If anyone sees either J or me today, you may be wondering about our change in complexion, him being a great deal pinker and myself being a great deal browner. We spent a good deal of our weekend (in J’s case, like 24 hours) at the Eat Real Festival.
For those of you not familiar with Eat Real, it’s a celebration of high end street food. Last year, we went as civilians and had a blast (in spite of the heat) and this year J had to staff his organization’s booth (and Oakland Food justice organization) and I played the supportive spouse. Building on last year, Eat Real went bigger, more vendors and even more interesting programming. They focused on some of the more DIY aspects of food – like butchering, beer making, cheese making, jamming etc. My favorite was a butter shaking event, where everyone was given a jar of cream and shook it until it became butter – all to music with the word shake in it. It was a blast to see hundreds of people shakign their jars and seeing the alchemy of liquid cream turn into solid butter. At the end everyone was given a piece of bread so they could taste the fruits of their labor.
The key piece of Eat Real was the street food which include high end trucks. I was really please to see a great variety of food (suck on that Jane and Michael Stern and your idea that Road Food needs to be only Western food) – gelato, Indian, Korean, Spanish (paella!), New England (chowdaaah), Mexican, Middle Eastern. What’s fascinating is that Asian street food has really taken off (suck on that twice Jane and Michael Stern!). The dim sum line (the best dim sum I’ve had EVER!) never slacked as were the lines for the Filipino food. There were at least five or six Korean taco trucks (best fusion cuisine EVER! – Korean BBQ in a tortilla!). Two of the most popular were the chowder truck and its $5 lobster rolls and the paella stand that had THREE five-foot paella pans going.
Eat Real made a huge effort to promote food accessibility which meant that not dish was over $8 and most were $5. On top of that they had a farmers market in the inside pavilion which allowed me to do my weekly shopping. In my mind, Eat Real is the gold standard of food events with high quality, interesting, affordable food.
When I came home, I was so inspired i made a batch of ricotta, just ’cause.
Looking forward to next year.