It's almost springtime on the West Coast! From an Italian Passover meal in Los Angeles to a foraging trip near Seattle, we've rounded up some of the region's most promising food and drink events to help you celebrate the season's bounty.
Sunday, March 9
2014 Oakland Bacon and Beer Festival
Sunday, March 9, 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. In a perfect world, we'd spend every weekend stuffing ourselves with beer and bacon. That dream might just come true for a day at this annual party, where local restaurants and breweries will join forces to offer up a generous selection of porky treats and serious suds. Proceeds from the event will benefit Oakland Grown, an organization that supports local and independently owned businesses. $40. Jack London Market Building, 55 Harrison Street, Oakland, CA; event details.
Monday, March 10
Better Brewing at Home at Four Barrel Coffee
Wednesday, March 12, and Monday, April 7, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Learn how to make a stellar cup of joe at this workshop with Four Barrel Coffee. Resident coffee expert Alex Powar will be on-hand to demonstrate methods such as French press, Chemex, Aero Press, and Hario v60. Attendees will also receive a complimentary bag of coffee and discounts on brewing equipment from the Four Barrel shop. $25, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. 375 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA; event details.
Saturday, March 15
Mac 'n' Cheese Contest at Omnivore Books
Saturday, March 15, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Got a mac 'n' cheese recipe that puts the boxed stuff to shame? Show it off at this competition judged by Allison Arevalo and Erin Wade, authors of The Mac + Cheese Cookbook and owners of Oakland's Homeroom. The winner will receive a cash prize, plus the satisfaction of watching tasters get all swoony and weak in the knees over the classic comfort food. Free to enter, $5 to taste. 3885a Cesar Chavez Street, San Francisco, CA; event details.
Saturday, March 29
The Umami Workshop with Sonoko Sakai
Saturday, March 29, 3 p.m. We all know that glutamate-rich seasonings like dashi and koji (the yeast used in fermenting miso, soy sauce, and sake) can add lip-smacking savoriness to a dish, but not everyone feels comfortable using them at home. At this workshop, Common Grains founder Sonoko Sakai will demonstrate how to make a multi-course Japanese meal with umami-packing ingredients. Participants get to make and take home a batch of salted koji. $95.Healdsburg SHED, 25 North Street, Healdsburg, CA; event details.
Friday, March 7th
Chinese Cuisine Festival
Friday, March 7 through Sunday, March 16, hours vary by location. Today marks the start of the first Chinese Cuisine Festival, which spotlights the regional cuisines of China. Thirteen restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley will offer up special menus, to be announced on the festival's Facebook page. Sichuan powerhouse Chengdu Taste will also reveal its secret menu, which heretofore has been hush hush among regulars. Various locations, see website for a list of participating restaurants; event details.
Sunday, March 16
Inland Invasion Beerbus.LA Tour
Sunday, March 16, 12 p.m. The Inland Empire has experienced something of a craft beer renaissance of late, yet many of its brews still fly under the radar. This tour will provide an overview of the scene and let attendees sample suds from breweries such as Hangar 24. $75.Tour meets at Union Station, 800 North Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA; event details.
Friday, March 21
Italian-Inspired Passover Pop-Up Dinner
Friday, March 21, 7 p.m. Chefs Evan Kleiman and Sean Sheridan are teaming up for this one-off Passover dinner featuring seasonally-focused, Italian-inspired dishes. Guests can expect a traditional dried fruit haroset followed by rustic classics such as pollo arrosto and leek croquettes. $65, RSVP required. Skirball Cultural Center, 2701 North Sepulveda Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA; event details.
Saturday, March 22
Native Ingredients Cooking Class at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes
Saturday, March 22, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. This class will introduce indigenous Mexican ingredients and traditional ways of preparing them. Guests will get to prepare items like fresh tortillas and cactus salad before sitting down to a feast. $85. LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, 501 North Main Street, Los Angeles, CA; event details.
Beyond Los Angeles
Saturday, April 19
Santa Barbara County Wine Futures Tasting Saturday, April 19, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. This tasting at Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant will provide the opportunity to taste Santa Barbara wines from the upcoming vintage and purchase them at a significant discount. Past participants at this event include established producers such as Qupe and Au Bon Climat as well as up and comers like Sandhi and Tatomer. $70.131 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA; event details.
