Burn, Baby, Burn.
Feast Portland’s Smoked! takes place in northwest Portland’s Fields Park. This lush, green oasis acts as the soft backdrop to harsh fire and sultry smoke, which begins to excite one’s senses up to a block away, just as the festival’s tent tops come into view. From the traditional to the unconventional, chefs from all over the country contribute their best take on smoked meat. This year’s event was highlighted by custom neon signage, which shined through the smoke and gave the event an electric ambiance as evening fell over the city.
The best part of Smoked? You’d think the food, of course–I really love how much you see the owners of these restaurants behind the tables, cooking, plating, smiling and engaging! That’s one of the reasons I wanted to include images above of John Gorham, owner of Toro Bravo Inc. (Toro Bravo, Mediterranean Exploration Company, Tasty and Alder, Bless Your Heart Burger, and more) and Lisa Schroeder of Mother’s Bistro. It is so important to remember that these are business owners serving up the food for attendee tummies and that is something Feast does consistently, and it’s always been one of my favorite parts of the festival. Smoked is not alone in this trait–chefs are cooking up meals at every single event, and the opportunity to engage with them one-on-one is easy and highly recommended.
As someone who loves food, I think back to a year of Feast when my bestie stumbled across her food idol just walking around the Feast event we were at and she didn’t know if she had the courage to go up and introduce herself. I urged her to take the moment and and engage, and that night she met one of the people who speak to her psyche more than most any other human in the food world. Up until that moment, the event was amazing, but what I love about thinking back on that moment now, years later, is that it’s communing with chefs, tastemakers, and influential people in the food world is what makes Feast unlike any other event I’ve attended.
Sometimes big events like Smoked can feel a little overwhelming for introverts, which is why my final notes on Feast 2017 will be about a fun-sized event–let’s do brunch!
Fun-Sized Event: Brunch
By Sunday of Feast I was definitely feeling something a little more intimate and quiet. This Fun-Sized Brunch in SE really hit the spot for me. It was a quiet, overcast morning, threatening to sprinkle but never really did–there was a DJ playing beautiful tunes on records at the back of the space, and you were greeted with this carefully organized though effortless display above–and then buckets upon buckets of coldbrew!! Around 15 vendors turned out gorgeous brunch fare all morning–enjoy feasting with your eyes!
I would love to have existed in this zen space forever, but all wonderful things must end. And, similar to each year, so begins the countdown to next year’s Feast Portland. Keep an eye out in social and on Facebook for my announcements of events and ticket sales for 2018!!