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Feast Portland 2017: Friday & Saturday Grand Tasting

Feast Portland 2017: Friday & Saturday Grand Tasting, Pioneer Courthouse Square
This post is in collaboration with Feast Portland.

4 days, 134 chefs, 31 wineries, 15 breweries, 11 artisans, 12 distilleries, and almost 18,000 (!!!) attendees. Feast Portland 2017 racks up some pretty impressive stats, right? You’ve seen my Feast experience through Instagram Stories, but now let’s talk about the whirlwind that is the Grand Tasting.

Located in Pioneer Courthouse Square, the Grand Tasting was Feast’s largest tasting event with over 80 vendors, including chefs, bakers, wineries, and more. It’s all-inclusive so this was the time to put on stretchy pants and say goodbye to self restraint. If crowds are not your thing, I recommend going on Friday when it’s a little less overwhelming. Explore with friends or explore on your own… either way, I guarantee you’ll have a blast!

If you search the web for “Feast Portland 2017”, you’ll find plenty of other recaps listing the best eats and most creative dishes at the Feast Grand Tasting. But I’m here to offer a different perspective and answer the question that I was asked again and again throughout the festival: Does Feast have anything for vegans and vegetarians?

The short answer: Yes, there are some vegan and vegetarian options at Feast.

The long answer: The FAQs page of the Feast website clearly states that their events do not cater to those with dietary restrictions. To some extent, it’s true. At this year’s Grand Tasting, there were many dishes that I passed on, but I still found a good selection of vegan eats to enjoy and then some. You’ll have an even easier time as a ovo-lacto vegetarian (no meat, yes eggs and dairy), and keep in mind that every Feast features different vendors.

Here’s how to navigate the Grand Tasting as a vegan or vegetarian: Do your research. When in doubt, just ask.

The lineup for Feast is announced well in advance, allowing you plenty of time to figure out which vendors are vegan or likely to be veg-friendly. Armed with my list of vendors, I spent my Friday and Saturday feasting on almond milk-based bites from Kite Hill, a buffet of desserts from Petunia’s Pies and Pastries, mini sandwiches from Eliot’s Adult Nut Butters, blueberry basil shaved ice from Wailua Shaved Ice, and more! Some vendors were even willing to accommodate and omit ingredients for me. The key is to stop by when things have slowed down and most importantly, ask nicely.

It’s always fascinating to watch people’s reactions when you explain that not all booze is vegan. That pesky fish bladder. That’s where our friend Barnivore comes in handy. They’ve got a pretty good directory of vegan-friendly beers, wines, and spirits. If you can’t find any info on Barnivore, just ask the vendor. I honestly think that the Grand Tasting is less suitable for a non-drinker than a vegan. There was so much beer, cider, and oh the wine! Some of the bottles they were pouring at the Grand Tasting were over $100. They brought out the really good stuff for the occasion!

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