Portland's restaurant scene is all grown up, and that means we get a fancy food festival to call our very own. Feast Portland, the brainchild of former WW contributor Mike Thelin and PR consultant Carrie Welch, debuts this week and it's a bona fide big deal: marquee chefs, national media attention, its own flavor of Salt & Straw ice cream. It's pretty spendy and much of it is sold out, but we couldn't let it pass without comment. If you are going, or just planning to be in downtown Portland sometime over the next four days, here are 10 things to look for:
This festival had its Travel Oregon-sponsored launch party 3,000 miles away in New York. Feast Portland costs $650 for a full weekend pass, so we assume moneyed New Yorkers are its target demographic.
One of Feast's biggest coups has been scoring London-based Australian chef David Thompson, whose Michelin-starred restaurant,
, charges $37 for a red curry. Naturally, he'll be hanging out with Pok Pok's Andy Ricker all week, cooking together at the $125-per-person night market, doing a guest dinner at Pok Pok, and railing against ignorant farang who dare put chicken in their pad Thai.
French chef Inaki Aizpitarte's
in the world. His dinner, a collaboration with San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson, is sold out, of course.
Restaurant editor of major Feast sponsor
judge and dreamboat Andrew Knowlton will be presenting classes on coffee-making, weird beers, cocktails
Thai street food. Hopefully, he will also find time to explain his recent bizarre
of good but hardly revelatory Portland restaurant Luce as one of the 10 best new restaurants in America.
This for-profit event received $75,000 from state tourism body
and $20,000 from the city of Portland's
. So even if it's not you chowing down on a $150 dinner of artisan charcuterie, you can feel good knowing you still played an important part in the meal. Just not the part where you get to eat anything.
Former Castagna chef Matthew Lightner, whose new restaurant
is the toast of New York, returns to Portland for a collaboration with South Carolina rock-star chef Sean Brock. The $150-a-head dinner is sold out. Atera also charges $150 per diner, and is booked until November. And to think that only a little over a year ago, you could get his food here any night of the week for just $65. Now you're regretting never going to Castagna, aren't you? See, Portland, this is why you can't have nice things.
Aaron Franklin, from Austin's celebrated hipster barbecue joint
, and Rodney Muirhead, from Portland's celebrated hipster barbecue joint
, will compete against each other at the $95-per-ticket "Sandwich Invitational." Did we mention gourmet stoner food?
If you like your chefs to come with a five-book deal and their own line of cookware, Feast delivers:
contestants Marco Canora, Brad Farmerie and Amanda Freitag;
contestants Naomi Pomeroy, Anita Lo and Paul Qui;
' Duff Goldman;
' Eddie Huang; and
's Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo will all be there.
It's a tired joke at this point, but almost certainly true. Brownie points if they can resist using a
GO: Feast runs Sept. 20-23 at various locations around Portland. Visit feastportland.com for more info.