The 3rd annual San Francisco Street Food Festival thrown by La Cocina

by Irvin on August 25, 2011 · 4 comments

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Last weekend I had the opportunity to sneak into the 2011 SF Street Food Festival thrown by the awesome nonprofit La Cocina a little bit earlier than the general public. I hadn’t thought about flexing my “media” status and getting in earlier than the masses, but since AJ and I have actually worked with La Cocina in the past, shooting portraits of the owners of the business that are being incubated there, I didn’t feel so bad asking if I could come a little early.

Information and Merchandise at the 3rd annual SF Street Food Fair. jpg

Information and Merchandise at the 3rd annual SF Street Food Festival.

If you got there earlier enough, the crowds weren't that bad at the SF Street Food Fair. jpg

If you got there earlier enough, the crowds weren't that bad at the SF Street Food Festival.

The SF Street Food Fair also took over the playground of the Cesar Chavez School. jpg

The SF Street Food Festival also took over the playground of the Cesar Chavez School.

The SF Street Food Festival is pretty nifty, if you’ve never been. In it’s third year, most of the kinks from the fair seemed to have been ironed out. The lines are still long, but they aren’t as terrible as they have been in the past. I heard complaints from people that they had to wait in line for half an hour to get passports that they pre-ordered online, which doesn’t seem right, but hopefully the secret snack from Bill Corbett that were included with the passports helped assuage the frustration.

Handing out the secret snacks to passport holders. jpg

Handing out the secret snacks by Bill Corbett to passport holders.

The secret snack was a quesadilla. jpg

The secret snack was a roasted corn quesadilla.

AJ and I did the media tour with other fellow food writers, led by Caleb Zigas, Executive Director of La Cocina. Caleb’s obvious enthusiam for food and the people he worked with was infectious and we had a blast sampling and visiting the booths. There were five or six different food trucks from around the country that came to San Francisco to be at the event, which is pretty amazing.

Caleb, Executive Director of La Cocina talking about the awesomeness of the Street Food Fair. jpg

Caleb, Executive Director of La Cocina talking about the awesomeness of the Street Food Festival.

China, Market Associate and Margarita, Marketing & Communication Coordinator at La Cocina checking in media. jpg

China, Market Associate and Margarita, Marketing & Communication Coordinator of La Cocina.

Skillet Street Food Truck came all the way down from Seattle Washington

Skillet Street Food Truck came all the way down from Seattle, Washington.

Mission Tortilla was handing out awesome tortila samples to the masses. jpg

Mission Tortilla was handing out awesome tortila samples to the masses.

Three Twins Ice Cream decided to wear their outfit for Folsom Street Fair early. jpg

Three Twins Ice Cream decided to wear their outfit for Folsom Street Fair early.

La Luna Cupcakes offered bite sized sweets for fair goers. jpg

La Luna Cupcakes offered bite sized sweets for fair goers.

Kasa Indian Truck was there as well. I love their brick and mortar restaurant in the Castro. jpg

Kasa Indian Truck was there as well. I love their brick and mortar restaurant in the Castro.

AJ and I stuck around afterwards and just wandered about, sampling food, running into friends and enjoying ourselves in what ended up being a glorious outdoor day (a rarity here in San Francisco). We ran out of steam pretty early on though and couldn’t take a bite of some of the more adventurous foods when we got to them (like the larvae tacos that Don Bugito had).

the "Chinese Hamburger" from Beijing Restaurant. jpg

The "Chinese Hamburger" from Beijing Restaurant.

Lers Ros with their succulent Thai Larb. jpg

Lers Ros with their succulent Thai Larb.

4505 Meat had their signature chicharrones at the fair. jpg

4505 Meat had their signature chicharrones at the fair.

Anda Piroshki was offering up hot piroshkis. jpg

Anda Piroshki was offering up hot piroshkis.

Good Food Catering had a pork belly BLT that was killer. jpg

Good Food Catering had a pork belly BLT that was killer.

I ran into Chuck from Foodgawker and asked him why he's always rejecting my photos. Damn you Chuck! jpg

I ran into Chuck from Foodgawker and asked why he's always rejecting my photos. Damn you Chuck!

Don Bugito's larvae tacos probably don't sound that appealing, but they were sold out by the end of the day. jpg

Don Bugito's larvae tacos probably don't look appealing, but they were sold out by the end of the day.

Normally I take one of the items that I eat at a food event and think to myself, how can I adapt this for my own kitchen? After all, going to food events like this inspire me so much to get into the kitchen and cook and bake. But here’s the thing. These people are working hard to try to make a living at what they love. Making it at home or reverse engineering the food that they make seemed counter-productive to the whole event.

Cooking up a storm at the El Buen Comer booth. jpg

Cooking up a storm at the El Buen Comer booth.

Korean tacos from Namu. jpg

Korean tacos from Namu.

The Scottish Egg (a ground pork coated deep fried hard boiled egg) from Chiefo's Kitchen. jpg

The Scottish Egg (a ground pork coated deep fried hard boiled egg) from Chiefo's Kitchen.

Selection of Agua Frescas from Estrellita's Snacks. jpg

Selection of Agua Frescas from Estrellita's Snacks.

The Southern Sandwich Company Truck. jpg

The Southern Sandwich Company Truck.

Embrace Sweets selling a selection of brownies and cookies. jpg

Embrace Sweets selling a selection of brownies and cookies.

Peas of Mind, kid friendly healthy frozen food. jpg

Peas of Mind, kid friendly healthy frozen food.

Fried Lumpias from Hapa SF. jpg

Fried Lumpias from Hapa SF.

Roasted corn from Los Cilantros. jpg

Roasted corn from Los Cilantros.

Going to the SF Street Food Festival made me realize the important work that La Cocina is doing. I hope that one of these days I’ll see these people with their own brick and mortar restaurants or even a chain or restaurants. The food coming out of some of these people’s booths were amazing. And for once, instead of sitting there and analyzing the food to see how I could improve, change or adapt it for myself and my kitchen, I just enjoyed the moment for what it was. A day of food, fun and festivities. Because sometimes you just need to be in the moment.

Having a great time at the SF Street Food Fair. Wish you could be here. jpg

Having a great time. Wish you could be here.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } August 25, 2011 at 7:45 am

Darn – I missed such a wonderful event! Thank you for capturing all of the wonderful highlights. Felt like I was there! Have a great day! :-)

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Emmie August 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm

I am so impressed with the Three Twins guys for wearing what they’re wearing! I stick to muumuus.

Those Scottish eggs look amazing. I think this is the 2nd item, after bratwurst/knackwurst, that I would quit my vegetarian thing for. We used to eat those at our Renaissance Festival in Kansas, and all year I would totally look forward to when I could eat another Scotch egg. mmmm

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Aly August 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

It’s a really beautiful thing to see a meeting of so many people that are passionate about food. This looked like a wonderful time! I would have completely eaten myself into a food coma.

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Phuoc'n Delicious August 30, 2011 at 1:13 am

What a tasty festival! My mouth is salivating… Except for the larvae tacos! Ewww! LOL at you running into Chuck! I’d so pester him and ask why he keeps rejecting my photos too! “Composition…” Say what?!

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