Five Senses of Feast

 

Two years ago while visiting Portland with my parents my ears perked up at something I heard on the radio. I only remember sound clips: Sandwich. Invitational. Feast. Portland. Bon Appetit. I was still relatively new to the Pacific Northwest at the time so it was a mystery that grabbed my attention instantaneously. I needed to know more. Upon further Googling I learned 2 things: 1) Feast was an annual multi-day festival held in Portland, sponsored by Bon Appetit, that showcased Oregon’s bounty and featured several renowned Chefs from around the nation. 2) I HAD TO GO.

Fast forward two years to 2017. On the morning of June 2nd I sat at my computer, cheek in hand, impatiently refreshing the page where I’d purchase tickets for the festival once they were released at 11am. The moment struck and after surmounting a delay caused by an overloaded server I was in. I scored tickets to four events: Late Night Adventures in Takeout, The Grand Tasting (like a deluxe weekend costco sample experience), No Kilts Required: American Single Malts and—the piéce de résistance—Tillamook Presents: SMOKED (A BBQ PARTY, YA’LL).

June, July, and the early days of September crawled by, but finally it was time to pack up the Mazda3 and zoom down to Portland for Feast. The weekend unfolded in what I can only describe as a sensory extravaganza. One that I’m going to try and recreate for you now.

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Feast looked like –

  • A series of electric parties across the city accented by thematic mood lighting that gave every event charisma. My favorite was the neon, untraditional at a BBQ event.
  • Crowded, enthusiastic gatherings of all kinds of people—friends and strangers, groups and soloists, from different places, of different generations.
  • A tie-dye of stains on my shirts from who-knows-which saucy snacks.
  • A never ending sea of artistically composed dishes created by chefs whose home restaurants are peppered around the US.
  • A list to which I was always adding, documenting names of new restaurants I otherwise may have remained oblivious to.
  • Caramel colored splashes on my collar from that last whiskey cocktail I shouldn’t have had.

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Feast sounded like –

  • The ubiquitous hiss of raw meats sizzling on grills.
  • Exclamations between guests about which dishes were worth standing in line for—guiding my next move.
  • Bumpin’ music adding to the energy of the night accented by the percussion of iced bourbon cocktails being shaken in both fists by the boisterous bartenders.
  • Soft speaking between members of a restaurant’s staff underneath the tents.
  • The wise words of innovative chefs being interviewed by Bon Appetit’s Adam Rapoport.
  • Clattering of metal stock pots and pans. The metal clapping of tongs.
  • Joy during a time of political turbulence—laughter, casual conversation, excited statements punctuated by each new bite.
  • The low, slow groans of indigestion around 2am.

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Feast felt like –

  • Oregon’s warm September sun, it’s chilly twilight breezes.
  • The crunch of my first air fried dumpling, and the contrasting soft textures of regional cheeses.
  • The delicate balance of my wine glass in one hand and two small paper plates in the other.
  • Warmth from open faced grills.
  • Fumbling with utensils: chopsticks, forks, spoons, skewers.
  • The constant pressure of my finger on the shutter button of my camera.
  • Conflict because my stomach was full but MORE THAN ANYTHING I just wanted to keep eating.

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Feast smelt like –

  • Competing smoky scents from the forest fires of Jolly Mountain and the plumes dancing skyward from the charcoal grills.
  • Complex combinations of spicy aromas characteristic of single malt american whiskies.
  • An amalgam of currently-being-cooked dishes—fermented, peppery, sweet, mesquite, fruity, floral.
  • The perfume of Febreeze inside of a suburban mom’s lyft vehicle.

 

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Feast tasted like –

  • Fruit-forward wines from all over the pacific northwest.
  • Sweet baked goods and fragrant berry jams from local vendors.
  • Unique combinations of sweet and savory ingredients that I would’ve never thought to combine like brussels sprouts and pomegranate seeds.
  • Umami.
  • A just-been-torched s’more donut from Blue Star that was crunchier than I was expecting.
  • The spicy, moist brisket from Langbaan served in a pool of spicy gravy poured from a hot silver kettle, and decorated with flowers that packed a peppery punch that you can’t even imagine.
  • Very high quality hot dogs with very high quality pumped cheese.
  • The kind of tastes that left an impact on your palate, and lingered even after you brushed your teeth—more like a fond memory than an annoyance.

