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Monday, August 24, 2009

S.F. Street Food Festival: Crowds, Long Waits on Folsom

Posted By on Mon, Aug 24, 2009 at 6:50 AM

J. Birdsall
Lines stretched across Folsom and onto the sidewalk.
Crowds eager for street food thronged Folsom between 25th and 26th streets in the Mission Saturday for the first-ever San Francisco Street Food Festival. Organized by small-business incubator La Cocina, the fest brought together nonprofits, big-name restaurants, food vendors in La Cocina's mentorship program, and even a few unlicensed street-food vendors operating legally for the day. Don't Forget Your Lunch, an unlicensed food seller not officially part of the festival, was detained by police and threatened with a fine. 

The event was a fundraiser for La Cocina, and sought to underscore the need for policies to make it easier for food vendors to become licensed, currently a difficult and expensive process. La Cocina director Caleb Zigas called it "encouraging" to see how many people showed up at Saturday's event. "when we first envisioned this a year or so ago, it was really a small idea, just focused on the La Cocina vendors," he said. "Over the year, it just got bigger." Zigas said. He said he had no idea yet exactly how many eager street food fans showed up Saturday, but described the number as way over his expectations. He said he appreciated the patience of attendees who found themselves waiting in long lines for food.


By noon -- merely an hour into the day-long event -- food lines stretched the width of Folsom, resulting in waits 20 minutes and longer. Eats included Vietnamese-style barbecued oysters from Poleng Lounge, the upscale house-made hot dog from Absinthe, nopales huaraches from El Huarache Loco, steamed buns from Heaven's Dog, and a variety of flavored crème brulées from Crème Brulée Man.

The S.F. Street Food Festival was the sister event to this weekend's Eat Real Festival in Oakland. Check out our slideshow of the day's highlights.

J. Birdsall
Aziza's Mourad Lahlou oversees the ingredients for Moroccan "taco" flatbreads.

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