Portland Feastin’

Look at that face. Look at it. That's the face of pure, unadulterated bliss after consuming a sensational bite of food. If that doesn't set the stage for my epic recap of my weekend spent at Portland Feast, I don't know what will! 

For those that missed my grand announcement slash blog post last week, Portland Feast is an annual four-day food festival that I had the utter pleasure of embarking on last weekend. For four blissful days I was in my complete happy place. I mean, I didn't even know what my happy place was before Feast! We're talking adult Disneyland, only Disneyland is copious amount of food and alcohol without stroller city or "It's a Small World." To call it a "food festival" isn't even doing it justice. It's so much more than that! 

To recap though, my best friend and I, who also happens to share my love for food (and drink!) had been planning our Feast adventure for quite some time. We were motivated to go for a few reasons: 1) we wanted to eat and drink obscene amounts of food and alcohol with zero judgment 2) Seattle, as great of a food city it is, has nothing remotely like Feast. No, Bite of Seattle doesn't count. Not even close. And 3) we wanted to have an excuse to get out of town for a girls' trip. Obviously! 

I can't wait to share all the delicious deets with you. But first, I wanna just sum it up. So what does make Feast stand out so much? What makes it "the best food festival in the country?" Here are a few of my takeaways of what made it truly one of the best (and tastiest) things I've ever experienced: 

  • It's 21 and over. That's right, your duck confit BLT and basil gin smash can be enjoyed sans screaming children! 
  • Star power! For those of you who adore Top Chef and all of those other foodie shows, you get to rub elbows with some of the greats, like Hugh Acheson, Chris Cosentino, Nina Compton and Andy Ricker, to name just a few. 
  • The sheer quality of the chefs, artisans, distilleries, breweries and wineries is remarkable. Being in close proximity to them is great and all but the best part? You get to eat their food. Refer back to picture of me on the right to give you a visual of what that feels like, or rather what that tastes like! 
  • It's not just about quality, but quantity! We tried to keep a running tally of all the bites we consumed per event. And some "bites" are truly sample size, while others are a few biters that involve a fork and knife. On average, I'd say 15 bites and a handful of beverages were consumed at each event, and that was only just scratching the surface of what was offered. One person can only make so much room!

But to really paint the full picture of why it was one of the best experiences I've had, I just have to dive right in and give you the Feast play-by-play. You ready? Buckle in, foodie friends!! 

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Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

Welcome back to our regularly scheduled program of fall soup making! When it's fall, there's really only one soup that comes to mind as a long-time family favorite. A soup that I can cozy on up to time and time again. And that soup, my friends, is Taco Soup. 

Taco Soup was the soup that graced our dinner table growing up at least once a week, especially during fall. When the weeks got too crazy and hectic with football and band practice (yep, I was a band nerd), homework, PTA meetings, and more, this soup was here to save the day. Not only was it always a cinch for my mom to throw it together in the morning in the slow cooker to have waiting for us at the end of a long day, but it was always extremely satisfying and delicious. 

The soup itself really isn't all the groundbreaking. In fact, you might think it's a bit odd that practically of the ingredients come from a can! Rest assured, when all of the ingredients marry together and simmer away all day, they turn into a perfect medley of Tex Mex flavors perfect for a cozy fall meal. Probably my favorite part of this recipe is actually the addition of a ranch dressing seasoning packet. This might sound strange, but if you really think about it, you're just adding bright, zesty flavors like garlic and onion to really give your standard soup some pizazz. I also took a new twist on our classic taco soup recipe with my rendition below. Instead of using ground beef or turkey as the protein which you would brown in advance (you can certainly do this as well), I just added boneless skinless chicken breasts uncooked in the crockpot for them to slowly cook. The result is super tender shredded chicken which I think pairs quite nicely with the beans, corn and zesty, tomato-based broth. 

The other amazing part about this soup? It's perfect for fun topping additions! Top it with sour cream, shredded cheese of your liking and/or tortilla chips. Once you eat a bowl of this hearty, super satisfying soup, you're going to be hooked. 

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New Yorker Sandwiches

You guys!! I'm giddy with excitement. Today is the day I've been waiting for for a very long time. Me and my best friend are setting off on the ultimate food lovers' weekend and getaway. We're headed to Portland Feast! If you're not familiar with Feast, it's a four day, all-inclusive eating and drinking extravaganza with themed events featuring local and nationally acclaimed chefs. Think Top Chef x10. It's been noted as one of the best food festivals in the nation. So naturally, as a food fanatic, this was something that needed to be checked off the bucket list STAT. 

