Sunday, February 14, 2010

Food From the Heart Then to the Stomach

On Friday night, I went to the "Food From the Heart" event at the San Francisco Ferry Building, the seventh annual Valentine's themed event where the marketplace vendors set up booths and sell small bites for a good cause.

Joining me was my friend Ken, who arrived there early and already got his glass to try some wine (the event partnered with Napa Valley Vintners). The event was only 30 minutes old and the entire Ferry Building already seemed crowded and I started feeling warm from all the people. I got myself some food tickets and Ken and I started checking out the offerings.

The first thing we saw was the table from Il Cane Rosso, the specialty sandwich shop by Chefs Daniel Patterson and Lauren Kiino. For the event they made these croistini with grilled radicchio and red onion. Ken tried one and liked it, but I passed because I'm not a fan of red onions.

This guy was setup near the Miette Patisserie and was decorating personalized Valentines messages on cookie hearts. Here he must have been doing a cookie for either a "Project Runway" fan or someone who was actually breaking up with his/her Valentines because it says "auf wiedersehen."
There were a whole bunch of food that I had to avoid because of my cholesterol, things like the cheese fondue at Cowgirl Cremery, huge deep-fried spring rolls at Imperial Tea Court, "sausage on the stick" from Golden Gate Meat Co., and fresh-shucked oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co.

I also avoided the wine, not because I can't drink it but I'm on a drying spell after weeks of drinking. Just call it my wine cleanse. Ken tried a few wine, though, including a pinot noir from this family vineyard called Ceja in Napa Valley.

OK, so what did I eat? I started with these mushroom empanadas from Mijita. Some of you sharped eyed readers will probably say, "but Ben, they sure looked deep-fried." And I say, you are correct (and quite the perceptive reader). Ken was a bad influence and knew I love empanadas so he convinced me to try this if he ate the other two, which he did. So I really just had one deep-fried empanada. Unfortunately, they were a bit cold and soft, not as crispy as I thought it would be having been fried.

Soon after I had that Mijita empanada, I ran into these baked beef empanadas from the El Porteno guys, who had a booth set up in front of the Prather Ranch Meat Co. To make up for the sad empanada I had a few minutes ago, I got one of these. And they were beefy, tasty, and flakey. I was happy again.

Probably the best deal of the night, IMHO, were the small bites from Market Bar. They were offering a plate with three bites: a smoked salmon croistini, a crab puff and a blue Hawaiian tuna ceviche on a tortilla chip. I enjoyed all of them, and was really impressed that the tortilla chip was still crispy. (I've had ceviche on chips that were soggy from the juices, but this was not.) Plus, everything looked so great.

I was looking for something more substantial, and you can't get more substantial than a pulled pork sandwich. Here's the mini bun with cole slaw topping from Taylor's Refresher. It really hit the spot.

"Food From the Heart" is fun to explore the food, but it's also a fun evening at the Ferry Building because they set up a variety of musical groups adding a nice ambiance to the event, from jazz trios to blues to classical.

And far on one end of the plaza, a group set up music and had people dancing the tango. Just the scene reminded me of Buenos Aires, where tango dancing is often an impromptu event on the streets. How more romantic can you get than the tango, right?

Of course, there were a lot of chocolate-related things, mostly from Recchiuti Confections, which had several stands and booths, including this where a guy was creating chocolate angels.

Along with the chocolates, there were other sweet dessert offerings. There was a lovely blood orange granita from Frog Hollow Farm that was refreshing and very authentic, the "whoopie pie" from Recchiuti that is like a Hostess cupcake but the filling is made with rose-infused butter cream (I couldn't really taste the rose flavor because it was overpowered by the chocolate cake), and mushroom-infused flavored ice cream by Humphry Slocombe in front of the Far West Fungi shop (I couldn't get myself to try that), and a creme fraiche ice cream sandiwch from Miette (the ice cream was OK, but I really liked the graham cracker sandwich).

After nibbling here and there, Ken and I decided to go get some food at the nearby La Mar. On our way there, we noticed these event glasses that someone left behind on the street light stands. The uplight made a nice reflection in the glass so I decided to snap the picture. As you can see, the etched wine glass shows that the event was also a fund-raiser for Slow Food San Francisco. Walking around after the light rain, it was another classic beautiful night in the city.

Hope you're all having a nice Valentines (and happy Chinese new year, too)!


Ariel Ceja said...

Nice post! I hope after your "wine cleanse" you get the chance to visit us and taste our Pinot Noir too!

JulieK said...

Hope you snagged the abandoned glasses

Single Guy Ben said...

Julie, I didn't take the glasses. It had a few bits of dried red wine spots and ok, I'm a germa-phobe! :)

Anonymous said...

looks like fun. how much was a ticket & how many tickets did you need per item that you got?

Single Guy Ben said...

There's no admission and you just pay for the food tickets. I bought $20 worth of tickets, which came out to be 10 tickets. Most of the vendors were selling food items for 1 or 2 tickets (so about $2 or $4 for the food) that's why I thought One Market had the best value because it was $4 for a plate with three small bites. It is fun but I think the word is out because it was crowded!

Carolyn Jung said...

What a fun time! But I would have definitely dove head first into that Cowgirl Creamery fondue. ;)