Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bite at Eat Real 2011

This year's Eat Real Fest is bigger, better and a lot tastier. There are more vendors and more exciting things to do. You have your food demos, lit arts, DIY camps, pop up food pairings and many more. With all this bad ass food and presentations, it can only mean one thing = a lot more crowded!

Bagel making class

Montreal style bagel

I went all three days. There were some vendors who were selling just on Friday and there were different activities throughout the weekend. There were a lot of food trucks there that I've tried before so I was really looking forward to something new. I didn't want to get something I can get from Off the Grid or some food trucks that frequent SF.

The beauty with this event is that it's designed for you to taste as many different food from local food vendors. No food costs more than $5. There were beer and wine to help digest the food and different cooking programs to check out while you recover from the food you stuffed your face with.
Going to this event need some planning especially if you want to make the most out of your experience. Before I went, I paced myself. I know it's going to be crowded and there will be lines. My plan was to go there early to beat the crowd, plus I live 10 minutes away which made it easier for me to go. So I went a little before 11am. When I got there, I saw that there were lines already forming at Senor Sisig, Chairman Bao and HapaSF even before they open. Good thing I've tried those trucks before so I wasn't really worried.

Out of this world flavor combinations on a stick

Bacon caramel egg popsicle - Fat Face

The most interesting food I've tried was definitely the Bacon and Egg Popsicle from Fat Face. At first, it sounded weird. I thought it's just a frozen cold Bacon with egg but when I read that it's a ginger-bacon caramel on a vanilla egg custard I realized that I can't let this pass through. I have to try it. Even if it's not the most ideal thing to eat popsicle in the morning especially when the weather is a bit chilly, I enjoyed it.

There were alot of great choices for food. Here are the ones I think that were worth your $$.

Prather Ranch Bacon meatloaf sandwich - $5; It's a mouthful of meat goodness
Happy people = Good food; Staff from St. Vincent de Paul serving their Jambalaya

Jambalaya - $4; you can get full just by eating this. It has sausage, chicken and veggies served with long grain rice and fresh coleslaw

Magic Curry Kart's Thai Basil Chicken sliders - 2 sliders for $5. Most carts sell sliders for $5 each. It was good but the bread got soggy quickly. Maybe better with rice?

Homeroom making their cheesy Macs

Classic cheddar with peas - $5. They also have a spicy mac made with Jack cheese, Serranos and Marash 

Sadly, I think Chop Bar's roasted pork with corn bread is the least worth it for it's price. It wasn't that good. It was not tender and the skin is not crispy.

Roasted pork from Chop Bar. Not worth $5 for me.

My top 5 eats at Eat Real:

1. The Whole Beast roasted lamb. Perfectly seasoned lamb with cucumber and yogurt on a pita wrap. Plus they were giving away samples of the Lamb rub, a meat thermometer and fridge magnets. Now that's a steal.

Making the Lamb wrap


2. Sam's Chowder mobile lobster roll. Usually lobster rolls cost more than $20 but since you are at Eat Real, you'll get a sample for just $5. You may want to get a double serving since I think one is not enough.

3.  GFC/ Good Food Catering's Pork Belly sandwich. Fatty pork mixed with greens, tomato jam and pickled onions worked perfectly together. It's sinfully good!

4. Jim 'N Nick's Niman ranch Pork sliders with fire-roasted corn. The smoky hog which you can smell from 50 feet away was a perfect match to the fire sweet corn. It's just great BBQ! It's a tease since you'll want more.

5. Taco guys' Maui fish tacos. This is definitely a party in your mouth. Great quality fish with panko and then deep fried to perfection topped with some cabbage slaw, Sriracha mayo for that kick and some pickled onions that will tickle your taste buds.

Maui fish tacos

Burmese Lamb Tacos

I've talked to some people at the event and asked what their favorite food was and most of them mentioned the Silog tacos from Wow truck, Cheeseburger from 4505, Kimchee dog from Belcampo and Pork belly from the Chairman Bao truck. I've tasted all of them except the Belcampo dog and I know for sure they're all good. I was really curious to try the food from Belcampo because their packaging looked great, they raise their own cows and they use beef fat for their fries. Unfortunately, my tummy just didn't have room for a freaking hotdog.

