Taste of the Nation 2014

totnbokeSeeking to stretch their event dollars, presumably so that they have more moolah for lobster and pennywort salads and smoked salmon and mascarpone crepes, people sometimes ask me what the best annual food event worth splashing out for is, and Taste of the Nation tops my list.

For the price, you won’t find a better lineup of A+ local food talent, and since your ticket proceeds go to a good cause—Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign—you’ll also feel like a better person. Philanthropy with a side of Xocolatl de Davíd’s fluffernutters and chocolate milk? Yes, please.

This year’s sold out Taste of the Nation shook its crawfish poutine and beef tataki-stuffed fist at child hunger last night, from the funky confines of downtown’s beloved Crystal Ballroom, where over 30 local restaurants ranging from Aviary to The Country Cat put on a facestuffing show of shows.

Photo from @portlandtaste Instagram

Photo from @portlandtaste’s Instagram

The lineup went something like this:

totnbiwa

Biwa’s asparagus ohitashi

totnirvingstreet

Irving Street Kitchen’s smoked albacore crudo

Renata's My Pharm rabbit 'nduja with pickled carrots and pea shoots

Renata’s My Pharm rabbit ‘nduja with pickled carrots and pea shoots

OP executive chef Alex Yoder and his meat

Olympic Provisions executive chef Alex Yoder and plenty o’ OP meat

totngrassa

Grassa’s lumache cacio e pepe

totnsmallwares

Smallwares’ beef tataki with kimchi, hoisin and cilantro

totnbamboosushi

Bamboo Sushi’s grilled short ribs

totndeparture

Departure’s stewed chicken with ripe plantains & Scotch Bonnet peppers

Smokehouse 21's slow poached egg with smoky pork

Smokehouse 21′s slow poached egg with smoky pork

totnboke

Boke Bowl’s crawfish poutine over rice tots

totnaviary

Aviary’s piping hot soup dumplings

totnppc

Pacific Pie Company’s chocolate bourbon hazelnut pie

Salt & Straw brought Lucky Charms studded Pot of Gold & Rainbows ice cream

Salt & Straw scooped Lucky Charms studded Pot of Gold & Rainbows ice cream

totnravenandrose

Raven & Rose’s rhubarb rosewater fools and chocolate toffee Millionaire Squares

Xocolatl de Davíd's fluffernutters with chocolate milk

Xocolatl de Davíd’s fluffernutters with chocolate milk

If you were on the fence about going this year and didn’t hop off and get your ticket, I hope you feel as forlorn as you should. But the nice thing about TOTN is that it’s as reliable as the arrival of a spring squall on the day you decide to chance wearing your cute new spring flats, so just mark your calendar for next year’s event.

And now, for one final swoon,

Endless rows of Batch PDX chocolates

Endless rows of Batch PDX chocolates

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