Sh%t Food Bloggers Do.

Blogger Lunch at Ringside Fish House

Last month, I (internally) celebrated the four year anniversary of Salt Water Coffee. FOUR YEARS. While the earlier posts tended to range from Fashion Week recaps to videos of me in my closet talking nonsense and picking my split ends to spaghetti squash recipes; I did manage to eventually find a niche and not stray too far from it. The past three years, Portland’s Food Blogger community has become significantly more prominent with its own Facebook group and countless dinners/cocktail parties/tastings hosted by local PR firms and restaurants/bars/artisans in the industry. In the past couple of years over the course of the 100+ events I’ve attended, I’ve collected a list of tidbits that signify Food Blogger Culture. Enjoy.

Blogger Lunch at Ringside Fish House
Blogger Lunch at Ringside Fish House

It is not rude to be on your phone 95% of the time; in fact it would be rude to not touch your phone because then how the hell would you be tweeting/instagramming/taking notes about how that duck was prepared or what sort of barrels that wine was aged in?

Favoriting tweets and liking pics from someone sitting right next to you that you’ve never spoken to before is so not awkward. 

You only know people by their Instagram or Twitter handle. But you know all about their opinion of Bon Appetit Magazine’s picks for Portland’s Best Restaurants or what they ate for lunch yesterday and the day before that…and the day before that…

“I can’t, I have an event.”- When your friends ask you if you want to go to Happy Hour.

You’re collectively confused when an event doesn’t have a designated hashtag, so you end up collectively creating one.

If you’re dining in a dimly lit environment, you show solidarity to other bloggers by shining your iphone flashlight/holding a candle near whatever they’re trying to photograph so that they can get a decent shot.

Nobody EVER starts eating until everyone has gotten a picture. 

Awkward silences are no longer awkward because you could just go instagram or tweet to occupy the time.

You can always bring up a controversy from Eater or Twitter to have something to talk about with other bloggers.

Chefs, notable bartenders, food writers for magazines/newspapers and PR Firm owners are your version of celebrities.

Exchanging phone numbers never seems necessary when you can just make plans on Twitter or Instagram. 

But then you will exchange numbers during Feast Portland because you’d rather keep it private when you’re giving one another the pros and cons of the opposing afterparties you’re at and which one you should attempt to venture to. 

Of course you care about what bay those oysters came from.

If you didn’t Instagram it, then you never ate it. 

You’ve developed an algorithm for how to choose your +1’s to events.

Not getting an invite to a brunch/holiday party/tasting/media preview that other bloggers you know did makes you feel like that kid that did’t get picked on the kickball team.

You’re probably married or engaged or living with your boyfriend and spend your excess income on Pop-up dinners, artisanal salts, a DSLR, and kitchen remodels. 

You have the utmost respect for PR Firms that make sure there is impeccable lighting at the events they invite you to and pre-send you all necessary guestlists, hashtags, social media accounts and menus to expect. 

Being retweeted by Carrie Welch, Mike Thelin or Gregory Gourdet is just like REALLY REALLY COOL. 

Feast Portland is the most turning up you will do in a given year. 

Your phone battery dying or your iPhone storage becoming full at the wrong time is an actual catastrophe. 

Anything to add? Let me know!

Sara’s 2015 Portland Holiday Gift Guide For Foodies

Since the holidays are in full session, I figured I’d join the plethora of Portland bloggers making holiday gift guides and curate one myself. All five gifts I selected are from Portland based purveyors and are guaranteed to be a unique present to that special foodie in your life. So nix the Sur La Table gift card and instead order one of these online (or better yet head to one of the retailers yourself).

jacobsenssaltpack1_1024x1024

1. Jacobsen Salt Co. Tasting Vials Gift Set 

Jacobsen Salt is no doubt a staple ingredient amongst Portland’s finest restaurants and has gained fame for it’s delicious and unique infused versions so that you can add a tinge of salt to just about any dish whether it be a beverage, dessert, or a grass-fed filet. This gift set even made the Smithsonian’s Gift Guide this year! For $29.95 you’ll get the signature Pure Flake Salt, Lemon Zest Salt, Vanilla Bean Salt, Stumptown Coffee Salt, Smoked Salt, and Smoked Cherrywood Salt.

Price: $29.95

Where to Buy: Jacobsen Salt Co Website, Old Faithful Shop (Photo Credit)

2. Station Knives “The Byron” Chef’s Knife

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Otherwise known as The Bachelor, or The Chicken Eater, this small 6 inch knife with a wide blade is designed to be an all around kitchen knife for people that find larger knives unwieldily, or just too much of a commitment to clean. Station Knives are all handcrafted out of the finest materials right here in Portland, Oregon by Adam Sigal in his knife shop located across the street from White Owl Social Club. Join the legions of notable Portland chefs and bartenders such as Angel Teta (of Ataula), Jeff Seymour (of Interurban), and Anthony Cafiero (of Racion) who use Adam’s beautifully made knives. 

