To celebrate its twelfth year, Nicky USA's Wild About Game festival headed up a few thousand feet from its former home at Resort at the Mountain to the historic Timberline Lodge. The meat-powered event (fueled by quail, rabbit, pheasant, elk, squab, wild boar, and more) brought out hundreds of game lovers, complete with stunning views of Mt Jefferson and a autumnal breeze to mark the kick-off of hunting season and fall-weather dishes.
Dozens of meat purveyors and artisans showcased their wares on the two-level marketplace, In Good Taste offered a colorful spread of meat-focused cookbooks, and some of Portland's buzziest chefs (including Anthony Cafiero and Greg Denton) lead cooking demos in addition to the highlight of the event, the game meat cook-off.
This year, the culinary competion was organized as a Seattle vs. Portland smackdown, with top PDX knife slingers pitted against the best chefs from up north. Despite the overwhelming Portlandian leanings of the crowd and vendors, Seattle took three out of the four face-offs, as well as the Judges' Choice award (which went home with Nathan Lockwood of Altura). Every chef had the opportunity to showcase their quail, rabbit, elk, and pheasant dishes to the hungry crowd, and Portland's Gregory Gourdet of Departure clenched the People's Choice prize.
To see what each chef created for the cook-off, check out my slide show above (including shots of favorite purveyors like Chop Butchery, Cheese Bar, Olympic Provisions, and Xocolatl de David).