If you were in San Francisco on Saturday, chances are you or someone very close to you was on Folsom Street in the 20s and eating something greasy. This would have been at the third annual San Francisco Street Food Festival, organized by La Cocina, where seventy some odd vendors and restaurants set up their booths/pulled up their trucks and hawked tasty, portable fare. Once again, the fest was filled with people by the end of the first hour, with lines already snaking down the block for local favorites (Nombe, Flour + Water) and visiting vendors (NYC’s Arepa Lady) alike.
And yes, many people were brave enough to try Don Bugito’s wax moth larvae tacos — which were a popular conversation topic — but we’re sorry to say we were on a no-larvae cleanse and had to pass.
Check out our slideshow of favorite dishes and highlights, below. And be forewarned — the festival’s gotten so popular in its first three years that, despite La Cocina’s marriage to the Mission, organizer Caleb Zigas is now saying he might have to move the fest to Mission Bay next year, to the parking lots behind AT&T; Park.
Alicia Villanueva, who started her tamale business at La Cocina’s incubator kitchen last year and debuted at last year’s fest, will be getting her own semi-permanent spot for a cart at Justin Herman Plaza next month. As she likes to say, “My tamales are stuffed with love, and the best people are stuffed with my tamales.”
One of the winners of the ‘Vote Your Vendor’ contest, sponsored by Wells Fargo, Pinx served up these yummy sweet potato pie waffles.
Joshua Henderson of Seattle’s Skillet Street Food was one of the visiting vendors at this year’s fest, operating out of a borrowed truck and serving up fennel and spice crusted fried chicken sandwiches.
Maria Piedad Cano has been slinging arepas around New York for years now, since long before the current street-food craze began. She was like a visiting dignitary this weekend, and the line for her arepas was steady and long all day.
It’s hard to tell, but this line snaked up along the sidewalk there at the back, and off to the left.
The team from Beijing Restaurant served up this tasty “Chinese hamburger,” which was really a marinated pork sandwich.
Reprising their performance the previous weekend at Outside Lands, Thomas McNaughton and the Flour + Water team served up delicious porchetta sandwiches, which are a preview of things to come at Salumeria (20th and Florida, coming this fall/winter).
The much blogged about crispy wax moth larvae tacos, once again. There was a lot of “dude, you have to try one with me” going around.
Eji’s Kitchen served up Ethiopian fare like these shinbra butacha cakes made with chickpeas (left), and spicy lentil and cabbage in enjira.
Kasa Indian Eatery’s new truck was on hand, with chef Anamika Khanna serving up samosas and chicken tikka kati rolls.
The colorfully clad team from Chiefo’s Kitchen.
One of our favorite bites of the day was this rich, meaty, deep-fried Scotch egg from Chiefo’s – like an excellent lamb meatball with a surprise inside.
Nathan Niebergall and his brother Brett, the duo formerly behind Frisée in the Castro, served up hearty brisket sandwiches and hush puppies to an eager crowd.
In seeking visiting vendors for the fest, La Cocina turned to Portland’s street food fanatics who voted for their own Big-Ass Sandwiches to represent Portland. Pictured here, two halves of their Big-Ass Roast Beef Sandwich, stuffed with fries.
Fancy Mission eatery Commonwealth took a casual approach with these yummy, tender, grilled lamb cheek skewers. They also served a strawberry-lime-longpepper agua fresca, and a watermelon gazpacho.
Namu chef Dennis Lee, now a pro at these events, scooping out batter for his okonomiyaki.
Okonomiyaki are savory Japanese pancakes topped with various condiments, shown here with a sprinkling of bonito flakes.
These two green-suited dudes roved the fest promoting Three Twins ice cream.
Wise Sons Jewish Deli served up – what else? – egg creams and pastrami sandwiches.
These mini pastrami sandwiches were the bomb.
By noon, the place was already pretty packed. We didn’t stick around to see it get any worse. Of course, the growing crowd is the reason organizer Caleb Zigas is thinking of moving the whole fest to Mission Bay next year. The Mission will be collectively sad if that happens, we’re sure.