Event space Union/Pine has announced a new collaboration with restaurant Ned Ludd, and bar caterers Merit Badge. Called Association, it aims at the age-old combo of "great food with tasty libations, and inspired conversation." The first one kicks off March 17 with food by Ludd's Jason French, booze by Merit Badge, and special guest speaker William Deresiewicz discussing his New York Times opinion piece "A Matter of Taste?" which posits that Americans' relatively newfound food sophistication has replaced art as high culture. A $75 ticket price includes this mental stimulation plus appetizers, dinner, dessert, and three complimentary adult beverages (the bar is open all night should you want to pay to further supplement lubrication).

Upcoming participants include Biwa, slated to host April's dinner, with Crown Paella, Wildwood, and other "established Portland eateries" promised down the pipe, with "atmospheres" created by design-oriented firms like Bird Dog Creative, Osmose Design, and Commonwealth Vintage Rentals. Future speakers will hail from W + K, Nike, Instrument, Creative Mornings, the City of Portland, and beyond, will Jelly Helm scheduled for the May event.

It's not the cheapest way to get your culture and drunk on in the city, but it sounds like a lovely splurge if you can swing it. Tickets go on sale Friday.