The 7 Best Bites We Took at Feast Portland

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This year marks the fifth anniversary of Feast Portland (Sept. 15-18) in Oregon, the annual celebration of America’s vibrant food culture, with a special emphasis on Portland and the Pacific Northwest’s culinary footprint. If you’ve ever been to a food festival, you know that saving room in your stomach for bite after bite is tricky business. But there were some morsels that we couldn’t help but go back for more of. These are the best bites we ate at Feast this year.

One of our favorite meals of the entire week is brunch, and Sunday’s Brunch Village event lineup was jam-packed with early morning favorites. The Fried Chicken Biscuit with Pimento Cheese (pictured above) from John Gorham’s team at Toro Bravo was one worth braving a snaking line. The chicken was juicy, spiced and perfectly crispy, the biscuit was uber-buttery, and the pimento cheese slathered on top provided a creamy bite.

One of the most-unique bites at Brunch Village was Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo of Fat Rice’s Fios de Ovos, which was an eye-opening dish of egg threads with fish sauce, maple, bacon and chiles. The thin, golden strands were a significant departure from the customary omelet, and the dish boasted a Thai-style flavor that was sweet, salty and smoky all at once.

One bite of the Crispy Rice Salad from Jessica Koslow’s team from Sqirl in Los Angeles took us back to our childhood rice cereal favorite, this time with a refined edge that didn’t call upon milk or a spoon. In the age of the grain bowl, this riff on breakfast came down with a crunch, and it involved rice that’s cooked, dried and fried until greatness.

A little rain on Saturday night couldn’t keep us away from Chef Andy Ricker’s Sai Oua, spicy Chiang Mai sausage, at the second-annual Smoked! event. The northern Thailand-inspired dish was pulsing with the flavors of kaffir lime, lemongrass, cilantro, galangal and chiles, plus the smoky flavor of the grill.

With the theme of playful Latin cooking, this year’s Night Market event boasted bites inspired by Mexico, Madrid and more. Crown Paella’s team, headed by Chef Scott Ketterman, served an impressive dish of Playa Paella with Dungeness and Fried Calamari that was so big that multiple people had to help carry it.

Kelly Myers’ team from Portland’s Xico brought on the crunch with saucy Mexican-style totopos. Tossed in warm arbol salsa, crunchy chips became spicy and slightly softened, yielding the perfect foundation for salty Cotija cheese, cilantro and white onion.

It’s no wonder Tony Maws’ team from Craigie on Main traveled all the way from Cambridge, Mass., to Oregon to dole out these Green Chile Chicken Wings. The creamy, kicked-up sauce was a zesty departure from typical Buffalo.

More information about Feast Portland 2016 can be found here.