Sunday, August 9, 2009

SF Chefs. Food. Wine.

The SF Chefs. Food. Wine. event brings together some of the best restaurants and wineries that the Bay Area has to offer. What better way to enjoy all the delicious dishes and tasty wines from the area than attending this event? With everything under one tent, it is truly a foodie's paradise. In addition to food and wine sampling, there were also cooking demonstrations, chef book signings, and educational seminars.

I went on both Saturday and Sunday, and since different restaurants/chefs were featured on each day, I got to try many dishes. It's wonderful that everyday I got to enjoy something different. I also learned by the second day to pace myself and not to get any drinks until I consumed some food (because I still have not mastered the challenge of holding a drink and eating off a plate at the same time). The strategy worked out brilliantly and I got to sample pretty much every restaurant showcased.

The cool factor about the event is that many of the executive chefs and/or sous chefs were actually at their own station preparing the food so one could actually meet and chat with them. Many of the table displays were also gorgeous, such as the one from Luce featuring heirloom tomatoes. Even though I've been to many of the restaurants showcased at the event, I also discovered a number of new ones that I can't wait to try.

After we filled ourselves with plenty of food and wine, we waited in line to get our French Laundry cookbook signed by Thomas Keller. He was extremely nice and gracious. I had remembered to bring my menu from when I dined at French Laundry for him to sign, but my sister forgot hers. He told her simply to mail it in and he would be happy to sign and send back. We also went to his seminar in the afternoon, where he, Charles Phan from Slanted Door, and Douglas Keane from Cyrus discussed what it takes to create a successful restaurant. It was a splendid event filled with wonderful food and wine and unique opportunities to meet some of the top chefs in the country.

San Francisco Filipino American Jazz Festival

One of the reasons I love living in SF is there are always plenty of events on any given weekend. Another reason is the rich diversity of cultures in the city. This weekend was a great example. I had already made plans to attend the SF Chefs. Food. Wine. event in Union Square (see post), but I also saw signs all over the city advertising the Filipino American Jazz Festival taking place at the Yerba Buena Gardens. A smile came across my face when I saw that they were heavily promoting the fact that the festival had no entrance fee (as compared to the SF Chefs. Food. Wine. event, where the passes cost $150 per day). Given the economy, this was a great way to attract people who don't want to spend a small fortune. Of course the food and shopping was not free, but the prices were reasonable.

When I had passed the Yerba Buena Gardens earlier in the day, delicious smells of food from various booths tempted my nose so I really wanted to come back to check out the festival. While I had a break from the main events at Chefs. Food. Wine., I made my way down to the Filipino Festival. Even though there were many things that I would have loved to try, such as lumpia (Filipine egg rolls), BBQ skewers etc., I was quite stuffed from Chefs. Food. Wine. Instead, I settled on a nice cool drink/dessert since it was such a hot day. The Halo Halo, which is a mixture of crushed ice, coconut milk, and red beans among other items, was calling out to me from the stands. Most stands were very crowded but I was able to get it without any problems. The Halo Halo wasn't very sweet and was a bit watered down, but it served its purpose of cooling me down from the sun. We couldn't stay too long because we had to go back to Chefs. Food. Wine. for our afternoon seminar, but at least I got to check out the Filipino Festival for a bit. I'll definitely come back next year on an empty stomach!