I am so grateful to have had the chance to attend my first Feast. For every moment I was there I was filled with joy and was able to momentarily forget about daily stresses that often overwhelm me. It wasn’t just me, I was surrounded by other people who were just as I happy as I was. I already look forward to the next Feast I’m able to attend. Next time I’ll go to one of the suppers, I won’t miss the Night Market, and I’ll bring more than 2 doses of indigestion tablets.

 

To learn more about the festival check out their website at feastportland.com

 

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X Marks the Spot | Trove, Seattle

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Trove | Seattle

The first time I saw the big, red X was on the day that my office moved from Fremont to Capitol Hill. It hung proudly on a Pike Street facing wall next to several giant, almost floor-to-ceiling windows. The sun poured inside and I could see a sleek, white counter facing an open kitchen, something that looked like an ice cream truck in the corner and a menu boasting various dishes whose ingredients triggered my curiosity. “Trove?”I read out loud from the sign. What was this place?

After a few weeks of being in our new digs, rumblings about the restaurant could be heard in my office. “There’s Korean BBQ in the back,” someone said excitedly. “AND they sell parfaits!” I didn’t know what Korean BBQ was yet, but I did know that I had to go.


What you need to know
Trove is broken down into three* main parts:

  1. The Counter
    Asian-fusion will never have tasted so good as when you watch it being cooked over a giant flame. The air is thick with aromas that hold promises of imminent umami-bombs, and the menu items change regularly. Believe me when I say that you’re going to want to try the sauces that you’re offered by the chef.

    trove

    Trove | Noodle Bar


  2. The BBQ
    While this isn’t your hole-in-the-wall Korean BBQ joint, it sure does make a strong case for itself. The quality of the meats at Trove is evident from the get-go, and the chefs are happy to cook them for you if you’re feeling a little timid about your tong technique. I’d recommend trying a variety of things from different areas of the menu. Our server (who was fantastic, BTW) was happy to help us in our selection of items, and gave us an honest opinion about how much food would be the right amount of food. He was dead on.

    BBQ

    Trove | Korean BBQ

  1. The Parfaits I have had the parfaits at Trove more than I have had anything else. I will say this: if you don’t have a sweet tooth, these might not be for you. If this is the case please go inside and get yourself a sake. However if you fall into the Sweet Tooth category I’d recommend following your heart and trying as many as you can while the flavors last. They change them every season and I’ve hardly ever been unimpressed. Bonus: If you bring back the branded glass jar that they serve your parfait in you can get a dollar off your next one! (As if I needed more motivation to go back…)

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    Trove | Parfait


Still need convincing?

Here’s 10 Reasons You Should Go to Trove This Summer

1. Who doesn’t like to grill on the dinner table? It’s like the adult-friendly version of playing with your food

2. ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S WAGYU TRI-TIPS. Honestly, they marbeled to perfection

3. The parfaits alone give you at least ~6 reasons to stop by. I tried the cookies and cream with homemade Oreo last weekend, and I had a taste of the Tea Lime Pie (with Matcha custard). Both were divine and I NEED to go back from the peanut butter cup…and the other Matcha one.

4. NOOOODLES. While the noodle bar’s menu changes pretty frequently, I’ve always enjoyed a savory, flavorful, and satisfying meal there.

5. AGAIN WITH THE PEA VINES. They had smoked cashews on them and a hint of a vinegar taste. A perfect side dish to our meat selection (My other favorites so far this season were at Ma’Ono)

6. THERE IS A  ALSO BAR. There’s an  international beer list, a great sake/shochu selection, unique cocktails (of which I want to try MANY), and six beer taps pouring cold, local beer. Happy hour from 4-6!

7. Because there’s not only meat to love, but also veggies dishes. The asparagus and mushroom entree was SO flavorful. Please eat as much of the sauce as possible.

8. Impress your date (or your crew) with a beautiful Asian fusion restaurant on capitol hill

9. Because a Netflix binge of 90’s movies is 300 times better with to-go noodles from their counter (pro tip: favorites right now are the rice cake/curry/kale, the Pad thai/ chipotle/pork belly/yu choy/chili peanuts, and the kimchi pork dumplings)

10. Because, truly, you’ve got to see what all the fuss is about:

Other restaurants in the Trove family include Revel and Joule. I could go on and on about both of them, but I’ll save that for another day.


Please feel free to send any hot tips my way, whether it be a hole-in-the-wall or a trendy place that lives up to the hype (in Seattle, OR ANYWHERE ELSE). Key items I look for on menus often include: Shrimp and Grits, Manhattans, Burgers with Creative Toppings, and Complimentary Baskets of Warm, Salted Tortilla Chips.