Price: E-mail stationknives@gmail.com for pricing details/customizations 

Where to Buy: Boys Fort, Workshop Vintage, Town Cutler (San Francisco), Hawthorne Cutlery & Gifts, Bamboo Revolution, Knives Ship Free (Hillsboro, OR), Mirador Kitchen & Home, Station Knives Website

3. Fossil & Fawn 2013 Pinot Noir

2013 Pinot Noir web

What sets Fossil & Fawn apart from your typical wine label? Jim Fischer and Jenny Mosbacher, self-proclaimed “itinerant winemakers,” set up shop wherever they can around Portland make their delicious wines from grapes grown at Crowley Station Vineyards. In fact, their most recent batch was made in the broom closet at SE Wine Collective and Enso Winery. Their 2013 Pinot is described as ‘A tightrope-walk balance of intense fruit and floral tones with nervy acidity, spicy herbal notes that evoke flavors of Italian amari, and what we think of as site-specific wet gravel earthiness. In short, it’s a kickass wine that is delicious now but will reward anyone who wants to age it for a few years.’ Plus, at an affordable $24 you can both enjoy the fruits of labor from a distinctly Portland label.

Price: $24

Where to Buy: Barbur World Foods & Everett World Foods and SE Wine Collective. All locations in the Portland Metro Area where Fossil & Fawn is sold are listed here.  

 4. Nuvrei Mac Bar 12-Piece Macaron Set

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Looking for a chic, delicious and gorgeous edible treat for the hostess with the mostest? Just because Portland doesn’t have a Laduree outpost, it doesn’t mean you still can’t get an equally delectable and beautifully crafted set of macarons. With flavors such as hazelnut, passionfruit, chai and salted caramel you might as well add one of each for a colorful and sure to please 12-piece set.

Price: $34 for 12-Piece Macaron Set, $18 for 6-Piece

Where to Buy: Nuvrei Patisserie & Cafe

5. Tickets to Chef’s Week PDX 2015 Dinner Series

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About to embark on it’s second year running, Chef’s Week PDX is a weeklong ode to community, collaboration and creativity. This ‘Dinner and party series pairs the talents of local culinary stars with peers from up and down the west coast. Chefs and makers collaborate on various themes highlighting their creativity and camaraderie while exploring the purveyors and artisans that showcase the best of Oregon.” Tickets to one (or all) of the dinners is the perfect gift for that special someone in your life who has an appreciation for innovative dining, supporting local talent and bounty and all in all loves a beautiful soiree.

Price: $125-$250 depending on event (for more information on events, check out this link)

Where to Buy: Chef’s Week Website

All the Meat and All the Potatoes: Raven & Rose Limited Release Beer Dinner

Having food blogger as one of my side hustles comes exclusively with perks. You get invited to tastings upon tastings whether they be for caviar, oysters, macarons or champagne. Every once in a while there’s also the opportunity to attend a dinner or a festival- those are the ones that you might want to raincheck your pedicure or girl’s nights for.

Last Sunday I had the honour of attending a media preview dinner with several notable beer bloggers and LeiLani and Irene of Watershed Communications for an event that will happen this Sunday, December 7th at Raven and Rose. If you’re a beer or delicious food connoisseur, then this is the event for you.

The menu for the evening included an array of seasonal side dishes and entrees served family style along with six Goose Island Beer pairings from Raven & Rose’s single barrel program spearheaded my notable Portland bartender extraordinaire, Dave Shenaut. We were all provided with an IPA to start off accompanying a heaping plate of Ken’s Artisan Breads and butter. One of the facets that made this pairing dinner unique is that we were then served a flight of four beers where we were encouraged to create and test out our own pairings using the salad, four side dishes and two entrees.

The beers in the flight were The Class of ’88, Matilda, Madame Rose and Bourbon County Stout. As the majority of the other attendees were beer bloggers, I’d advise checking out their blogs for more refined reviews of each of the brews. You can see  Kris of Beer Musings from Portland’s recap here!

I didn’t want to be blasphemous and admit this at the dinner, but being more of a wine connoisseur than a beer one, it was no surprise that my two favourites in the flight were the Class of ’88 and the Madame Rose. The Class of ’88 is a Belgian style beer that is aged with Michigan Riesling grape juice and Oregon Pinot Noir grape must and thus giving it a slightly sweet and winey tinge. The Madame Rose on the other hand is a brown ale aged in French oak Cabernet Sauvignon barrels and thus also giving it that delicious bit of wine essence.

Now, let’s get onto the food…and little did I know what a feast we were all about to be in for.

Would you look at that! My sentiment is that Raven and Rose does not get half the accolades it deserves; with every time I have eaten there I have been thoroughly impressed at the wood-fired oven fare whether it be their flatbreads at brunch or the delectable assortment of meats and seasonal vegetables at their weekly Sunday Roast. This time was no different, the salmon and prime rib were both absolutely succulent and cooked to perfection whereas the twice baked potato and turkey pot pie played the swoon-worthy comfort food role given how it was below freezing just outside. Everything was absolutely splendid, and I’m extremely grateful that Dave Shenaut provided us all with take home boxes so that I didn’t have to say goodbye to an extra salmon filet or the remaining half of my baked potato.

Oh…yeah…right, there was also a dessert course.

