la cocina street food festival...not the same as before
It was a bright sunny day....okay, it was freaking hot, as we made our way down 3rd Street to check out the new iteration of La Cocina's Street Food Festival. They had taken a year off to reconfigure the event as it had grown exponentially to the point where it took over the entirety of Pier 70 with a veritable array of food trucks, food vendors, bars, etc. Like many a foodie event in this town, it had become an unruly animal that lasted over two days and drew thousands who descended upon the Dogpatch neighborhood like locusts to gobble up whatever was on offer.
Me and the SO went to the last one and it was HUGE! You can read about it here and here. It was a hot day then too and I'll admit, I was overwhelmed with the offerings and ate and ate and ate well beyond the feel good point. I think even for La Cocina it had become unwieldy and grown beyond even their wildest imagination. Thus, poof! Time to take a step back and figure out what they want from the festival and relaunch a super slimmed down version this year. Which is what brings us to the power station, still in Dogpatch, but a smaller space and taking place outside, in the sun, no shade.
By the time we get there, two hours into the event, the place is packed. There are way fewer vendors and most everyone of them has a line, a really, really long line. Ugh. After we make a once around, my plan then becomes to start with the booths that don't seem to have much, if any lines. Fortunately there are a couple which is good because it is hot and me and the SO are hungry. Seemed like the best idea at the time to get a little food in us before trying to conquer the waiting, it is the hardest part (that's a shout out to the late Tom Petty R.I.P.).
The above really caught my eye as I saw a couple people walk past carrying one. It was from Mi Comedor and for whatever reason, there wasn't a line at their booth. In an event as popular as this, when all others are crowded and you are not it could be a sign of trouble. In this instance though I decided to disregard it as a fluke and ordered up myself a carne asada huarache. It's basically like a Mexican version of a mini pizza. Fried/grilled masa with toppings, in this case: carne asada, green tomatillo salsa, cilantro, onions and queso fresco.
I'm not sure why folks weren't clamoring for it as we both liked it. It is simple in it's presentation but the masa was nice and crispy with a good flavor or corn and they piled on the toppings. The meat was tender, the salsa had bit of kick and the onions and cilantro all blended well. It's flatbread pizza meats open faced taco. They were charging $8 (food festival prices you know) but it was a pretty decent sized serving and would serve well as either a shared appetizer or individual entree for anyone. It is possible they got busier in the day but anyone who didn't get by missed out. I'll just list as a hidden food festival gem.
The next stop was Yvonne's Southern Sweets. Now she has a spot in Bayview down 3rd Street and I've been aiming to get by there. But here she was at the festival and she literally had no line, go figure. It was a hot day so I'm just guessing here folks weren't looking for something so sweet and heavy? God forbid they don't like Southern sweets, because that would just be wrong. You know I couldn't pass up a chance to try some mini pies! She had two pies on offer and yes, I got one of each.
Here we have sweet potato pie and well, I wasn't all that enthused about it. For me it had two issues. First, while the website says it has all the right spices, what this one had was an overwhelming supply of ginger. So much so you couldn't taste anything else, it was that strong. No cinnamon, nutmeg, let alone sweet potato. It was like a ginger smack in the face. Secondly, the texture wasn't really smooth, it was more loose and curdish like cottage cheese. It could have been an aberration of the batch, but in the moment after two bites I just couldn't have anymore. The SO likes ginger in spades and finished most of the rest. If that is your flavor profile, then this is the pie for you.
Fortunately, I was able to wash away that taste with some pecan pie. This was spot on to the pie of my youth with copious amounts of caramelized pecans and the thick rich brown sugar filling in a flakey, buttery crust. (The same crust was used in both pies and that was the one thing in the other pie was okay with) Yes it is sweet, thus this pie not for the faint of heart where desserts are concerned. However, if you want a classic Southern dessert that evokes fall and the holidays, a pecan pie from Yvonne's would be a good way to go. She's done a great job. It was enough to make me still want to try and get by her shop on 3rd Street to try some other offerings, eventually.
Now that we've gotten a bellies a bit full we decide to take on some of the booths with long, long, long lines. Which, surprise, I will cover in the next post! Specifically because we ran into some issues with a few of the booths, which seemed to be a major issue at the event this year. Stay tuned!