Comfort Food Goes Upscale at Feast Portland’s High Comfort

As in 2012, Feast Portland wound down in style with the High Comfort event, which challenged chefs to push comfort food out of the comfort zone.

The result: A large number of dishes showcasing offal, such as sweetbreads, trotters, bone marrow, heart, and heavy use of foie gras. Seemingly familiar items like hot dogs, meatballs, pho, and porridge were elevated with unusual ingredients and techniques—even ice cream benefitted from a porky twist.

Crowds lined up to taste dishes from Michael Voltaggio, April Bloomfield, and Andrew Carmellini (who happened to serve my three favorite dishes of the night), but there were plenty of hometown heroes offering surprises to sample.

Continue on to check out all 20 of the High Comfort bites.


My favorite dish of the night, this riff on pho from Michael Voltaggio of ink in Los Angeles contains noodles made from daikon, beef short rib, broth made from beef fat and knuckle, puffed beef tendon, herbs he brought from California, and dots of hoison sauce.


Ex-Portlander Matthew Lightner of Atera served country-fried beef: stewed beef tenders chicken-fried and accompanied by vinegar-marinated vegetables.


From Restaurant Beck, on the Oregon coast, Justin Wills dished up water buffalo bratwurst made with lobster mushrooms and juniper branch mustard, rolled in dehydrated brioche. Also on the plate: onion leather and mustard greens.


April Bloomfield of The Breslin Bar & Dining Room (and The Spotted Pig) in New York drew long lines for her seafood sausage, made with line-caught sea bass, lobster, and shrimp. This was in my list of top three dishes of the night.


Justin Woodward of Castagna in Portland served smoked black cod with nasturtium cream, watercress puree, smoked black tea powder, and nasturtium leaves.


From San Francisco’s Flour + Water, chef Thomas McNaughton served fermented grain porridge with mushrooms, Red Hawk cheese, and duck crackling.


Stephanie Izard from The Girl and the Goat in Chicago served goat chilli with goat cheddar, along with pizza poufs and pickled peppers to make the dish a real tongue-twister.


Vitaly Paley of Portland’s Imperial did an upscale version of steak and eggs, using smoked elk tongue, duck egg yolk, and crispy potatoes.


From Portland’s Lincoln, Jenn Louis served lamb tartare with salsa verde and cured egg yolk.


From Erik Van Kley at Little Bird Bistro, in Portland, here’s a lamb belly BLT on grilled Franz white bread with heirloom tomatoes, field greens, bacon and avocado mayonnaise, and smoked sea salt.


Jason French of Ned Ludd in Portland served creamed, chipped smoked salmon with brioche soldiers.


Aaron Barnett of Portland’s St. Jack served “Mom’s spaghetti,” topped with a wild boar, sweetbread, and pig trotter bolognese.


Here’s Dungeness crab, peanut, and pork sausage with kimchi fried rice from Tom Douglas at TanakaSan in Seattle.


Also in my top three is this foie gras hot dog by Andrew Carmellini at The Dutch. The dog itself is made with foie gras, duck meat, and pork, then topped with more foie, choucroute, daikon radish, and sour cherry sauce.


From Philippe Boulot at The Mac (Multnomah Athletic Club) in Portland, a dartois of sweetbread, foie gras, and lobster.


Jason Stoller Smith at Timberline Lodge outside of Portland served smoked pork cheeks with baked potato foam and truffled yogurt powder.


Matt Christianson of Urban Farmer in Portland served Oregon elk with offal aioli (made with bone marrow, liver, and heart cooked sous vide), semolina pita, and pickled vegetables.


From Seattle’s The Whale Wins, Renee Erickson offered herring rillette on rye toast, topped with preserved peppers in oil.


Portland’s Maurice has yet to open, but Kristen Murray made waves with her popped popcorn pavlova, sweet corn cremeux, Oregon berry compote, and salted honey toffee pop tuile.


Portland’s Tyler Malek and Salt & Straw wowed the crowd all weekend, especially with this black raspberry-dipped cone, which contains smoked ham ice cream.

(Originally published at Serious Eats on September 24, 2013.)


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