Street food enthusiasts are about to put their game faces on for this weekend's fourth annual San Francisco Street Food Festival, thrown in the Mission by local non-profit La Cocina. The day-long gorge is guaranteed to include bouts of line-induced madness, calmed by intermittent stops for cheese-filled pupusas, vegan peach bbq sandwiches, State Bird Provisions' "World Peace" peanut milk, and the like. Here's a rundown of what you should know:
1) The festival includes over 70 vendors, the highest number yet. Stalls include SF street food favorites like Estrellita's Snacks, Bay Area restaurants like Hawker Fare, and some things you might recognize from the Ferry Building, like Il Cane Rosso. Artists and musicians will be peppered around to diversify the entertainment. Click on the logos for the individual vendors on this web page to see what everyone is planning to offer.
2) For the first time, La Cocina will be throwing a ticketed VIP Night Market fundraiser this Friday night at Alemany Market, leading into the Sunday food barrage. Twenty-seven vendors will offer one item each, including special guests Javier Plasencia from Mision 19 in Tijuana, Matt Jennings, a repeat Cochon 555 winner from Providence, RI, and Rodney Scott, a third generation barbecue pitmaster from Hemingway, SC.
3) La Cocina is still looking for volunteers to help build tables and signs for Sunday. If you help out, you get a pass to the Night Market for free. More information here.
4) If you look at one thing before hitting the streets on Saturday, it should be this PDF, which maps out every single vendor and where it will be in the six-block grid. There's also a new SF Street Food Festival app, if you've got a smart phone.
5) At a media preview event of food to be offered, some early favorites were revealed. Patricia Unterman lavished praise to Azalina's for her Malaysian chilaquiles. Blake Gray also singled out the jambalaya from Good Foods Catering, and Oaxaca cheese tamales from Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas.
6) The bartenders from Rye will be back this year, making cocktails at a bar you can enter from 21st Street, just by Shotwell. Another smaller bar will be set up on Folsom and 26th Streets. SFoodie has more on the cocktails.
7) This year there was also a popularity contest to decide on four street food vendors to get in for free. The winners were Mozzeria, Little Red Dot Kitchen, Bánh Mì Love You Longtime, and Rice Paper Scissors.
8) No credit cards will be accepted. If you want to avoid messing with cash at your many food stops (there will be many) and get a few discounts along the way, La Cocina is offering passports valued at $25 to $250. Buy them on 25th Street between Folsom and Treat on the day of the Festival.
9) Some 80,000 attendees are expected again this year, and the festival lasts from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Experienced eaters will get there on the early side.
10) Attention bug eaters: the very popular Don Bugito moth larvae tacos will be back in action this year.
11) For die-hard La Cocina supporters and food industry wannabes: a slew of interesting panels and a brunch fiesta will go down on Sunday. Get more information and buy tickets here. (The great-sounding Monday industry panels are unfortunately sold out.)
12) It looks like it's going to be good street food weather. Plan accordingly.
· All Previous SF Street Food Festival Coverage [~ ESF ~]