Browsing articles tagged with " Food Festival"
Several Luzerne County food festivals served as hotspots of activity, crafts and entertainment this Saturday, but the real highlight was, as always, the food itself.
Attendees were not disappointed, as the smells of ethnic foods filled areas of Plymouth, Edwardsville and Drums.
The 10th annual Kielbasa Festival in Plymouth overflowed with area residents. The Ethnic Food Festival at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Edwardsville and the Hot and Stinky Garlic and Herb Festival at Zanolini Nursery and Country Shop in Drums also drew foodies.
“The festival is an opportunity to welcome our parishioners and members of the community to sample our unique ethnic food,” said Ed Morgans, publicity coordinator at St. John’s. “It is also our major fundraiser of the year.”
Many attendees said they made a special trip to Edwardsville to partake of the menu, which included potato pancakes, halupki, pierogies, goulash, haluski, paguch and a variety of baked goods.
“We take pride in presenting unique Eastern European foods,” said Kathy Harmanos, church council president. “Our food is made from scratch, and we buy from local organizations.”
Organizers of the festival credit the hard work of parishioners in preparing food and staffing the booths.
At the Kielbasa Festival, a large swath of Main Street was dedicated to the event. Terry Womelsdorf, event coordinator and president of Plymouth Alive!, said this year’s festival attracted almost 100 vendors, an increase from previous years.
“We have something for everybody,” said Womelsdorf, “from food items to accessories, novelties and household items.” A parade, which took place Saturday morning, was a favorite of youngsters.
“I came so that the kids could watch the parade. It really holds their attention,” said Lenny Shovlin, father of Nicholas, 2, and Katelyn, 10 months. “They really love it.”
“Everyone is welcome to participate in the parade and it has a diversity and fun,” parade organizer Clyde Peters said. “Every year it gets longer with more people lining the street for a chance to watch.”
The highlight of the event was the kielbasi competition. (See attached list of winners.)
In lower Luzerne County, people also gathered to celebrate food at an end-of-summer bash. The Garlic Festival provided an opportunity for area vendors to sell homegrown items and have fun. In its 15th year, the event includes activities such as a garlic-eating contest, corn roast, pottery-making demonstration, musical offerings and sale of a variety of homemade foods.
“We anticipate about 1,000 attendees a day,” said festival manager Paula Willis. “It’s a great opportunity to enjoy food and family in a wonderful setting.”
The Garlic Festival continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the garlic-eating contest, touted as “the best part of the festival” at noon.
On a breezy and sunny Saturday afternoon, La Cocina’s Street Food Fair took over San Francisco’s Mission District, turning several blocks of Folsom Street into a bustling open-air food court. As we tasted our way through the crowd, we met several friendly and passionate chefs and workers who took a brief respite from the chaos to talk to us a little about their food. This is part one of a three part series. Stay tuned for parts two and three!
Spotlight on Central America
La Cocina, a nonprofit restaurant incubator, focuses on helping low-income, immigrant women realize their dreams of opening their own restaurant in regulation-heavy San Francisco. Its location in the heavily Latino Mission neighborhood and concentration on community building and support meant Central American food appeared in force at the Street Food Festival. Here’s the story of two vendors working hard to realize their restaurant dreams.
The Vendor – Maria del Carmen*, founder of Estrellita’s Snacks.
The Digs – “Pupusa con casamiento” – Thick handmade corn tortilla stuffed with pork, beans Quesillo cheese, topped with pickled vegetables and served with rice and beans. One of the best pupusas we’ve ever had.
The Dish – Maria del Carmen caught our attention as she donned a colorful Salvadoreñan dress and peddled pupusas on a tray in front of her booth.
Estrellita’s Snacks is a refreshingly down-to-earth operation: The un-hip logo, the infrequent and haphazard attempts at social media, the plastic wrap sack on the plate that held the pickled vegetables and Maria’s general approachability really stood out at a festival where people waited in a line more than double the length at the booth next door for $8 garlic bread.
Maria came to the San Francisco from El Salvador six years ago and, with the help of La Cocina, started Estrellita’s Snacks in 2009.
“At first I was selling different snacks in the streets, fruits, pupusas and tamales, just like you find in El Salvador,” she said, “I started working with La Cocina four years ago, and now Estrellita’s Snacks is even in a movie,” she added, laughing.
