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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Next Month's SF Street Food Festival Is Going to Be Bigger Than Last Year's. Did We Say Bigger?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 5:08 PM

What organizers are trying to avoid at next month's pavement-cuisine fest: a clusterf*%k. - JOHN BIRDSALL/2009
  • John Birdsall/2009
  • What organizers are trying to avoid at next month's pavement-cuisine fest: a clusterf*%k.
A month before the SF Street Food Festival turns a seven-block swath of the Mission into a grazing mall, organizer Caleb Zigas sounds like he's on a sales pitch. The festival debuted in August 2009: too many eager street-food seekers packed onto a single block of Folsom, enduring painful lines for plates the vendor probably ran out of long before demand petered out. But not this year, says Zigas, director of La Cocina, beneficiary of the festival's proceeds.

"We got a lot bigger this year," he says. "This year our real goal is a consumer-friendly experience." Zigas says that, with steady adjustments, the La Cocina event can become the summer's premier food festival. Another gripe from last year: Too many restaurants serving up chefs' notions of street food, crowding out legitimate cart vendors. As if to remedy that ― at least partly ― witness CartSpotting, a contest for eaters to vote for their favorite pavement-cuisine providers (voting ends today). The top eight vote-getters will be eligible to sell at the fest in time slots short enough to ensure they won't run out of food, Zigas says.

Next up: a food scavenger hunt, which starts August 1, produced in collaboration with The Go Game. With clues delivered by phone, players can fan out solo or in teams to find hidden items. This year's hunt has higher stakes than last year's, Zigas says, since this year there are actual prizes for the winners. Talk about a consumer-friendly experience.

This year's SF Street Food Festival rolls out Sat., August 21. For details and to purchase an event Passport, check out the website.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

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