Portland- a Feast & a Festival
Portland is a fine city. The city of roses, bicycles, organic-fed pets and the world-famous Powell's Books. Most of all, it's a city of food.
My second visit to Bon Appétit Magazine's annual Feast Portland Food Festival was even more delicious than it's first. Feast PDX (as it's known for short), is a multi-day event in the heart of America's (until recently) most unrecognized culinary wonderland, hosting themed events (brunch, night market), classes taught by masters of their crafts, collaborations with top restaurants, music and more. Bon Appétit brings their swinging sense of fun and boundless creativity, and the companies they work with include many of my very favorites and some of my clients (hey there Hama Hama Oysters).
Myself and a couple of friends found a wonderful airbnb (Portland is hoarding all the good ones!), near Nob Hill which turned out to be a perfect spot to set up shop with lots of walkability to places we wanted to try out, including Pok Pok's Noi location (with wings TO DIE FOR).
These guys like to do things in style so the space was littered in creative takes on tents, stations and stands. The beer & wine tent (pictured below), was a stunning array of feathery hops dripping from the ceiling and rusted burnt orange metal walls. A DIY Bloody Mary bar featuring everything from Olympia Provisions Salami to creative pickles to lord knows what else dominated the Brunch event (which included the likes of Jessica Koslow of Sqirl LA- a personal hero).
Another chef I admire, Josh Even of April Bloomfield's Tosca Cafe (where I recently dined on a work trip to SF- check out the insanely beautiful space on my instagram here), had a demonstration and we all agreed that (other than Jessica Koslow's famous rice), Honey Mama's raw chocolates were the winner. Roasted at varying temperature (and often for less than other chocolates), these chocolates have a unique richness of flavor with a much more mellow and smooth delivery than most I'm used to.
Between feasting on Olympia Provisions salami (my favorite), at the bloody mary bar, getting some silky Salt & Straw scoops and enjoying pairings from the USA Pears (always a big sponsor of the event), we took the opportunity to stroll around and stop by some of my favorites, including Alder & Co. & Boys Fort Downtown and the world-famous Powell's Books. Thumbing through shelves upon shelves of vintages and rare cookbooks, finding one after another of ancient hunting and southern books I've read about was a nice end to the trip.
We got some fine coffee at Heart Coffee and these two (above) treated me to a perfectly done dinner at Olympia Provisions Restaurant. One morning we stopped at the super popular Pine Street Biscuits for a satisfying breakfast before hitting the famous Portland Farmer's Market (voted best in the country).
Portland is a great city. It's got voluminous green parks full of rich, centennial trees and the whole greater area is a basin of die-hard passionate people. Give it a go sometime.