It’s time to look out the window and face the facts: the perpetual overcast, the unending drizzle, and nose-numbing cold is back—and here to stay well into 2019. But you can't let SAD take over, at least not yet! Here are five food festivals worth bundling up for in the next four weeks.
Oct 12—14 & Oct 19–21, Portland Nursery, FREE
For more than 30 years, locals have mobbed the Portland Nursery each fall for bulk apple and pear purchases—and, of course, fruit and cider tastings. This years, there'll be 60-some varieties to try. Bulk purchases are 99 cents a pound, and there's no hurry at this family-friendly annual event: all six days feature live music from the likes of Pete Krebs, pumpkin painting, scavenger hunts, and free roaming among the nursery's rows of potted plants.
6–9:30 p.m., Oct 18, Ecotrust, $10–$25
Sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are just the start at Ecotrust's ninth annual "stinkfest." Last year’s samples introduced Portlanders to Hawaiian okolehao (moonshine, in other words) and Japanese tofu misozuke (often used as a vegan cheese). This year, hobnob with fellow fermenters of everything from hot sauce to natto. The evening event takes place on Ecotrust's twinkly-lighted rooftop, scored by DJ Jimbo and soused up with cider from Reverend Nat’s.
10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct 21, Castaway, $45–$90
Portland’s first ever Mac & Cheese Festival—a touring event, of sorts, with future iterations scheduled for Austin, Dallas, and Seattle—will have chefs from Tapalaya, Montage, Mac’d PDX, and many others competing for the title of “Best Mac & Cheese.” At $45, the "Generally Cheesy Admission" tickets ain’t cheap, but do include unlimited tastings and three drink tickets, and, we'd bet, next-day regrets.
11 a.m to 11 p.m., Oct 27, Rogue Eastside Brewery, FREE
Can’t get enough pumpkin flavor this season? Rogue Brewery's Killer Pumpkin Festival has your back: putting the squash on every tap, developing a special pumpkin menu to snack on, and providing a legit pumpkin patch for decorating and carving—and smashing. Gratuitous gourds not really your thing? There are also costume contests for adults, lil' punkins, and even dogs.
Noon to 5 p.m., Nov 4, Leftbank Annex, $45–$65
Nothing warms the bones like a bowl of ramen ... except maybe chasing that broth with a fine whiskey cocktail. This year, festival organizer Willamette Week partners with Fubonn to present chefs and bartenders from restaurants all over town—Afuri, Noraneko, Boke Bowl, and last year’s Judge’s Choice winner, Double Dragon, back to defend its title.