That movie, Woody Allen’s upcoming drama “Blue Jasmine,” takes place in San Francisco and is currently in theaters. Check out the trailer to see Estrellita’s Snacks’ cameo – it’s the restaurant on the bottom of the apartment building at the 0:39 mark.
“I’m excited to have the chance to bring Salvadorian food here to San Francisco and participate in this festival,” del Carmen said, taking a short break to triumphantly announce her pupusas to those passing by. Go Maria!
The Vendor – Veronica Salazar, chef and founder of El Huarache Loco; Aristo Ambatzidis, two-year employee at El Huarache Loco
The Digs – “Huarache de nopal” – Organic handmade corn tortilla filled with beans, toped with cilantro, salsa, onions, cream, queso fresco and cactus salad (cactus, onions, tomato, cilantro). We found it both familiar and unique, like a combination of a pupusa and a sope, and truly delicious.
The Dish – El Huarache Loco, one of La Cocina’s first success stories, was another notable Central American presence at the festival.
After coming to San Francisco from her native Mexico City, chef Veronica Salazar found herself surrounded by Mexican food in her new city, but it lacked that special spark she found in the food back home. Though she already spent her days working in kitchens, Salazar started making food at home for an ever-growing group of friends and family until she teamed with La Cocina and started El Huarache Loco in 2005.
In the last eight years, El Huarache Loco evolved from a catering company to a farmer’s market stand, culminating with the recent opening of a brick and mortar restaurant in Marin County.
Chef Salazar wasn’t available to speak to us at the Street Food Fair, but Aristo Ambatzidis, a two-year employee, told us a little about the food.
“In Mexico, huarache is the word for sandal, so El Huarache Loco translates to the crazy sandal,” he said.
“People come in all the time expecting burritos and tacos, but those aren’t really authentic to Mexican cuisine,” he explained. Instead, diners can expect specialties typical to the food found in Mexico City: mixiotes, tlacoyito, moles and, of course, huaraches.
“Huaraches are our main specialty,” Ambatzidis continued, “You call them huaraches because the corn masa tortilla’s oval shape looks a little like a sandal.”
Along with her delicious food, Chef Salazar has provided guidance to community members with entrepreneurial dreams but limited resources. Chef Salazar helped connect Maria del Carmen with the folks at La Cocina after meeting del Carmen selling plantain chips on the street, helping spark the flame that would become Estrellita’s Snacks.
Did you go to the Street Food Festival? Try anything new? Leave a comment and let us know!
*The interview with Maria del Carmen was conducted in Spanish and translated to English by the author for this story.
It’s been a stay at home summer for the most part, anchored by children in town, a wonderful surplus of work (hard to complain about either of those) and the August launch of my first cookbook, Sylvia’s Table — an event I have been working towards for almost four years. But as September loomed increasingly larger by the moment, I realized that an out of city refresher was essential for my mental health and creative rejuvenation. The La Cocina Street Food Festival flyer hung on my wall for weeks and I decided that was my ticket out! So with my daughter Nell (we are seasoned food tourists) we headed west to San Francisco.
La Cocina is a San Fran based incubator whose mission is to: “cultivate low-income food entrepreneurs as they formalize and grow their businesses by providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry-specific technical assistance and access to market opportunities….focused primarily on women from communities of color and immigrant communities.” This was the 5th annual street festival.
There were three events over the course of three days starting with a Night Market on Friday. The pre-event email suggested we wear every layer we had packed and we did — but still spent serious money on swag just to keep from freezing in the cloud that descended upon the Alemany’s Farmers Market site. The market featured six food stations, representing international cuisines a collaboration of SF chefs and La Cocina businesses; lots of great craft beers; some outrageous cocktails with everything from tequila to rye to vodka and was punctuated by live music, mariachis, karaoke (which improved as the night wore on) and spontaneous dancing (visualize an Asian Chef twirling a rope of dough and dancing if you can.) Favorites: Plantain bread pudding, Panang prawn noodles, Savory vegetable murtabak, Cheese grits and cole slaw, Tequila jelly shots, Ceviche, Albacore tataki with Ponzu and microgreens — along with some wonderful beer (watermelon summer ale) and those crazy cocktails. It was cold up there but the spirit was hot.
