A true celebration of Oregon’s bounty, Feast Portland brings together Northwest farmers, chefs, wineries and distillers to showcase what makes our state such a unique culinary destination – from the Willamette Valley Wine Country, Painted Hills Beef, Hood River Pears, fresh seafood from the coast – and the list goes on and on.
In true Portland fashion, Feast is not just a celebration of Oregon’s food culture, but a fundraiser for Share Our Strength, a national organization dedicated to ending childhood hunger, and their local counterpart Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon.
The festival kicked off its second year with the Widmer Brother Brewing Sandwich Invitational, just one of their “signature” events.
The Sandwich Invitational not only attracted some of the best chefs from Portland, including Adam Sappington (The Country Cat), Tommy Habetz and Nick Wood (Bunk Sandwiches), and David Kreifels (Laurelhurst Market), but from across the country, including Paul Qui (Qui – Austin, TX), Duff Goldman (Charm City Cakes and Food Network Ace of Cakes Fame), and Sean Brock (McCrady’s – Charleston, SC) just to name a few. All in a friendly battle for who could put the best combination of ingredients between two slices of bread.
Top Chef: Texas winner Paul Qui at work on the grill.
My favorite sandwich combinations – the cheddar-jalapeno waffle with duck confit, maple mustard and pickled peaches by the husband and wife team of Greg Denton & Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton
of Ox, the “Rabbit 7 Ways” with shredded carrot and green papaya by Paul Qui, dungeness crab with old bayonaise and pickled fennel by Chris DiMinno
of Clyde Common, and the spit roasted porchetta with shaved truffle by Rick Gencarelli
The People’s Choice Award went to Adam Sappington, of The Country Cat for his Northwest lamb burger with havarti, tomato jam, and iceberg slaw.
The judge’s pick was the smoked beef tongue sandwich with padrón peppers, aji pepper aioli, mint, basil, and picalilli from David Kreifels of Laurelhurst Market.
Not only were the sandwiches amazing, but some incredible local wines were also available for tasting. A favorite was the pinot gris from a can. Yes – you read that right – wine “bottled” in a aluminum can. Union Wine Co. is on a mission to take the “snobbery” out of wine drinking with their slogan #pinkiesdown and the canned pinot gris and noir is a very creative step in that direction. I wonder if it comes in a six-pack?
One thing that truly impressed me about this event was how friendly and personable ALL the chefs were. Even with long lines, they would all take a moment to chat about their food. I even managed to get a couple of them to take the time to pose for pictures with me as the event wrapped up for the evening.
Posing with chefs Duff Goldman and Adam Sappington respectively.
I don’t consider myself a “foodie” – more of a pork enthusiast with occasional penchants for other food groups, a slight addiction to any sort of cooking shows (thanks to my mother who started me on watching Justin Wilson on PBS as a child), and a healthy knowledge of what to do with most appliances and gadgets in a kitchen. For me, this night was like a concert, but instead of live music it was food. Rather than rock stars, there were some very talented chefs sampling out their sandwich creations. So, in case you haven’t guessed, it was one of the best nights on the town this “mountainbilly” from Hood has had in a long time. Is it too early to start dreaming about next year?
Note: My ticket to the Sandwich Invitational was provided free of charge. This in no way impacted my opinions of this event.