6 Trends and Observations from Feast Portland 2017
Posted by: jillw in: Food/Beverage -
Feast Portland is an annual paradise for foodies, and this year’s edition did not disappoint. In a town known for its love of imaginative cuisine and high-quality beverages, Feast brings together top chefs from local restaurants as well as around the world, and pairs their creations with the best wine, spirits, beer and other libations. Following are a few trends and other observations from our weekend at the festival.
- Meat is still king at Feast: Like last year, meat was front and center at most of the main events, from the Sandwich Invitational to Brunch Village. Portland may have a reputation as a vegan paradise, but you wouldn’t guess it from a visit to Feast. We enjoyed chowing down on everything from Snake River Farms brisket, turkey wings and smoked bone marrow to dry aged beef cheeseburgers, pork belly tacos and Nashville hot fried chicken.
- Simple foods with a unique twist: At many of the events, we saw simple, kid-friendly foods with a grown-up spin, such as mini peanut butter sandwiches from Eliot’s Adult Nut Butters, showcasing new flavors like Siracha Sunflower and Chocolate Chili. Oregon Fruit’s toppings bar at Brunch Village mimicked another kid favorite: an ice cream sundae bar. KRAVE also presented its jerky via a DIY bruschetta bar.
- Put some South in yo’ mouth: Particularly at Brunch Village, we saw a lot of Southern comfort food, but with a local Oregon twist. Mae’s breakfast sandwich, for example, included a biscuit, Tillamook smoked cheddar, lamb, marionberry sauce and crispy okra on top. Matt Sigler showcased bite-sized English muffins with country ham and a fried egg; The Waiting Room served up fried chicken and a glazed donut with hot honey; and the Ruddick/Wood team passed out their own version of chicken and biscuits: a hazelnut biscuit, chicken breast roulade, chicken sausage gravy and crispy chicken skin.
- Oregon means fruit: Feast sponsor USA Pears was omnipresent, and Oregon Fruit Products and the Oregon Blackberry and Raspberry Commission offered new and interesting showings as well. The latter hit the jackpot with a clever ready-made Instagram set that allowed visitors to share perfectly composed foodie photos of Boysenberry Crisp Concrete, complete with picture frames, tablecloths and ideal lighting.
- Beverages, beverages and more beverages: There was no shortage of boozy, caffeinated, carbonated or other liquid delights, sometimes in surprising incarnations, such as Portland Sangria’s new canned flavors of wine or Health-Ade Kombucha’s line of probiotic super teas, including Reishi Chocolate. (Kombucha seemed to be very popular at all the events.) Smith Tea offered a custom bottled Kyoto Sencha cold-steeped green tea, a smoke root beer float at Smoked! and, of course, a variety of herbal tea blends. Cocktails packed a punch, with Bulleit’s Low Country Punch and Clear Creek Distillery’s Triple C Spritz making a splash, while winemakers, brewers and distillers poured new and interesting wines, beers and bourbon throughout the weekend.
- Full-on Oregon at the Feast Hospitality Lounge: The Feast Hospitality Lounge at the Sentinel Hotel, freshly branded by Travel Oregon this year, gave visiting writers an oasis to retreat to, complete with comfortable chairs, Pendleton blankets and pillows, phone-charging stations, and locally sourced beverages (coffee, tea, wine, beer, cocktails, coffee, kombucha, cold brew … you name it) and a smorgasbord of finger foods. For those really looking to decompress, one cozy corner featured a Crosley record player with headphones and albums. And, of course, Travel Oregon representatives were available throughout the weekend to provide expert advice on what to see and do while visiting our beautiful state.
We hope you join us next year!