The fourth annual Feast Portland swarmed Thursday through Sunday with chefs, mixologists, magazine editors, food lovers, and security guards. Most of the events were all about eating and drinking like a rockstar, but there were educational panels, too. To help those who attended to relive the waist-band-stretching reality that was Feast 2015, as well as satisfy the curiosity of those who missed it, here are the highlights, including scenes from the industry-only afterparties.
1) Best use of tongue: Things kicked off at 6 p.m. Thursday, and though the judges ultimately named Gregory Gourdet's BBQ Pork Crepe the best sandwich of the event (and Paley and Imperial's Fry Bread Tacos took the People's Choice Award), many were taken with BJ Smith's tongue: an open-faced sandwich of smoked tongue with deviled egg yolk. Some lines became ouroboros, circling back on themselves as people looked for more room to stand in line. But no one was cutting: Even Feast co-founder Mike Thelin had to wait to get a taste.
[Photo by Mattie John Bamman/EPDX]
2) Best use of swords: Industry folks flocked to the first afterparty at Doug Fir, where the entire patio had turned into a smoky yakitori grill. Sokol Blosser Winery's Sabertron activity actually let the fun-loving and mildly buzzed use sabers to open bottles of sparkling wine.
3) Best dressed overall: The Night Market was the second day's main event, and beneath a beautiful sunset on the banks of the Willamette, Top Chef Mei Lin served Pork-Belly Pate Egg Rolls, and Chicago-based Fat Rice effectively made a savory rice Krispy treat, aka Macau Rice Crisp, with nori, fish-sauce caramel, fried shallot, rice, and pork floss (dried and fried pork sinews). The Best Dressed award for Feast 2105 goes to the Leather Storrs team, with chef Storrs himself decked out in Daisy Dukes.
[Photo by Katie Acheff/EPDX]
4) Marketing ploys we actually liked: First up is definitely Hendrick's steampunk negroni machine, which produced pitchers of negronis with one swift tug of a lever. And for those who woke up to attend Feast's Brunch Village event but shouldn't have, Stearns and Foster Mattress offered a photo booth involving a bed.
[Photo by Katie Acheff/EPDX]
5) Lucha-Libre Flip Cup vs. The Bon Appetit House Party: The second night of afterparties saw a flip-cup competition at Grassa and a Bon Appetit brouhaha in a Mt. Tabor mansion. The hosts of the flip-cup party thoughtfully passed out recovery bags with coconut water, Advil, sunglasses, and condoms to all attendees, and Portland restaurants formed teams to do battle for a cash prize. Pream came out on top, and Lardo's lucha-libre outfits won in a whole different way.
[Photo by Chad Walsh/EPDX]
6) Is it food or a gravity bong? The rising plumes of smoke from the Smoked event made it look as though an army of chefs had sacked The Field Neighborhood Park, but once inside, smoked house-made burrata by Ox and neanderthal-style beef ribs by The Country Cat were a friendly welcome (yes, people wandered the crowd gnawing on ribs over a foot long). Urban Farmer's "homemade gravity-fed smoking apparatus" plunged cedar smoke into an ice pipe, then sent oysters sliding after. The spectacular result: smoky oysters served in their shells with pickled celery and chervil.
7) Hugs and speeches: The final afterparty, The Big One, was thrown by Eater in collaboration with Washington State Wines, and new breeds of human and animal were developed among teary good-byes and speeches. This is when the reality that all the fun would soon be over began to set in. We could hardly look at ourselves.
8) For those still standing: Departure held a Sunday-evening cocktail party on its 15th-story patio, and as the sun sank, everyone seemed to be thinking the same thing: Wow, that was pretty awesome. I'm really glad I survived to do it all again in 2016.