Follow me on instagram or snapchat to keep up with my never ending snack journey in real time!

instagram: @lacunningham  —  snapchat: lacunningha

Pick it up | Your Anti-bad day Playlist

Even when you’re playing all your cards right; even when you have somehow found a balance of working and a social life; even when you find a coupon for two free Doritos locos tacos on the ground; you are still 100% capable of having a bad day, or even a streak of them.

Yesterday was my bad day. Even though life is crazy awesome right now and even though I couldn’t be feeling more thrilled about things to come, I had a day yesterday where I felt like my dreams could be oh-so-easily crumpled like a used gum wrapper and alley-ooped into the trashcan. I felt like a flat tire whose positivity had leaked out.

I needed a pick-me-up and I needed it quick so I did what I do best: surfed the internet. I found images that made me happy and focused on why they made me happy, and then vowed to employ bits them in my life this week. Here’s a few of the images that got me on the road to recovery:

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So, what are some things you can do to get out from under your self deprecating (d)rain cloud? Here are some ideas:

  1. Exercise. Much to my surprise, I’ve transformed into a person who has decided going to the gym is a good way to push myself of out whatever funk I’ve found myself in. After a good while of sulking in the darkness of my room I reluctantly changed into my Nikes and made my way the squat rack. Spoiler alert: I’m glad I did. Endorphins are a hell of a thing!
  2. Laugh. Just LAUGH. Whatever it takes.
  3. Gain and retain an understanding that even Beyonce has bad days.
  4. Convince yourself about how much you rule (I know it sounds cheesy, but it works).
  5. Speaking of cheesy…pizza? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  6. Listen to this playlist (and dance, no matter how badly) for at least 15 minutes:

musicme

Speak to you soon!

x

Insta catchup + Playlist | 2.23

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The last few months have absolutely whizzed by so I thought now would be a good time to do a catch up of some of the haps that I’ve shared on Instagram. My feed has turned into a constant stream of interiors, outfits and anything else that inspires me; this includes, but is not limited to, brunch, coffee and maybe a flower or sixteen. Be sure to check out my profile at instagram.com/lacunningham.

In the mean time…this week’s playlist! Exciting news ahead. Stay tuned.

Speak to you soon!

x

Home | Weekend Inspiration

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I’ve been on the hunt for home-inspo ever since the new apartment hunt has gotten more serious. I’m dying to find some antique Eames chairs, some innovative shelving solutions, and all the indoor green plants.

As far as the new place goes? I’m aiming for something with more natural light. And something with more of a downstairs that is a pizza restaurant.

Where do you get your best home inspo/decor?

 

Speak to you soon!

 

x

Saturday Morning Mood Board

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Just a few things that have caught my attention this morning:

1. Got the beach on my brain. The coastal color scheme and the easiness of this composition are making me ache for the breaking waves and days spent with my feet in the sand.
2. Calligraphy numbers always deserve to be on a mood board, especially when they are as charming as this.
3. Cherries have been my summer fruit craving this year, closely followed by red currants and watermelon. (Allllll of the watermelon).
4. Gold leaf + script font + words to live by
5. Does it get better than a glamourous metallic jumpsuit?
6. Loving the style of this illustration of the flat iron building. Miss you, New York.
7. The lines that the tile creates all over this room are so pleasing to my eye. Anything with a grid pattern is a friend of mine.

Speak to you soon!

 

x

 

 

 

Sunday Inspo | A Note on Patience

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A little inspiration for the beginning of a new week. I know, for me, this is may be a little bit of a challenging one. Why? Because patience is hard. Patience is one of those things that’s easier said than done in almost any situation, but it’s also one of those things where I have to drop my hands because I am not in control. Why worry about something that you can’t do anything about until you can, right?

Hang on tight this week. Remember that whatever you’re waiting on is worth the wait.

10 ways to distract yourself from the waiting game:
1. Put on your jogging shoes and go out the door before you have a chance to change your mind. I know from experience that just going on a brief (and still struggle filled) run around your neighborhood can help to put things into perspective…or at least help you focus on how awful the hill you’re about to run up is (*life metaphor, am I right?!?*). Spoiler alert: you are going to make it to the top. Promise.

2. Drive. Go anywhere. Blast your favorite music,  blast Coldplay’s new album (or Ed Sheeran if you’re into that kind of thing) and watch your city roll on by. And SANG. Loud. Who cares who’s next to you at the stoplight (unless it’s that person you smiled at, at the bar last weekend…then you cool it).

