SF Chefs 2011 Glutton’s Tour

This post was written by my mom.

San Francisco Chefs 2011 is an over the top feast. And if you think you can’t get full from small bites, you’ll have to come to this food festival. There are so many great chefs cooking great food. You can’t say no.   The brochure suggests you’ll mingle with master chefs, mixologists, wine makers, brewers and culinary superstars. And that’s an understatement. Our first stop after entering the Great White Tent on Union Square was the Epic Roasthouse station. What a way to start.  It was a charcuterie heaven!  Thin slices of deliciously cured meats. The duck prosciotto with a ruffled edge of fat had nice dried cured taste and it’s surprisingly very similar to Chinese cured duck (lop op to you Cantonese).  The meats were showcased on a wooden platter of beautifully prepared slices of rabbit, corned beef,  smokey pork terrine, and porchetta. The meats were the stars but the support cast consisted of an assortment of crispy, pickled veggies. So delicious that we wanted to take home a jar.

While one of us waited in Epic’s food  line, the other headed to Delfina’s station and quickly snagged a serving of cucumber salad and tripe.  The chef said the tripe was the “second stomach”. I don’t know what that means but this tripe was different than any we’ve ever tasted. It was crispy, lightly seasoned with lime and olive oil and some other chef’s secret. It was topped with a sprinkle of sea salt.  Yum! I’m not a fan of cucumbers but if I could get the recipe for that salad I definitely would be a convert.

We then moved on to another station run by Perbacco.    It’s melon salad is everything we love about California’s seasonal fruits and veggies. It’s called Lardo Reale Pressed Melon salad. The fruit chunks looked like jewels, almost too pretty to eat.   The crispy melons were sprinkled with black pepper and jalapenos.  It was both sharp, sweet, peppery, with a kick but still refreshingly cool  A perfect finish or a start to any meal.

One of the favorites of the day was a cold corn soup with smoked chanterelles.  The corn was definitely fresh off the cob.  The soup had a sweet, crispy crunch with a smoky flavor.

We moved on to the Fleur De Lys station.  Hubert Keller was there serving the most delicious summer soup I’ve tasted: Chilled avocado and tomato gazpacho with cilantro topped with crab meat.  The combination describes itself.

At this point, we were saying, “no more!”  But we didn’t give up.  The soup was a pre-cursor to the Burger Bar station.  We were hoping for hamburgers. But to our surprise, they were serving up burger desserts.  Using cream cheese and Nutella, these were little bites of heavenly goodness.  We couldn’t eat anymore so we split the pineapple moousse burger bite.  Definitely a guilty pleasure.  And  I even felt guilty not trying the Nutella burger.

Notes on other delicious tastes:  Pizza Antica’s Tomato Pancetta Braised Pork Cheeks, with Creamy Corn.  Persian Lamb tacos made with potatos, tomatoes,  garbanzo and herbs. I wish I could remember which station because it’s definitely a dish I’d love to have for dinner.   On the way out we eyed the Halibut cheeks, tempting but we literally could not eat another bite.

Bacchanalia is the one word to describe this event.

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