The Sandwich Invitational was the opening event for Feast Portland. Restaurants from the Portland area represented the majority of the sandwich-making competitors, though some were from further afield, including Aaron Franklin from Austin's Franklin Barbecue, and Ace of Cakes personality Duff Goldman from Charm City Cakes in Los Angeles.
Pork and bread ruled the day, with meaty offerings making it a challenge to eat sandwiches from all 15 entrants. But with creativity encouraged, there was a wide variety of bread and fillings, with sandwiches running from savory to sweet. And while the smoked prime rib that Franklin Barbecue and Podnah's Pit used in their collaborative cheesesteak sandwich was utterly addictive, I agreed with the crowd's choice of Beast's maple-glazed pork belly sandwich as the overall winner of the competition.
With recommended beer pairings from Portland's Widmer Brothers Brewery, it was a festive evening and a fine way to kick off an extraordinary four days of eating at the Feast Portland festival.
About the author: Jay Friedman is a Seattle-based freelance food writer who happens to travel extensively as a sex educator. An avid fan of noodles (some call him "The Mein Man"), he sees sensuality in all foods, and blogs about it at his Gastrolust website. You can follow him on Twitter @jayfriedman.