tasting menu of Bangkok-inspired bites. (Space is limited, so make sure to make a reservation!) Finally, Troy MacLarty seeks to recreate the Indian street food scene with spicy snacks and playful Bollywood décor at festive Bollywood Theater.
2015 Local All-Stars: Jose Chesa, Justin Woodward, Greg and Gabrielle Denton, Tyler Malek
Smoked gathers the country’s best grill-masters for a sizzling fete filled with fire-roasted treats. Husband and wife team Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton certainly know their way around an open flame — their restaurant, Ox, celebrates Argentina’s rich wood-fired tradition by grilling all its entrees, be they meat, fish or vegetable. If Spanish paella is your smoke-kissed meal of choice, head to Ataula, where Jose Chesa tosses bomba rice with seafood, spices and fresh vegetables.
At elegant Castagna, Executive Chef Justin Woodward uses grilling, among other techniques, to create new takes on Northwest cuisine for his nightly 12-course tasting menu. No foodie excursion would be complete without sampling a Salt & Straw creation, where head ice cream maker Tyler Malek pushes scoop-able boundaries with savory flavors like salted caramel turkey and bone marrow with bourbon-smoked cherries. (Classics like chocolate and vanilla are also on offer.)
Event: Brunch Village
2015 Local All-Stars: Jason French, Alissa Frice, Rick Gencarelli
Any proper Portland food fest must pay homage to the city’s favorite meal: Brunch! Jason French, the chef-owner of Ned Ludd, whips up rustic weekend brunch specials like bacon cheddar frittatas and blueberry muffins.
Rick Gencarelli dreams up sizzling breakfast sandwiches like the Egg Rickmuffin, piled high with American cheese, hash browns and house-smoked Canadian bacon at sandwich hot spot Lardo.
Event: Grand Bounty
Can’t get enough of those Oregon flavors? Stock up on local treats for home from these Portland artisans. Highlights of the 2015 Grand Bounty tasting event include sheep milk cheese from Ancient Heritage Dairy, raw honey from Bee Local, gluten-free vegan cupcakes from Petunia’s Pies and Pastries, gourmet Oregon Coast sea salt from Jacobsen Salt Co. and small-batch ice cream from Fifty Licks.