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Monday, August 18, 2014

S.F. Street Food Fest's Last Appearance on Folsom Did Not Disappoint

Posted By on Mon, Aug 18, 2014 at 1:01 PM

click to enlarge Hungry, hungry people. - TIFFANY DO
  • Tiffany Do
  • Hungry, hungry people.

With more than 80 vendors, this year's S.F. Street Food Festival sponsored by La Cocina this past Saturday was the one of the busiest years out of the six, according to executive director, Caleb Zigas.

Because of the popularity of the fest, La Cocina plans on expanding it next year at a different location, making this the final year on Folsom.

"We don't think we can improve the event without more physical space," Zigas says.

He does promise some sort of an event if a larger festival doesn't pan out next year. 
Lines for passport retrieval started building up around 10:30 a.m., half an hour before the actual festival began, and stayed strong throughout the day. More incredibly though was the line for Pinx; ten minutes after the white tents were open for business, there was a line roughly 20 people deep waiting for Pinx's maple glazed apple wood smoked bacon. These lines, and the one for Nombe's ramen burger, never let up and tested festival-goers patience and dedication throughout the day. 

As the day got warmer, the crowds grew larger. Hoards of people sipped on drinks — most likely some sort of lemonade as that was a popular choice among the vendors — shoved food in their mouths, walked (sometimes at the same time) along the six blocks, had the same goal: to eat and drink more.

A lemonade that left an impression on us was Good Food Catering's strawberry basil concoction. Sweet and slightly tart, this pink nectar tasted like a lush garden with the basil bringing out an earthiness that almost made us quote Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids — "Shit, that's fresh."

Returning to the festival for the sixth year, Los Cilantros, headed by chef and owner Dilsa Lugo, graced the people with refreshing halibut ceviche served on a crisp tortilla chip and elotes, the traditional Mexican street food of an ear of corn smothered in spices and cotija cheese, perfect for this festival. By creating and recreating family recipes, Lugo says her food is so reminiscent of her hometown of Cuernavaca, Mexico that Mexican customers have been said to have flashbacks of their hometowns.

click to enlarge Perfectly roasted and seasoned elotes.
  • Perfectly roasted and seasoned elotes.

Inspired by her West Indian home of Gujarat, Heena Patel brings her creations to the festival for the first time with Rasoi. Her vada pav veggie slider, a lightly fried potato dumpling seasoned with "gunpowder," and sandwiched between two simple burger buns, had a delicious spice that crept up the back of your throat and lingered there for a while after the first bite had gone down. The tangy flavors from the white bread paired surprisingly well with this spicy cloud of potato.

click to enlarge Rasoi's vegetarian cloud of spices and potato.
  • Rasoi's vegetarian cloud of spices and potato.

With the best pun of the whole festival, Anda Piroshki served up a "Vladimir Poutine" consisting of freshly fried fries covered in a mushroom stroganoff and cheese curds. The combination of the three elements proved to be a great vegetarian twist on a Canadian favorite, but didn't quite deserve to be Anda's big bite — we would've appreciated it in a smaller dose.

We wouldn't know if the Russian leader would enjoy this poutine, but we did.
  • We wouldn't know if the Russian leader would enjoy this poutine, but we did.

If anyone was looking to pretend they were at Disneyland with a turkey leg, Zella's Soulful Kitchen did them a favor by not only offering the huge bird limb, but making it taste way better. Barbecuing them and coating them with a sweet glaze, these turkey legs made us thankful we didn't have to make the seven hour drive to Anaheim, but also made us wish Zella's served them at their Oakland location.

click to enlarge Who needs Disneyland when you've got Zella's?
  • Who needs Disneyland when you've got Zella's?

Offering a mini plethora of small bites, Kika's Treats whipped up something other than their usual sweets. Hot off the tray, Pão de Queijo, or Brazilian cheese bread, is presented in the form of golden, cheese-sprinkled balls. Crisp on the inside, gummy on the inside, the texture of these lightly cheesed spheres were reminiscent of black tapioca balls found in boba tea drinks. 

click to enlarge It was hard to just have one.
  • It was hard to just have one.

Other attractions included Whole Foods' local beer tasting and cooking demos and the Aperol brunch that offered line-haters a place to sit, eat, and drink and order off a menu that was an abbreviated version of the fest for $20. The brunch included unlimited drinks from the Aperol Spritz bar and featured four cocktails made by Rye on the Road.

click to enlarge A new feature to SFSFF, the Aperol brunch added a layer of luxury to the fest.
  • A new feature to SFSFF, the Aperol brunch added a layer of luxury to the fest.

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Tiffany Do


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