Feast may be dead, but fans of multiday festivals centered on eating have a new option on the horizon.
Winter Waters is a new dining series scheduled to take place throughout February in both Portland and locations along the Oregon Coast. The seafood-focused program is the work of three women who are passionate about what is perhaps one of the less glamorous ocean-dwelling edibles: algae.
Alanna Kieffer, of Oregon Seaweed, and Rachelle Hacmac, of Blue Evolution—two West Coast seaweed farms—teamed up with Oregon Coast Visitors Association food systems value chain coordinator Kristen Penner to create the series in order to highlight locally sourced seafood. Given that the state’s western border is the Pacific Ocean, it would be easy to assume that we naturally have a strong connection to the fish and plant life harvested just off our shore. However, the festival organizers say that 90% of the seafood consumed on the coast is not from here, and they’d like to start to reverse that trend.
Now your part is pretty easy: picking one (or several) Winter Waters events to attend. There will be a variety of offerings, including ticketed prix fixe dinners, cooking classes and à la carte pop-ups at a variety of restaurants in town. At the coast, you can expect two seated dinners at Nekst in Astoria, menu specials at Buoy Beer, the Bowline Hotel, The Schooner in Netarts, and Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport.
Menus will tend to emphasize farmed sea vegetables, but other foods include Pacific Northwest-grown oysters, uni from Oregon purple sea urchin, and Dungeness crab.
Winter Waters kicks off Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Lil’ America food cart pod and Fracture Brewing Taproom. Tickets to events can be purchased online.