Adventures in Foodland.

Food Festival!!! Besides the hot sun, crowded street, tired feet, and outrageous lines, how can it get better? But seriously folks, it was fun. This was the first time I have been to the San Francisco Food Festival, and only the 5th year it has been running. It managed to combine a lot of really great things into one event, for example, takoyakiBrazilian cheese puffs, delicious Vietnamese coffee, cricket tostadas (seriously?), and alcohol. Add to that fun time with friends and a beautiful San Franciscan day, and you have yourself a winner!

For us, the festival started off with the Brazilian cheese puffs and a side of tomato jam. Cheese puffs are delicious on their own, with their lovely crumbly texture on the outside and their chewy, delectable center, and the tomato jam really rocked the park. Seriously. Out of this world. It was sweet, yet somehow still managed to stay savory. The texture was perfect – not too runny but also easily spreadable, with just the right amount of chunkiness. Can you tell I really enjoyed them? Kika’s Treats.

Next stop, grilled quail. I don’t really eat quail (a little too gamey for me), but I loved watching everyone else eat it. Yeah, that’s right, I enjoy watching other people eat food I won’t. It’s weird, but I don’t care. From the way they devoured it, and how picked clean the bones were, I’d say it was delicious. Also, the salad on the side was tasty and original. Cabbage, mango, carrots, and other yummy things. While we were eating (or rather, they were eating, I was watching) my friend noticed an adorable young girl selling cookies out of her own special stand. No one was paying attention to this home stall, so my friend went and got a cookie. It started a trend and soon the stand was hopping. Hopefully she made a smashing.

While the boys waited in line for a cheesesteak (which they inhaled before I even had a chance to see it), my girlfriend and I went to get a drink we had spotted earlier – the rose, basil, coconut drink. It was pretty damn good. It had chia seeds at the bottom (which look like either tiny tadpole eggs or fish eyes, depending on your imagination), along with strips of unidentifiable orange-pink things. I ate/drank it all, after sneakily dropping the ice on the ground one by one to get to the actual good stuff. I made a puddle, but it’s just water after all…

Finally we were off to the main event: ramen burgers and takoyaki!!!! The line was epic. So epic that my boyfriend had to break out the bourbon I didn’t even know he had hidden in his pocket! For Ryan (bf), takoyaki is the ultimate festival food. Every year at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown, he gets two beers and stands in line for however long it takes to get his takoyaki. And he refuses to eat it outside of a festival, no matter how much he loves it. It’s the principle of the thing, takoyaki = festival food. Lucky boy, this year he got to eat it twice. About halfway through the line, the gentleman at the stand started to announce that they were running out of ramen burgers. DISAPPOINTED! Now this was a shame by itself, but for a few tense moments we thought they might also be out of takoyaki, which would have been a travesty. However, after I went up and asked, he assured me they were not going to run out. We had been really excited about eating the ramen burgers, as it would be our first time ever, but when we learned they have a restaurant, Nombe, we contained our sadness and focused on our octopus balls. Besides, the guy in charge was funny and really tried hard to make everyone happy.

We finished off the day with cocktails and beers (depending on the drink of choice) using our tokens, and coffee. Some of us got Vietnamese coffee (myself included), and some of us got Ritual coffee. All and all, a pretty sweet day.

Below are some pictures that I took throughout the festival. If you missed this event never fear, you can get some of the same feel during Off the Grid. Also, there is always next year!


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