SF SF Fest

    Here’s the tongue twister of the day: SFSSFSFFFS, or “Saturday Food Snippets at San Fran Street Food Fest on Folsom Street“. I can’t swim, but I dived into this sea of people in the name of friendship: to meet fellow food bloggers Oanh and Dang of Rau Om for the first time. There was much struggle. Lots of aggressive walking, cutting through undeterminably long lines, being repeatedly separated from comrades, and flavoring my dress with beef juice. But there were joyous moments too. One was when I found Bob and Rob at the Commonwealth booth, sipping a watermelon gazpacho. Another was when some lady gave me her extra watermelon gazpacho. Lunch time started.

    Or so we thought. Thirty minutes in the sea of people and no food except for the gazpacho, I told Yookyung that the bloody long queues were our destiny and it would be fatal trying to look for a stall with no line. Seconds after, Yookyung found Delicioso Creperie, which had no line. Defeated, I hopped into the short line of its adjacent neighbor, Il Cane Rosso, and succumbed to the $8 Tuscan-style grilled spareribs & garlic bruschetta.

    The spareribs dripped on me. My dress is now salty and fatty. But I liked the cartilage still. The bruschetta was too soaked in the salty fatty meat grease, filling but unimpressive. Victoria voted Yookyung’s choice, the crepe con cajeta ($5), the better of the two for good reason: sweetened caramelized milk with peanuts and cherry whipped cream. So far, one thumps up, one thumbs down (four thirds thumbs up if we count the gazpacho because only one of us liked it).

    Anda Piroshki hostesses preparing beef piroshki and kompot (strawberry and cherry juice)

    Anda Piroshki was out of potato piroshki ($3), so we forked into a beautiful yellow and orange blini & red caviar ($8) instead.

    The crepe is fine, the cold mashed egg is fine, let’s just say that the caviar tastes like boiled fish eye. Normally I like fish eyes, and someone I know would agree with me, but when this popping-boba-like orange capsule burst its fishy, salty and fatty substance out into the (chicken) egg, my taste buds involuntarily cringed. Victoria, however, said that she might just get it again after she had adjusted to the taste. But we already got to the front of the Onigilly line.

    I don’t know why they write Onigilly when its more common romanization (in mangas) is onigiri, but the Japanese “r” and “l” are the same anyway. The “samurai snack” advertisement surely caught on. The big pack (3 onigiri and edamame for $8) was perfect for us: each gets a flavor: ume (salty plum), spicy shrimp, and eggplant. Again, Vic adored the rice ball. I paid dearly for my salt(y plum) intake: my mouth was in a drought. To be exact, I paid $4 for a cup of juice.

    If that doesn’t prove my despair, how’s this: I probably might have cut in line, because Vic noticed that the line for Ica Juices grew exponentially long seconds after we stood in. It was good juice no doubt. Pineapple and strawberry mixed. Hydration and vitamins replenished. So rejuvenated we felt that we contemplated kicking five-year-olds off the tire swing and the hammock for a nap. Surely we can pass as eight-year-olds. 🙂

    But guess what we did after conquering our thirst: we tasted salt. Sal de Vida had a salt booth, and we asked for sample. Garlic salt? Yum. Thirsty? Natürlich.

    Not all buys were as endearing as the juice, unfortunately. There were two regrettable purchases, which I can reason my way out of the guilt but not quite. The first was a $3 jello cup with an orange lion in green gelatin, strawberry and cherry flavored, from Sweets Collection. My excuses: I was taking pictures of them, other people were too, but other people didn’t buy any of them, a little girl was standing the booth, the jello was good looking, the work put into making these animal shapes kinda justifies the obnoxious cost. And Vic liked it.

    The second regrettable purchase was grilled beef heart (antichuchos de corazon, $8) from Sabores del Sur. Vic refused to share because the heart texture doesn’t sing to her, so here I was left to my own device with two chunky skewers and a fried potato wedge. The dipping sauces were nothing to write home about. The heart texture sang too soft a tune to win over the muddled chile seasoning. My excuse: Bob told me about it, and organ meat is music to my ears.

    There could possibly have been another regrettable purchase, but we’ll never find out because Don Bugito sold out their toffee mealworms, and “toffee mealworm ice cream” ($3) became vanilla ice cream ($3). Who would pay three for a vanilla scoop when you can pay two for a chocolate scoop? A “bittersweet chocolate” scoop at that. Exceedingly rewarding. From the Three Twins.

    I admire Yookyung. She did not even once stray from her vegetarian path in the middle of this meatbound grotesque. In an unrelated passing comment, she said that the people in the (densely packed) fenced-off lot queuing for beer are like chickens. Just a thought.

    For more details on the Fest, read Bob Fukushima’s coverage on his blog. His is quite the essay on street food culture of The Mission. 🙂
    Battles won: 4. Battles tied: 5. Battles lost: 2.
    Casualty: a dress.
    A word to Mr. Rizzi the Global Eater: how come you didn’t see me? I was walking right there in the middle of all these other Asian girls the whole time! 😀

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    5 comments to SF SF Fest

    • Bob

      Thanks for finding me Mai, I would never have found you in that sea of people. Nice covereage Mai, it was quite the zoo, and I was one of those chickens 🙂 I did enjoy the food, the beef heart I got was a little more ‘textural’ than I had hoped, but, the flavor was there for me. I didn’t get the dipping sauce.

    • Mai

      It was really nice to see you there, Bob! 🙂 I felt that a smaller cut of beef heart would have been just right, and I would prefer a sweeter flavor. I’m glad that you told me about it though, I wouldn’t know to look for it otherwise. Did you try the mealworm ice cream?

    • Bob

      No, no bugs for me. Of course, I did not try the jello art either.

    • Thanks, Mai, for braving the crowd to visit us. It was so nice to meet you in person. Look forward to more get-together in the future where we actually have time to talk about food. 🙂

    • Mai

      I look forward to meeting you again too! And your food is one of a kind, of course I just had to visit you! 🙂

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