Oakland has no lack of outstanding culinary events to whet the appetite of anyone who has a mouth and taste buds. This week, a handful of foodie-friendly events are sweetening the deal even more: not only do you get to eat well, but your dollars also go towards funding a worthy local cause or Kickstarter campaign.

From a blowout tamale fiesta benefiting La Clínica de la Raza to the annual Taste of Temescal neighborhood culinary crawl, here are five opportunities to support a cause via your stomach. Happy eating!

1. ¡Viva Tamales! Tamale Cook-Off y Fiesta
According to host Tina Tamale of La Borinqueña Mex-icatessen, “In Mexico, tamales are fiesta food — the edible equivalent of ‘Let’s celebrate!’” Thus, in celebration of Mexican Independence Day, La Borinqueña Mex-icatessen is hosting ¡Viva Tamales!, a tamale cook-off extravaganza. Oakland food entrepreneurs will be competing for the title of Top Tamale in three categories: meat, vegetarian/vegan and “wildcard,” the latter of which means that competitors are held to standards of creativity rather than tradition. As a ticket-holder, you get to put tamales in your face — careful, though, they’re more filling than they look — and cast a vote for winner of the cook-off. Then indulge in a house-made sangria or two and groove down to live sets by DJ Crimson and El Kool Kyle.

WHEN: Sunday, September 15, from 12 to 4 p.m.
WHERE: La Borinqueña Mex-icatessen, 582 7th St., Oakland
COST: $15 in advance, $20 at the door
BENEFITING: La Clínica de la Raza’s educational programs

2. Taste of Temescal
This fifth annual Taste of Temescal is a much-anticipated neighborhood culinary crawl featuring some of Oakland’s most celebrated eateries, including Barlata, Juhu Beach Club, Burma Superstar, Aunt Mary’s Cafe, Pizzaiolo, Doña Tomas and Mariposa Bakery. The $30 entrance fee gets you food and drink from the participating restaurants, live music and the chance to win tasty prizes. As in previous years, proceeds benefit local schools and nonprofits – which means you get to have your cupcake (and slider, fish taco, pizza and organic ice cream), eat it all, and help out a worthy Oakland-based organization.

WHEN: Tuesday, September 17, from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Telegraph Ave. between 43rd and 51st Sts., Oakland
COST: $30
BENEFITING: Emerson Elementary School, Claremont Middle School, Women’s Cancer Resource Center, Oakland Tech High School and the Lions Center for the Blind

3. Harvest Moon Pop-Up Market and Kickstarter Launch Party
Kitchener Oakland, a commercial co-working kitchen that incubates local food entrepreneurs, is teaming up with Bay Area Homemade Market, lOAKal Mobile Food and Creative Growth Art Center to celebrate the full Harvest Moon with a bustling pop-up food market and art exhibit. Featured food artisans include Kitchener’s Bump City Bakery, The Pie Shop and Powered by Pork; and lOAKal’s Fists of Flour Pizza and Tina Tamale, serving up everything from booze-spiked “drunken cupcakes” to Vietnamese-Mexican tacos. Free entry, $2 booze and $5 edibles. Howling and werewolves not included.

WHEN: Thursday, September 19, from 6 to 9 p.m.
WHERE: Kitchener Oakland, 372 24th St., Oakland
COST: Free entry. $2 beers, most foods $5 and under
BEFEFITING: A campaign to build take-out windows in Kitchener’s kitchen

4. Rasa Caffe Kickstarter campaign
Calling himself “Chief Culinary Activist” of his current project, Rasa Sun Mott is on a mission: to open up a community-based coffee shop with a conscience in South Berkeley. Mott, the son of famous Black Panther activists Ericka Huggins and James Mott, is a certified professional taste tester who plans to apply his discerning palate to the beverages and baked goods that he’ll offer in his space, which is slated to open next door to the Firehouse Art Collective’s Adeline Art Studios (3192 Adeline St., Berkeley). A $10 pledge towards Rasa Caffe’s Kickstarter campaign, which ends on Sept. 22, earns you a feel-good glow and a complimentary pour-over coffee upon the coffee shop’s grand opening.

WHEN: Kickstarter ends on Sunday, September 22
COST: $1 minimum pledge
BENEFITING: The opening of Rasa Caffe in South Berkeley

5. All That Jazz (& Sushi)
A world-class night out might look precisely like All That Jazz (& Sushi), an upcoming benefit for La Clínica de la Raza. Put on your finest threads and head to Yoshi’s on Jack London Square for a sparkling evening of fine dining, a live auction and entertainment courtesy of Chuchito Valdés, famous jazz pianist and five-time Latin Grammy nominee.

WHEN: Saturday, September 28, at 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Yoshi’s Oakland, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland
COST: $225
BENEFITING: La Clínica de la Raza


Oakland Social is a weekly arts and culture column devoted to upcoming events, new places, and narratives about going out in Oakland. Have ideas for what to cover? Contact goingout@oaklandlocal.com.

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