PORTLAND, Ore.
I’m in Portland this weekend for the 3-year-old Feast Portland food extravaganza. Events and dinners were happening all over the city this weekend, and I got tickets to two events. The first was the most fun: the USA Pears Night Market along the city’s South Waterfront area.

The Friday night event was setup in an empty lot with tents under the Ross Island Bridge. About 20 chefs from around the country and more than 25 wineries, breweries and distillers offered up little bites and drinks at the sold-out event. Portland, one of the most exciting dining scenes in the United States, featured several major stars from its own area, including the chef-of-the-moment Andy Ricker of Pok Pok.

But there were other chef luminaries such as Anita Lo of New York, Jon Shook of Animal and Son of a Gun in L.A., and former Top Cheftestant Lee Anne Wong of the Koko Head Cafe in Honolulu. There were long lines for some chefs’ booths, but they made sure everyone was fed throughout the night (except for the popular Pok Pok, which was among the first to run out of food).

My favorite tastes came from Lo of Annisa, who made grilled quail with celeriac and Szechuan pepper, and Johanna Wares of Portland’s Smallwares, who made a masa cake with beef tongue (so tender) with pasilla tomato jam and crema.

Despite the Friday night traffic that made me arrive late, the Night Market was a major success. Everyone looked happy and Portland provided a warm summer night to be outside enjoying good food and drink.

Chef Anita Lo of New York offered up a dish of grilled quail with celeriac and Szechuan pepper.

Chef Anita Lo of New York offered up a dish of grilled quail with celeriac and Szechuan pepper.

Several local wineries and breweries were giving tasting of their wine and beer.

Several local wineries and breweries were giving tasting of their wine and beer.

I jumped into the line for Lee Anne Wong when I saw her name on the booth. I followed Wong's time on Top Chef, and wanted to see what she made. Turned out to be a fried won ton, but with a special sauce and side salad. It was fresh and tasty, despite being deep fried.

I jumped into the line for Lee Anne Wong when I saw her name on the booth. I followed Wong’s time on Top Chef, and wanted to see what she made. Turned out to be a fried won ton, but with a special sauce and side salad. It was fresh and tasty, despite being deep fried.

Son of a Gun from LA served up a small plate of raw salmon with jerk spice and grapes and a palm sugar vinaigrette. It was a refreshing dish for the warm summer night.

Son of a Gun from LA served up a small plate of raw salmon with jerk spice and grapes and a palm sugar vinaigrette. It was a refreshing dish for the warm summer night.

Greg Denton of Ox in Portland made a delicious dungeness crab nacho with a cherry habanero sauce.

Greg Denton of Ox in Portland made a delicious dungeness crab nacho with a cherry habanero sauce.

Chef Andy Ricker of the extremely popular Pok Pok of Portland. Ricker has reinvented the way people view Thai food.

Chef Andy Ricker of the extremely popular Pok Pok of Portland. Ricker has reinvented the way people view Thai food.

The Khao Phat Buu from Pok Pok, a stir-fried jasmine rice dish with crab. It might have been a simple fried rice, but packed with flavor and nice with the twist of lime and cucumber.

The Khao Phat Buu from Pok Pok, a stir-fried jasmine rice dish with crab. It might have been a simple fried rice, but packed with flavor and nice with the twist of lime and cucumber.

It was a beautiful night to be outside, with views of some of Portland's many bridges.

It was a beautiful night to be outside, with views of some of Portland’s many bridges.

Cebiche de Salmon from Chef Hank Costello of Portland's Andina.

Cebiche de Salmon from Chef Hank Costello of Portland’s Andina.

There was endless wine and cocktails under the festive lanterns

There was endless wine and cocktails under the festive lanterns

The diners in line at Bollywood Theater, another popular Portland restaurant.

The diners in line at Bollywood Theater, another popular Portland restaurant.

I'm generally not a fan of Indian food, but I enjoyed this "nargisi kofta" from Bollywood Theater. It's an Indian dish where a hard boiled egg is encased in minced lamb and served with curry. It went well with some Portland beer.

I’m generally not a fan of Indian food, but I enjoyed this “nargisi kofta” from Bollywood Theater. It’s an Indian dish where a hard boiled egg is encased in minced lamb and served with curry. It went well with some Portland beer.

One of the longest lines was for this grilled Vietnamese pork from Departure of Portland.

One of the longest lines was for this grilled Vietnamese pork from Departure of Portland.

This dish from Ataula of Portland got mixed reviews. It was rabbit loin serrano, jamon and nori. I liked it.

This dish from Ataula of Portland got mixed reviews. It was rabbit loin serrano, jamon and nori. I liked it.

One of the few desserts was this "saam leches,"  play on the Mexican tres leche but with a Thai twist from Uchi of Austin, Texas.

One of the few desserts was this “saam leches,” play on the Mexican tres leche but with a Thai twist from Uchi of Austin, Texas.

The Night Market was a bit crazy at times with the crowds, but all in all an enjoyable evening outdoors.

The Night Market was a bit crazy at times with the crowds, but all in all an enjoyable evening outdoors.

2 Responses to Tasting the USA Pears Night Market at Feast Portland 2014

  1. Portland is my happy place, and I’m so jealous that you are there right now to eat so much! I can’t wait to see the recap of this event.

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    Love Andy Ricker’s food. Wish he’d open a place in the Bay Area. 😉