Bourbon County Barleywine with Black Sticky Gingerbread with quince sorbet, ginger tuile, poached quince and warm sweet cream
Bourbon County Barleywine with Black Sticky Gingerbread with quince sorbet, ginger tuile, poached quince and warm sweet cream

The dessert was also splendid- a brownie-like textured block of gingerbread cake topped with a refreshing quince sorbet; certainly a melange of textures between cakey, creamy, chewy and crunchy.

And since I had that filet of salmon as a leftover…I decided to take Dave Shenaut’s advice and turn it into a hash for brunch the next day:

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As someone with very few culinary skills, I’ve been trying to sharpen my repertoire of signature dishes past quesadillas and Middle Eastern style eggs. Here, I created a hash out of sweet potatoes, zucchini, red onion, chanterelles, rosemary, whole grain dijon mustard and king salmon all topped with a fried egg. It was delicious and it actually looks kind of pretty in my opinion.

A huge thank you to Watershed Communications, Goose Island, and the Raven & Rose crew for putting together such a delightful media preview dinner. There may be tickets still available for the open to the public dinner this sunday! Check out the Event Website for more info!

Restaurant Review: Bluehour

Kumamoto oysters <3

Bluehour just may be one of my favourite restaurants in the Pearl District. The ambiance is classy, chic and elegant with a menu that is both adventurous as well as comfortable enough to take someone who might just want a plate of pasta made solely with ingredients they’ve heard of.

This beautiful restaurant is located on the corner of NW 13th and Everett sharing a building with Wieden & Kennedy and has been providing Portland with fine, modern dining for over 10 years. The crowd ranges from couples on first dates, client dinners, families having a celebratory lunches to a melange of Portland’s upper echelon mingling over martinis at the bar.

I’ve been to Bluehour for happy hour and lunch countless times over the years. For one thing, they do have one of the best happy hours in NW Portland- it goes from 4-6:30 PM M-F (and 5-6:30 PM on Saturdays) and is one of the few spots of its caliber where a $20 bottle of bubbly is available (not to mention a vast selection of nibbles ranging from lamb sliders to bruschetta to their delectable Bluehour burger).

Splitting a bottle of Bubbly and a Cheese Plate at Bluehour Happy Hour a couple of months back
Splitting a bottle of Bubbly and a Cheese Plate at Bluehour Happy Hour a couple of months back
And another time at Happy Hour
And another time at Happy Hour

Besides Happy Hour, I last hit Bluehour’s impeccable lunch for my 25th birthday:

And finally, I got the chance to sample Bluehour’s dinner menu at last week’s Blogger Dinner hosted by the ladies of Little Green Pickle.

Bluehour’s menu is printed on a daily basis and aims to provide a selection of dishes that exhibits seasonally relevant regional ingredients in a unique yet refined manner. Chef Kyo Koo is an expert at combining the best of what’s available with his experiences in the kitchen to create one-of-a-kind dishes that will keep you coming back to see what else he has in store.

Our table setting
Our table setting

Besides the food, as one would expect, Bluehour also has an impeccable selection of cocktails. The bar manager, Gigi in fact led us in a hands-on “Make your own cocktail” tutorial:

Huge thanks to Gigi for being so patient with all of us as we muddled, shook and poured our own libations for the evening. This particular cocktail was concocted from muddled cucumbers and rosemary, a splash of Ginger liqueur, lime juice and 2 oz of Templeton Rye. Incredibly delicious and a great lesson in how much muscle it takes to be a bartender…shaking mine basically qualified as my exercise for the day (sad, I know).

Once, we all had cocktails before us, the supper service began…

The salads above were anything but your regular salad course. In fact the amaranth/truffle oil/king crab salad may have been one of my favourite dishes of the night- such a rich and unique blend of flavours and textures.

Of course, all these dishes were served family style. Definitely a thoughtful way to ensure that we all got to sample a decent chunk of the menu’s offerings. The risotto was luscious and velvety; ultra hearty and perfect for the blistery weather outside while the Chinese-inspired noodles were also delicious and full of black-bean bolognese encased surprises between the chunks of high quality meats. The salmon and duck were also impressive; I’m not one to typically order duck but this one was splendid, not too fatty nor gamey.

And, of course what’s a meal without dessert? Pastry Chef, Salina Rubio killed it with these beautiful final courses. None of the desserts were overly sweet and each blended complimenting textural components and hints of salt. The ideal way to end such a fantastic meal.

After last week’s Blogger Dinner, I will say that I’ll be back at Bluehour for more than just lunch or happy hour. If you’re looking for the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion, have a ladies night, take a date/client/your parents, then Bluehour is sure to impress with both service and delivery. Plus, you can dress up (or down…I’ve admittedly been to Bluehour in yoga pants but in my defense it was spontaneous).

Restaurant Review: First National Taphouse

Course 1: Prawn Boule: Brunoise vegetables, prawns, brandy nosh, potato roll. Paired with First National Taphouse Baker's Blonde in collaboration with Vertigo Brewing

I’ll straight up admit I’m not a huge beer connoisseur, I prefer wines, but enjoy craft cocktails or a fine scotch the most (I know…how bougie). However, I’m always willing to try something new and I am one to enjoy multi-course meals that incorporate a beverage pairing whether it be wine, sake, or yes- beer.

