I’m really getting into food festivals. They’re all the fun of a music festival without the dust and with better food. Terry and I went to Portland for the weekend to attend Portland Feast. This was my first time at a food festival with so many activities and my first time in Oregon. We barely had opportunities to eat outside of the fest but I’m not one to complain.
Arriving in Portland was so easy. The airport is really calming and public transportation is right outside the door. It was so convenient to get downtown on the light rail. Forty five minutes and $2.50 a person later, we were downtown and walked a few short blocks to The Hi Lo Hotel. I was pleasantly surprised with how nice this hotel was, the friendly staff (doormen especially), and more importantly, convenient to everything.
Thursday night kicked off with the Sandwich Smackdown hosted by the Portland Trailblazers. The winner was hands down Lardo. My only minor complaint was mayonnaise. It’s really having a renaissance. I’m just waiting for mustard to have its moment.
Friday we were up early because of the time change and headed to Mother’s where we shared the breakfast special – a blueberry pancake with sausage – and Terry got a specialty coffee recommended by the server. I rarely order pancakes but finished this one. The sausage had a hint of maple and was also delicious.
After breakfast, we explored the top sights according to Trip Advisor. We jumped in a car2go to make it to the International Rose Test Garden at Washington Park. There is a free shuttle from downtown that runs to the park but we like the freedom of having our own transportation to explore a new city. Only downside is that the park is outside of the car2go area so it was a little pricier than having taken a rideshare like Uber or Lyft (psa: we preferred Lyft in Portland).
Next stop, the Grand Tasting at Pioneer Courthouse Square. A favorite was actually from Texas, Mixtli out of San Antonio. Of course, they were serving tacos. Another hit was Rain City Crunch Granola. Who knew you could serve cheese on granola. At the Saturday Grand Tasting, Rogue Creamery was easily the best Oregon cheese, and cheese in general, I tasted. A quick search told me Neiman Marcus carries it, that’s how amazing it is.
That night we went to an after party at Han Oak where the Mixtli team was making breakfast tacos. We also got a taste of the Han Oak menu and I’m still daydreaming about their fried chicken. I couldn’t pinpoint the seasonings but it was amazing.
Saturday morning meant more adventures and we decided to head to the farmer’s market at Portland State University and try some more samples.
We had breakfast here at the Pine State Biscuits tent and ordered biscuits and gravy with a vegetarian mushroom gravy and one with sausage gravy. Both options fantastic. The biscuit is on the denser side but holds up under the gravy. In hindsight we could have split our order.
Because we ate biscuits and gravy, we definitely needed a hike so off to Forest Park we went. It is the largest park within city limits in the US with plenty of trails and friendly faces at The Audubon Society, which is also a great spot for a restroom break. We hiked the Wildwood Trail to Pittock Mansion. I hadn’t researched the mansion so I had no idea we would get such an amazing view of the city.
It was unfortunate that Oregon had so many forest fires at the time as smoke started filling the city throughout the weekend. In general we were not affected by the smoke or fire but it did influence our hikes and day trips and kept us within the city limits instead of venturing out.
Forest Park is still an amazing option and we did not feel slighted at all. We headed back down and into the city for our final day of Portland Feast. We headed to the Grand Tasting at Pioneer Courthouse and tried everything from sour beers to Gramercy Tavern Cheddar Apple Pie with Bourbon Shell Ice Cream from Salt and Time. After the Grand Tasting we headed to a beautiful home to await gate time for the final event and after party. We were able to get into the gates early and I nabbed a tomahawk steak for Terry. He lit up like Christmas morning when I handed it to him.
After the main event closed, we headed to the after party at Bollywood Theater. We got to see live dancing and ate some of the best curry I’ve ever had with a slice of brisket. The time change is brutal flying back to Texas so we had a 9am flight out of town. We got a wake up call and headed to the light rail for a 7am train. It got us to the airport with just enough time to get breakfast, explore the terminal (surprisingly good food and stores) and make it to the gate with a few minutes before boarding.