The fancy national-scale food and drink festival returns to our southerly neighbor for a third year, bringing with it a flock of high-profile chefs, amazing meals, edu-taining workshops, and enough beer, wine, and spirits tastes to keep you buzzed for days. Every year I see more Seattle folk making the drive down to Feast Portland.
Be aware: The deluge of out-of-town food types means it's murder to get a table in Portland's buzzier restaurants this weekend. Here are a few other things to keep in mind.
I Bought My Tickets and I'm Making the Drive.
Good for you. Don't miss the Night Market, where 20 chefs from near (Ox, Pok Pok, Smallwares) and far (Animal, Uchi, Zahav) stage the high-end equivalent of an Asian street food gathering; it's by far the highlight of a weekend packed with wonderful things. And one of the first events to sell out. This year it's moving to Zidell Yards in the emerging southwest waterfront part of town; the backdrop of the Ross Island Bridge doesn't sound like a bad thing. On Sunday, it's tempting to hit I-5 early to beat homebound traffic, but don't skip the Brunch Village, where chefs from places like Country Cat, Austin's legendary Franklin Barbecue, and Pine State Biscuits sling decadent breakfast foodstuffs.
I'd Still Like to Go. Is It Too Late?
Not at all. Tickets are still available to the Thursday night Sandwich Invitational, wherein the likes of Hugh Acheson, Paul Kahan, and Chris Cosentino make you a sandwich. No surprise there's lots of Portland cred here, too, like the guys from Bunk Sandwiches, Lardo, and Salt and Straw. Friday's Oregon Bounty tasting isn't sold out, either. The setup is a familiar one—rows of booths that ply you with bites—but few pack a lineup this great. Once you get tired of sampling the breweries and wineries, sea salt, nut butters, pastries, cheese, and Salt and Straw's gonzo ice cream flavors (last year the cart repped with excellent scoops of Loaded Baked Potato), hightail it up the Pioneer Square steps to the Olympic Provisions spread. Some of the tasting panels and classes also have slots remaining, while Saturday night's High Comfort lineup of fancy comfort food looks especially good this year.
Eh, I'll Enjoy It Vicariously.
Fair enough. Here's the official Feast Instagram feed, plus I might have a few thoughts and trenchant (or tipsy) observations along the way. There's also #FeastPDX for Twitter types.
WTF Is Feast?
It's the Northwest's own version of those schmancy food festivals (Aspen, South Beach, etc.) that you see in magazine pages and in awkward cross-promotional references on Top Chef. Maybe sign up for email updates on the website and be one of the first to ogle the lineup for next year?