A few weeks back, I returned home from tending to a tire catastrophe to find a gift bag at my front door from Watershed Communications with a Growler and an invitation to dine with a guest at First National Taphouse followed by getting the growler filled with my choice of brew.

One Wednesday night back at the beginning of October, my partner in flossiness Caitlyn and I dressed up and headed down to First National Taphouse growler in hand. The Taphouse is located adjacent to Portland State University, an area with a severe lack of non-college bar or non-fastfood-esque restaurants. The original location is in Eugene and both locations strive to serve locally sourced beers and gourmet pub fare.

Five Course Menu with Beer Pairings
Five Course Menu with Beer Pairings

Upon being seated, Caitlyn and I were handed a five course menu and beer pairing that would be our culinary itinerary for the evening. Mouthwatering, isn’t it?

Course 1: Prawn Boule: Brunoise vegetables, prawns, brandy nosh, potato roll. Paired with First National Taphouse Baker's Blonde in collaboration with Vertigo Brewing
Course 1: Prawn Boule: Brunoise vegetables, prawns, brandy nosh, potato roll. Paired with First National Taphouse Baker’s Blonde in collaboration with Vertigo Brewing

Such a delightful first course, a potato roll stuffed with tender shallot sauteed prawns, veggies and a delectable sauce. Also, quite the generous portion- the beer was light and summery (forgive me I don’t know beer lingo well enough to say something better)

Course 2: Artisan Cheese Terrine (Barbander Goat Gouda, Taphouse Ricotta, Ancient Heritage Hannah, Asian Pear) paired with Duche de Longueville Cidre Antoinette
Course 2: Artisan Cheese Terrine (Barbander Goat Gouda, Taphouse Ricotta, Ancient Heritage Hannah, Asian Pear) paired with Duche de Longueville Cidre Antoinette

This unique rendition of a cheese plate was RIDICULOUS. Caitlyn and I are the ultimate cheese heads so having a mini mason jar full of various delectable fromage to spread on pears and baguette was heaven on a plate. None of the cheeses were too pungent so if you’re on the fence about anything too strong, I’d say this is a perfect “cheese plate” for you. The cider was also a pleasant accompaniment, I’m a fan of ciders (probably because they aren’t too hoppy) so this was a great choice as it wasn’t too sweet.

Course 3: Honey Root Vegetable Boxty (parsnip, carrot, yellow beet, Irish potato pancake, spiced honey). Paired with Elysian the Great Pumpkin Imperial
Course 3: Honey Root Vegetable Boxty (parsnip, carrot, yellow beet, Irish potato pancake, spiced honey). Paired with Elysian the Great Pumpkin Imperial

Another innovative yet delectable small plate. The boxty is a potato pancake and this one was topped with a melange of fall veggies and spiced honey; all the flavours of fall especially when paired with the Pumpkin Imperial.

Course 4: Whiskey Pepper Steak Frite (Pepper Crusted Hanger Steak, Irish Whiskey Demi Glace, Microbrew Fries). Paired with Oscar Blues Deviant Dale's IPA Nitro
Course 4: Whiskey Pepper Steak Frite (Pepper Crusted Hanger Steak, Irish Whiskey Demi Glace, Microbrew Fries). Paired with Oscar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA Nitro

Well, you all know how much I adore steak so having a steak frites course is obviously always welcome. This was a delicious, lean, medium rare slab charred with a pepper crust and accompanied by the crispiest perhaps double-fried frites. The IPA being as hoppy as it is wasn’t my favourite, but appropriate considering it was being paired with red meat.

Course 5: Chocolate Porter Ice Cream & Young's Double Chocolate Stout Foam with Hazelnut Brittle. Paired with Young's Double Chocolate Stout
Course 5: Chocolate Porter Ice Cream & Young’s Double Chocolate Stout Foam with Hazelnut Brittle. Paired with Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

I apologize for the hidden hazelnut brittle, but man that was the star of the show for this dessert. The mason jar was more whipped cream like in texture than ice cream so this made a light and appropriate dessert that didn’t leave either of us overfull post meal. In fact the heaviest part of this course was certainly the double chocolate stout.

And...our growler
And…our growler

And we left happily with a full growler.

Overall, if you’re looking for somewhere with a casual (but not divey) vibe with splendid food and a generous beer list, then check out First National Taphouse. They’re apparently famous for their fried in duck fat chicken wings (which I am yet to try) and also have an enticing brunch and happy hour menu. I’ll definitely be back soon!

This post was sponsored as the meal for my guest and I was comped. With that said, the review is 100% my opinion and words. 

Give Me All the Sandwiches: Feast 2014 Sandwich Invitational

The Lardo slider

I know, I know- the Sandwich Invitational was something like two weeks ago. What can I say? The unemployed life gets real hectic sometimes between scoping out new opportunities and catching up on the sleep that your prior high-stress 60-70 hour work week job sucked out of you; so now that I’m bright eyed without the help of an under-eye ointment and have a 16 ounce mug of Stumptown, I’m ready to talk to you about sandwiches.

Someone once said (meaning myself, but I’m certain there is someone else in history that also said this) that all the best foods are arguably some type of sandwich. And there is a lot of truth to that considering the infinite concoctions one could create and still label as a sandwich.

