Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Feast Portland 2014: Recap of the Sandwich Invitational

We were lucky enough to stuff ourselves silly at Feast's Sandwich Invitational last Thursday. (Big thank you to Doug for Katie's ticket and Feast for Kel's!) We also learned that "Yacht Rock" is a thing. So basically, it was a good night.

Of course at events like these, all the food is good. But since the Sandwich Invitational has the added fun of being a competition, we thought we'd share our rankings of the 14 sandwiches we tried.

#1 Marche's Moraccan Lamb Pockets

We're suckers for well-cooked lamb and Marche paired theirs beautifully with warm spices, harissa aioli and cilantro pesto. If we had room for seconds, we definitely would have gone back for another round of these.

#2 Kachka's Smoked Sprats

We are already big fans of Kachka and this open-faced sandwich with smoked sprats, egg, and sour cream on toast only reinforced our love for its unique Russian-inspired dishes. This sandwich also won the Judge's Choice award. Woot!

#3 Avec's Gyro

There is a turning point in the night where you're really full, but there is still 6 sandwiches to go and you're not slowing down. This crisis moment was made easier by Paul Kahan's "Return of the Gyro" with pork, eggplant, yogurt, "fun", fenugreek, and "flavor". We appreciated the description and the fresh herbs. 

#4 FT33's Fried Bologna and Pimento Cheese

Sometimes the simple ones are just so good. 

#5 Lardo's Pork Burger

This was the longest line of the night (challenged only by Salt and Straw) and the combo of pork, peaches, American cheese, and arugula was pretty delicious.

#6 Dustin Clark's Water Buffalo Short Rib Sandwich

This was our last sandwich of the night, aka it was at a major disadvantage because we were SO full, but it still ranks high on our list. The water buffalo short rib with sichuan picked cucumber sandwich was rich and mouth watering. We will definitely be hitting up Dustin's upcoming restaurant The Oddfellow Social.

#7 Nostrana's Smoked Lamb

Made with smoked lamb ham, crescenza (a soft Italian cheese), tomatoes, pepper cress, and onion relish on focaccia, this sandwich featured more traditional flavors and textures, but we appreciated some balance to the craziness that was happening at other stands.

#8 Empire State South's Pimento Grilled Cheese

Doug's love for Hugh Atcheson knows no bounds, but even he agreed with us that Hugh's pimento sandwich, though quite delicious in it's own right, was not quite as good as FT33's. 

#9 Salt and Straw's PBJ Sundae

Made of buttery bread topped with marionberry jam, vanilla custard ice cream, peanut butter whipped cream and homemade peanut butter Captain Crunch, this thing was good- but a major sugar bomb very much in danger of leaving you with a serious stomach ache. It was also a bit tame by Salt & Straw standards. That peanut butter whipped cream though...

#10  Bunk Sandwich's Duck & Foie Banh Mi

Far more flavorful than Chris Cosentino's meh take on foie banh mi (#13 below) plus the boys manning the station were having such a fun time that it made it hard not to enjoy this sandwich. 

#11 The Bent Brick's BBQ Goat Fry Bread

Ugh, the Bent Brick. They just keep making it SO hard to like them. They ran out of fry bread by the time we got there and while the meat was good... it really could have used some fry bread. Turns out they serve this, or something very similar, on their happy hour so we could have a second go at it...

#12 Broder's Gravlax on Rye

This was Doug's favorite dish but it just didn't do much for us.

#13 Cockscomb's Banh Mi

Doug and Katie loved Cosentino's beef tartare at last year's Night Market but felt iffy about their visit to his restaurant and as a group we felt even iffier about this not-so-noteworthy banh mi. Sad.

#14 Bar Avignon's Deconstructed Cubano

The best thing about a Cubano is all the flavors coming together in one delicious bite. When those ingredients are separated and you have to work to get them all in one bite... it just doesn't work.

Aside from the sandwiches, there was also plenty of beer from Widmer and wine from Columbia Crest Grand Estates, Erath, Hawks View Cellars, Northstar, and wine cocktails from Union Wine Company.

We may have also drank some straight vodka from Reyka Vodka. Apparently, when your stomach is unhappy from eating way too many sandwiches, it is more than fine to consume many different alcohols at once.

It's also recommended that you go to Kask afterward for a few more rounds. At least that's what we did...

Until next year! Cheers!