What’s life without a taste of everything?
No pun intended, but I am one to indulge in a tasting menu versus be dedicated to one dish. Which makes things like the San Francisco Street Food Festival (SFSFF) an alluring invite. Possibly similar to a former Taste of Chicago that I frequent every summer owing to my love for the epicurean Midwestern city, or the commercial screaming New York Food and Wine Festival (NYCWFF) with staple events and colorful cameos.
I recalled my marketing basics framework of food marketing, trying to assess where my handful of tastings fell out. Admittedly owing to the probably heat wave of San Francisco, unsuspecting of the year round jacket weather city, I tried only a handful of foods and passed out consequently. Literally. Nonetheless, several were able to self classify into the aforementioned quadrants.
Of tasting, Girl Friday Zeppole had lemon ricotta zeppoles. They were a fresh touch on the otherwise heavy Italian doughnuts, dusted with lemon zest in addition to the powdered sugar, and stuffed with ricotta and polenta. Soft and not too crunchy, the lemon cut all fattiness for a sumptuous bite.
The hibiscus and cheese meat taco fell into the same bucket: an inventive way to create artificial meat with blending cheese and hibiscus in the fryer, complete with a reddish brown hue too. While I could have done with less coriander and more salsa, it was definitively an appetizing taco, and the texture was spot on.
Falling into the shopping basket was Preservation, a brand of Sacramento, a pickles and jars focused brand with the most inventive of mixes. While it was hard to look over the gallon of Bloody Mary mix, my favorites included the cayenne carrot sticks, lending the right sourness to the dessert plagued carrot, as well as the balsamic beets, a gentle blend of sweet and sour. The jalapeno onion was guaranteed to render one unkissable for the night but satisfied nonetheless, while the hickory Brussels sprouts were a welcome addition of flavor to this versatile vegetable.
An all round experience was provided by my epic love in childhood desserts: cotton candy by Sugar and Spun. Available in cookies and cream which I skipped owing to the sales like fancy boxes, I opted for the sticky mango remix: mango cotton candy with sour mango and rice crispy topping. The citrus flavor was a decadent break from the saccharine sweetness. The fact that it was given to me in bouquet format elevated the completeness of my true love.
The fried quotient was manned by none other than fried avocado by Nombe, probably one of the best things to have been dunked in the fryer since ice cream (yes, truth). With a paprika speckled dough, the avocado itself was as refreshing when piping hot as it was when cold, and made for a flavorful, almost healthy seeming bite.
Besides that, we witnessed performances galore, both Chinese dragons as well as the coconut water tiki stand.
My favorite however was when Yamaha’s booth called me over to pose, with my Sprayground backpack, biker ready Balmain jeans, fat Illesteva eyewear and Zara cut up tank on their new collection of bikes.
Probably meriting a lookbook post of its own, the experience was nonetheless fantastic and FLEXible.
Till next time, food marketing and San Francisco!