Considering how epic the Feast 2013 Sandwich Invitational was, I was extremely grateful that for the second year in a row I was given a ticket to the invitational as a birthday gift from my friend, Anne. Though the event was not included in my Blogger Pass, I still felt the need to wear the tag- basically so I didn’t feel like an intrusive badger every time I wanted to run up to the front of the line and snap a few photos.

So, like last year, I did not manage to try every single sandwich because there were fourteen of them and I had little self control with the ones I want to get seconds on…but I did manage to try MOST of them.

Rick Gencarelli of Lardo’s pork burger also was slathered with some “dirty mustard,” peaches and American cheese. Despite drawing one of the longest queues of the night, they STILL managed to not run out. Impressive.

From what I did try, here were some of my favourites:

Paul Kahan’s gyro was absolutely out of this world! I personally like my sandwiches packed with saucy unique condiments and a juicy dose of meat and like the other options above the gyro killed it (and stole my vote). I was also a huge fan of Dustin Clark’s water buffalo short rib sando- Chef Clark was at the now shuttered Wildwood, which had been a personal favourite so I am certainly looking forward to the opening of The Oddfellow Social, his next culinary venture. Another surprising favourite? From Stephanie Pearl Kimmel of Marche in Euguene- I’m a sucker for anything with Middle Eastern flavours so her submission also got five gold stars from me.

Another favourite was of course Salt n Straw’s PB&J; also the winner of the People’s Choice:

Tyler Malek’s magical dessert dish was a scrumptious concoction of buttery grilled brioche topped with marionberry jam, peanut butter ice cream, whipped cream and peanut butter Cap’n Crunch. I’m salivating just recounting that.

Some of the other bites I managed to chew into included Broder’s ultra Scandinavian gravlax on rye rendition, Bar Avignon’s deconstructed Cubano and Dallas based FT33’s pimento and bologna sandwich (which if you ask me would be exactly what I would want to eat at 2am to soak up a night’s worth of cocktails).

The winner of the invitational from the judges’ vote was Bonnie Morales of Kachka with her smoked Sprats, egg, and smetana on butter fried toasts; an usual though gorgeously assembled sandwich. I didn’t try this one nor do I have a photo, but I’m sure if you peruse Pechluck or Michelle’s blogs you’ll be able to find one!

And with that, another ultra successful Sandwich Invitational under Feast Portland’s belt. Already looking forward to what deliciousness is in store for 2015.

Feast Portland Night Market: The Haute Couture of Street Food

Night Market in Action

I was extremely fortunate this year to have my Feast Portland Blogger Pass include a ticket to the USA Pears Night Market, an event which I did not attend in 2013 but heard remarkable things about.

This year, the Night Market took place at Zidell Yards, a large open space below the Ross Island Bridge at the South Waterfront. The weather was warm, a slight tinge of muggy and the market was set up as a wide boulevard lined by each of the prestigious chefs’ booths along with a large assortment of breweries, wineries and distilleries offering delicious libations with an international twist. There was a stage at the end with performers and bhangra music provided an appropriate atmosphere given the event. What was fantastic about Night Market is that there were loads of picnic benches lining the waterfront making the munching/sipping/photographing juggle a million times more feasible.

Night Market in Action
Night Market in Action

Out of all the Feast events, I had the most anticipation for Night Market given that it had the largest number of my favourite Portland restaurants being represented (Departure, Bollywood Theater, Biwa and Levant to name a few). Plus, I’m a humongous fan of Middle Eastern, Indian, Pan-Asian and Latin cuisines so there’s really no better event to taste them all than here.

Sadly I got too full to sample every dish, which was a shame considering that all of them looked and smelled incredible. Some of the ones I did get to taste though are below (and there are some whose photos magically disappeared, but go check out Michelle from Hummingbird High’s post on the event for some next degree food porn from the event).

Chef Jose Chesa of Ataula killed it with this juicy rabbit skewer- an interesting melange of Japanese and Spanish flavours.

Top Chef Boston contestant/Departure Chef/one of the most genuinely COOL people in Portland, Gregory Gourdet also killed it (as usual) with this light pork dish. Plus they were giving away free multicoloured Departure emblazoned sunglasses at their stand (and of course I grabbed a pink pair that I wore to the after party).

What a splendid event this was. Just like the Tillamook Brunch Village, the USA Pears Night Market was beautifully executed from the vibrant street market atmosphere to the impeccable selection of food and beverage. Plus, I got to take a karaoke bus there and back from the Sentinel Hotel with the rest of the Media/Blogger crew…and yes, that did mean that Brooke and Olivia of Little Green Pickle accompanied me in singing Gangsta’s Paradise en route (though we later realised our microphones were off the whole time…oops).

Once again, a HUMONGOUS thank you to all the geniuses behind Feast Portland for producing such a fantastic event.

Feast Portland Tillamook Brunch Village: The Most Epic Brunch Experience of My Life

Eggslut.

Now that I have slept an entire day following the four day extravaganza that was Feast Portland 2014; I am ready to start rollin’ out the recaps. I would also like to acknowledge how much I admire all the other Media/Blogger folk who were able to knock out posts while Feast was in session. The best I was able to do was an instagram or a tweet here and there so I could soak up the most of what this epic food festival in it’s third year running had to offer.

