Recap: Feast Portland 2017

As much as I love fall, I have a hard time with the transition from summer to fall. I mourn the loss of sunny days, BBQ’s, and outdoor activities—from paddle boarding in South Lake Union to hiking in the Cascades. However, one consolation that comes with the close of summer is Feast Portland’s phenomenal food and drink festival. We look forward to it all year, with the countdown officially beginning when tickets go on sale in May. 

Fried Chicken Sandwich by Lardo at Thursday’s Sandwich Invitational. Photo by Jennifer Liu.

The seventh annual Feast Portland festivities were held from September 14th -17th and featured 134 chefs, 31 wineries, 15 breweries, 11 artisans, and 12 distilleries. There were 17,948 total attendees. 

Ever year, we are impressed with how well-organized the festival is and the dozens of stellar chefs and bartenders that come to showcase their food and drinks. If you haven’t been, you need to mark your calendar for next year’s event: September 13th-16th, 2018. An integral part of Feast Portland #WhyWeFeast is the partnership with Hunger-Free Oregon, raising over $300,000 to help end childhood hunger in Oregon and across the country. 


This is the first time we’ve been able to get down to Portland for the Sandwich Invitational on Thursday evening. Lesson learned. We will never miss it again. Twenty chefs presented their sandwich offerings in a bracket-style tournament, including Seattle restauranteurs Josh Henderson from Skillet and Rachel Yang from Revel and Joule. Our favorites—and consequently the final two—were (1) Rick Gencarelli’s (Lardo / PDX) Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich with bacon, honey butter, and sweet pickles and (2) Melissa McMillan (Pastrami Zombie / PDX) of Pastrami ZOMBAE. 

The Night Market on Friday has been on the top of our list for Feast for three years running. It features some of the best bites of the whole festival. The outdoor venue, Zidell Yards, is right on the edge of the water. Eating and drinking delicious things with this sunset in the backdrop is close to perfection. Josef Centeno’s (Bar Amá / LA) Potato Cake with spicy pork filling was my favorite dish all weekend. I waited in a long line to get a second serving (shh!). Of course, not all the food is on point and there were some misses. However, a successful evening overall. 

Friday’s Night Market. Photo by Carly Diaz.

Smoked! on Saturday night featured lots of grilled, smoked, and roasted meats. Gregory Gourdet (Departure / PDX) whipped up hundreds of pounds of crispy Turkey Wings with a sweet Korean chili glaze. Tyson Cole (Uchiko / Austin) showcased a Smoked Masu (salmon) with yuzu aioli and fried karaage corn. Due to the fires at the Columbia Gorge, sadly, the sky matched the name of the event. 

While we mostly opt for the Main Events, there is so much more to explore including Hands On classes, intimate Dinner Series events, and smaller “Fun Size” events as well. 

Gregory Gourdet’s Turkey Wings at Smoked! Photo by. Aubrie LeGault.
Tillamook Ice Cream in a fried-to-order Churro cup at Night Market. Photo by Jennifer Liu.

We’re already anxiously anticipating next year’s event. Make a note on your calendar in the beginning of May 2018 to check Feast Portland’s website for ticket information.