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Spanish Food Festival Headed to Portland

Posted by Christopher Hall on May 11, 2017
a selection of traditional Spanish tapas at Urdaneta in Portland, Oregon
Photo credit
Photo Courtesy of Urdaneta
Photo caption
Traditional bite-size tapas at Basque restaurant Urdaneta in Portland, Oregon, one of ten restaurants participating in Tapas Tour PDX.

Portland, Oregon, is about to acquire a temporary Spanish accent, and Northwest foodies are shouting olé.

For the first time ever, Portland will host the United States edition of World Tapas Day, a major international gastronomic event sponsored by the Spanish government and taking place in more than 20 countries on June 15. But where other host cities might be content with a single day of celebrating Spain's famous little dishes, Portland will happily draw out its fiesta of Spanish food and culture—dubbed Tapas Tour PDX—for an entire week, June 12–18.

With its already flourishing Spanish food scene, Portland was a natural to serve as the United States host city. Ten restaurants and a shop are the focus of the celebration on June 15, with each representing a different region of Spain and offering a special tapas menu that day (and throughout the week) plus cultural events. The venues are: Ataula, Bar Casa Vale, Bar Vivant, Can Font, Chesa, Mediterranean Exploration Company, Pollo Bravo, Toro Bravo, Urdaneta, 180 Xurros & Xocolate, and the specialty food shop Conserva

a selection of paellas at Chesa in Portland, Oregon, picture
Photo credit
Photo Courtesy of Chesa
Photo caption
A selection of paellas at Chesa, a traditional Catalonian-inspired restaurant.

Also on tap are one-night-only dinners devoted to Basque and Andalusian cuisine, a Michelin dinner collaboration between Portland's José Chesa and visiting chef Mikel de Luis from Spain's Basque country, and tapas pairings with wine and sherry. Special brunches, cooking demos, tapas bike tours, and a closing tapas party round out the acción.

While nobody would ever mistake Portland for a Spanish city, during Tapas Tour PDX, at least, it may well taste like one.