This year, Feast added a new main event to its roster of the usuals (being Sandwich Invitational, Night Market, and High Comfort) and it was the Tillamook Brunch Village in Pioneer Courthouse Square. First of all, adding a brunch event as part of Feast is not only genius, but absolutely necessary and the perfect way to end an exhausting albeit exhilarating weekend.

There was a Brunch Cocktail Competition, a plethora of brunch dishes being whipped out by some of the country’s finest Brunch Pioneers (aka chefs), an endless supply of cocktails/beer/wine/Stumptown coffee, an epic Bloody Mary bar, and a starting time of 11am (reasonable given how late most of us Feasters were partying the night before and double fisting milk cartons full of White Russians).

I arrived at 11:25 am since I did after all have to go home and change from my prior night clothes (which was a kimono, leather skirt and snapback-hardly “Brunch Clothing”) since I was up late at the Chefstable party the night prior nursing my Monkey Strong scotch induced drunchies with the most epic drunchie platter of all time:

Absolutely EPIC assortment of Drunchies from Lardo/Grassa/Racion
Absolutely EPIC assortment of Drunchies from Lardo/Grassa/Racion: From top left- Fried Chicken Slider, Patty Melt, Corndog, Herby tots, meatball in marinara, creamy mac.

When I first arrived at Brunch Village, I decided to make a beeline for a couple of brunch cocktails…you know to double fist while having to wait in the ever-growing food queues. I know I’ve already said “double fist” a couple of times in this post, but if you aren’t double-fisting at Feast then you aren’t doing Feast right. In fact, Alaska Airlines provided at the Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting wooden portable tray tables with a slot for your wine glass so you can essentially QUADRUPLE FIST while still having one hand free. There was also a wine glass lanyard provided by one of the wineries so you can even WEAR your wine glass. So ergonomically brilliant.

I started out at the Bon Appetit Cocktail Tent

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The three choices were a Meadowsweet Mimosa (made with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, sugar syrup steeped with foraged meadowsweet flowers, and Bolerno blood orange liqueur), a Frozen Ramos Gin Fizz (Hendricks Gin, pressed citrus juice, cream, sugar syrup steeped with vanilla bean orange flower water, and nutmeg), and the one I chose which was a Pimm’s No. 9 made with Milagro tequila, Bolerno blood orange liqueur, Madeira combined with mint, ginger, and Tamarind soda.

The next stop was Urban Farmer and Whole Foods’ absolutely epic Bloody Mary bar.

With so much to choose from I ended up sticking to chicken, olives and some Marshall’s Haute Sauce. Now that I had a Bloody Mary and a Pimm’s in hand, it was time to hit the food.

What I’ve learned from Feast this year is that you’ve really got to hit the popular stuff first, because otherwise it is almost guaranteed that they will run out…and if they don’t then their chef is a saint (I’m looking at you Rick Gencarelli for somehow still keepin’ the Lardo sliders rolling at Sandwich Invitational last Thursday).

I decided to start with the Franklin’s BBQ line. I’ve never been to Austin, where this BBQ hotspot is from but anyone who is a BBQ aficionado needs to know about Aaron Franklin and the sorcery this man is capable with when given a slab of meat. My friend Zoe (of Toasty Talk), insisted I hit this queue first citing that one bite of his luscious brisket will give even the hangriest and most hungover patron an inevitable “Brisket Glow.”

Brisket Glow indeed. Franklin’s BBQ ended up running out before 1PM so BOY am I glad that I got to get a slab of that- I think I would actually go to Austin just to have more of this brisket…it’s THAT good. Juicy, delectably seasoned and with just enough melt in your mouth fat- this seemingly simple breakfast taco was enough motivation for me to work hard at life so I can get rich and fly Aaron Franklin out to cater my wedding one day. I might need to wear a bib though given the amount of juicy spillage potential…but that’s a problem I’ll focus on later.

And what was the other infamous Feast queue?

Eggslut.
Eggslut.

Perhaps the most beautiful of all the dishes at Brunch Village, Los Angeles based Eggslut was clearly one of the other crowd favourites. By the time I got to it though, I was reasonably full so a group of us bloggers snagged one container to share (after we each took a go with the camera). That my friends, is kimchi fried rice- once you take your pic, you close the container and shake it up and enjoy.

While I did get too full to try all the dishes; here’s a sampling of what some of the other ones I did get to taste were:

What an event. I am incredibly impressed with how beautifully executed Feast 2014 was; there was not a single logistic forgotten and all the time, energy and creativity put into making this celebration possible paid off in every sense. There aren’t enough people to thank for what is truly one of the nation’s best food festivals- most notably Emily Crowley, Mike Thelin, Carrie Welch, Jannie Huang, Melissa Broussard, Carly Diaz, all the amazing hardworking ladies of Little Green Pickle (Chloe, Olivia, Frances, Brooke, Zoe) and of course the many sponsors including Bon Appetit Magazine, Travel Oregon, and Tillamook (see full list of sponsors HERE), AND the many volunteers who kept the wheels oiled throughout this past week.

