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Thursday, August 18, 2011

7 Tips for Making the Most of the S.F. Street Food Festival

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 2:10 PM

click to enlarge The Street Food Festival is getting ready for you. Are you ready, too? - ALBERT LAW
  • Albert Law
  • The Street Food Festival is getting ready for you. Are you ready, too?

As everyone should know by now, the S.F. Street Food Festival is coming up this weekend. Now, we love street food and we love food festivals, but sometimes, when faced with long lines, hoards of hungry people, and too many choices, we get a little overwhelmed.

So what are the best strategies for making the most of your Street Food Festival experience? Some of the SFoodie staffers like to walk around and check everything out before buying anything. Others just go for the first thing that looks yummy. One staffer says she gets "things on sticks, because they're always interesting."

Whatever your strategy, here are some good tips for everyone.

1. Do your homework

And pique your appetite, while you're at it. If there's one thing you know you don't want to miss, you might as well line up there early, before the lines get hideously long or food runs out. La Cocina has a handy list-maker online, and SFoodie has a list of our own recommendations.

2. Arrive early

The festival starts at 11 a.m. and it's guaranteed to be packed. At peak hours last year, lines averaged 10-15 minutes, though the wait times at popular stands are likely to be twice as long. "It's best to get here as early as you can," recommends La Cocina.

3. Walk, bike, or Muni, but don't drive

"NO one should drive," La Cocina tells us. SF Bike Coalition is providing monitored bike parking and is ready to watch over hundreds of bikes at the festival. You can also take Muni buses 12, 14, 14L, 27, 48, 67 or take the BART to 24th St Station, provided there isn't another protest going on.

There will be no street parking, but if you absolutely need to drive, contact for more information.

4. Bring Cash

The vendors only accept cash. Don't get caught unprepared then have to walk around looking for an ATM.

5. Wear good shoes

The good news is that there will be large, open seating areas where you can rest your feet, but they're likely to be packed by midday. So be prepared to stay on your feet. La Cocina adds, though, that especially for senior citizens, "we'd be happy to find extra seating for anyone who needs it."

6. Don't bring a heavy water bottle

It is always good practice to stay hydrated, but lugging around a large Nalgene is tiresome, and La Cocina is providing free water at 24th Street (at Folsom) and at La Cocina (Folsom Street between 25th and 26th). Many vendors will also sell beverages, if you don't mind cracking open your wallet for a drink.

7. Family friendly areas

If you're bringing kids and think they might get bored, you can bring them to the playgrounds at Cesar Chavez Elementary (2650 Folsom at 22nd) or Parque de los Ninos Unidos (3090 23rd Street at Treat).

Did we miss anything? If you have good tips or strategies for making the most out of the Street Food Festival, leave a comment below!

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Caroline Chen


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