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Dan Pashman of The Sporkful interviews local designer Aaron James Draplin at Listen Up! in Portland.

TRIBUNE PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Dan Pashman of The Sporkful greets the crowd at The Evergreen venue on Saturday, Feb. 16, during the Listen Up! podcast festival in Portland. Food and creative design were served up on a single platter during Portland's newest festival — Listen Up! — created with podcast lovers in mind.

Some 2,500 were expected to attend a slate of 17 different events during the four-day fest beginning Thursday, Feb. 14 and running through Sunday. The new endeavor gives area audiences a chance to eavesdrop on their favorite out-of-town talent, many of who interviewed local legends.

Dan Pashman, the voice behind the James Beard award-winning audio show The Sporkful, told the Tribune he savored some of the city's greatest culinary hits during his second trip to the Rose City, including Pok Pok, Blue Star Donuts and Salt & Straw.

He appeared Saturday, Feb. 16 before a large crowd at The Evergreen venue. In an interview, Pashman singled out for praise the wings at Pok Pok and Blue Star's orange olive oil cake donut — though he's not convinced artisanal ice cream will ever beat out the fare at Dairy Queen.

"I am not one of those 'New York is better at everything' people," the Empire State resident explained. "I just don't love food as status symbol, and you see plenty of that in New York and in Portland."

On the opposite side of the mic at Listen Up! was well-known graphic designer Aaron James Draplin, who recently collaborated on the new Super Deluxe burger joint at 5009 S.E. Powell Blvd.

Draplin says the greatest threat facing Portland's foodie and culture space may be the lack of affordable housing and the invasion of inauthentic big-city values.

"Town is feeling more and more restricted with design. Sandwiches are 22 bucks and you have to pour your own water," Draplin noted.

The entire event was recorded live. And podcaster Pashman also used his time in Portland to tape a meeting with Laurie Wolf of Laurie + MaryJane edibles. The episode, which may be released around April 20, starts with a skeptical Pashman questioning whether people will truly savor edibles if they're merely trying to become high.

The Listen Up! Portland festival is the brainchild of Shauna Noah, an event planner and creative conference "logistics gun" for hire. Major sponsors of the event include Travel Portland, Chefs Table and Provenance Hotels, and Noah says the festival will likely return again next year.

"If stand-up comedy is the new punk rock, a podcast is the new rock 'n' roll," she said. "I wanted to find people who had cool podcasts that would make sense for them to tell the story of Portland."


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