A Massive, Food-Fueled Fundraiser for Puerto Rico Comes to Portland Next Week
“I’ve cried. I’m not gonna lie,” says Puerto Rico native Cristina Báez. “I’ve been overwhelmed with love.” The co-owner of Ataula and 180 Xurros is talking about the outpouring of support from Portland businesses for PDX Feeds Puerto Rico, the massive, seven-day roster of food and drink events popping up around town next week to benefit Hurricane Maria relief efforts. Báez spearheaded the effort with her biz partner/husband Jose Chesa.
December 4–10 brings a bonanza of opportunities to devour and support Puerto Rican culture, prepared, in part, by a cadre of islands chefs and baristas that event organizers are flying in to Portland for the week. Han Oak hosts an a la carte “Asian-Rican” night with fusion dishes from San Juan chef Paxx Caraballo (El Baoricua). Rue teams up with chef Mario Pagan for a four-course prix fixe dinner. Ataula throws down an entire Puerto Rican brunch with dishes like mashed plantain mangú, slow-roasted pork, and a’caballo from Baez, Caraballo, and Pagan, complete with tropical cocktails. Locals can sip Puerto Rican-inspired coffee drinks crafted by Puerto Rican baristas at Water Avenue Coffee, Stumptown Coffee, and Foxy Coffee.
December 7 brings the centerpiece of the week’s events, a big, public, Puerto Rican party complete with live salsa music and dominos at the Nightwood Society, the new food and design collective Baez co-runs with Michelle Battista. Baez will join all the visiting Puerto Rican chefs, baristas, and bartenders to serves dishes, bites, and coffee drinks galore. She’ll also host a panel discussion with Puerto Rican biz owners “opening up about what it’s like operating a business on the storm-ravaged island; how to survive and stay positive, and what’s next.”
Portland Feeds Puerto Rico from Gaby Lasala on Vimeo.
In addition to all that, nearly 20 local restaurants—Aviary to Lardo and Little Bird—will serve Puerto Rican-inspired drink specials all week to raise funds. Honestly, you could close your eyes, walk nearly any direction in Portland next week, and stumble into a delicious opportunity to help support your fellow Americans.
“Knowing that basic needs are scarce [in Puerto Rico], and friends and family are hurting, I felt so helpless—I just had to jump in and do something, anything,” explained Báez in a recent missive. “Culturally, Puerto Ricans help everybody. We’re simply trying to do our part from far away, and we hope people will join us to make a huge impact.”
Check out the above video and website for a full schedule of events and more detailed info. All events benefit Cosa Nuestra Relief Fund.