San Francisco Rallies Around Street Food

Chances are you’ve read about the explosion of street food in and around San Francisco (probably on this very site, where we "eat up" any food cart story). There’s also a good chance that you’ve partaken in a drunken bacon dog, crepe, or… sweetbreads? It’s true.

If you follow the right people on Twitter, get lucky walking down some random neighborhood street, or sit long enough in Dolores Park, you’ll find yourself rewarded with a veritable cornucopia of fine foods, all served out of a wheeled cart, from the basket of a bike, or the side of a truck.

If you are impatient or unlucky, you can take away the guesswork by heading to San Francisco’s Street Food Festival this Saturday,  where more than 15 different vendors will take over the block of Folsom between 25th and 26th streets, serving their affordable wares (nothing over $8) to the public between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Consider this a concentrated blast of affordable deliciousness!

La Cocina, a local non-profit and the event’s primary organizer, has primed the pump for this event by creating a scavenger hunt that mixes online quizzes with outdoor photo and video hunts. Hundreds of foodies from around the Bay Area (277 teams!) have banded together to take part in the adventure, searching out vendors on the streets of San Francisco, at the Ferry Building and Alemany Markets. The scavenger hunt will culminate at the festival itself with prizes being awarded.

A personal note: As a team captain in this scavenger hunt, I must say it’s been a wild ride. We’ve had a blast trying new foods, discovering bars and restaurants that are new to us, and meeting the wonderful people behind so much of this town’s street food. I’ve also been surprised at the level of competitiveness – in both myself and others – when it comes to making it to the top. If postings on Twitter are any indication, the race for the prize (which remains a mystery) in this scavenger hunt will prove to be spirited, contentious, and entertaining.

Take a look at the top rated pictures and videos from the scavenger hunt to get an idea of what the teams have been put through so far.

Many of the vendors and sponsors are also providing services or experiences for a silent auction. Always wanted to be chef for a day at Chez Panisse, how about getting to follow Top Chef’s Jamie Lauren to her favorite food spots, or, having Delfina's James Beard award-winning chef to your house to cook for 10? Now’s your chance.

In the end, it all goes to creating awareness for La Cocina and the wonderful people they support.  See ya there!

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