Tasting Table's Lobster Rumble arrives in San Francisco

Tasting Table’s Lobster Rumble arrives in San Francisco

Who doesn’t like a food fight? Well, how about a Lobster Rumble?

Last night, I had the pleasure of attending (as a guest) San Francisco’s first ever Tasting Table Lobster Rumble presented by Lexus. Tasting Table has put on these claw-clinging competitions for the last few years in New York and Los Angeles, and has now brought it to the Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason.

Because this was the first year, the San Francisco version was actually kind of lobster rumble lite. While there were nine restaurants competing mostly from the Bay Area (and one all the way from Seattle), that pales in comparison to the fierce battle of more than 20 restaurants in New York this past June.

And the winner is …
Still, it was enjoyable trying all the little bites of lobster rolls, created by local favorites such as Farallon, Anchor & Hope, Waterbar, Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House (Oakland), and Local Mission Market.

The ultimate rumble winner was Old Port Lobster Shack of Redwood City, and typical me, it was the only table I missed in the frenzy of lobster munching, cocktail drinking and Instagram-snapping that I found myself in last night. (Remaining restaurants included Frank’s Oyster House of Seattle, Willi’s Seafood and Raw Bar of Healdsburg, and Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., which didn’t serve up lobster but a pork slider, wuh?)

There were tons of people at the event, which provides a portion of its proceeds to Share Our Strength and its No Kid Hungry program. It was a fun night, especially because of the Old Fashioned cocktail I had, and because I ran into fellow food bloggers. I’m hoping the event grows next year to do San Francisco proud (we surely can do things bigger than LA!), and thanks to Tasting Table for the invite.

The first lobster roll I tried came courtesy of Farallon, who buttered up the voters with a butter-poached lobster roll with arugula. I felt it was way too much butter because the butter flavor overpowered the delicate lobster meat.

The first lobster roll I tried came courtesy of Farallon, who buttered up the voters with a butter-poached lobster roll with arugula. I felt it was way too much butter because the butter flavor overpowered the delicate lobster meat.

One of the chefs working the Local Mission Market counter, trying to keep up with the demand. Local Mission presented a lobster roll with pickled vegetables (promoted as kim chi). But there was way too much pickled vegetables to lobster ratio.

One of the chefs working the Local Mission Market counter, trying to keep up with the demand. Local Mission presented a lobster roll with pickled vegetables (promoted as kim chi). But there was way too much pickled vegetables to lobster ratio.

Top, Frank's Oyster House with its lobster salad roll that I thought was fresh, (bottom left) Oakland's Jack's Oyster Bar offered a lobster roll with hollandaise sauce that was too much and (right) Anchor & Hope had one of my favorite lobster roll of the night with big chunky lobster meat (how can you go wrong with that?)

Top, Frank’s Oyster House with its lobster salad roll that I thought was fresh, (bottom left) Oakland’s Jack’s Oyster Bar offered a lobster roll with hollandaise sauce that was too much and (right) Anchor & Hope had one of my favorite lobster roll of the night with big chunky lobster meat (how can you go wrong with that?)

It was a festive vibe at Herbst Pavilion, and it didn't hurt that there was an open bar offering up a daiquiri and this Old Fashioned that was mixed just right.

It was a festive vibe at Herbst Pavilion, and it didn’t hurt that there was an open bar offering up a daiquiri and this Old Fashioned that was mixed just right.

I didn't understand why Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. offered up this "conchinita pibil sliders," which were roasted BBQ pork with cole slaw in a brioche bun. The pork was OK, but the bun was on the tough side.

I didn’t understand why Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. offered up this “conchinita pibil sliders,” which were roasted BBQ pork with cole slaw in a brioche bun. The pork was OK, but the bun was on the tough side.

I also enjoyed the lobster roll from Willi's Seafood & Raw Bar, which offered up a fresh and clean roll that let the lobster meat shine.

I also enjoyed the lobster roll from Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar, which offered up a fresh and clean roll that let the lobster meat shine.

Waterbar in San Francisco provided a lobster roll with pickles and potato chips, giving the whole seafood shack experience.

Waterbar in San Francisco provided a lobster roll with pickles and potato chips, giving the whole seafood shack experience.

This guy at the Waterbar booth was having way too much fun in his lobster claw headband.

This guy at the Waterbar booth was having way too much fun in his lobster claw headband.

Of course, there was dessert, including this cinnamon bun biscuit from Biscuit Bender of the Ferry Building.

Of course, there was dessert, including this cinnamon bun biscuit from Biscuit Bender of the Ferry Building.

Popular Humphry Slocombe was scooping up two flavors that paired well with lobster: brown butter ice cream and Thai chili lime sorbet.

Popular Humphry Slocombe was scooping up two flavors that paired well with lobster: brown butter ice cream and Thai chili lime sorbet.

Congratulations to the winner, Old Port Lobster Shack. I wished I found your booth first.

Congratulations to the winner, Old Port Lobster Shack. I wished I found your booth first.

It's always a fun time when I run into these ladies: Sandy of Foodhoe's Foraging, Brenda of Bites and Bourbon, and Christina of East Bay Dish (with the addition of Mr. Lobster)

It’s always a fun time when I run into these ladies: Sandy of Foodhoe’s Foraging, Brenda of Bites and Bourbon, and Christina of East Bay Dish (with the addition of Mr. Lobster)

I felt bad that I didn’t include a photo of the winning lobster roll, so Tasting Table was kind enough to provide this shot of Old Port Lobster Shack’s table. Photo by Aubrie Pick.

Looking at the food, now I feel really sad they ran out by the time I found the table.

Looking at the food, now I feel really sad they ran out by the time I found the table.

Check out my friends’ recap of the night as well.

Bites & Bourbon

Foodhoe

3 Responses to Time to Roll with Tasting Table’s 2014 Lobster Rumble in San Francisco

  1. Brenda Ton says:

    Love that video you made (esp the intro). Great post!

  2. This looks like such a fun night! Now that the weather has been cooling down, I’ve been having weird cravings for lobster rolls…must be fate!