letting it all settle – FEAST 2017 highlights

This year may have been the best FEAST yet. With more chefs, more classes, (more wine!), and the amazing after-hours events, I have to report that I am one happy lady. One of my goals this year was to balance my food focus and learn to take more shots of people. I wanted to try and up my photo-game. Take a look at all this goodness!

The Sandwich Invitational –  18 chefs brought their A-Game to fight for the judges top honor and people’s choice award. Congrats to Rick Gencarelli of Lardo for taking the overall award from the judges and Melissa McMillan of Pastrami Zombie for people’s choice. I brought my own tray from home (it’s a thing I do now #noshame) as a way to grab all of the bites right at the beginning. It’s my fool-proof plan for grabbing all the photos right at the start and getting photos in the natural light before the sun goes down. AND it has the added benefit that everyone stares and really wishes that they’d brought their own tray too. I have a feeling 2018 FEAST will see lots more trays out and about!

Lauretta Jeans’ putting together their biscuit sandwich entry

Chef John Tesar serving his famous pattie melt

dry aged pattie melt

Rick Gencarelli and his winning Nashville Hot Fried Chicken / bacon / honey butter / sweet pickles / duke’s mayo

sixteen of the delicious entries and yes I ate them all! even with a tray it was a balancing act to get all of these in one go. I missed two sandos because they were cooked seafood and that is a no for me. SORRIES!


Friday & Saturday Grand Tastings – For two days dozens of wineries, breweries, distillers, makers, restaurants, bakeries, and chefs descend on Pioneer Courthouse Square and turn it into a cavalcade of gastronomic delights. Sampling everything was a total treat!

Eliot’s yummy selection of nut butters – the garam masala might be my favorite

Oregon produces the majority of frozen berries in the US

the flakey layers of the la’ssant from Nola Doughnuts

and their APPLE FRITTER!

fresh poke from QuickFish

the Williams Sonoma booth: renowned chefs cooking in lovely FINEX cast iron


FEAST Drink Tank / Kilt’s Not Required: American Single Malt – This was the event where I learned the most; the  passion and experience that was shared by the speaking panel really made this hour informational and enjoyable. One of the most impactful things I learned was the inaccuracy of the “age statement” on a bottle of whiskey–did you know that was initially created as a marketing ploy when distillers had a bunch of old whiskey that didn’t sell? The age doesn’t have a premium effect for how they charge a premium price!

the loveliest place setting

tasting notes from the American single malt tasting


SMOKED! – I don’t think I’ve made it too much of a secret that I am a carnivorous human. After a couple of different bouts of eating plans I’ve tried through my 20’s, I’m fairly convinced that meat is an excellent protein source for me. However, please do not read this as any kind of judgement if your experience has led you to another place. I honor your choices and your ability to know what’s right for you. Are we good? Do we both love each other still? Excellent.

This meat-centric event is like my greatest dream. #meatasaurusrex. SMOKED! is the steepest ticket price, but it is the first event to sell out for a reason. Ohmystars. Take a look at this…

the wonderful crew from Sokol Blosser

Chef Adam Sappington brought Snake River Farms TOMAHAWK STEAKS – definitely my favorite bite. ribeye slices / grilled english muffin / bone marrow butter / fresh herby chimichurri

corn four ways

the freshest heavenly briney oysters

the people at FEAST are the best part – everyone is so warm and passionate about what they do

why yes, I will have a ricotta doughnut thank you

ok, so it’s not a secret any more that Matt’s BBQ is the best brisket in town… but taking brisket and adding chopped peach, fragrant rice, and jungle curry? DROOL

why yes I will have a second glass. cheers!

chefs go all out for these events as evidenced by the fact that there was bone marrow smothered in TARTARE!


don’t forget the whiskey!

spicy pork vindaloo from Troy MacLarty, brilliant chef behind Bollywood Theater

bringing your own tray from home is still a bit of a balancing act

my happy place: tray of meat + glow sticks + giant tomahawk steak rib


It was a fantastic year, and I can’t wait to do it all over again. I’ll definitely be looking to do SMOKED! again and possibly a chef’s dinner. Also, if anyone has Adam Sappington’s direct line,  pretty please pass on that I need one of those tomahawk steaks as soon as possible. #insertsobbingemoji.

Rock on 2017!

a couple from SMOKED! has now dubbed me “tray lady”. ha!


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