Tickets still available for classes, brunches and dinners, speakers panels, tastings and more

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I feel like a kid at Christmas. I am so excited because Feast Portland is almost here!

This world-class event celebrates Oregon’s bounty and the chefs and artisans who do some pretty amazing things with it.

The event takes place Sept. 19 to 22 in a variety of venues in the downtown Portland area. Evidently, many of those in attendance at last year’s inaugural event did not hesitate to secure seats for this year’s lineup, but there are still many opportunities for newcomers to participate in the food and fun.

Feast Portland includes food for the mind as well as for the soul. The speaker series includes presentations on hunger, the American experience through food, how to create a successful food business and the impact Portland has on the national food scene.

There are tasting panels on Pinot Envy, Wine vs. Beer, the Best Northwest Wines You Aren’t Drinking, infused liquors, chocolate, wine and seafood pairings and whiskey and beer back pairings.

There are brunches and dinners featuring the collaborative efforts of talented chefs and winemakers and classes on everything from roasting coffee to modern sauces, homemade condiments, salt block cooking, tea blending, basic pig butchery and making Pok Pok dishes at home.

My favorite events last year were the Sandwich Invitational and the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting.

The Widmer Brothers Brewing Sandwich Invitational is Feast’s kickoff party on Thursday evening. Fifteen of America’s top chefs compete to redefine everything you thought the lowly sandwich could be. You get to sample each and every one of them and enjoy a pint or two of Widmer craft brews.

If you can only go to one event, consider attending the Oregon Bounty Grand Tasting. This event is an overwhelming gathering of vendors showing off their latest food products. You will taste some amazing things and meet many new friends.

Feast Portland donates its net proceeds to Share Our Strength and Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon. Throughout the year, Feast supports the charities by raising awareness at events and through chef appearances, panel discussions and community outreach programs. The festival is committed to fighting hunger and working with these two organizations to do so.

Visit for a complete rundown and to buy tickets. Some events are free, such as the Whole Foods Market Best Butcher Contest and Fishmonger Face-Off.

Speaking of Oregon bounty, my husband’s garden is teeming with great produce. Here is a dish that can help you use up some of your garden produce.

Bon appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Grilled Eggplant, Red Bell Pepper

and Arugula Rolls

Serves 6

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 small eggplants (1 pound each), cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices

4 red bell peppers

2 bunches arugula

1/2 cup (about) pine nuts, toasted

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Whisk together vinegar and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Grill until cooked through, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from grill; brush with 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Cool.

Grill bell peppers until blackened on all sides. Wrap in paper bag and let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed peppers. Cut into 1/4-inch strips. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made a day ahead. Cover; chill eggplant and bell peppers separately.)

Place eggplant slices on work surface. Place 4 bell pepper strips on 1 end of each eggplant slice; top with 2 to 4 arugula sprigs, allowing peppers and arugula to extend beyond both sides of eggplant. Sprinkle pine nuts atop arugula. Roll eggplant up. Place seam side down on platter. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead. Cover.)

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 101, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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