FOODSEEKR: Top December Food Events in the SF Bay Area

Fifth Floor Holiday Guest Chef Series | December 5-10 | Fifth Floor Restaurant

Having grown up in a pretty traditional Chinese household, I always wondered what other families ate over the holidays. Since I’m pretty sure they wondered what was going on behind the closed doors of my home as well, I’m glad Fifth Floor has decided to put a fine dining twist on this idea for their Holiday Dinners this week. Each night, a different chef from a renowned San Francisco restaurant hosts a five course holiday meal at David Bazirgan’s Fifth Floor that’s inspired by his/her unique cultural heritage, with part of the proceeds going to charity. Though it’s already Thursday, there are still  two guest chefs left for tonight and Friday night, as well as Chef David Bazirgan’s own Armenian holiday dinner on Saturday. Tonight’s dinner features Hoss Zare from Zare at Fly Trap, while tomorrow’s features Matt Accarino from SPQR. Call the restaurant at 415.348.1555 to make reservations. Holiday dinners are $95 per person.

Lower Haight Holiday Art Walk | December 9, 6pm-9:30pm | 400-700 Blocks of Haight Street

The Lower Haight Holiday Art Walk brings together shopping, drinking, eating and live music in a way that only The Haight could. Of course, I’d be focused on the food more than anything. Some of the vendors that will be there include Sour Flour Breads (they also occasionally host baking classes at La Victoria), Kara’s Cupcakes, Wing Wings and Chili Cha Cha.

Epicuring’s Behind-the-Scenes Holiday Sweets Crawl | December 14, 6pm-9pm | 1198 Illinois Street, San Francisco

Oh, shopping and food! Susie and Laiko of 7×7 Magazine have made it dangerously easy for you to OD on sugar this holiday season. This sweets crawl takes place in the Dogpatch, and features treats from three wonderful vendors (Mr & Mrs. Miscellaneous, Au Coeur des Chocolats and Kika’s Treats). At each vendor, you’ll be treated to a tour from the resident chef in charge, samples of their delicious wares, and a take-home goodie bag full of treats. Buy tickets here.

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Taste & Tribute 2011 [Review]

Taste & Tribute 2011, which took place in the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco on November 18, was exceptional. The night opened with a silent auction, during which wine and hors d’oeuvres were served. Among the items on auction, there were paintings, tapestries, pashmina shawls, vases and tickets for luxurious trips. Some people lingered around the meat and cheese plates,while others kept a cautious eye on the items they’d bid on, daring anyone else to write a number down. In this jovial atmosphere, attendees chatted and admired the items on display.

When the double doors to the dining room opened, guests were ushered into a dimly lit room full of glittering lights and 11 beautifully set dining tables. The master chefs who would be preparing the evening’s meal were spread around the periphery of the room at their stations, busily preparing plates for the first course. Once everyone was seated, the charismatic Liam Mayclem took the diners through the opening ceremony. Speakers Pema Gellek and Judy Rasmussen thanked the crowd for their support, and spoke about the Tibetan Aid Project’s continued dedication to ensuring the longevity of Tibetan traditions. After the four-course meal prepared table-side, the night closed out with a live auction with auctioneer Greg Quiroga. However, even amongst all of the glittering silverware, heady wine and extraordinary food, I never once forgot that the people who had gathered for this event had done so for the sake of Tibet. Even with all of that splendor around me, being in that room full of good will was perhaps the most pleasant aspect of the night.

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SF Weekly Dish 2011 [Review]

The SF Weekly Dish happened on Sunday, October 2. It’s now Friday, October 7. If you’re wondering why this review is coming out so late, it’s because this is how long it took me to digest just how FANTASTIC this event was.

Papalote showed me hella love. Photo by Laura Knight.

Let me break down for you just why this event was so perfect.

  1. Proceeds went to La Cocina, an organization that helps low-income food entrepreneurs get their start in the business. They also run the SF Street Food Festival.
  2. Check-in was a breeze.
  3. The gorgeous SF Design Center was an enlightened venue.
  4. 3 hours of non-stop eating featuring 35 food vendors.
  5. Open…wait for it…BAR.

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Essential Eating at the 2011 SF Food Truck Festival

The 3rd Annual SF Street Food Festival is this weekend. If you haven’t already read up on Lucia’s Plan of Attack, I highly suggest you do. My friends and I were able to make it out to the inaugural SF Street Food Festival in 2009 and definitely used the divide and conquer technique, as outlined by Lucia, to our great advantage.

I’ve taken up another piece of Lucia’s advice by combing through the list of vendors to see what they will have to offer this weekend. Below are just a few that have piqued my interest.

Bi-Rite: With an entire day devoted to food, who cares about which order to consume it all in. I’ve had the Salted Caramel Ice Cream before at their proper brick and mortar location in the Mission, but it’s the Strawberry Mint Popsicle that sounds especially delicious.

Kung-Fu Tacos' Nun Chuk Chicken and Wu Shu Char Sui. Photo by Joey Pangilinan.

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2011 SF Street Food Festival Plan of Attack

With the 3rd Annual San Francisco Street Food Festival right around the corner, you can rest assured that I’ve got my elastic waistband pants prepped and ready for action. Organized by La Cocina, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping immigrant and low-income entrepreneurs go after their restaurant dreams, the company’s do-good spirit makes me feel a bit better about the fact that I’ll be glutting myself on some of the best eats in the Bay.

THE DETAILS

Time: Saturday, 8/20/2011 from 11am to 7pm.

Location: Vendors will be in the Mission District on Folsom Street from 22nd Street to 26th Street, in the parking lot at the Cesar Chavez Elementary School and also at the Parque de los Ninos Unidos. Some areas from 23rd to 25th Streets between Shotwell and Treat will be roped off for communal seating.

Event Highlights: 60 vendors, a Scavenger Hunt, and a National Street Food Conference on Sunday, 8/21/2011.

Prices: Booths will primarily be serving appetizer and entree portions, with small plates priced around three dollars and large plates priced around eight. Drinks will also be available.

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Outside Lands, Inside Hunger

What was your first-ever concert, back in the day?

I remember mine. It was an all-day outdoor music festival in Mountain View. I have great memories of jumping around, dancing with my friends and getting to see Bloc Party and The Cold War Kids. However, those great memories were tainted by one not-so-great memory: paying $7 for some undercooked garlic fries, redolent of stale oil and raw potato. After those uninspiring fries, I found myself wishing I had packed myself a peanut butter sandwich instead, and ate nothing for the rest of the day. It’s a wonder I didn’t pass out from low blood sugar or something along those lines.

On the other hand, if you plan on venturing to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park next weekend for Outside Lands 2011, then dining should be an added bonus at the festival rather than a matter of concern. After all, the Bay Area has been known nationwide for its foodie culture ever since Alice Waters opened Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Whether you’re at the SFMOMA cafeteria, the zoo, or an ice cream shop on a hot summer day, you’re going to find that San Franciscans really pay attention to the overall taste and quality of their food. The food here is fresh, combines unique flavor profiles, and is made with organic, sustainable and local ingredients where possible. And since “food and wine” are listed as taglines on Outside Lands promotions along with “music and art,” you can rest assured that the festival directors put just as much thought into the lineup of food vendors as the lineup of musicians.

Presenting the Piglet from The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen - a preview of the deliciousness that is Outside Lands. Photo by Katherine Hamilton.

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