Food Events This Week: Praise The Lard, Feast Portland And More

We've got almost every region of the U.S. covered for food and drink events this week. Southwesterns: we'd feel bad for you if you weren't already hogging all of the nation's best Tex-Mex joints. Catch one last whiff of sweet summer barbecue smoke in Murphysboro, learn how to use a spare pig head in Portland, attend a bourbon/moonshine debate in Nashville and get your music fix while touring a whole village of culinary delights at the South Westchester Food & Wine Festival. Of course, if you're looking for fancy-schmancy, there's no classier way to indulge in gastronomical and architectural opulence than hitting up the Newport Mansions Wine And Food Festival.

Praise The Lard Murphysboro Barbecue Cook-Off

Murphysboro, IL

Sept. 19

The 26th year of this renowned barbecue cook-off will bring 80 national and international teams to 17th Steet Bar and Grill in Murphysboro, IL. Hosted by father-daughter team Mike and Amy Mills, the contest pits top grill-masters against one another in categories ranging from fish-fry and wings to the event's namesake determinant: pork. The winning team will score $25,000 in cash, and an invitation to participate in the Las Vegas Whole Food Championships taking place in November, plus entry to the Jack Daniels World Invitational Barbecue Cooking Contest draw.

Feast Portland

Portland, OR

Sept. 19-22

It's no lie: this is one of our favorite food weekends of the year. Come watch the chefs of Portland and surrounding areas work their magic on Oregon's unbelievable bounty of ...well, everything that's good to eat and drink, period. Enjoy the Asian night market, beer and wine tastings showcasing Oregon's many wineries and breweries, recipe demos with some of our favorite cookbook authors and plenty of talks on slow food, GMOs and green design. Don't you want to go to the "face meat" demo? Where else are you going to learn first-hand what to do with that pig head?

Oktoberfest at DBGB

New York, NY

Sept. 21-22

Bavaria comes to the Bowery! Hit Daniel Boulud's charcuterie-centric gastro-pub, DBGB, for the opening weekend of Oktoberfest. Steins for the price of pints? Pretzels, mustard, sausages and German tunes? Prost to that!

Newport Mansions Wine And Food Festival

Newport, RI

Sept. 20-22

The 8th Annual Newport Mansions Wine And Food Festival will be held on the breathtaking grounds of The Elms, Rosecliff and Marble House. The festival features an impressive line-up of celebrity chefs including Alex Guarnaschelli, Michel Richard and Claudine Pepin, plus others who will offer seminars and demonstrations. Make sure to attend Saturday night's Newport After Dark Party, held at the chic waterfront venue Forty ° North with cocktails from Blue Chair Bay Rum and Patrón Tequila.

Music City Eats: Nashville Food, Wine & Spirits Festival

Nashville, TN

Sept. 21-22

2013 marks the debut of this food, drink and music festival created by Grammy winners Caleb and Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon, chef Jonathan Waxman, Austin-based producer C3 Presents, and Vector Management's Ken Levitan and Andy Mendelsohn. The festival offers demos, panels, tastings and parties, so fill up your schedule with an arancini and lobster-cooking demonstration from Giada de Laurentiis, a bourbon vs. moonshine formal debate, and after a farm-to-plate Harvest Night dinner, enjoy an all-star review of the music of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at Petty Fest.

South Westchester Food & Wine

Scarsdale Village, NY

Sept. 22

A ticket to the SoWe Food & Wine Festival will get you free range to stroll through "Tasting Village" and sample from 75 of the area's best restaurants, caterers and bakeries. Other events on the agenda to enjoy while you dine: wine seminars and tastings from Brunello di Montalcilo producer Fanti, celeb-chef cooking demonstrations, book-signings from the likes of editor-in-chief Tanya Steele and Chef David Burke, and children's activities provided by Whole Foods, Stew Leonard's, Fun Craft, Total Entertainment, and Yogibo. All this to the tune of live music from DJ Zap, B Street Band, and indie group Joe D'Urso and Stone Caravan.


Oakland Eat Real Festival

Oakland, CA

Sept. 27-28

This festival is claiming to "put the food back in fast." Focused on local purveyors and ingredients but steeped in the delicious tradition of Bay Area street food (think hundreds of variations on tacos, falafel and curry), the Eat Real Festival will host over 50 vendors and feature a market where you can bring home artisan homemade foodstuffs. After grabbing some grub, quench your thirst at the Beer Shed, Wine Barn, Jam Bar (where you can order cocktails and spirits) or two Bev Shacks offering non-alcoholic agua frescas and natural sodas. All the food and drink will likely have you feeling inspired to try your hand at making the stuff yourself. Visit Craft Marketplace for a variety of hands-on demos. DIY Foods will offer workshop in making sauerkraut, bitters, jam and cheese. Sweet Maria's Coffee will school attendees in the art of coffee-roasting.

Southern Ground Music & Food Festival

Nashville, TN

Sept. 27-29

Just because the summer is behind us doesn't mean there aren't still opportunities to go all out on a weekend-long music fest studded with culinary gems. Nashville's Southern Ground Music & Food Festival will feature a line-up of country and indie-folk artists including Zac Brown Band, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Head and The Heart, and Dawes and a special sit-in performance by Jason Mraz. Once the music has revved up your appetite, attend a celebrity chef cooking demo and sampling — you can choose between Stephanie Izard's Sloppy Goat Sandwiches and Giuseppe Tentori's Oyster PoBoy Sliders with Kimchi and Peanuts. More food events include a craft beer pairing class from Sommelier Gary Valentine and a lesson at Chef Shon Foster's "S'more School" in which he'll throw a dark-chocolate salt-cured bacony twist on the old classic.

Taste of France

New York, NY

Sept. 28-29

This weekend, there's a slice of France hidden in the Big Apple's Bryant Park. Organized by the New York French Community, the Taste of France festival seeks to explore the diversity of French lifestyle, technology, beauty, culture and cuisine. Sample wines and charcuterie at a Provençal-style marketplace, sit in on a cooking demo from one of the 30 featured French master chefs, and at Saturday's Le Grand Wine Tasting Event, join 10 of New York's best sommeliers in a virtual tour of the country, region by region, by way of tasting over 100 different wines and champagnes. Ticket proceeds from Le Grand Wine Tasting will benefit Action Against Hunger and Wheeling Forward.

Imbibe and Inspire

Chicago, IL

Sept. 29

This day-long conference held on the rooftop of Chicago's Hotel 71 (AKA Bruce Wayne's apartment in The Dark Knight) will bring together chefs, spirit-makers, restaurateurs, and farmers to discuss and lecture on the roots of America's food culture. The speakers (whose identities are being released slowly to build suspense) won't just talk the talk — they'll host a dinner whose ticket proceeds will go directly to Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign. The event's host, website Imbibe and Inspire, highlights leaders, entrepreneurs, and luminaries in the culinary field by featuring video interviews in which they share their own personal stories and influences. Check it out here.