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Five Upcoming Portland Food Festivals
As any food-obsessed traveler knows, there’s never enough time (or room in your stomach) to eat at every restaurant on your painstakingly researched list. But there’s hope--in the form of food festivals. When most of a city’s best chefs are gathered in one place, your odds of trying everything on your list go way up. If you’re heading to Portland this spring or summer, try timing your trip with one of these five upcoming fests that offer bites and sips from top restaurants, wineries, breweries and distillers.
April 29, 6:30 to 9 p.m. (VIP ticket-holders get in at 5:30 p.m.): Share our Strength’s 27th annual Taste of the Nation
Where: McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside, Portland
Cost: General admission $85; VIP tickets $150
Each year, some of the city’s top restaurants, wineries and breweries gather under one roof to support Share Our Strength’s efforts to end childhood hunger. This year the event returns to the McMenamin’s Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland’s West End (the hot shopping and dining destination we detailed in the February 2014 issue). Sample bites from the best restaurants, including boundary-pushing Aviary, Asian-influenced Smallwares, meat-centric Laurelhurst Market and mind-boggling Salt & Straw ice cream. VIP ticket-holders not only get to beat the crowds and enter an hour early, they get special access to 10 booths, including destinations such as Multnomah Whiskey Library, Pok Pok, and Tasty N Sons. Wash it all down with drinks from award-winning producers, including Argyle Winery and Ecliptic Brewing.
July 24, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.: Counter Culture
Where: Anne Amie Vineyards, 6580 N.E. Mineral Springs Road, Carlton, Oregon
Parties beget parties, which is how Anne Amie Vineyards found itself hosting a crazy-popular kickoff to the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration (see below). For the past four years, it has invited some of Portland’s best chefs and some of the Willamette Valley’s best winemakers to its rollicking outdoor bash complete with DJ, dancing and a giant bonfire. Last year’s participants included big draws Le Pigeon, Biwa and Bollywood Theater, and cult-favorites such as Big Table Farm wines.
July 27, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Passport to Pinot
Where: Oak Grove at Linfield College, 900 S.E. Baker St., McMinnville, Oregon
For 28 years, the International Pinot Noir Celebration has drawn some of the world’s most influential winemakers to the Willamette Valley wine country for three days of educational seminars, elaborate tastings, vineyard tours and fabulous dinners. Although it costs $975 to attend it all (fully worth it for serious wine geeks), you can get a taste of the action for a fraction of the price at the Passport to Pinot. Under the dappled shade of oak trees at McMinnville’s Linfield College, taste Pinot Noir from more than 70 local and international wineries, meet the winemakers and sample elegant dishes from 15 Northwest chefs. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but last year it included such notables as Ben Bettinger of Imperial and Scott Ketterman of Crown Paella.
July 23-27: The 27th annual Oregon Brewers Festival
Where: Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland
Cost: Admission is free; 12-ounce souvenir tasting glass is $7 and tasting tokens are $1 each.
Sprawled across Portland’s glorious waterfront, the Oregon Brewers Festival is ground zero for beer lovers, with close to 90 beers in more than 25 styles from more than 80 craft breweries across the country. You’ll find far-flung favorites such as Dogfish Head and Stone Brewing alongside local heroes Ninkasi and Logsdon Farmhouse Ales. For those into Belgian beers, this year there’s a special tent with 11 Dutch breweries represented. There’s also food, live music and homebrew demos.
September 18-21: Feast Portland
Where: Various locations near downtown Portland
Cost: Prices range from $60 to $465
All of Portland’s food festivals culminate in this stunning four-day celebration of food and drink. Now in its third year (read our past recaps here), Feast just keeps getting better, with top chefs from across the country collaborating with our Northwest favorites to create a feast in every sense of the word. Thought-provoking speakers feed our minds. Hands-on classes from notable cookbook authors feed our creativity. Beer, wine and cocktail tasting panels, hosted by experts in the field, feed our curiosity. Five marquee food events, including the street-food-celebration called Night Market, feed (and fuel) our insatiable cravings. And it feeds our soul to know that the proceeds benefit organizations fighting hunger (last year’s event raised more than $50,000). On May 19, this year’s lineup and ticket sales go live. Check the website early because the marquee events always sell out fast.