Del Popolo Margherita Pizza, $10
David Kover already took us behind-the-scenes of the Del Popolo pizza truck—the attraction of the massive, shiny, oven-inside truck may have had something to do with the continuous line winding back from its spot on the grounds. Of course, the delicious Neopolitan-style pizza didn't hurt things, either. Their Margherita is layered with a bright, fresh tomato sauce; we would have liked some more of the milky-fresh mozzarella and basil leaves, but this was still an awfully tasty pizza to find at a festival.
Del Popolo, crust shot.
The crust and underskirt had some nice leopard spotting, and was nicely salted, with a yeasty, fresh flavor.
Inside the Del Popolo Truck
Hapa SF Chicken Adobo, $8
Not to be confused with Hapa Ramen, Hapa SF puts out a solid, flavorful brand of Filipino street food. This chicken adobo was a delicious, filling dish. Two pieces of skin-on chicken are marinated in soy sauce, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, and vinegar, until it is forkably tender. Green onions are scattered on top of the meat and healthy serving of jasmine rice, which does well soaking up the juices from the chicken.
Chicken, inside shot.
Seoul on Wheels Spicy Pork Korrito, $10
The description of this korrito promised spicy rice, kimchee, jack and cheddar cheeses, cilantro and sour cream. There was little evidence of anything but pork and rice, both of which were tasty enough that I almost didn't mind. Save the kimchee, that is—the spicy-sweet pork would have been well served by the tangy, crunchy funk of some good, vinegary kimchee.
The Whole Beast was grilled over oak, resulting in a gorgeous charred exterior.
Bourbon Steak House SF Lamb Kefta Meatballs, $10
Two sizable lamb meatballs were served skewered, in a generous pool of lemony cucumber fennel yogurt.
Lamb Kefta Meatballs
The meat could have had more fatty juice to it, but the rich, gamey flavor was excellent.
Outside Lambs, breaking down the beast.
Eat Le Truc Butt King Tacos, $10
In addition to appealing to my often-present 12-year-old boy sense of humor, these Butt King tacos were really, really good. Pulled pork is slow cooked in Prik Kihng Thai curry, rendering the meat meltingly tender and laced with the sweet, tangy flavor of coconut cream and Kaffir lime. The tortillas and slaw were nothing to write home about, but pork this good deserves a mention.
Inside Le Truc
Southpaw BBQ Smoked Brisket Sandwich, $10
Southpaw's smoked brisket sandwich is deceiving. It looks like it will be dominated by the dripping smoked aioli—but we could barely taste it. Instead, we got some nice, tender fattiness from the brisket itself, and an absolute show-stopping surprise from the pile of braised collard greens topping the meat. The collards had an incredible, meaty flavor from their slow-cooking, and accentuated the flavor of the brisket with each mouthful.
Azalina's Malaysian Chicken Nachos, $8
I had a hard time imagining that Azalina's could top their chicken curry buns from last year's festival, but couldn't not order these Malaysian chicken nachos upon seeing their technicolor toppings.
Malaysian Chicken Nachos, close-up.
Thin corn chips are topped with shredded chicken, spicy curry, pickled vegetables, coconut jam, and a strawberry puree. The salty-sweet-spicy flavors combined into explosively good bites. They're not kidding about the spicy factor, either—it's slow-building and will have you glad you got your Sierra Nevada before eating.
Fried Chicken Yum Yum from 4505 Meats, $10
4505 Meats was one of my favorite bites last year, and clearly, plenty of people agreed with me. This year, the purveyors of meaty deliciousness had two booths, one of which was selling this Fried Chicken Yum Yum. Trust the name—this is a really freaking good sandwich. A deboned chicken thigh is perfectly moist and flavorful, coated with a shatter-crisp crust laced with a nicely subtle spice. Even better: the sandwich maintained its heat and crispness despite making an 8 to 10 minute journey to the beer tent.
Fried Chicken Yum Yum, Slaw
The sandwich is topped with a great spicy slaw, packed with cilantro and pickled jalapenos.
4505 Meats Chimichuri Fries, $8
Thank goodness 4505 Meats was given two festival spots. Because that meant that, in addition to the Yum Yum and their always-tasty burger, they could serve these chimichurri fries. Topped with a garlicky, cilantro-packed yogurt sauce, a sprinkle of pepper flakes, and a healthy pour of chili oil, the toppings alone would have rendered less-worthy fries delicious. These, though, were well-salted and fresh, and managed to stay crisp even after 20 or so minutes doused in sauce. (Though I can't promise we allowed them to last for quite that long.)