We purchased the tickets and made the plans close to a year ago and the day is finally here! Stay tuned for an epic recap of my weekend on the blog in the next week or so. For now, I thought it completely appropriate to share one of my favorite recipes in honor of the first event we are attending tonight. Get this – we are attending the Sandwich Invitational. The Sandwich Invitational !!!!!!

My ode to the Sandwich Invitational is the New Yorker (New Yawkah) sandwich. What's a New Yorker sandwich? Growing up my mom would take me grocery shopping with her which, at the time, I thought was a chore. Fast forward 20 years and now I know why I love grocery shopping so much! What made our grocery shopping trips so fun in the end was we either made a point of grabbing a bite to eat while we were out shopping as a little reward. The iconic lunch we would share together on our little shopping jaunts was a New Yorker sandwhich we would get in the Top Foods deli. Sadly, they stopped making them in a deli a loooong time ago, but our love for New Yorkers never faded and we would pay tribute to our favorite sandwich by making them at home. 

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Nectarine Raspberry Crisp

Ok, so I might've jumped the gun a teensy bit on this whole "let's get ready for fall" bit. Sure, I went on a Bath and Body Works candle haul ($12.50 candles happening right now, everyone!! Get at it!!) and I made my first pot of delicious, comforting soup, but this summer weather is definitely here for at least a bit longer. So I guess I should enjoy it while it lasts…

To say goodbye to summer in these last few sweet weeks, I have to pay tribute to some of its best offerings: fresh berries and seasonal fruit. Some of my favorites happen to be nectarines and raspberries. To me there's no better fruit than a super ripe, sweet yet tangy nectarine. And fresh raspberries? Who doesn't love those sweet little morsels! 

While I'm not a baker, crisps and crumbles are totally my thing, so I knew this was the vehicle for ripe nectarines and raspberries. Why? They're super easy to make for such an impressive, delicious dessert and there's tons of room for forgiveness. Forget being exact! Preciseness is for squares. 

But seriously, this crisp recipe is super simple and would pair quite nicely with practically any summer fruit, so pick your favs! My favorite component has to be the pecan bits to give that extra added crunch and texture. They don't call it a crisp for nothing! 

I think you're going to rather enjoy this sweet, slightly salty crisp. And while I said I was going to take a chill pill from this whole fall thing, I think this dessert will help you achieve the best of both worlds by enjoying the last of summer's sweet bounty while you snuggle on in to a freshly baked dessert. Rather sneaky of me, I know. Enjoy, folks! 

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Chicken and Dumplings

Fall is in the air!!!! I cannot tell you how excited this makes me. Sure, I know I sound like every basic PNW girl right now but my love for fall in Washington is true and pure. There's really nothing I love more than when the rain starts pouring, the air turns crisp and cool and the leaves start falling. But it's more than just this weather I love! It's how it's perfectly acceptable to lounge around in your yoga pants all weekend, wear fuzzy socks, sip on tea, eat heartwarming soups and burn those Bath and Body Works candles like there's no tomorrow. All these reasons and more is why I am madly in love with you, fall!! 

And since I'm in love with the season that's upon us, I not even ashamed to admit that I bolted at the opportunity to make my first pot of fall soup on that first chilly, rainy evening. Move over, grilled corn on the cob and burgers, it's time for soup to take the stage! 

I'm going to fill you in on a little not-so-secret of mine too. I love soups so much and think they're absolutely one of the most perfect dishes of all time, that I'm committed to making at least one pot a week. This is hardly even a stretch at all since I could easily do this in my sleep, but with a goal like this, I just can't wait to roll out all my old favorites and new recipes for Hungry Ali this season. 

Tell me you're as excited as I am!!!!

Ok, I need to tone it down a notch or ten. 

My first batch of soup for fall 2016 had to be a real knockout, and oh was it. I went with a classic, heartwarming, comfort-food-in-a-bowl favorite: chicken and dumplings! 

