Thousands showed up for this year’s version of the Eat Real Festival – everyone except the sun, that is.

After two years of perfect late summer weather along Jack London Square’s waterfront, where this smorgasbord of food truck and street food love takes place, this year was overcast skies and quite a bit of wind.

But that apparently didn’t damper the spirits of people who stood in lines, as long as an hour at times, just to get some gourmet bites. I felt that the lines were longer this year compared to last, and it might be because there seemed to be fewer food vendors.

Eat Real occurs over three days, and some of the vendors are rotated out during those days. So while the entire list of Eat Real participants might look impressive, it’s not like they’re all out in force at the same time.

Spots where there were food booths or trucks last year were now taken up by corporate sponsors, like a whole section dedicated to the Prius. And really, was it necessary to have a Chipotle booth? I find the fun aspect of Eat Real is when you discover a new small business food vendor. I don’t need to see food from Whole Foods, even though they support the sustainability movement. (With fewer food booths, some of the popular regulars had the longest lines, such as Chairman Bao, Homeroom, and surprisingly El Porteno’s Empanadas.)

Silog Taco with garlic fried rice and beef tapa from WOW truck

Despite the growing corporate feel of Eat Real, I did enjoy some of the bites I had when I went on Saturday, like the Silog Taco from the WOW truck (owned by Chef Tim Luym). I liked the garlic fried rice with the Niman Ranch beef tapa and free-range fried egg.

I titled this post “craving a salad” because most of the food offerings leaned toward the heavy side, like lots of pork (there were competing whole pig roasts from Chop Bar and The Whole Beast), hot dogs, hamburgers and tacos.

La-Loo's Strawberry Darling ice cream (with scoop of coffee underneath)

Of all my bites, the one that made me smile was La-Loo’s goat milk ice cream, specifically its “strawberry darling,” a luscious strawberry ice cream with a swirl of balsamic reduction. Ah. Maze. Zing.

So another Eat Real Fest has come and gone. If you went, what were your favorites and how long did you stand in lines?

Grilled cheese and the crowd scene outside a truck

Several trucks were pushing their brand

Snoop Dog, a bacon-wrapped hot dog with slaw, bonito flakes, furukake and teri-mayo from Brass Knuckles

Cake pops and Halloween gelatin art

Pizza Politana

Chop Bar's roasted pork station

Squash display at the fountain

Inside the marketplace

Lines literally went around the block, like this for Sam's Chowder

Cuban sandwich with gruyere cheese, ham and jalapeno aioli from Ebbett's

Bread-baking oven

Prepping tastings of natto, the Japanese sticky fermented soy bean

Still hungry for more food porn? Check out more of my photos from the Eat Real Fest in my Exhibits page.

11 Responses to Hunting for New Food at Eat Real

  1. Cookie says:

    What a fun festival!

  2. Claudine says:

    We missed EatReal this year, Ben… so sad, and yes, bummer about the Chipotle stand… 🙁 In past years we’ve made beelines for Chairman Bao, 4505 Hotdogs and HapaSF… the Chop Bar piggie looks so good – we would have stopped in line for that for sure had we gone this year!

  3. foodhoe says:

    hmmm, just fyi both your old site and this site don’t work very well with IE 9…

    • Ben Ben says:

      Hmm, I don’t have IE 9 so not sure what it’s like. Maybe it’s too advanced! 😉 I’ll download it and see how it looks. But even then, I’m not sure how I would fix it for browsers since I’m not really good with troubleshooting. Just uploading. LOL.

  4. Ben, it looks so wonderful! Congrats on the site launch and I will be spreading the news about this site far and wide!! Off to tell my co-workers now!

  5. Foodhoe says:

    This loads just fine on an iPad, IE9 only works in windoze… Anyways we went on sunday, the lines were not bad at all probably because of the rain. I liked the smaller venue because I felt I could eat my way thru the festival!

    • Ben Ben says:

      What do you mean by smaller venue? I actually think the Jack London venue is a bit bigger than San Francisco’s street fest before they expanded this year. Now I think they’re about the same.

  6. Alex says:

    I discovered your blog site on google and check a few of your early posts. Continue to keep up the very good operate.

    Best regards Alex

  7. Mrs. L says:

    I admit, I would love to go to all these festivals, but I just can’t see waiting an hour in line to try something only to have to wait another hour in line to try something else. There has to be a better way! (loving your photos, by the way, does make me wish I had gone).

    • Ben Ben says:

      The trick is to go with three or four people and then each person stands in line for a specific truck buying four items and then meeting up for the taste off! You can always communicate via text if you need to check on orders. 😉