Feast Portland 2014: USA Pears Night Market

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In case you missed my last post, this past weekend, I was a photographer for Feast, Portland's biggest food and drink festival. Famous chefs from around the country join forces with Portland's local culinary talent to cook for crowds and host classes and dinners for an action-packed four days. Each night, there's a marquee event that ranges from a sandwich making competition to a black-tie affair at one of Portland's ritziest hotels.

My favorite of the events, however, has always been the Night Market. I mean, just last year, I got to meet one of my baking heroes, Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar at this event! The USA Pears Night Market creates a street food fair akin to those in Southeast Asia, but with booths staffed by national and local chefs handing out their favorite dishes, which often times consisted of an Asian-flair to stay true to the theme:

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Up top is the lovely Lee Anne Wong from Honolulu, Hawaii's Koko Head Cafe, serving up one of her famous breakfast dumplings. The dumpling consisted of maple Sriracha pork, bacon and sage gravy, creamy eggs and maple Tabasco. One of my favorites of the night.

Fish was a popular ingredient that was served; there was a lot of raw tuna, yellowtail, salmon, and other seafood to choose from:

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From top to bottom: albacore tuna with sea vegetables, matsutake, dashi and nasturium from Oregon Coast Restaurant Beck; a salmon and apricot ceviche from local Peruvian fusion restaurant Andina; a raw salmon and grape salad with jerk spice, palm sugar and habanero vinaigrette from Jon Shook of Los Angeles' Son of A Gun restaurant.

There were also some wraps, frybread (kind of like tacos, but better), and skewered dishes that stayed true to Night Market's streetfood theme:

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From top to bottom: masa cake frybread with beef tongue, tomato jam and crema from Smallwares, one of my favorite restaurants in town; grilled beef kofta with herbed yogurt and roasted tomato relish on lavash from local Arabesque restaurant Levant; and skewered rabbit loin medallions wrapped in serrano jamon and topped with ginger-soy aioli and nori from Spanish-influenced Ataula, another local favorite. 

Oh, and of course, these dungeness crab nachos (topped with pimento cheese, pico de gallo, and habenero cherry hot sauce to boot) from local Argentinean-inspired restaurant, Ox:

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One of the longest lines of the night was local talent Gregory Gourdet of Departure, who'll be competing in the next season of Top Chef. Chef Greg served up Vietnamese grilled pork with candied carrot, cucumber, chili and toasted peanuts:

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Another crowd favorite was this braised beef cheek barbecue sandwich with pear slaw from Chef Ethan Stowell of Seattle's Staple & Fancy Mercantile restaurant:

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And on to desserts!

Although Night Market is primarily about the street food, there were a couple of desserts that I was super into this year. Philip Speer of Austin, Texas's famous Uchi restaurants was serving up an Asian-style tres leches cake with coconut mousse and lavender and lemon jelly:

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And of course, the man himself:

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There was also these epic miniature Baked Alaska ice cream cakes from local ice cream parlor, Salt & Straw. Salt & Straw's head ice cream maker, Tyler Malek (and people's choice winner of Feast's Sandwich Invitational), actually flambeed them on the spot:

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I was also particularly fond of these alfajores cookies (that is, Argentinean shortbread cookie sandwiches with a rich dulce de leche caramel in the middle) from Andina, which I'll be attempting to recreate on the blog soon:

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My favorite dessert, however, was local winemaker Union Wine Company's collaboration with other local purveyors Jacobsen Sea Salt and Quin Candy. Together, they teamed up to bring us some wine-flavored sweet treats, including this Pinot Noir-flavored cotton candy (handed out by Quin's head candymaker Jami Curl herself) and caramel corn topped with Pinot Blanc-infused Jacobsen sea salt:

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And that's all for now!

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7 comments

  1. It's no wonder you were a photographer for Feast-- your photos are wonderful!

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  2. ooh, nasturtium leaves? so pretty and what a good garnish idea.

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  3. Dude, your photos are AMAZING! I love that pic you have with my hand holding the crab nachos- so sick. I definitely have been using your posts as references to the names of dishes I forgot to photograph. Awesome post!

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  4. Oh! And the rabbit loin was from Ataula :)

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  5. Awesome photos, as always! Night Market looks so amazing. I'll have to get tickets to that event next year!

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  6. That all looks SO GOOD!!! I am definitely going to clear my schedule for this next year :D

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