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Blackened Fish Tacos with Creamy Lime Slaw

I have a pretty important/exciting announcement to share: today (or thereabouts) marks one year since the launch of HungryAli.com! I can hardly believe it myself. Before I get to the reason why we're all here in the first place (to do all things related to delicious food and drink), I just have to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who's supported the blog so far. While I fully admit I am in my early stages of food blogdom and have a looooong way to go in terms of making my mark, it's been a dream to be able to share my love of food, cooking and writing with others and I can only hope to see this passion grow from here. So THANK YOU for reading and for even trying the recipes out on your own. It means the world!! 

But like I said, let's get to the juicy bits: the food!! 

I wanted to throw it back about a year ago with this recipe, since it twas just about a year ago, in the early stages of HungryAli.com that I made these insanely delicious Crispy Fish Tacos with Cilantro Slaw and Sriracha Mayo. As I reminisced on the early days of the blog, I couldn't help but want to try a new spin on one of the originals. 

Slash I was really craving a fish taco. But let's not let that distract us from the nostalgia from all of this, people!!! 

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Grapefruit Basil Fizz

When I moved into my first "big girl" apartment about two years ago, one of the first furniture additions I sprung for was a bar cart. Yes, many a evenings were spent browsing Pinterest for that perfect apartment inspiration and many a pins were saved that featured stylish, classy bar carts. You know, for when I have all my friends come over for cocktail hour and we just laugh and chat and sip the night away! 

Fast forward to two years later, and this super girly fantasy has been just that: a fantasy. Sure, I have the extremely adorable bar cart that now sits tucked away in a corner of our breakfast nook (poor bar cart), complete with a pug-drinking-a-glass-of-wine picture frame, totem pole shot glasses, turquoise and grey paper straws, martini glasses, wine glasses and tumblers and an "I heart day drinking" bottle opener. But the booze to cute bar accessories ratio, let alone the desire to even make the damn cocktails is lacking. 

So it's about time I start putting these extremely cute (if I do say so myself) bar cart accessories to good use. And no way better to do that then to whip up a few swift cocktails. 

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Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burgers

Somehow I blinked and summer is already almost gone! I have to say, inside I'm kind of doing a happy dance. I looooove me some fall, and all of the coziness it brings with scented candles, fuzzy socks, football and soups galore (#basicbitchforlife). 

Meanwhile, it's still summer for at least a minute or two. And I do have to say the highlight of my summer has been grilling up a storm with Cole! We've made some pretty darn tasty meals, if I do say so myself. From Grilled Herb Prawns, to Asian Style Halibut to Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs, our grill has really put in some extra hours. To send summer off in style, I thought only fitting to whip up another amazing grill-worthy recipe: Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burgers. 

For my spicy food and cheese lovers out there, this one is for you!! 

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Grilled Chicken Banh Mi

I have to admit, with this recent heat wave, I soooo haven't felt like cooking. But can you blame me? Once that oven turns on, our tiny little apartment becomes a sauna! So you know I'm trying to avoid that sensation like the plague. 

So it's times like these when I'm beyond thankful that Cole and I made the investment in a grill for our little patio (even though Cole hated me and it at the time when he spent several hours trying to assemble the damn thing!) The grill truly has been a lifesaver. For hot nights when we don't feel like firing up the oven, and just for nights when we want some tasty grilled flavor, the grill is everything! 

I'm constantly trying to think of new things to throw on the barbie to shake up a typical weeknight and also keep us from spending too much time prepping and cooking. The latest installment of this type of meal was inspired by one of my favorite sandwiches: a French-Vietnamese Banh Mi! 

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Hawkchos

Well, we made it! Gone are the days of the football off-season, my fellow football lovers. Football is officially back! And you know what that means? Hawks, beer and football food! Woohoo! 

Cole and I couldn't contain ourselves, clearly. So what's the first thing we thought to make to kick-off such a momentous occasion? Make nachos! But not just any nachos. Because we are tried and true 12th fans, we had to make HAWKchos. Yep, I'm cheesy and I know it! 

What are Hawkchos, you ask? They're your standard nachos, only bigger, bolder and louder, just like true 12s. And they even sport Seahawks blue and green! 

Our Hawkchos did not disappoint. Covered with tons of shredded jack cheese, shredded chicken, black bean corn salsa (because if you've tasted my infamous black bean corn salsa, you know that needs to make an appearance on some Hawkchos), pickled jaleps and lots of fresh cilantro and avocado just to be festive. Our ultimate 12th fan meal was only made complete by an ice cold brew and a Seahawks win. Go Hawks! 

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