West Coast Events for the Holiday Season


Learn to use and nurture your own sourdough starter at Sour Flour's starter workshop in San Francisco. [Photograph: Sour Flour]

Whether you're looking to upgrade your mixology skills or looking to sample a slew of tamales, if you're a West Coast denizen, you're in luck. This December brings hands-on workshops and bustling bazaars from L.A. to Seattle—here are our picks.

San Francisco

Sunday, December 8

Urban Sea Foraging with Kirk Lombard
Sunday, December 8, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Fisherman Kirk Lombard will lead a guided tour along the San Francisco shoreline to teach the basics of low-tide fishing, from throwing a Hawaiian casting net to finding mussel beds and edible seaweeds. $40. 1 Yacht Road, San Francisco, CA; event details

Wednesday, December 18

Sour Flour Starter Workshop
Wednesday, December 18, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. In this workshop led by the bakers at Sour Flour, participants will learn how to use and maintain a healthy sourdough starter and, of course, how to turn it into tasty, tasty bread. $80. 2937 24th St., San Francisco, CA; event details

Wednesday, January 8

Chocolate 101
Wednesday, January 8, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Head to Dandelion Chocolate for a crash course that will cover the chocolate-making process from start to finish. There will be plenty of opportunities to taste, from plain cacao to Dandelion's single-origin bars, and participants will get a tour of the facilities. $50. 740 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA; event details

Los Angeles

Sunday, December 8

Border Grill Cooking Class
Sunday, December 8, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken, the chefs at Border Grill, will lead a class on how to throw a Mexican-inspired holiday feast, featuring 10 wintry dishes including smoked mussel ceviche and oregano-braised lam shank. Guests will enjoy a multi-course dinner with cocktails and will bring a recipe booklet home with them to recreate the meal over the holidays. $75. 445 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA; event details

Wednesday, December 11

Tasting Table Presents: An Evening with Roy Choi at Sunny Spot
Wednesday, December 11, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Join Tasting Table and Roy Choi at Sunny Spot, his Caribbean-inspired restaurant, to try dishes like goat stew and Cuban croquettes alongside unlimited beer and cider. Tickets also include signed copies of Choi's new cookbook, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food. $55. 822 W Washington Blvd., Los Angeles, CA; event details

Sunday, December 15

Taste of Tamales Food Festival
Sunday, December 15, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tamales are a holiday tradition throughout Mesoamerica, though flavors and fillings vary from country to country. At this festival, over 15,000 Latino vendors will offer their own varieties, so visitors can sample an array while enjoying live music, arts and crafts, and children's activities. La Placita Olvera, Main Street and E Cesar Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles, CA; event details

Friday, December 27

LA Coffee Club Presents: Tech & Coffee Talks
Friday, December 27, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Pop into Coffeegraph, the coffee show open this month at Think Tank Gallery, for an evening of conversation about technology, coffee, and L.A.'s changing coffee culture. "Better Brewing Through Technology" will cover new brewing methods while "Subscription Services: The Cure for the Convenience Condition" will be a fireside chat among representatives of several popular coffee subscription sites. Should you get thirsty after all this talking, fear not: Stumptown has a pop-up coffee bar at the exhibit. $7. 939 Maple Ave., #200, Los Angeles, CA; event details



Wednesday, December 4 to Sunday, December 8

Holiday Ale Festival
Wednesday, December 4 through Sunday, December 8, 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Throughout this five-day celebration, visitors will sample over 50 craft beers, including special-release holiday brews, in a clear-top tent beneath a giant Christmas tree. $30 General, $75 VIP. 701 SW Sixth Avenue, Portland, OR; event details

Wednesday, December 11

Produce Row & Breakside Brewery Holiday Dinner
Wednesday, December 11, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Produce Row has prepared a hearty winter menu to complement seasonal favorites from Breakside Brewery. Guests will enjoy snacks and drinks prior to the three-course dinner, and Breakside's brewers will join in to talk through the pairings. $30. 204 Southeast Oak Street, Portland, OR; event details

Saturday, December 14

4th Annual Season's Eatings
Saturday, December 14, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. This holiday bazaar, hosted by New Deal Distillery, brings together dozens of local gourmet vendors so you can get in some holiday shopping as you sample the snacks and drink New Deal cocktails. Cost of admission is one non-perishable food item; proceeds benefit the Oregon Food Bank. 900 SE Salmon Street, Portland, OR; event details


Friday, December 6 to Saturday, December 7

Winter Beer Festival
Friday, December 6, 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and Saturday, December 7, 12:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The selection at this year's festival includes "dark malty stouts, robust winter warmers, barrel-aged gems, and many more," plus casual food and a holiday gift shop. The new location, at Hangar 30 in Magnuson Park, means there'll be more room to sample the goods. $25 Advance, $30 Day Of Event. 7400 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA; event details

Saturday, December 7

Vegetarian Tamale-Making Class
Saturday, December 7, 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Head to El Centro de Raza for an all-new class devoted to vegetarian tamales. Participants will learn to prepare two types of the traditional masa-based dish, and at the end will get to take home 12 of their own uncooked tamales. $75. 2524 16th Avenue S, Seattle, WA; event details

Sunday, December 8

Swig Well Presents: Paul Clarke's Holiday Drinks That Don't Suck
Sunday, December 8, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Join Paul Clarke, local writer and cocktail aficionado, for a workshop on how to prepare festive and seasonally appropriate drinks that depart from your typical supermarket eggnog. Entrance includes four holiday cocktails. $65. 2332 2nd Avenue, Seattle, WA; event details

Wednesday, December 11

A Special Night of Indian Food and Culture with Renowned Chef Meeru Dhalwala
Wednesday, December 11, 6:00 p.m. At this Bollywood-inspired event, local chef Meeru Dhalwala of Shanik will be serving an elaborate Indian feast and telling the story behind the cultures and flavors that influenced the cooking. $125. 308 9th Avenue N, Seattle, WA; event details