As we wrap up the weekend festivities, please allow us to make some final observations.
1) Overheard while walking by Greens: "Didn't we have lunch here like 20 years ago?"
2) Two Green Kitchen demos that epitomize the coasts in many ways: David Chang did a tomato dish he serves at Momofuku Ko, made yuba from scratch, talked about puffing black rice and freezing cherry tomatoes in the dish for texture, and concocted a dressing with over a dozen ingredients. The next day, Chez Panisse's Cal Peternell made a salad where he coated a bell pepper in olive oil, roasted it in a toaster oven and sliced it.
3) Actual conversation before the demo:
David Chang Fanboy [interrupting conversation]: "Hey I love your restaurants man! You're going to be doing some pork today in the demo, right?"
David Chang: "Actually I'm going to make a tomato salad."
4) Architecturally, for the most part, the pavilions were a a bit of a let-down, especially with the big names attached. But even given the constraints of time, space and building materials, the ones that won raves from our architect friends were the Beer Pavilion (Randolph Designs), Pickle Pavilion (Sagan Piechota) and Fish Pavilion (Marta Fry Landscape Associates).
5) So, ahem ... whose idea was it to make the Native American Pavilion the smallest one and put it alone in the corner?
6) Alice Waters and dozens of other big names were on hand, but Mayor PlumpJack garnered the most attention everywhere he went. The man's a rock star. That's kind of a fact.
7) Neologisms we don't require: starmers.
8) The Coffee Pavilion was the most ridiculous area and consequently, the most educational, because you had to learn if you wanted to taste. The best part: when pouring each cup, the (very nice) barista started each time with "This farm you are tasting right now is..." We learned a lot about Ecuadorian shade patterns.
9) Conclusion: for a first-time event, we expected SFN to be a much bumpier ride than it was, and while there are surely plenty of improvements to be had, we rather enjoyed the event overall. The valid Slow Food critiques are out there, both from within and elsewhere, but at least people are talking and thinking about important issues, and we like to think bringing the issues and dialogue into the spotlight was/is the important part. Should be interesting to see how it sustains, yes?
· Complete Slow Food Coverage [~ESF~]