La Cocina Street Food Fest
This August was the 6th and final La Cocina Street Food Festival. With Dave gone to China, I was on my own. The Street Food Festival was from 11am to 7pm on Saturday. I was there when they opened and still had a 15-minute wait in line to pick up my credentials. I bought the $55 ticket which gave me $50 in street food bucks.
There were hundreds of food booths available, everything from street food trucks to restaurants set up to cook, a beer garden with local brews, and even products at the Whole Foods Pavilion. Each food booth had two offerings, a small plate for $3 and a full size entree for $8. Virtually every kind of food was available from hot dogs to Indian curry.
Even if you didn’t make it to the La Cocina Street Food Fest, this article is still worth reading. Tons of restaurants had super offerings, and you’ll be able to find them at their locations, be it truck or brick and mortar.
There was a nice artisan brewery area with Drake’s Brewing Company of San Leandro, Calicraft, and Anchor Steam. They all offered small 4 oz or so tastings of their most special beers. The cold beer was welcome on a hot, crowded day.
But the food is what I need to talk about. Namu Street Food, from the Namu Gaji folks, served a $3 small bit Korean Taco and an $8 Okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki, as described by tofugo.com, “can best be described as a kind of savory pancake, [sic] mainly associated with Hiroshima and the Kansai region of Japan. Basically, you take some batter with cabbage tossed in, add some savory items from above, cook on a hot surface/pan/whatever, then top with fixings and sauces.” They are crispy and delicious, topped with a Korean ‘mayonnaise’ and a Japanese or Korean BBQ sauce. Generally they are topped with bonita flakes, aka dried tuna flakes. Outrageously good. They tell me the one at their brick and mortar restaurant serves them with oysters on top. I’m going!!!
Il Cane Rosso, located in the Ferry Building, serves up some really great food. You’ll always see crowds there, waiting for Il Cane Rosso’s specialty breakfasts when going to the Saturday Farmers Market there. They served a spicy pickled quail egg as their $3 small plate. But PEOPLE, their Drunken Fish & Salt-Brined Chips ($8) were THE best fish and chips I’ve EVER had. (You’re not supposed to, as a food writer, use ‘the best’, because there’s only one best.) But Il Cane Rosso’s Fish & Chips are the BEST. I’ve written them a few times to ask when this marvelous dish is offered on their menu as I don’t see it on their website. I will keep trying. The chef explained that they add vodka to the batter, and it creates additional bubbles in the batter and a resulting crispy airiness that is out of this world!!
Mozzeria is a pizza parlor at 16th and Guerrero, owned and run by deaf people. You would never know it. They are attentive and don’t miss a beat. I tried the $3 slice of Margherita Pizza, a healthy portion of a plain tomato sauce, cheese and basil pizza that was outstanding. I simply didn’t have room for the $8 Veal-Pork Meatball Sandwich, but it looked fabulous.
Although the La Cocina Street Food Fair won’t return to Folsom Street next year, we can always hope that another neighborhood will recognize the amazing camaraderie and joy experienced by a day of food and drink amongst friends and neighbors, a chance to try just about everything under the sun!!