Two years ago, Bi-Rite and Delfina threw a large birthday block party on 18th Street. Many have labeled the block as a blossoming Gourmet Ghetto, and the party was a mix of gourmet food and the desired "community building" fundraiser that has people chatting and hanging out over plates of food. Getting the block to close down required planning and permits, but the attendance levels were boisterous, meaning a lot of people showed up. Spit-roasted Niman Ranch pork shoulder was on display and for sell, and adults sipped in a beer garden while kids dug in to sundaes and ate farm fresh corn or Fulton Valley brick-grilled chicken. It was a warm weekend day, and seemed to match the ideal of a San Francisco summer day.
The prep work for the 2008 block party was for multiple days made up of cooks from Delfina and Bi-Rite. It turned out to be a party with major organizational effort that led to months of planning. Eaters camped out in Dolores Park, drinking aguas frescas and mulling over plates of pig. This blogger participated as a prep cook for the 2008 event, and learned that the costs and details for the Block Party may have provided a challenge that was tough on the organizers, who are in the business of selling food rather than putting on street events. Hence what led to a two-year wait for a repeat performance.
Post-event analysis got the organizers (mainly: Bi-Rite's Sam Mogannam and Delfina's Craig Stoll) thinking it was a great idea, but one that should happen every other summer. "We'll make it a bi-annual thing," said Mogannam. This year's 18th Street Block party happens on Saturday, August 28, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Mogannam said, "We want to create some fun energy and bring people together. That's what we're all about." The uniting factor will be food, as well as beverages of all stripes. Regalito will offer suckling pig carnitas, and Delfina will have porcetta pork loin for sale; no whole hog to ogle this time.