Address: Folsom St. b/t 25th & 26th St, The Mission
Cuisine: Street food, of course, silly!
Date Last Visited: August 22, 2009
Dining Partner: @j0lie and @simplydorky
So I woke up on August 22 totally excited because the day had finally come. The 1st ever San Francisco Street Food Festival! Something great happened over the summer. With the popularity of Twitter and the street food carts, there has been a boom in the interest in “pavement cuisine,” “roadside relishing,” “cart noshing.” I swear, if you can make it from a cart and get it to sell - you become the biggest celebrity on the block! Hmmm, maybe I should start a cart. =) The Halo Halo Handcart? Bub wanted to make one called the “Weiner Wagon.” I know, SO Bub. Head’s always in the gutter. Anyway, I’m going to keep it real, I did wake early enough to get there before 11 a.m., but did I get up? No, foolish. Call it my Filipino timing. I should’ve because I was in for a shock at the festival.
That place was PACKED! Seriously, there was barely enough room to maneuver around. I don’t have pictures of the crowd because they made me upset. The lines were incredibly long. Even before I got there, I read Twitter updates about waits close to an hour. I started to get an uneasy feeling on my way there.
Was that Ryan Scott? If so, that’s love. One Top Chef-testant helping another out. Sadly, I didn’t get to try these too, but they looked phenomenal! I must say that La Cocina did a fabulous job at getting everyone excited. I never knew how many people were into street food! The lineup of vendors was a dream: La Huarache Loco, Estrellita’s Snacks, Delfina, Kasa Indian Eatery, Heaven’s Dog, and so much more. The program was no joke!
I didn’t get to try these rascals, but I did get a good whiff of the BBQ smoke. I didn’t get to tell Poleng Lounge’s Chef Tim Luym this at the festival, but “Happy birthday, Chef Tim!” That’s love also, working on your birthday!
You can probably see a trend forming. I didn’t try these either. I read a tweet that someone waited 45 minutes for a taco. It better have been good! Prior to the event, I purchased a passport for the event just so that I wouldn’t have to worry about cash. I bought a $70 passport. Yes, $70. I was ready to eat! However, I was really upset that I would not be able to use any of it. The lines got to me and I didn’t have the patience. I do have to say that returning the passport and getting a refund was not a problem, which I was very grateful for. The only price I had to pay was the transaction fee from the tickets website.
from Zella’s Soulful Kitchen
I have to send a shout-out to my girls @j0lie and @simplydorky. Just as I was about to leave with an empty stomach, I met up with them in the Zella’s Soulful Kitchen line. More like…they let me cut. I know I know. I’m probably going to Hell for that. @j0lie told me that they were in line for an hour and a half! This sammie better have been worth it!
I am happy to say that it was. The chicken had a great BBQ sauce in it and I loved the slaw that was inside as well. The chicken was nice and tender and the crisp cabbage lent a great fresh texture. You can say that this Sammie was gone in less than 3 minutes. I should have ordered two of these! I enjoyed it a lot…and I was relieved I did. If I hadn’t I would have been really mad.
I was a bit under whelmed by the sweet tea. It could have been a little more “sweet” for me and they could have been a bit easier on the ice, otherwise, it was very refreshing. The very nice girl who took our orders told us that Zella’s doesn’t have an actual restaurant, but they do catering and run their kitchens with La Cocina. Their food was very good and satisfied my hunger. Again a HUGE thanks to my girls for letting me cut. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have had anything to eat!
When Cuzzin Star came to the festival, we headed to @cremebruleecart’s station hoping to cop a lavender crème brulee. By the time we got there, he ran out! NoOoOoOoOo! My heart shattered into little pieces. Fortunately our wait wasn’t in vain. The Crème Brulee Man shared his booth with Root Division, Wholesome Bakery and Urban Nectar, we were bought one of these.
The pocket was good, but I would have liked it if it was heated. It was lukewarm, but the filling was tasty. Cuzzin Star appreciated that it didn’t have any meat in it.
After this, we were pretty much over the event. I correct myself, not the event, but the lines. I found the event to be incredible. There was a silent auction at La Cocina during the festival and a scavenger hunt that was played before the actual festival. I just wish that the lines were shorter so that I would have been able to try out more of the food offered! But really, the event was great for what it was - a place where people who love street food to get together and nom nom their hearts away. Call me crazy, but I am looking forward to next year’s street food festival!
Restaurant: Absinthe Brasserie and Bar
Address: 398 Hayes St. at Gough St., Hayes Valley, SF
Phone Number: (415) 551-5190
Date Last Visited: August 22, 2009
Dining Partner: Cuzzin Star
Like I said before, I pretty much over the lines at the festival. While there, I remembered that Jamie Lauren offers her famous hot dogs, the very same ones at the festival, at her restaurant. So, hmmm, either A) wait in line for an hour to get a hot dog or B) hop on BART and get it within 20 minutes? We chose B!
Pisco, Kaffir Lime, Pepper, Lemon-Lime,
Grapefruit, Brandied Cherries
This cocktail is on 7x7’s Big Eat 100 List. It was a fun cocktail to drink. A little sour, a little sweet. I could have easily drank 3 more of these. That’s dangerous.