Sunday, March 9
Wine and Taco Pairing Event with Pairings Portland and Uno Mas
Sunday, March 9, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Pairings Portland is kicking off its new series of dinners with an evening of wines from their shop in Northeast Portland and tacos from neighbors Uno Mas. Expect pairings that will shed new light on classic Mexican flavors, such as carnitas with lambrusco or shrimp and txakolina. $30, RSVP to Jeff at 541-531-7653. 455 NE 24th Avenue, Portland, OR; event details.
InFARMation: The Whey Forward
Tuesday, March 11, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. InFARMation is a monthly series of talks that aims to educate city dwellers on the issues facing Oregon family farmers. This month, the focus is on alternative models of milk production and cheesemaking. Charlotte Smith of Champoeg Creamery, Steve Peirson of Sar-Ben Farms, and Carine Goldin of Goldin Artisan Goat Cheese will be on hand to provide their perspectives and field questions. Free. Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, Portland, OR; event details.
Friday, March 28
Tap Into History With the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives
Friday, March 28, 7 p.m. Beer isn't just simply something to drink: it's also a subject of interest for scientists, historians, entrepreneurs, journalists, and filmmakers. This event will start off with a panel discussion by representatives of various fields tied to the craft beer movement. Later on, there will be a screening of two documentary films, Hopstories and OPB's Beervana. Free.Mission Theater, 1624 NW Glisan Street, Portland, OR; event details.
Saturday, March 29
The Cocktail Demystified! at Distillery Row
Saturday, March 29, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Southeast Portland's Distillery Row is home to a handful of small-batch distilleries that put out high-quality spirits. At this class, you can learn the basics of crafting a cocktail from a selection of their gins, whiskeys, brandies, vodkas, rums, and specialty spirits. $7 in advance, $10 at the door. Holocene 1001 SE Morrison Street, Portland, OR; event details.
Wednesday, March 12
The Magic of Mycology at Art for Food
Wednesday, March 12, 7 p.m. For this special event, chefs Jehangir Mehta and Maxime Bilet are collaborating on a multi-course tasting menu for this fungi-centric feast. Guests will be treated to their modern twists on dishes like cream of mushroom soup and lasagna bolognese as well as wine pairings and a gift bag. $175. 1001 Western Avenue, Seattle, WA; event details.
Thursday, March 13
Slow Food Seattle Book Club: Feeding a Yen by Calvin Trillin
Thursday, March 13, 7 p.m. Slow Food Seattle hosts a monthly book club that focuses on bridging the connections between good literature and good food. This month, they are discussing Calvin Trillin's Feeding a Yen, a collection of short stories about the author's adventures seeking out regional American specialties. Free. Roy Street Coffee and Tea, 700 Broadway Avenue East, Seattle, WA;event details.
Hedges Family Estate Wine Tasting
Thusday, March 13, 7 p.m. Hedges Family Estate is a Red Mountain winery known for their Cabernet-Merlot blend. This tasting at the The Barrel Estate will offer the unique chance to taste different vintages dating all the way back to 1999. $40. The Barrel Thief, 3417 Evanston Avenue, N. #102, Seattle, WA;event details.
Saturday, March 29
Pizza Class at Serious Pie
Saturday, March 29, 9:50 a.m. Serious Pie is known for their hand-shaped, wood oven-fired rectangular pizzas. This class will not only give you the chance to sneak a peak at their kitchen, but also learn the secrets of creating delicious, crusty pies. Wine and pizza are included with the price of admission. $40. Serious Pie Downtown, 316 Virginia Street, Seattle, WA; event details.
Saturday, April 5
Spring Wild Edibles with the Wilderness Awareness School Saturday, April 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday April 6, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lindsay Huettman leads this forgaging expedition in search of the season's first edible greens. You'll learn how to harvest stinging nettles, cattail, and dandelion on the school's land near the Cascades. $195. 26425 NE Allen Street, Duvall, WA; event details.