If you know what’s good for you, you’ll snag tickets to the 2015 Brunch Village once they become available because believe me, this event WILL sell out even faster than it did this year.

Look at for my posts on other Feast Events from this weekend coming up in the next few days! Also check out all the food porn under the Instagram hashtag #feastpdx

Feast Portland 2014 Strategy Guide: How to Stay Hungry, Awake, and Flossy

The countdown is on! One of the nation’s largest and most prestigious Food & Drink festivals is a mere 22 days away. Therefore, the time has come to begin your three week preparation to ensure that you will get the most out of the four most delicious days of 2014.

I attended Feast Portland last year and had the privilege of enjoying a plethora of tastings, main events, speaker series, classes, tasting panels, happy hours, and after parties back to back for four days straight between what was included in my Blogger Pass and additional events I purchased tickets for. This year however, I’ve ramped up my itinerary to include the Widmer Brother’s Brewing Sandwich Invitational presented by Dave’s Killer BreadUSA Pears Night Market at Zidell YardsOregon Bounty Grand Tasting presented by Alaska Airlines, and Tillamook Brunch Village along with numerous happy hours, socials, and after parties in between. So, yes, that is A LOT of beverage, even more food, and many hours of standing/walking/schmoozing/writing/photographing.

From my experience last year, I’ve decided I would like to share with you all some of my tips, tricks and strategies to ensuring that you get the most out of Feast.

Strategy #1: How to Stay Hungry

There will be a lot of food at Feast. Like more than you’ve ever seen in one place, and it will all be stuff that looks like an ad for Bon Appetit magazine’s Instagram feed. Yes, it’s overwhelming being surrounded by all your celebrity chef crushes handing you plates of foie gras lobster dumplings or lamb belly sandwiches.

Prepare yourself in advance. Don’t overeat during the next three weeks, but don’t starve yourself either because then your stomach will shrink and ‘Quel Dommage,’ only two bites of a Lardo mini sando will have you too full to move on to Bunk. And that’s just no fun, that’s how food FOMO happens. Instead, do that whole eating six times a day small meals thing so that you’re accustomed to feeling hungry more frequently. And in the days prior to Feast do the same, drink lots of water, get in your exercise and a whole lotta sleep.

Be Picky and don’t feel like you have to try everything. Go for the samples that you don’t get to have often, go for dishes that incorporate your favorite ingredients, or the ones that are so unusual and perplexing that they’ll be a conversation starter at your next social. Don’t stuff yourself until you can’t move and take your time- most Feast events last for at least a couple of hours so nosh at your leisure.

Wine. Alright, let’s be real here, we all know wine lowers your blood sugar and as a result you get that beautiful famished, “I can eat everything in sight x 5″ feeling. And there’s really no better place to feel famished than Feast. So, yeah, go for it. Sip between events- not too much and stay hydrated but hey sometimes you need a little buzz to zing your appetite so you do get to try every single sandwich at Sandwich Invitational or all the charcuterie Olympic Provisions has on display.

Strategy #2: How to Stay Awake

Feast is an all day thing, like ALL DAY and a significant portion of the night as well. That’s a whole lot of hours to stay awake, alert, and actually feel that way. Last year on one of the days I attended an 8am media breakfast, the Oregon Grand Bounty Tasting at noon, a speaker series right after followed by a wine happy hour, then High Comfort at The Nines, followed by two afterparties- one at Chopsticks Express and another at Bunk Sandwiches. I got home at 3am; slept until 5pm just in time to attend a final Feast party at Departure. If you choose to also go balls to the wall on events, here is my advice:

NAPS are essential. I spent intermissions between events running home to power nap; if I had a morning event I’d go home after take a quick snooze then come back for whatever afternoon delight was going on. If there was time after that, yes I’d run home for another hour dream fest before going into the night. Nap when you can and sleep as full of a night as possible.

Stumptown. Coffee is essential; well- I know some of you do not drink coffee but Stumptown Coffee was certainly the main sponsor behind keeping my eyelids open for a significant portion of Feast 2013. Along those lines, do that in moderation and make sure to drink LOTS OF WATER. Keep a bottle on hand if you can and sip between noshes, booze and coffee so you don’t start to feel sluggish.

Don’t overeat too early or else, yes your body will want nothing more than to be a lump in front of your Netflix queue.

Strategy #3: How to Stay Flossy

Outfit Planning: Do this before, choose outfits that are comfortable, low maintenance, weather appropriate but also chic because HELLO this isn’t your neighbourhood potluck. My advice? Go glamorous with the accessories and opt for cute sheath dresses, A-line skirt and blouse pairings, leggings/jeggings with boots, a silky top and a utility jacket and avoid too much white. Also make sure your shoes aren’t going to be a pain in the arse because you will be standing in them for many, many hours.

Don’t Bring Too Much: Avoid heavy jackets that you’ll feel too hot in and inevitably have to carry around a market, avoid purses that are top handle or too heavy and invest in a camera strap or even one that you can put your iphone in and have around your neck. Last year I carried around a crossbody bag so I could have both my hands free and brought nothing except my phone, charger, wallet, keys, mini parfum, eyeliner, lipstick, Listerine strips, a pen and deodorant wipes. Trying to take photos at Feast is quite the feat with hundreds of patrons wandering around, having to hold on to a drink and a plate at almost all times while still trying to get the best angle. Pockets are also a MAJOR plus.

