Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Big Idea Party at YBCA

So last weekend I attended Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ last Big Idea party for the 2008-09 season. And while it’s not totally a food event, it’s just rare for me to go out late on a Saturday night so I’m going to make a post out of it no matter what!

San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is such a beautiful facility, it’s a shame that more people don’t turn out for their regular contemporary art exhibits and performances. But the crowds came out in force for the “What’s the Big Idea?” party on Saturday, which was free to enter but the crowds were controlled by only letting in people who RSVP’d in advance.

The doors opened after 9 p.m. and I got there closer to 10 p.m. It was an eclectic evening of edgy art (there were some weird objects made of fur), edgy music, and lots of people with tattoos. See above even the girl tending bar had some nice skin art. Campari appeared to be the main offering for drinks.

I, of course, went straight to the food, which was a celebration of street food put on by the people behind Mission Street Food. Several tables were set up in the patio area off to the back of the YBCA, and it was a lot of fun eating under the full moon that night.

There were a variety of items to munch on, and most of them were pretty reasonably priced, as is the tradition of Mission Street Food. There were fancy BLT burgers (which I avoided because of all the bacon), fennel sausage (which I also avoided because it was battered and deep-fried), and a couple of tacos sold from the taco truck that was parked off to the side of the building.

So what did I eat? I ended up trying what was called the “Blasian Chicken” ($6), a bowl of charred chicken meat served on top of bread pieces with mint juice. I’ve never had chicken served this way. The chicken had amazing spices on the skin that was blackened, creating a tasty texture against the meat. But I have to say I had an odd reaction to the bread that was soaked in the mint juices. Chomping on mint-soaked bread crumbs wasn’t very pleasant to me. I would have just liked the chicken over a bowl of rice.

I always tried the Garlic Glass Noodles ($4), which were clear noodles nicely dressed with sesame oil and a few tiny pieces of roasted cauliflower. They served it with chopped peanuts as a garnish.

Here’s the taco truck. It didn’t really have a line at the time I went because it was probably still early. I ended up not getting anything from the truck because they served a duck confit taco that sounded amazing but I’m generally against the idea of eating food that’s been submerged in its own fat. I know, I’m weird. But they’re my idiosyncrasies and I’m owning them.

Speaking of idiosyncratic eating, here was some kind of eggplant dish. Did I eat them? What do you think?

I like having parties at museums or art spaces because the environment is so creative. The YBCA party was especially colorful because they invited a bunch of drag queens to perform. The party went into the early morning, but I left way before then because I had to catch BART home before the system shut down. (How I wish this was New York when subways stay open all night!)

It was a fun time, so you should check the YBCA events calendar to keep up with unique events like this. (Or I’ll try to at least keep you informed on my blog.) And one more thing, if you see me at events and you walk in front of me while I’m snapping a picture, then, hey, I’m going to put you on my blog! Thanks buddy!

Recent events I’ve explored:
San Francisco Oysterfest
Taste of Tamales by the Bay


Anonymous said...

Ben, did u let us know about the party? If u did i missed it - though I don't remember u mentioning it.

looks like a lot of fun & wish I went - didn't know u were going!

Single Guy Ben said...

I didn't list this in my previous Single Guy Planner because I didn't learn about it until two weeks ago. But I did mention it at the bottom of my post last week, "Back for Seconds: Mission Street Food." It is a real wild fun party, so look for it next year!

foodhoe said...

Looks kinda wild, is that someone dressed up as a bee? Were those the sisters of perpetual indulgence? Hmmm, from decades of conditioning, anything mint flavored makes me think of toothpaste or mouthwash, so mint flavored foods and drinks never get me very excited. anyways, that looks like a very cool event!

Single Guy Ben said...

Yes Foodhoe, that was a bee mingling with the crowd. And the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were there, but not sure if the couple in drag I photographed are associated with the group. And yeah, I like mint in my drinks, not my food (although it's not too bad in some Vietnamese dishes).

Anonymous said...

I emailed them & found out this:

YBCA hosts three Big Idea Nights per year. The next one is scheduled for August 15. Be sure to RSVP as early as possible, as that will guarantee entrance to the party.

To stay up on these events and many others like them, sign up for YBCA’s monthly ezine here:

Single Guy Ben said...

Thanks for the info, anonymous!