I arrived in San Francisco on Wednesday night after a whirlwind drive across the country with my best friend in the passenger seat and the dogs in the hatchback, not really knowing much about the city I'm going to be living in for the next two months. I mean, I'm vaguely familiar with what the city—and particularly my neighborhood in the Mission—has to offer, but there is a lot of tasting to do, and not all that much time to do it.
So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that the fifth annual San Francisco Street Food Festival was not just taking place the day after I arrived, but right around the corner from my new digs. Saturday morning, I grabbed the dogs and as many hungry mouths as I could find, and hit the street, determined to taste my way through the entire event.
With over 64 restaurants participating, we failed pretty miserably. Still, over two dozen restaurants ticked off on my notebook isn't too shabby. I was particularly impressed by the relative lack of lines and relaxed atmosphere, especially compared to similar events in New York, which can be...a headache. The overall quality of the food was also extraordinary, considering how difficult it is to produce high quality, high volume food in an off-site setting.
I think we're going to do just fine here.
Take a peep through the slideshow above for a look at some of the food we tasted.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.