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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Scenes from a Food Festival [a.k.a. How I Finally Got My Crème Brûlée]

The date: Saturday, 28th August, 2010
The what: Oakland Eat Real Food Festival
The where: Jack London Square, just a BART ride away.
The why: Crème brûlée

That is correct. After a year of waiting and two phailed attempts of waiting in line for half an hour only to find that everything was sold out, this past Saturday, I finally satisfied my crème brûlée craving. I made sure to arrive early and quickly ate my fill of savoury dishes so that it would soon be time for dessert. And when I spotted a fellow foodie pass by me with a ramekin of creamy goodness, I quickly stopped him for directions. Before I knew it, I had found the Creme Brulee Cart and got a hold of absolute bliss.

Vanilla bean. Oh, yes.

Now that I've gotten that life-changing moment out of my system, let me actually explain the rest of the scene. For the unfamiliar, the Eat Real Fest is held every year in Jack London Square in Oakland. It lasts three days and hosts some of the most prominent food carts and restaurants in the Bay Area. Most items are $2-$6, and throughout the day there is music and throngs of hungry people perusing the sidewalks for the best food there is.

Having gone before, I wanted to try out foods that I hadn't had a chance to sample last year. Crème brûlée was a given, and as you read above, that desire was satisfied rather quickly. But there were many more things to try:

Huaraches de nopales [El Huarache Loco]: An oblong masa tortilla stuffed with beans and topped with tomatoes, cilantro, cotija cheese, and strips of nopales - cactus pads. Nopales are surprisingly very meaty for a vegetable and lend a lot of flavour. And the masa was very moist and delicious.

Iced coffee [Ritual Roasters]: I literally rolled out of bed and hopped on over to Eat Real, which meant I needed caffeination to support the mass food consumption that was to occur. Enter in Ritual Roasters and their spring arrival coffees to give me the caffeine jolt I needed.

Paneer tikka burrito [Curry Up Now]: Usually I am very wary of eating Indian food outside because, frankly, my mom can do a much better job, and it's all free. But the amusing, albeit stereotypical name of this place caught my eye, and I had been craving desi khana all week. The burrito was wrapped in a roti and came with four sauces - yoghurt, cilantro chutney, sweet chutney, and hot sauce. It was pretty big, so I'm glad I went halfsies on this one.

I just thought the name was funny.

Fried plantains and banana yam beignets [Chiefo's West African Cuisine]: It's not everyday that I get to eat African food, so I couldn't pass this up. Plus, dessert time was nearing, anyways. While I had to wait a bit in line, it was worth it, for everything was super fresh. The beignets were great by themselves, and I'm glad I skipped the powdered sugar topping; and the plaintains were delicious.

Oh, and there was some bhangra dancing, complete with a DIY bhangra lesson. I love this place.

Boats, trains, foods, boy. Beautiful day, beautiful weekend.


  1. <3 i wish i could have been there! the food looks great -- those beignets made me think of new orleans.

  2. Paneer tikka burrito and bhangra, what could be more fun.......forget desi khana by mom