The street festival promised to draw 80,000 people so we arrived early ready to conquer the crowds. We jumped right in, after all, we hadn’t stuffed ourselves for almost 12 hours and we were hungry! Kick-off was the most amazing Burrata with roasted garlic, swiftly followed by Esquite (an organic roasted corn with lime-mayo, queso fresco and chili), sweets, savories, inspired beverages, fish, meat (but not for me), tacos, noodles, fries and more. Foods from the east, west and south. And my favorite – most surprisingly, Mexican Coca-Cola with pickled cherries! That was an enormous and delightful surprise. A Coke in and of itself is a real treat, but the magic of the sweet yet complexly briny cherry left me craving more. Achieving the right brine balance with a unique signature is extremely rare in an oversaturated era of pickling. This was no ordinary brine with commonplace cider or white vinegar. Unraveling the secret of pickling cherries shot to the top of my to-do list, though cherry season being over is a real setback.
The day progressed and the crowds grew, yet the mood never shifted from a relaxed, low-key neighborhood gathering. Where there were lines (can you believe for the ramen burger), there was order and good cheer. It was… so un-New York, so civilized!
The third component of the festival was Sunday morning – the Food and Entrepreneurship Conference. In their words: “The Festival is a joyous celebration of entrepreneurial spirit and the community it can help foster through the shared act of eating. Today we take a more analytical approach to that spirit to examine the processes and policies surrounding a food entrepreneurs journey of bringing an idea from a thought to a thriving business.”
At this conference, we started – naturally – by eating brunch. Eight La Cocina members served signature dishes that made you forget you had spent the previous two days eating. Again, global creations from the US and our southern states, South American and African created a compelling array of flavors, no two alike. And there in the vibrant courtyard of the SOMArts Cultuhttp://www.somarts.org/ral Center, their stories were told. 7 women shared their path to entrepreneurship, driven by economic need; a desire to provide better choices for their children; educate others about the culture behind their cuisine; give back to their communities and follow their passion. La Cocina made it possible for each of them, providing a kitchen space, professional support and access to markets and critical capital. It was heartwarming to hear Alicia Villanueva simply say, ” The best tamales are stuffed with love and the best people are stuffed with tamales.” I felt like I was in the company of giants – risk takers, dreamers and hard workers.
I met a young entrepreneur at breakfast, a woman with a dream of opening her own bakery, who came to the conference to learn more about launching a business. Erin Emmett, a native East coaster, fell in love with macarons before everyone else did – so lucky for us, she is an expert in their preparation. And though she has been driven by her heart, she realizes that to be successful she needs to learn about business. Both of her parents spent over 25 years as professional performers, which has clearly informed her direction. “It’s all about putting on a show,” she said. “It all leads to a great finale.” No doubt her sweets are showstoppers.
Filled both physically and spiritually, I headed home encouraged by the success and vision of La Cocina and the lives it has impacted. We should all support their efforts and those of other incubators – such as La Marqueta in New York City managed by Hot Bread Kitchen. (For culinary incubators nationally visit culinaryincubator.com.) In a time when we are curious to know where our food is coming from, this is a wonderful source to consider.
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La Cocina’s Street Food Festival is happening right now on Folsom Street between 20th and 26th and from 21st to 25th streets between Shotwell and Treat. Vendors from across the city and the world are offering a wide variety of cuisines that look as good as they taste.
When asked how the day was going so far, Sylvia Esquivel, owner of Hella Vegan Eats and a graduate of La Cocina’s incubator program, was unequivocal.
“Today has been awesome,” she said, in between taking orders for vegan burgers on doughnut patties and vegan mac n’ cheese tacos. This is Esquivel’s second time as a vendor at the Street Food Festival, but her excitement hasn’t worn off.
“It’s so heartfelt. We feel great to be part of their (La Cocina’s) group of small business owners, and great to be part of a community of women entrepreneurs.”
Waiting in a line of more than 40 people for Nombe’s Ramen Burger didn’t deter Michele Mar. “This is my third year coming,” said the SOMA resident. “I love coming and experimenting with new flavors.”
Caleb Zigas, La Cocina’s executive director, was feeling good about the day but hoped people would see beyond the delicious dishes being offered.
