It was not my first time in Portland, but it was my first time at FEAST. I am thrilled to report that my expectations were well exceeded! My first night at the Sandwich Invitational set the tone for an incredible weekend of shoving my little face with all kinds of deliciousness! It's safe to say this is an event I definitely plan on attending again next year... although I plan on going much harder! Now that I got my freshmen year out of the way, I know how to better prepare for next year.
As I said, my first stop was the Sandwich Invitational presented by the Portland Trail Blazers, which took place at the Rose Quarter Commons — and even though I was exhausted from flight delays, I went straight there from the airport and was so glad I did! There were SO MANY SANDWICHES! Also, to make things more fun, the commons was set up with an Eastside and Westside — dueling sandwiches! What?! Then attendees got to vote on their favorites at the end of the night! I was beyond lucky to snag one of the very last of the Eastside winning “Zombae” pastrami sandwich from Pastrami Zombie. My favorite on the Westside, although it didn’t win and was not a local Portland joint — was the Smoked Lamb Gyro from Souvla San Francisco. The lamb was so tender and delicious, and I just LOVE gyros!
The next two days I spent at the Grand Tasting presented by New Seasons Market at Pioneer Courthouse Square in the heart of Downtown Portland. This is a place I know like the back of my hand, a location that I have so many memories of visiting with my parents so many times. Going back to school shopping at Nordstrom’s and petting the giant copper animal statues that decorate the sidewalk. To be in that same location - as a 33 year old woman doing what I love the most - eating food and learning new things about it - was slightly surreal, but utterly special.
The Grand Tasting hosted numerous vendors, wineries and even top notch chef’s like LA’s Ray Garcia who cooked incredible food live in the gut of the square in the Williams Sonoma kitchen. I think my favorite part about FEAST was the energy! Everyone was just happy and attitudes of any kind didn’t exist. Portland truly is a city full of incredible hearts, minds and souls — especially when it comes to food & beverage. The vendors were beyond generous and had immense passion about their product - everyone I met, drew me in, not just with their tasty samplings but with their bright smiles too.
I could go into so much detail about my discoveries, but then you wouldn’t need to watch the videos I made! Check them out below and don’t forget to subscribe to The Food Pervert on YouTube for more naughty bites to come!