Hi Friends! Today, LMS correspondent Adam Carr gives us the low down from the SF Street Food Festival!
The Mission has always been a mecca for cheap, delicious food, but The 2010 SF Street Food Festival took things to a different level.
Put on by La Cocina, an organization that aids low income food entrepreneurs, the SF Street Food Festival combined haute cuisine, Mission staples and popular San Francisco carts in an amalgamation of foodie goodness. Many of the La Cocina’s incubator program participants were dishing out snacks, including Azalina’s, Kika’s Treats, and El Huarache Loco.
The rules of the event were simple. Vendors were expected to offer a small bite for $3 that one could eat solely with their hands and larger item for $8 that could either be eaten with a fork or fingers, as long as no table was necessary. Vendors also offered a variety of beverages. After the massive turnout at last year’s event, La Cocina quadrupled the number of vendors from their inaugural event.
One star of the show was Roli Roti, who served up Roasted Porchetta Sandwiches with Fingerling Potatoes. They won me over when I noticed the potatoes cooking underneath the rotating roasts, receiving constant drizzles of pork fat. Those waiting in line (which almost took a turn around the block) were treated to pieces of crispy skin and samples of their Tomato Salad.
The other vendor with a line that would make any non-foodie run the other way was Hapa Ramen, who served Lil’ Bowls of Soba and larger bowls of Slow Cooked Pork Ramen. After waiting what seemed like an eternity I procured a bowl and proceeded to scarf it down.
For those with cash to burn La Cocina held a silent auction to fulfill your wildest culinary fantasies, including a day with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, making your own ice cream with Three Twins (and taking home 25 pints), and a sneak peek at Craig and Annie Stoll’s new restaurant.
Speaking of Three Twins, they let some early birds taste their ice cream with antique spoons from the 1850’s. Their Lemon Cookie Ice Cream didn’t need fancy silverware to be absurdly delicious, but it didn’t hurt.
While most of the attention was on the people making the food, a contest between eating champion Joey “Jaws” Chestnut and five amateurs shifted the focus from the kitchen to the dining room. This time around five mouths were better than one, the amateurs won 31-27.
To most, the festival was a one day ordeal, but for other hardcore streetfood lovers, the excitement began weeks before during the 2nd Annual SF Street Food Scavenger Hunt. Teams signed up to complete tricky riddles, embark on quests to answer trivia questions, and get their creative juices flowing with video and photo challenges.
I had the pleasure of meeting Team Deep Fried Twinkies — plucky underdogs turned champions — during the “Dinner With Friends” mission, in which a team must partake in a dinner party with another team. On a chilly Saturday night I headed to their team headquarters for dinner. I marched in, baguette in hand, realizing that this could result in a potentially really awkward dinner with a group of complete strangers. Thank goodness, my baguette and I had nothing to worry about. My empty stomach was welcomed to an immense dinner capped off with a session of my new favorite game; it’s called “what haven’t we deep fried yet?”
While Deep Fried Twinkies monopolized my support and Facebook-liking power (teams receive points if someone “likes” their pictures and videos from a Facebook account), they did not monopolize creativity. Here are some of my favorite entries from the contest:
Mission: Creme Brulee Song. Team Eyes On The Pies serenades the Creme Brulee Man.
For more pictures and videos of people doing silly things for the sake of food, check out last year’s post on the scavenger hunt.