If you made it to the Great American Food & Music Festival this weekend, you may still be grumbling, “You mean the not so great American no-Food Festival”…
The first time event was just not prepared for the hordes of hungry festival-goers, eyes glowing red from want of a Katz’s Pastrami and other best of the best eats from around the country.
With an influx of over 15,000 patrons descending upon the festival, chaos ensued as systems crashed, credit cards were rendered useless, and lines upon lines multiplied.
Passive-aggressive behavior escalated to aggressive-aggressive revolts as people waited an hour plus just to get into the Shoreline Amphitheatre, waited to add money to wristbands so they could purchase food, and then waited some more to actually get close to that glorious food.
Propane griddles failed, food ran out, and disgruntled folks stood in lines for hours on end. Yes hours (that’s plural). Those Anchor Bar Buffalo Wings were mighty tasty, but were they worth 3 hours of standing in line?
Grievance aside, once you managed to get to some food, it was delicious.
Coupled with some big cold beers, beautiful weather, some green grass to sit on, and a little entertainment, the day ended up being a fun day in the sun.
Not to mention, the opportunity to get up close and personal with the talented chefs and proprietors who make some of the best food around the country. And of course, Food Network celeb chefs galore: Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Anne Burrell, and Aida Mollenkamp.
Highlights of the festival:
A nice chat with Tony Luke – a real teddy bear of a guy – who, FYI, likes his cheesesteak with onions, no peppers, wit wiz. He also, apparently, will be gracing the silver screen come August 2009 in a lead performance in The Nail: The Story of Joey Nardone.
Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs from LA were my favorite item of the day. A meaty dog with that great snap when you bite into it, topped with chili, cheese, kraut, mustard, catsup, relish, and onions. A sloppy, amazing, delicious mess.
Bistro Burger’s rich, creamy Paris Burger, with brie and sautéed mushrooms, impressed even grill master Bobby with its crazy juiciness.
But, it was no match for Pearl’s Hawaiian Burger, with sliced pineapple, bacon, teriyaki sauce, jack and mayo, which took first with its sweet, spicy, exotic burger o’ love.
Must give props to Guy, he rocked the crowd with a highly entertaining blowout performance complete with loud rock n’roll, gratuitous hot chicks on stage, big machinery, power tools, and pyrotechnics.
All in all, a day that was admittedly frustrating, but not without some bright spots. If the people don’t lynch them first, here’s hoping that producers of The Great American Food & Music Festival can learn from mistakes and come back with a better, more organized, less stressful event next year.
We’re rooting for you to work out the kinks because we know that bringing together America’s best is no easy feat. Looking forward to next year!
Photo Credit: Kai Yu
Katz’s Deli (New York, NY) – New York Pastrami on Rye
Tony Luke’s Philly Cheesesteaks (Philadelphia, PA)
Anchor Bar Buffalo Wings (Buffalo, NY)
Southside Market Texas BBQ (Elgin, TX) – Sausage and Beef Brisket
Burgermeister(San Francisco, CA) – Burgers and Fries
Zingerman’s (Ann Arbor, MI – America’s Best Bacon Sampler
June Taylor (Berkeley, CA) – America’s Best PB & J
Pasta Pomodoro (San Francisco, CA) – Insalata di Farro
Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs (Los Angeles, CA)
Barney Greengrass (New York, NY) – Nova Scotia Salmon w/Cream Cheese on Bagel
Graeter’s Famous Ice Cream (Cincinnati, OH) – “Oprah’s ice cream”
The Original It’s It Ice Cream Treat (San Francisco, CA) – Ice Cream Sandwich
Junior’s Classic Cheesecake (New York, NY)
Bouchon Bakery (Yountville, CA) – Chocolate Bouchons
Charles Chocolates (Emeryville, CA) – Caramel Almond Sticks, Made to Order S’mores, Truffle Sampler