The real Portlandia, featuring a summer Thanksgiving.

Stuffing my face is a routine thing nowadays. Especially last weekend.

But everything I ate was FRESH. It was awestrucking to nosh on Oregon’s overflowing summer bounty.

I managed to go to the opening day of the Bite of Oregon Festival, a weekend extravaganza held at the Waterfront Park. This event hosted an extensive list of vendors, ranging from food trucks to berry farms. And most dishes were offered at lower prices (average is 5 dollars) to allow people to sample as much as possible.

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I was starving and raring to go, so I first snagged a dainty salmon slider from Doug Fir Lounge–a soft, lightly fried salmon patty smeared with a little tartar sauce nestled inside a bun. The salmon flavor was mild, more muted than strong, but the tartar was a nice touch.

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Then I headed over to the Chef’s Bounty Table to try one of their gourmet creations. Options ranged from blueberry cobbler to an elegant shrimp cocktail, but my heart imprinted on the braised duck and blueberry chutney roll.

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Photo credit: Allie Husari

What a chutney, folks. Molten blueberry sauce pooled all over this roll, covering the braised duck. The fusion of savory duck with the sweet yet slightly tart chutney created a taste reminiscent of the holidays, like turkey with cranberry sauce. But as I continued eating, the avalanche of blueberry masked the duck’s flavor, unbalancing the combination. The roll also tasted rather old. But props to the chutney maker!

After that, I scurried towards a FREE pad thai stand. Free?? Mine eyes could not believe it. But yes, it was freshly prepared pad thai with chicken and beansprouts. Not bad for free fare.

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The real climax of the night, however, was the marionberry shortcake. Winner of “Best Dessert,” this divine presentation of marionberry royalty with a crown of whipped cream took my breath away. And lots of passersby stared as well.

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Marionberries are a part of Oregonian pride–it’s strictly local, born and raised in Marion County. So if you want to get a pick of some of these plump, sweet berries, come visit! This shortcake had a crumbly yet spongy texture with a dash of salt. It was sweetened with a marionberry puree that soaked into it, while fresh marionberries lined the edges of the bowl along with a dollop of more whipped cream. Talk about treating yourself.

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Photo credit: Allie Husari

The very next day after Bite of Oregon, I headed to the quintessential Saturday farmer’s market. People swarm to these things in the summer to get their hands on some fresh produce for reasonable prices. This place is like a hipster Costco, honestly–minus the huge quantities–because you can sample a whole hodgepodge of foods. I ambled around eating morsels of peaches, yellow watermelon, and Sriracha cheese puffs. My mother was ecstatic about a scoring a four-dollar cantaloupe. Oh, Saturdays, how we love you.

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The farmer’s market also featured lots of vendors who served breakfast and lunch noms, like this Canby asparagus farm that offered a mammoth omelette filled with an array of vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and more). It was probably the sloppiest-looking omelette ever (the guy cooking this struggled to tip everything onto the plate without a mess) but the whole shebang of cheese, egg, and veggies satisfied my grouchy stomach.

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If there’s anything I’ll surely miss when I go back to school in a week (WHAT), it’s the feeling of enjoying Thanksgiving in the summertime with this cornucopia of fresh food. I live in an abundant city. #blessed

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