This past weekend, EAT REAL FEST celebrated its seventh year of combining "a state fair, a street-food festival, and a block party to create a celebration of good food" in Jack London Square in Oakland. With 20+ vendors, there were all kinds of food -- everything from vegan, Indian, Mexican, soul, Asian fusion, and so much more. And really, looking at the vendor list sold me on going. Just like many food festivals, there were hits and there were misses -- keep reading to see what I tried this year!
SWEET LEMON RICOTTA ZEPPOLE with EARL GREY CHOCOLATE GANACHE from GIRL FRIDAY ZEPPOLE. Hands down, the best of the day -- it was practically love at first bite. There was a variety of dipping sauces to choose from, including the vanilla bean crème fraîche that I was close to getting. Looking back, I would've definitely gotten a dozen and chose both flavors! They also have a savory option. Next time, Girl Friday!
STARTER BAKERY KOUIGN AMANN SANDWICH with MALTED WHITE CHOCOLATE FROZEN CUSTARD & BURNT CARAMEL SAUCE from FROZEN KUHSTERD. I was not completely sold on the caramelized croissant, but the frozen custard was delish. I loved it even though I'm not a huge fan of white chocolate (other than white chocolate mocha). Yum! **FUN FACT: Frozen Kuhsterd ran a successful Kickstarter project and will be opening a brick and mortar shop in San Francisco!**
BRAISED OXTAIL TACO from ALAMAR. I was actually in line to get the spiral fries - half a potato cut into a spiral and fried on a long stick. Unfortunately, everyone wanted one because of how interesting it looked. The wait took over an hour when I was there because not only did it take them a long while to prepare and make each batch, they also had fryer problems. I ended up just changing my order to their braised oxtail taco because they were pumping those out in just seconds. The braised oxtail was flavorful, but overall, this taco was just OK.
FRIED KOREAN SWEET SOY AND GARLIC CHICKEN AND WAFFLE SANDWICH from BOK SSAM. I actually had this before a long time ago and really enjoyed it the first time, but it was prepared differently this time. The waffle was totally different, and a little too soft and sweet. The chicken, on the other hand, was juicy and flavorful. However, the skin eventually became rather soggy and starting to come apart. There is potential -- I just wish it was like the first time I had it!
TEA LEAF SALAD from BURMA BEAR. The first time I went to the booth, they were not open yet sadly because someone had stolen their generator the previous night (evil!). When I went around the second time around, they started to sell two of their three items, including the tea leaf salad. I was excited to try because yum, tea leaf salad! Sadly, this fell short for me and I think it was mainly the preserved tea leaves. It was just missing that kick overall.
RAGIN' CAJUN FRIES from SPUDS. When you have a slogan like "When the side becomes the entree!," you'll attract all the french fry aficionados, such as me. These fries had garlic shrimp, sausage, bell peppers, green onions, and a creamy cajun sauce. And the fries? Definitely not your frozen fries, which is something I truly appreciate. SPUDS appears to be just starting out, and the Eat Real Fest website has me thinking this is from the kitchen of Gussie's Chicken & Waffles. And? Looking good so far!
CRAB CAKE SLIDER from NEW ORLEANS CATERING. I've been to Eat Real Fest three times, and all three times, I couldn't help but get this crab cake slider. This crab cake? Totally legit with the cook frying it, making it all crispy, right in front of you. Topped with that remoulade sauce? Yes, please.
Did you go to Eat Real Fest this year? What was your favorite?