This summer, if you're not eating well, you have only yourself to blame. The city offers a multitude of food festivals and parties to keep your stomach — and your sense of adventure — well-nourished. Here are just a few options to take advantage of.
Grubbin' Like an S.F. Giant restaurant crawl and ballpark tour
Saturday, June 23, 4 p.m.
Who among us hasn't wondered what it's like to wander through an empty baseball stadium? The eerie silence of thousands of vacant seats, the quiet field that's witnessed so much heartbreak and victory. It seems like the perfect setting to meditate on the meaning of baseball, the meaning of life, to wonder if you'll be able to afford season tickets someday. If you want to experience this for yourself, you're in luck — you can join Grub Crawl's Grubbin' Like an S.F. Giant tour and do it with a full stomach and a pint of beer in hand. Stops on the way to the ballpark include Pedro's Cantina, Ironside, and Public House. Once you've filled up on food and grabbed a drink for the road, you'll head to AT&T Park for a behind-the-scenes look at baseball's most breathtaking stadium. How badly do you want to tell your friends you drank a beer in the Giants' dugout?
We Love Foie Gras French food and wine party
Thursday, June 28, 7 p.m.
Gourmet & More (141 Gough, at Oak)
Gourmet & More, Hayes Valley's charmingly authentic little French food shop, is joining the fight against the impending foie gras ban by doing what the French do best — throwing a decadent food and wine celebration. This party puts duck on a pedestal, with a menu that includes foie gras (of course), duck rillettes, and duck salami, as well as salade landaise, a classically duck-heavy dish with magret de canard. A selection of the shop's stunning cheeses and macaroons will also be served. Make a toast to your fattened fowl friends with Champagne and other French wines, and — if you're the type — lament the looming emptiness of a foie-less future.
Dinner Party Project: Street Feast
Thursday, July 19, 6 p.m.
Part of the S.F. Chefs Food, Wine, and Spirits festival, the Dinner Party Project is a summer series of unique food events. Each night features two or more celebrated Bay Area chefs coming together to create a special meal based on a theme — from Basque cuisine to picnic food to whole-goat cookery. The finale event promises to be the wildest: a family-style street food party in the Mission, headed by chef power trio Antelmo Faria (Tacolicious), Alex Ong (Betelnut), and Ryan Farr (4505 Meats). The Mexican-Asian menu, which includes a whole roast pig, will have foodies agog (Mexican and Filipino pork adobo! Albacore al pastor! Fijian halibut ceviche!), and the evening also includes a halibut-carving demo by Ong as well as an auction of pig parts, hand-butchered by Farr. As with all of the Dinner Party Project events, some of the proceeds go to the Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture, so you're helping keep everyone's favorite farmers' market afloat. It's a win-win. Add in the chefs, and it's a five-way win. Really, everyone wins but the pig.
Saturday, Aug. 4, noon for VIPs, 1 p.m. for everyone else
Hipster worlds collide in delicious fashion at Noisette, brought to you by 20-year-old Noise Pop and its Brooklyn affiliate, Finger on the Pulse. Mix one part local indie music (including The Dodos and Pillowfight), one part celebrity chef cuisine from the likes of Jason Fox (Commonwealth) and Dennis Lee (Namu Gaji), and one part craft beer from San Francisco's own Speakeasy Brewery, and you have the hippest, tastiest, most local afternoon in town. It's like a block party, but instead of cheap hot dogs, crappy lite pilsner, and your neighbor's tone-deaf garage band, you get pedigreed professional chefs, some of the Bay Area's best beer, and serious tunes from serious local musicians. And you don't need to worry about cranky neighbors calling the cops when it gets too loud.
La Cocina Night Market
Friday, Aug. 17, 6 p.m.
Alemany Farmer's Market
If you've never had the pleasure of gnawing on a taco in Mexico City at midnight or slurping down a bowl of gaeng som in Bangkok during the wee hours, don't hop that plane just yet. La Cocina, a local charitable organization that assists food entrepreneurs from low-income, culturally diverse backgrounds, is kicking off its fourth annual San Francisco Street Food Festival with a Night Market. The event promises to transport food tourists with its lively atmosphere and exotic cuisine and cocktails. Not only do you get to avoid a long, clot-inducing plane flight, but La Cocina is providing a free round-trip shuttle between the 24th Street BART station and the market. So put away your passport and your Bourdain aspirations, and prepare to chow down on some delicious street food without jet lag.