I clearly noticed that some of the media was absent from this morning breakfast due to the late parties and the Flipcupstravaganza the night before.
No names shall be mentioned, but if you weren’t there I ate your Banana Muffin. BECAUSE THE BANANA MUFFINS WERE INCREDIBLE. I also took two of your Banana Muffins home and froze them and ate them later.
The breakfast was thoughtfully created by Gracie’s at the Hotel DeLuxe. There was Prosciutto Eggs Benedict, Octopus Benedict, Strawberry Toaster Strudels, Rosemary Fried Potatoes, Tillamook Cheddar Scrambled Eggs, Sausages, Southwest Biscuits and Gravy, Granola Smoothies, Cheddar Scones, Cranberry Scones, and so much more. Did I mention the Banana Muffins? Huh. Must have slipped my mind.
Friday: Grand Tasting (Public Event / Ticket Required)
The Grand Tasting (both the Friday and Saturday versions) are probably the greatest value ticket on the FEAST lineup. This event, along with Brunch, was hosted in Pioneer Courthouse Square in the heart of Downtown PDX. Instead of the event featuring several chefs with dishes, most of the booths are sponsored by purveyors of goods. USA Pears, the Oregon Raspberry and Blackberry Commission, Sunshine Dairy, Dry Sparkling, a dozen or so wineries and vineyards, Ranger Chocolate, Jacobsen, Breville, Williams-Sonoma, Kite Hill, … the list goes on and on. Many of these are pouring wine and samples for drinking, but several also come with dishes that have been created by a chef partner. A few chefs are in attendance but not as many as there are in the other main events.
My favorite moment from the Friday tasting came from a wonderful beautiful 80 year old woman who I saw just as she had entered the main tent. She was looking at all of the options and had her wine glass out and ready in her hand. You could tell she’d already had at least one pour because the glass was wet. She walked up to one of the soda company booths and looked around, “Is this wine?” The lovely sweet girl manning the booth said, “No, it’s a light refreshing soda, would you like to try it?” And the 80-year-old woman said nothing, turned, and walked away.
I like a woman who knows what she wants. #squadgoals
Friday: Drink Tank—Washington Wines on the Rise (Public Event / Ticket Required)
As someone who lives in Washington (SHHHH, don’t tell anyone!), I felt compelled to support the vine-ripened bounty of my current state by attending the Washington themed Drink Tank class. This year’s Drink Tank sessions were housed at the illustrious Portland Art Museum. Several tables and tents were set up outside for the with an expert discussion panel and individual tastings and food pairings.
By this time I was still tipsy from the enormous amount of wines available at the Grand Tasting. The wines were each fresh and delicious, but I confess I preferred the whites that were being tasted vs. the reds. Although according to the panel, the Washington Syrah is really having a moment and deserves your utmost respect and attention. At this point a nap was calling for my utmost attention.
Friday: After Party—Secret Undisclosed Location (Private Event)
I can’t do it. I can’t go. I’m too full. I haven’t eaten anything since 4pm but I just can’t. I’ve got to go to bed. #epicfail
Saturday: Grand Tasting (Public Event / Ticket Required)
Ok! After some sleep I was ready to hit the bricks at Pioneer Courthouse again. The Saturday Grand Tasting is the same as the Friday event in that most of the artisans and booths are present for both days. HOWEVER! The booths with food dishes come with a different featured recipe for the second day. So it’s practically all new except for the wine—but for the wine you just get to drink all your favorites again! Win/Win.
You’d think that after eating everything from the Grand Tasting on Friday that I *might* have shown a little bit of restraint. And I did really try. Well I partially tried. I tried for about 20 minutes. Then there were pastries.
In addition to the 2nd round of amazing dishes, I did also manage to work up some fangirl courage and snag a selfie with Adam Rapoport of Bon Appétit and Epicurious fame. His editorial column in the BonApp magazine is usually the first thing that I read when my monthly mag arrives, and I love his breezy attitude towards good quality food: with his lens, quality food always seems communal and approachable. Love that guy!
There were so many great moments from the Grand Tasting! It amazes me that the FEAST team is able to pack every inch of the venues with such wonderful food and drink.
What are your thoughts? Did you get to one of the Grand Tastings this year? Have I convinced you get that you need to in on this shiz? Promise you’ll hang out with me next year—pretty please?