If you follow me on Instagram (which you should if you don’t and love numerous photos of food), you probably noticed the amazingness that was my last Tuesday night. Taste of the Nation is one of my favorite food events of the year.
First off, it is a fantastic fundraiser for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign, which is working hard to end childhood hunger. No Kid Hungry has made a meaningful impact by providing more than 34 million additional meals to kids who need them and teaching more than 100,000 low-income families essential food skills so they can shop for and cook healthy food on a budget. 100% of the night’s ticket sales went to support this great cause.
Secondly, this event brought together over 60 of Oregon’s best restaurants, bakeries, wineries, breweries and distilleries into one location. It is an all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink adventure through the Crystal Ballroom. While it is crammed with people, everyone is having a great time and there are surprisingly not really any lines – probably because there are so many good things to try and so much food provided, there is no need for everyone to rush to one booth at once.
It truly is hard to pick a favorite for the night. But I think I’ve narrowed it down to these three:
1) Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Laurelhurst Market. It included house-smoked hot dogs and was topped with a salty, crispy potato chip crust. I admittedly was really skeptical of this, “Really, mac and cheese at an event like this?” I thought. But my friend Sara of Salt. Water. Coffee. who was there also conveniently walked past right as I thought this and told me I had to try it. Boy am I glad she did. Simple but so delicious. I’m already plotting going to Laurelhurst to get a giant bowl of it (and yes, I’ve already checked it is on their regular menu, hooray!).
2) Fluffernutter from Xocolatl de David. Seriously David Briggs is a genius. This little sandwich with melted chocolate and marshmallow fluff was one of the best things I’ve ever had. It was the second thing I ate and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
3) Soup Dumplings from Aviary. I’m not sure what was inside these little guys but they were sublime.
So those were the top three. Well, but then I really loved Gregory Goudet of Departure‘s chicken stewed with peppers, pickled chilies, and ripe plantain. And the chocolate truffles from Batch PDX were incredibly rich and wonderful, especially the Crunch Nutty PDX with hazelnut, milk chocolate and feuilletine crunch.
Ok, ok, I clearly can’t narrow it down to just three. Everything was too good. Including these bites as well:
Khao Niaw Sangkhaya Bai Toei, a sweet sticky rice topped with a duck egg, pandan, coconut custard hidden inside a banana leaf from Andy Ricker of Pok Pok.
Johanna Ware of smallwares had a delicious beef tataki that was incredibly flavorful with its Asian-inspired marinade/sauce made with kimichi, hoisin and cilantro.
Chefs Adam and Jackie Sappington of The Country Cat always know how to create treats for a party. They served fantastic fried chicken lollipops AND a honey vanilla hot fudge sundae.
I got to try Restaurant St Jack‘s Stinging Nettle Vichyssoise and Crispy Chicken Skin on live TV. Yup, I happened to walk past Drew Carney of KGW right when he was filming with Chef Aaron Barnett and got suckered into being interviewed and sampling soup on air. Oh don’t you worry, you can still watch me embarrass myself, thanks to the internet. Just don’t forget to also get my autograph now before I get real famous.
Drinks were delicious of course.
And more good stuff:
My friend Lauren and I had an awesome time enjoying so much delicious food and as always we had fun goofing off with photo booth photos.
A bunch of my favorite blogger friends were there too, so check out their blogs as well for more awesome recaps: Bee, Michelle, Rachel, Rebekah, Pechluck, Sara, Marisa, Marlynn, Sonya, and Kim. (Yes, that is a long list. It’s just the Portland blogger community is way too awesome and filled with really great ladies.)
It was a fantastic evening at Taste of the Nation. I couldn’t have asked for more fun or better food.
Can’t wait till next year!