The Great American Food & Music Festival

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The Great American Food and Music Festival
The Great American Food & Music Festival (6/13/09), Mountain View, CA

If you made it to the Great American Food & Music Festival this weekend, you may still be grumbling, "You mean the not so great American no-Food Festival"...

Katz’s Deli, New York Pastrami on Rye

The first time event was just not prepared for the hordes of hungry festival-goers, eyes glowing red from want of a Katz’s Pastrami and other best of the best eats from around the country.

With an influx of over 15,000 patrons descending upon the festival, chaos ensued as systems crashed, credit cards were rendered useless, and lines upon lines multiplied.



...and more lines

Passive-aggressive behavior escalated to aggressive-aggressive revolts as people waited an hour plus just to get into the Shoreline Amphitheatre, waited to add money to wristbands so they could purchase food, and then waited some more to actually get close to that glorious food.

Junior's Cheesecake

Propane griddles failed, food ran out, and disgruntled folks stood in lines for hours on end. Yes hours (that's plural). Those Anchor Bar Buffalo Wings were mighty tasty, but were they worth 3 hours of standing in line?

Grievance aside, once you managed to get to some food, it was delicious.

A burger from Bobby

Coupled with some big cold beers, beautiful weather, some green grass to sit on, and a little entertainment, the day ended up being a fun day in the sun.

Great American Food & Music Fest, Serious Eats stage

Not to mention, the opportunity to get up close and personal with the talented chefs and proprietors who make some of the best food around the country. And of course, Food Network celeb chefs galore: Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri, Anne Burrell, and Aida Mollenkamp.

Highlights of the festival:

Pinks Famous Hot Dogs
Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs

Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs from LA were my favorite item of the day. A meaty dog with that great snap when you bite into it, topped with chili, cheese, kraut, mustard, catsup, relish, and onions. A sloppy, amazing, delicious mess.

SF Weekly Burger Challenge
SF Weekly Burger Challenge

Bay Area favorites, BurgerMeister, Pearl’s Phatburgers, Bistro Burger, and Mo’s Grill duked it out for the title of Best Burger.

Bistro Burger's rich, creamy Paris Burger, with brie and sautéed mushrooms, impressed even grill master Bobby with its crazy juiciness.

Pearls Hawaiian Burger
SF Weekly's Best Burger Winner: Pearl's Hawaiian Burger

But, it was no match for Pearl's Hawaiian Burger, with sliced pineapple, bacon, teriyaki sauce, jack and mayo, which took first with its sweet, spicy, exotic burger o' love.

Rockstar Performance from Guy Fieri
Rockstar Performance from Guy Fieri

Must give props to Guy, he rocked the crowd with a highly entertaining blowout performance complete with loud rock n'roll, gratuitous hot chicks on stage, big machinery, power tools, and pyrotechnics.

All in all, a day that was admittedly frustrating, but not without some bright spots. If the people don't lynch them first, here's hoping that producers of The Great American Food & Music Festival can learn from mistakes and come back with a better, more organized, less stressful event next year.

Baby likes Brisket
Baby likes Brisket

We’re rooting for you to work out the kinks because we know that bringing together America's best is no easy feat. Looking forward to next year!