Chicken sandwich from Brassknuckle
Hundreds of lumpia waiting for their oil bath

Lumpia from HapaSF

Chicken lemongrass Adobo

Smelt fries or "fries with eyes" from ForageSF

Beignets from Soleil's African kitchen

Alfajores from Sabor Sur

El Tacobike serving tamales

Tamarindo's Carnitas with soft and hard tortilla and melted cheese


and their amazing pies
Claire of Clairesquares sampling her butter cookies
There were a lot of things that I didn't take advantage at this festival. From jamming sessions to veggie butchery. I wish I planned my visit more carefully and actually spent the whole day feasting. All I know for sure is that, Eat Real is one of my favorite food festivals in the Bay. I met a lot of cool people, learned something new and most of all ate some amazing food. Til' next year!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

KapaMEALya: Taglish Dinner

Family pic of the diners!

I got excited when I found out about this event. The whole theme of this dinner is English Pub food with a Filipino twist. I went to their website and checked out what the deal is with this dinner. It turns out they've been doing pop-up dinners, dishcrawls, etc for months now and the best thing about it is that they showcase Filipino food! Once I found out about this, I told myself, I need to meet the people behind this and check the event out. This is my kind of event!

Guests starting to come in

All settled

I looked at what they've served before and I was really thrilled. They've had Halo Halo Panna Cotta, Bulalo dumplings, Fishballs, Pea shoots adobo, Bicol Express ribs and a lot more. I like the idea to put a twist on a classic Filipino dish. I know some Filipino Food trucks here in CA like HapaSF and White Rabbit do their own interpretation of Filipino food. They are not original.. So what? These kind of food should not be compared to the authentic Filipino food but rather just to enjoy the familiar flavor and have a little fun with it. It may not be on the same form as what is traditional but that's the point, it doesn't have to be.

Trivia = Prizes

Kitchen cam

This event was created by KapaMEALya which basically means part of the family. Their main concept is bringing people together through Filipino food. This dinner was held at Mercury Lounge in SF. It's run by Filipino foodies and bloggers: Joanne, Albert, Fred, etc.  I also met their talented chef Dom, who is responsible for this creative, Filipino inspired dishes.

Inside Chef Dom's mind

Sprinkled with love
Spotted: Chef Brian of Magic Curry Kart helping out

What I love about this dinner pop-up is that it's very interactive. There are some trivia questions and some prizes to give away. There's even a T.V. where you can see the action in the kitchen and even talk to the chef to see what's cookin'. Also, to make things a bit more special, Adobo Nation was there to do a segment of their show about this dinner. That probably explained the extra energy that guests have for their camera time! :)

Here's the journey of Filipino food in an English Pub:

1st course - Tea sandwiches, Pinoy style. Bangus , Tocino, Tomato, and salted egg 

2nd course - Welsh Rarebit with San Miguel beer cheese sauce. This reminds me of my afternoon snack back in Manila but this is the grown up version

3rd course - Toad in a Hole. Longganisa on a puff pastry with sauteed onions and poached egg

4th course - Fish and chips. Fried Tilapia with sweet potato and purple yam fries

Balls ready to be served

5th course - Scotch eggs

Egg wrapped in Embutido, deep fried in panko

6th course - Cottage pie

Made with Mechado

7th course - Chicken Tikka Masala. Chicken Adobo with Coconut milk and Turmeric

8th and final course - Black pudding

Brown rice champorado

The whole experience I had was awesome. It really felt like I was in a Filipino family gathering. The whole crew was very welcoming and friendly. Everybody seemed to know each other, there's a lot of smiles and laughter, people were talking and very engaging. The hosts, Chris and Jo, did a great job in making sure everyone is having a great time. Some dishes were served family style and there's even some food to take home, just like going to a Filipino party. I left with some amazing food, happy belly, great experience and new friends. This will definitely not be their last event I'll go to.