SF Street Food Fanatics Unite

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I Cart Street Food
I Cart Street Food

Street food fanatics descended upon the Mission on Saturday for the San Francisco Street Food Festival 2009, a day-long block party presented by La Cocina.

SF Street Food Festival 2009
SF Street Food Festival: If you grill it, they will come.

With free admission and food/drink costing no more than $8, well over 5,000 eaters of all ages came out to celebrate SF’s vibrant street food community.

SF Street Food Festival Masses
The Hungry Masses


The sheer numbers that turned out was a tad overwhelming, but it was also heart-warming to see what good eaters we have here in SF. Lines snaked up and down the block, but surprisingly, the crowd seemed to be generally good-humored and calm (unlike the foaming-at-the-mouth angries at the Great American Food Fest a few months back).

Patience was handsomely rewarded, and street food, glorious street food, was consumed.

Elotes (Grilled Corn) from Los Cilantros
Elotes (Grilled Corn) from Los Cilantros

Anticuchos Chilenos from Sabores Del Sur
Anticuchos Chilenos (Marinated New York Strip and Beef Heart with Peppers & Onions) and Mushroom/Spinach Empanada from Sabores Del Sur

House-made Hot Dogs from Absinthe
House-made Hot Dogs with Guinness Mustard and Chili Ketchup from Absinthe

Creme Brulee Cart
Lavendar Crème Brulee from the Crème Brulee Cart

I braved the Aziza line and although their Squid Salad with maras pepper, preserved lemon, cabbage, mint and cilantro ($3) was sold out by the time I got to order, I was nicely satiated by the huge Moroccan "Taco" ($8) Chef Mourad Lahlou was serving up. The beverage pairing of iced Sweet Mint Tea hit the spot and cooled off the heat from the taco's harissa.

Moroccan Taco from Aziza
Moroccan "Taco": Flatbread with Summer Squash, Harissa, and Yogurt Sauce from Aziza

For dessert, I followed the scent of sugar and fried dough to Endless Summer Sweets’ Funnel Cake with sweet strawberries and cream. If there was any question on whether the line was worth it, my doubts vanished as I saw satisfied customers milling about with showers of powdered sugar on their arms and traces of whipped cream on their faces.

Funnel Cake from Endless Summer Sweets
Funnel Cake with Strawberries and Cream from Endless Summer Sweets

SF Street Food Festival 2009

SF Street Food Festival 2009
Gnom gnom

SF Street Food Festival 2009
Curb-side Dining

The beauty of the street food fest was the greater vision of the event. For those who are unfamiliar with La Cocina, it is a phenomenal non-profit organization that acts as a food business incubator for low-income and immigrant entrepreneurs looking to start their own food business. The SF Street Food Festival brought people together, across the spectrum of class and culture, to celebrate in the everyday food that we all eat and love.

SF Street Food Festival 2009
SF Street Food Festival 2009

Leading up to the festival was an amazingly fun and well-orchestrated Scavenger Hunt that had 224 teams roaming the city in search of delicious street eats, and generally assaulting San Francisco’s finest street vendors with their wit and creativity.

Really, it was no joke. Teams like Fatty Boomblatty and Trans-Fatso’s rapped to the Crème Brulee Cart Man

Miso Horny did a funky chicken dance (in public) for the Roli Roti folks…

And I wasn't above setting up an all out photo shoot at Bloodhound in the name of movie poster perfection with team Lick My Spoon.

Lick My Spoon Bloodhound poster

Oh, San Francisco. You are so special.

Street Food Festival Scavenger Hunt Team Soup Sluts
Team "Soup Sluts"