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Slow Food Nation: Opening Scenes From Civic Center

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While the VIPs kicked off Slow Food Nation last night, for most intents and purposes, the shindig begins today at the Civic Center. Below, peruse the photo gallery to see all the sights and sounds from Day One, from pretty strawberries to the not-quite-authorized vendors to the, um, eccentrics. Check back during the weekend for continued coverage.

1) The morning began quietly at 9 o'clock, with no sign of any cameras in sight. With no line at Blue Bottle, this sounds too good to be true. But it's already very hot.

2) Some notable vendors/prices from the free-admission event: Blue Bottle New Orleans iced coffee, $3.50; Bi-Rite sundae $5, single $3, popsicle $2; Salumi station Muffaletta sandwich, $7; Fatted Calf grilled sausage and peppers with onions, $8; Vik's Chaat Corner chicken biryani $7, dahi batata puri $5; Out the Door lemongrass pork and vermicelli $8; Let's Be Frank All Beef Frank $6.

3) 11 o'clock: Charles Phan setting up shop, line developing at Blue Bottle. Early crowd: tourists, grandmas with tote bag types.

4) If you even think about putting that toothpick on the ground, you might get slapped (most compost bins ever here).

5) Ways people are keeping cool in the heat: Bi-Rite ice cream, the book tent, water tents, iced cold watermelon agua fresca from El Huarache Loco, the shade of trees alongside the garden. Crowd growing, filing in steadily, and ready for lunch.

6) If another person approaches us about prop 2 (prevention of animal cruelty), it will be too soon ... but hey, they give you a free sticker....

7) Highlights from the Soap Box area: a daddy-daughter duo perform spoken word about your corn, and chemical warfare, with drums and wind chimes. Oh, it's going to be a great weekend.

—words and images by Helen Hollyman
· Complete Slow Food Nation Coverage [~ESF~]

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