Freshen Up on the Regular: Most Feast Events will take place in glamorous locations (or at least near them), so go ahead and stop by the restroom, swab out running mascara- add a fresh coat of gloss to your lips and use a deodorant wipe to prevent smelling like the gourmet kimchi you just tried. Also if you do choose to nap at home between events, change your clothes and do a few rounds of mouthwash after sipping a cup of ginger tea.

Be Organized. Plan out the events you plan on attending each day; where they are, what time they are at. Figure out the best place to park, charge your phone, and when to take your nap breaks. If like me, you live out near Lake Oswego then also figure out how traffic patterns might affect your nap commutes and whether it would be wiser to take a snooze break at your office or a friend’s house that might be closer by. If I didn’t already max out my quota this fiscal quarter on spontaneously booking rooms at The Nines then I would have just booked one for the weekend out of the sheer convenience.

Take Advantage of the Opportunity. See one of your chef crushes? Say hi! If you feel flossy, awake, and still hungry then don’t reject invites to any other spontaneous Feast events that might pop up throughout the weekend. Socialize, meet other people in love with food and dining, bring your business cards…who knows you might even meet your next husband/boothang/platonic Tuesday night dinner date. Take lots of pictures but not too many that you’re missing out on the actual experience and do try to take the following Monday off as a recovery detox day.

Hope to see you there! For more information about the following, please see below:

Tickets/Schedule/Events Info/Sponsors

Volunteer Application

Hotel Packages/Specials

Air Travel Discounts

Fighting Hunger with No Kid Hungry and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon

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Bon Appetit Hot 10: Experience MÅURICE at Feast Portland’s Dessert for Dinner Event

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Delicate, cute, quaint and eloquent. These were the first adjectives that came to mind when I met up with my friend, Anne for a glass of wine and some baby nibbles at MÅURICE, a somewhat new pastry shop/dessert bar/luncheonette on SW Oak a block down from it’s polar opposite establishment, Sizzle Pie.

I’ve wanted to venture out to MÅURICE for several weeks now; it’s location tag on instagram brings up a plethora of stunning images of miniature china topped with elegantly composed dishes such as lefse, a polenta clafoutis with poached egg or their already famous desserts with descriptions such as “Kristen’s signature Black Pepper Cheesecake, 3-Nut Sablé Cookie Crust, Strawberry Leather” or “Fig Tarte Tatin with Blue Cheese Gelato Duck Fat Puff Pastry.” Plus on top of that, Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit Magazine just named MÅURICE one of America’s Best  New Restaurants in his 2014 Hot Ten list. Now that’s quite the feat.

Pastry chef, Kristen Murray is the gastronomy genius behind MÅURICE; and with a resume that includes establishments such as Marcus Samuelsson’s Aquavit and Gramercy Tavern you can be reassured that you’ll not only swoon indulging in what she lays upon that miniature china, but you will also want to take a picture since it will make you feel like a professional photographer.

MÅURICE is only open until 7pm, and like any good pastry shop you can imagine that the closer it gets to closing, the less options are available. Anne and I made that mistake by sauntering in at 6:41 PM with a hankering for that black pepper cheesecake; however we were still thrilled with the alternatives that remained and have also learned our lesson that our next excursion over will happen a little closer to lunch hour. Plus we still got to get a taste of both the savory and sweet sides of the menu offerings:

Farro, melon and tomato salade with feta.
Farro, melon and tomato salade with feta.
Korora double chocolate cookie, petit kaffe cardamom macarons and roasted nut and sultana truffles.
Korora double chocolate cookie, petit kaffe cardamom macarons and roasted nut and sultana truffles.

Everything was amazing. The salad was the perfect summer appetiser and so simple that each individual flavour and texture got to shine through. The treats, also impeccable, unique and inspiring. Definitely the sort of nibble you’d like to have beside you as you watch The Great Gatsby in an Oscar de la Renta nightgown by the fireplace on a tranquil Wednesday night.

Besides a MUCH recommended venture over to MÅURICE, I also have another option for you to partake in if you’re looking for a glamorous and delectable dining experience that will simultaneously fulfill your biggest childhood dream. Plus, for any men in my audience looking for a gift to give their special one, I’m about to make you the best husband/fiancee/boyfriend/boothang/platonic date ever with this suggestion…

Feast Portland’s Dessert for Dinner Dinner Series! If you’re free on Thursday, September 18th at 7PM then what are you waiting for? Grab a pair of tickets to this out-of-this-world DELICIOUS event on the first night of one of the nation’s finest gourmet food festivals! Besides Kristen Murray of MÅURICE, you will also get to enjoy sweet treats from these chefs:

Alissa Frice (Frice Pastry)

Tim Healea (Little T Bakery)

Carrie Merrill (Urban Farmer)

Philip Speer (Uchi Restaurants in Austin, TX).

So, QUICK! Tickets to Feast events are selling faster than that black pepper cheesecake so grab them before they’re gone right here!

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