“I hope people don’t just come for the food, or because it’s cool, that they don’t just come to take pictures or rate the food, or tweet about it, but that they come to be part of a community,” Zigas said. “If they just come for the food they’re missing something. I hope they think about where it comes from and what it means that it’s here today. We try to make a space where people can meet each other and neighbors can interact.”
Enjoy the slideshow above, which highlights some of the yummy treats you’ll find. And then hurry up and head over there! The festival runs until 7 p.m., but the lines are growing every second.
Food was the focus at this weekend’s fifth annual Street Food Festival but that didn’t stop some people from dressing in style. Mission Local was out looking for the best dressed.
Organized by La Cocina, the San Francisco Street Food Festival and Night Market over the weekend was great showcase for many food entrepreneurs that might not be quite on the map yet. Sure, there are the established restaurants and food vendors that had long lines on Saturday, but it’s also fun to talk to those just starting out, hear their stories and what got them into the food business. Here’s some of our favorite bites from the street food festival on Saturday.
Momos from Bini’s Kitchen
Our winner for best find— Bini’s momos are really awesome dumplings, very similar to something you might find while eating dim sum. Although she does a lot of catering, Binita Pradhan is also selling these awesome treats at Off the Grid: Fort Mason on Friday nights.
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The first-ever Smoke-N-Fire
Food Fest will blend specialty foods
from hot sauce and spice companies with dishes from local restaurants, produce
from area farms, a culinary competition and spicy foods eating contests. A
portion of ticket sales will benefit Baking Memories 4 Kids, a Valley Cottage based charity that
allows terminally ill children a chance for a dream vacation. The event planned
for foodies and families takes place at Provident Bank Park in Pomona on Saturday, Oct.
Smoke-N-Fire organizer Kendall Brenner
said the event will include Rockland County’s first ever culinary competition
with a $250 prize, The Best Spicy Dish in the Hudson Valley,” open to high school and college culinary
students who live in New York State and Hudson Valley chefs. The day’s events include
live music, a fire juggler, face painting and children’s activities. Visitors can also test their spice tolerance in the “Take-the-Heat Pepper Eatin’ Contest” and “Ghost
Pepper Cookie Eatin’ Contest.”
Brenner, a New City resident and local
business owner, began planning the Smoke-N-Fire Food Fest in 2009 and hopes it
will become an annual food festival offering smoked and fiery food samples, BBQ
sauces, salsa rubs, artisanal chocolates, mustards, spices, and jams.
“Food festivals that have a focus on hot
and spicy are fun and exciting, and they have done very well in other areas,”
said Brenner. “Next year the Smoke-N-Fire Food Fest will be a larger, two-day festival,
with even more food, more entertainment and a BBQ competition.”
The event will run from 11 a.m. to 7
p.m. Admission costs $5 per person with free onsite parking. More information
and updates on the Smoke-N-Fire Food Fest can be found online at www. facebook.com/NYSmokeNFire. Vendors
can participate in hot sauce and sweet-n-spicy taste tests. Interested companies
can download vendor registration materials at www.nyfoodfest.com.
Brenner, a culinary instructor at the Rockland County Career and Technical
Education Center in West Nyack, owns Chefs2Be,
a culinary learning center for children. He and his nine-year-old son Jordan, recently
Brenner’s Hot-Cha WAA-Cha™ Sauce Spice Co
La Cocina’s 5th annual San Francisco Street Food Festival comes to the Mission today with more than 80 vendors sharing their dishes from around the world.
The festival runs from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Folsom Street from 20th to 26th and from 21st to 25th streets between Shotwell and Treat. Admission is free and open to the public with all food priced at $3 (small bites) and $8 (larger plates.)
If you missed our map yesterday that pinpoints the geographic inspirations for the food you’ll be sampling, be sure to check it out before you go. And here’s another guide to the vendors and some of the plates they’ll be offering.
Stay tuned for more on the food and the fashions spotted at the festival. Enjoy!
5th Annual SF Street Food Festival
Sat Aug 17 11:00 am – Sat Aug 17 07:00 pm
La Cocina is back with the
5th Annual San Francisco Street Food Festival!
On Saturday, August 17th, admission to the Street Food Festival is free and an added donation to La Cocina’s programming is encouraged. All food at the event, whether at State Bird Provisions booth or at the…