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Eat For Cheap at the Eat Real Festival 

Wednesday, Sep 16 2015
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Sometimes the high price of a food festival can deter folks from attending. If you walked out of the Street Food Festival without dropping $100, you almost certainly ate a burrito the size of your forearm on your way in.

Well, Bay Area foodies don't have to worry about shelling out tons of cash at the Eat Real Festival, which returns to Oakland's Jack London Square this weekend. Why? Because admission to Eat Real is 100 percent free.

Part street-food festival, part street fair, and part block party, Eat Real highlights a curated selection of local vendors and food stalls, showcasing food entrepreneurs, artisan products, and Oakland's top chefs, while encouraging sustainable growth in regional food systems. And, unlike many food festivals, nibbles at this three-day event are all priced at$8.00 or less, keeping things budget-friendly.

"The overall goal of the Eat Real Festival is to support The Food Craft Institute in itsmission toreinvigorate the art of food craft and promote mission-drivenentrepreneurship," Eat Real Festival Director Ally DeArman told SF Weekly."While the Food Craft Institute offers courses year-round to aspiringentrepreneurs, Eat Real Fest is the premier educational program of FCI, becauseit gives us the chance to reach a much wider audience and demonstrate the benefitsof supporting local, delicious, handmade food."

A few highlights from the festival programming:

Friday

"Global Fast Food Friday." A tour of traditional "fast foods" from around the world, with cooking demos from acclaimed Oakland chefs like Preeti Mistry ofJuhu Beach Club, Dominica Rice-Cisneros ofCosecha, Anya Fernald ofBelcampo MeatCo.,and Rick Hackett ofBocanova, with an emphasis on Indian chaat, Italian antipasti, street tacos, and more.

Saturday and Sunday

"Flying Knives Butchery Breakdowns." Watch the Bay Area's top butchers face off in this yearly Eat Real tradition, co-hosted by The Butchers' GuildandLlano Seco. On Saturday, the team from Belcampowill teach the best cooking techniques as they break down a slab of beef onstage, while on Sunday, event attendees can watch competing butchers prepare a whole hog.

For folks who aren't the biggest fans of meat, you're in luck, because at the World of Legumes event,you can explore the protein-rich plants that are just as healthy for you as theyare for the soil and the planet. This interactive panel will offer heirloom andartisanal treats, from beans to lentils to tofu, and discuss the role of legumes in a sustainable food system.

"Real food doesn't have to mean white linens and fine dining," DeArman said. "Westrive to make the act of eating and supporting good food easy and accessible. Our food choices can contribute to a healthier environment and strongercommunities, so we want everyone to get involved."

The price point sure doesn't hurt.

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