Eat Real Festival Part 2

by foodhoe on August 30, 2010

After a day’s respite from our first visit as described here, Mr. K and I returned to explore more of the mobile food truck cuisine that gathered in force for the Eat Real Festival in Jack London Square last weekend.  I forgot my phone on the charger at home and so immediately became separated from Mr. K.  No worries, because he knew I was making a beeline for the ATM…  I had just enough money to get one taco from Hapa SF, which is run by William Pilz, the former pastry chef at Citizen Cake.  He uses fresh locally sourced ingredients including spices from le Sanctuaire to make organic Filipino pulutan (finger food) cuisine. 

I was starving but knew I had to pace myself.  I had the Sisig Taco ($4), which is Pilz’ signature dish.  It is basically lime-soy-and-shallot-seasoned pork shoulder, cheeks and jowls that are cooked several times over during which time it develops an amazing array of textures. There are crispy, chewy, tender and rich and creamy bits too.   The taco came garnished with a tiny perfect lime half which added a lovely tartness and uplifting aromas.  There were paper thin slices of crisp radish and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro that added fresh flavors and texture to the rich spicy filling.  I liked that the taco was served on a single corn tortilla that was a bit larger than the usual taco truck double layer, so the ratio of corn tortilla to filling was just right.  I savored each bite while I fended my way through the slow moving crowds towards the ATM.

I hooked up again with Mr. K at the ATM where we stood in one of many long lines that day.  Funds replenished, we moved on to check out Le Truc, which was a tricked out yellow school bus serving up edgy gastropub fare.

We settled on trying the Thai Bao ($4), which is made from  llano seco organic pork, prik king, and the menu said that it pairs well with odonata saison, a local beer.  The unfortunate thing is that they did not have said beer, and getting the beer required hauling through the crowds to stand in another long line, so we just had the bun.  It was tasty and had a lovely slice of pickled lemon that added a delicious jangly buzz, but we thought that the Thai flavors (curry and/or fish sauce) were too muted .

We also tried an interesting Stoopenkuchen ricotta cheese thing drizzled with a beer reduction made from Stoopid Ale from Lagunitas ($4).  I don’t remember the details, but it was a savory thing that we thought would be really good with beer and pretzels.  Too bad we didn’t have one…

Mr. K made a beeline for the booth of Oakland restaurant Tamarindo Antojitos, which was serving gorditas, handmade flour pockets from Northern Mexico.  We started with the Carnitas ($4), which was tender and rich and delicious drizzled with the spicy house made Salsa Verde.  Mr. K liked this so much that he got another one.

I loved the Vegetarian Gordita, which was filled with thinly sliced onions and cabbage and Black Beans with pungent Cotija cheese ($3).

I caught the eye of a fellow wolfing down an empanada with obvious enjoyment, who pointed me in the direction of the sign for El Porteño Empanadas Argentinas.  The line was inexplicably long so I felt compelled to try one of each of the savory pies…

The Carne ($4) was packed with tender pieces of  Prather ranch grass fed beef, briny green olives, raisins, and chopped hard boiled eggs.  It had a good ratio of flaky dough to filling and the bits of olive and raisin added bursts of flavor.

The Champinones Empanada was made from local organic mushrooms from Far West Fungi, shallots, parmesan cheese, creme fraiche ($4).  It was smaller and less vibrantly flavorful than the Carne, but quite good.

Finally, I was able to visit Spencer On The Go, the cart run by chef Laurent Katgely owner/chef of restaurant Chez Spencer, which I visited here in 2008.  He was recently the local representative in the Food Networks Great Food Truck Race.

I have long wanted to sample the Escargot  Puff Lollipops ($3), which I found to be even more delicious than I had expected.

The buttery pastry was drenched with a rich garlicy sauce, concealing the chewy morsel of snail within.

We also split a Lobster Cappucino ($5), which Mr. K though tasted like dishwater.  It smelled like lobster, but had the texture of cappucino with a foamy top.  I was not a fan either, I definitely like the thicker texture of a bisque or chowder better than cappucino texture for a soup…  We called it a loss and tossed it.

The Eat Real Festival is a wonderful opportunity for people in the East Bay to sample the delicacies of the many mobile food vendors gathered in one location.  The free entrance and $5 cap on prices had obvious allure as the crowds and long lines can attest.  On our way out, we walked around  the new Jack London Market building, which gave a taste of the very cool artisinal food mecca which will open one day soon.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rosa August 30, 2010 at 11:09 am

Wow, so droolworthy! That is the kind of food that makes me happy!




Single Guy Ben August 30, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Oh, you’re so good to go a second day! I would have but had plans on Sunday. I liked the lobster cappuccino, but I paid $8 on Saturday! I guess he was running a sale on Sunday. With the many days of the festival, each day sounds different with different vendors. Next year I may have to set aside the whole weekend!


Bonnibella August 30, 2010 at 9:24 pm

How fun! Wish I could go but work and the long lines deter me. However, those escargot puff are really something huh! Those beautiful pics are making me crave them.


grace August 31, 2010 at 3:49 pm

all that fried dough–be still, my heart! (but not too still…keep beating, please.) 🙂


rowena September 1, 2010 at 12:03 am

Get outta here! Escargot puff lollipops??? I have to add those to the menu for new year’s eve. Finger food and champagne baby!


Cookie September 1, 2010 at 1:07 pm

How fun! I especially wanna try the Escargot Lollipops!


Kirk September 2, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Alright Sisig tacos…. though it looked almost like adobada/al pastor!


Mrs. L September 3, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Your recap and photos make me wish I could have made it. Hopefully next year!


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