Dijon Mustard, Thyme-Infused Malt Vinegar, Rouille
These fries were so thin and so addicting. Even before I swallowed one fry, my hand was on its way to grab another. They were out of this world. Thinking of them is driving me crazy right now because they were so good. Haha! Some were crispy, some were a bit limp, but together, they were perfect! Seriously, perfect fries! We loved that they gave us different dipping sauces because I am such a condiment whore. That rouille was tasty - creamy and slightly spicy.
Guinness Mustard, Chili Ketchup,
Sauerkraut, Yogurt-Dill Potato Chips
So here it was. While people were still waiting in line for this thing of beauty, I was sitting in the comfort of the bar area at Absinthe. I can see why people were talking about this at the festival. It just tasted fresh. Not like any hot dog you would get at the super market. It was tender and went great with the accoutrements. The yogurt-dill potato chips were delectable - crisp and perfectly seasoned.
Black Forrest Ham, Gruyère, Dijon Mustard,
Toasted Levain, and a Fried Egg
Cuzzin Star ordered this. I know, *gasp* The vegetarian ordering a ham and cheese sandwich? But this was not your everyday ham and cheese. It was what Julia Child’s dreams were made of. Buttered bread, melted cheese, ham, and fried egg? Oh dear, it made for an incredibly rich sammie. The side salad was simple and tossed in a vinaigrette. Star finished the sandwich. I know, *gasp*.
I loved having lunch at Absinthe. The service was very friendly, actually very charming. I loved our server. Because of our great lunch here, Star and I are eager to try out their dinner menu. I think this would be a great place to bring a date or have a special occasion. Awesome restaurant.
Address: 300 Grove Street, Hayes Valley, SF
Phone Number: (415) 861-5555
Date Last Visited: August 22, 2009
Dining Partner: Cuzzin Star
Do you like my transition into this restaurant? So we went to the festival and couldn’t get the hot dog, so we went to Absinthe to get the hot dog, and since we ate at Absinthe, we decided to get actual absinthe. Nice, yes? We sat at the bar because we had already eaten and we figured that drinks were going to be the finale of our Saturday. We were in for a luscious treat.
Bruichladdich Rocks Scotch, R&W Apricot Liqueur, Noilly
Pratt Dry Vermouth, Vieux Pontarlier Absinthe
This drink was so hard to go down because it was so dry! I applaud Cuzzin Star who took it like a man! Truly one of the hardest cocktails I have ever had. I felt it burn as it traveled down my throat.
This was DEE-LISHUZ! Like the cocktail I had at Absinthe, I could have drank 3 more of these. I was lucky to have the bartender make this for me because they don’t have this on the menu anymore. Not to be missed. I mean, where else can you get absinthe like this? And no, we did not see little green leprechauns prancing about after we drank our drinks. The absinthe got is giggly, but not crazy. =)
Jasmine Tea, Blossom Bluff Plum and Black Sesame
Was I surprised at ow much we enjoyed these ices. To be sure before we ordered, we asked if they were more like a sorbet or a granita. When our server said sorbet, we were sold. The Jasmine Tea reminded us of the jasmine tea sorbet we ate at Michael Mina in 2007. It was floral and delicate. I usually don’t like potpourri in my ice cream, but this was delightful. The Blossom Bluff Plum was my favorite. Outstanding pink-magenta color and the there was a burst of tang when I tasted it. Great palate cleansers, I must say. The Black Sesame was one I was reluctant to try. Something about black-colored foods. Our bartender and I got into a conversation about squid ink-laden foods and we both agreed that we like to see what we’re eating, hence the disliking of black in our food. I know the black sesame sorbet was more grey, but still. Tell me why there was a look of astonishment when I tasted it. I was so ready not to like it fearing it would be too strong, but it was just as lovely as the other two flavors. This plate was clean when it was taken away.
Strawberries, Almond Tuile and Champagne Gelée
This had us at hello. The moment we saw it on the menu, we knew we just had to order it. THE BEST panna cotta. The best. I have never seen so many vanilla beans in a serving of panna cotta before. The accompaniment of the fresh, sweet, strawberries, crispy almond wafer, and gelées were absolutely perfect! PERFECT! If someone asked me to concoct my perfect dessert, this would be it. It was light and creamy and flawless. Star and I should have gotten our own. Impeccable.
with Summer Melons and Prosciutto
di San Daniele, Grilled Crostini
$18? Yes, I know. By this time, I was a little tipsy and our bartende Andrea was so sweet that we couldn’t resist. The prosciutto was wrapped around cantaloupe wedges and the sweetness of the melon was perfect with the tender pork product. Incredible. The fresh cheese was a bit rubberier than other burrata I have had, but the flavor was still very milky and appetizing. It was funny how we had drinks, then dessert, then a first course dish, but it all worked because the fruit in this dish was sweet enough to be dessert. Winner.
By the end of this visit, we knew we were done. I failed to mention earlier that even before we got to Jardinière, we stopped by Citizen Cake’s patisserie and copped us even more desserts. Star was eaten her lemon meringue pie as we were crossing the street to get to Jardinière! I know! Heffas, right?! This was definitely one of the best food days I have had. The Street Food Festival was a bit overwhelming, but we had a plan to have fun regardless and we did. The money I would have spent at the festival went into the bill at Jardinière, so it unquestionably worked out great…possibly even better than I thought our day would turn out. So I just want to thank everyone who was involved in my foodie-spree day. I had so much fun and got so full. Positively a day to remember.