Sunchoke Chaat, Foie-Gras Pot Stickers at Eat Drink SF
Representing the East Bay: meatless albondigas, shaved Brussels sprouts, and espresso floats.
Images: Kristan Lawson
Thousands of hungry, thirsty trend-hunters turned up last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at San Francisco's Fort Mason for the tenth annual Eat Drink SF festival — where the price of a single entry ticket afforded limitless tastings from dozens of booths representing top restaurants, bars, and brands — from Valhrona to M.Y. China to Bulleit Bourbon — and whose main stage featured demonstrations by celebs such as Dominique Crenn (who briefly helmed a brasserie in the Claremont Hotel) and Fremont-born, twelve-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani ... and, hey, this mixologist making Corn Flakes cocktails:
Oakland and other East Bay cities were well-represented at the fest, which also included a VIP lounge, pierside cigar bar, and beverage classes — such as a basic Brandy 101 presented by Fresno County-based Argonaut — and is staged every year by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.
Among those East Bayites was Little Giant Ice Cream, whose amazing flavors include honey-and-cheese, Fernet-and-Coke, Earl-Grey-and-biscuit, lemon-basil, and chocolate chai.
"We saw the need for shareable treats in the uptown area. Such treats had been missing there," said co-owner Neil Rideout, who opened Little Giant three years ago with partner Kevin Best.
"We both have restaurant backgrounds," said Rideout, who is especially proud of the shop's coconut- and almond-based vegan offerings and whose favorite flavor is banana. His "close second" is the bourbon-spiked, caramelly Dirty South.
Other East Bayites included Oakland-based Mr. Espresso; San Leandro-affiliated Odwalla; Impossible Foods, whose production facility is in Oakland, serving faux-beef albondigas; Berkeley's La Marcha tapas bar serving paella; and Bacchus Management Group — whose member-restaurants include Pizza Antica in Danville and Lafayette — serving not also these glorious pansy-crowned blueberry-and-sweet-corn verrines:
... but also these melt-in-the-mouth cherry hand-pies:
Alameda-based Hangar 1 poured two sumptuous summer refreshers, whose recipes they even shared with us (see below), so that you can make both at home.
Ladle & Leaf, the updated new incarnation of San Francisco Soup Kitchen, has locations in Berkeley and Oakland.
"We're focused as much on salads now as on soups," said Steve Sarver, who co-founded both companies with his wife Jennifer Sarver.
Featured at L&L's booth was a salad comprising riced cauliflower, tri-color quinoa, artichoke hummus, shaved Brussels sprouts, cranberry-beet relish, arugula, and toasted pumpkin seeds.
Cauliflower chopped into rice-sized bits "is very current and healthy," Sarver said.
"It's cauliflower, but in a form that's delicious and yet so good for you, unlike real rice.
"Shaved Brussels sprouts are another very current ingredient.
"This is the spirit of our new menu. We're evolving the brand and elevating our menu, but it's all still as delicious and healthy as ever," he said.
And sure, Oakland's a world-class culinary capital, but it's not the only one. Festival highlights included sunchoke chaat served by San Francisco Indian restaurant August1Five:
And, from San Francisco-based Belgian-style bakery Vive La Tarte, the innately instagrammable "Tacro" ...
And now for those recipes, thanks to Hangar 1....
Hangar 1's Rosé Spritzer
2 oz. Hangar 1 Rosé Vodka
4 oz. club soda
1/4 oz. simple syrup, if desired
squeeze of lemon
Place two thin lemon slices in a stemless wine glass. Add ice and vodka, then top with club soda and a squeeze of lemon.
Hangar 1's Lavender Lemonade
2 oz. Hangar 1 Vodka
1 oz. lavender simple syrup
4 oz. fresh lemonade
splash of club soda, to top
Combine vodka, simple syrup, and lemonade in a glass over ice. Stir and top with a splash of club soda. Garnish with a lavender sprig.