3. Find yourself a snow cone. There is nothing that a snow cone on a hot day can’t help. (If you live in Nashville figure out where Retro Sno is because it will not only change your day IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE OKAY?

4. Say yes to things this week. I know that I’m really guilty of holing myself up in my room and shutting down when I’m stressed out, but I’ve found that if you actually LEAVE your room (aka the center of all stress) then you will be able to breathe a lot easier.

5. Make a to do list and check thangs off. Getting things done always makes me feel a sense of accomplishment and makes any stress I have seem a lot less daunting.

6. Pizza.

7. Fill up your schedule so you don’t have time to think about whatever it is you can’t stop thinking about.

8. Laugh as much as you can; watch a funny movie, binge on buzzfeed, hunt down the next big youtube sensation, cruise the internet for comedy gold…I swear it helps. I make a point to spend some time on my favorite funny websites before bed most nights. Laughing relaxes you and makes your brain feel 100 times better. Or call me because I’m hilar.

9. Plan something really great for what happens after you know you’re going to find out about whatever it is you’re waiting on. That way you’re looking forward to something and not dreading it.

10. Pizza. (Needed to reinforce how important this step is. Ask for ranch.)

 

 

Speak to you soon!

x

Head East | Weekend in the Appalachian Mtns

headeast WV45 WV29WV21 WV53  WV56 WV50WV39 WV24 WV19 WV44 WV34WV47 WV33WV41WV32 WV55For three days last weekend I was on a mountain high. Two of my best friends and I loaded up and drove to their family cabin in West Virginia to spend some time hiking, laughing way too hard and exploring the best ways we knew how. Trail after trail took us on winding routes where we got to be close with lots of wildflowers and lots of deer. The views from the top of the mountains we climbed, though they were hard to get to, were always well worth it. The earth is a breathtaking place, and sometimes I forget that.

The area we were in was the northeastern part of West Virginia, right in the thick of the Monongahela National Forest.  The hills were covered in lush, aromatic spruce trees that seemed to go on forever and in the mornings they stayed tucked under thick blankets of heather gray fog. There was so much to do within an hour of the cabin so here’s a little guide in case you’re up for some adventuring as well:

SENECA ROCKS
-Hiking, rock climbing and repelling are just a few things that you can do at this nationally renowned park. The hike up the mountain isn’t terribly hard, but it’s 1000ft of elevation that you’ll definitely be feeling in your thighs when you get to the top. Good news: even though you’ll be exhausted you can rejuvenate on the observation platform and chow down on a peanut butter CLIF bar (there’s a snack cart at the top). If you’re interested in climbing or repelling on the flat faced rocks, there are lots of instruction classes around and guided excursions as well. Seneca Caverns (all the cave photos above) isn’t far away and was so cool as well!

SPRUCE KNOB
-AKA The highest point in West Virginia. There are a lot of trails that vary in length around the mountain  (many of them with an abundance of wildlife running about) as well as one that goes to the top. When you reach it there’s an observation tower with a killer view, and if you explore around the peak of the mountain you’ll discover the coolest boulder garden that would be great for camping or just to stop and soak everything in.  There are plenty of other lower areas for picnicing and grilling as well.

CANAAN VALLEY
Blackwater Falls should be the first stop of your day. There are some trails on the grounds of the park, or you can just take the stairs down to view the falls.
-Get back in the car and drive about 20 minutes and you’ll arrive at Canaan Valley Resort State Park. In the winter it’s a ski resort, but in the summer it’s teeming with outdoorsy people who want to take the lifts up the mountain to the trails. We hiked the Bald Knob trail which was a 2.5 mile trek that took us through the most perfect forest I’ve ever been in and then opened up to the top of a mountain with breathtaking views. (We saw so many deer during our hike, it was crazy). I’d definitely like to return to this part of WV for some snow tubing and skiing.
-Don’t forget to stop off in some of the quaint towns that line your drive to Canaan Valley! We didn’t have a lot of time, otherwise I would’ve been all over their many antique stores and restaurants boasting home cooking (aka my weakness).

This guide is far from being complete, but it should be enough to get your wheels turning. GO somewhere. Explore more, ya’ll.

Tomorrow morning I’m heading to Charleston SC to indulge in coffee, southern cuisine and sunshine. I’ll be there through the weekend so be on the lookout for some beautiful instagrams! Follow me at @lacunningham

If you’re interested in seeing more of my photos from the trip feel free to take a jump over to my Flikr page (click on the About tab at the top of this page)

Thank you guys for reading/looking and being wonderful!

 

Speak to you soon!

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