Eat Real Festival
Where: Jack London Square, Oakland
When: Fri., Sept. 21 - Sun., Sept. 23
Over the past four years, across the bay, an annual institution has been not-so-quietly becoming the Bay Area's premiere food event. Hosted by Oakland's Food Craft Institute, the Eat Real Festival in Jack London Square is expected to once again draw a crowd of over 100,000 enthusiastic food lovers from all over the Bay Area and beyond, drawn together to enjoy the spoils provided by an insanely impressive group of food vendors, celebrity chefs, mom-and-pop artisan food crafters, local brewers, vintners, mixologists, and butchers -- with some DJs, jazz musicians, and a cellist thrown in for good measure.
The Eat Real fest is packed with activities for all ages. For families, this year's new Kids' Zone promises to keep festival-going children entertained and well fed with nutritious snacks. There will be plenty of other kid-friendly events on hand throughout the weekend, too, including the Eat Real Corral complete with baby goats, and make-it-yourself pizzas at the Community Oven.
If you're in the mood for artisan food, the Bay Area's finest purveyors will be in attendance, including Ferry Plaza farmers market favorite 4505 Meats and food truck darling Chairman Bao, along with dozens of others. A large number of new food vendors will be cooking this year, including Georgian and Chechan street food maker Satellite Republic, who will also be on hand Saturday to demonstrate how to make Khachapuri (a Georgian cheese bread). Sunday will feature Chef Daniel Patterson's Milk Fed Brunch, including milk-poached veal, grilled lamb, and a suckling pig confit salad for $5 each.
Dozens of demonstrations will be happening throughout the weekend, all of them free of charge. Jump into the action at the Kraut-a-Thon and take home a jar of your own homemade sauerkraut, learn the art of the tart from Tartine Bakery, meet the makers of Baia Pasta and tour their nearby facility, and make bitters with Rye on the Road. Watch chefs battle one another in butchery and BBQ competitions sponsored by The Butcher's Guild.
If you'd like to take some of the Eat Real fest home with you, the Craft Marketplace features artisan foodmakers selling their handcrafted wares, from honey to jam, kimchi to cheese, chutney to curry to tea to beef jerky. Something in this market is bound to catch your eye, so bring plenty of reusable shopping bags and plan to carry some home.
Last year's Jam Bar is back, featuring cocktails by local bartenders made with some of the festival's artisan creations, including a bourbon sour made with Blue Chair Fruit Company's blood orange marmalade. The Wine Barn will offer tastes from 15 local wineries, while the Beer Shed will be pouring brews from such notable native beermakers as the East Bay's own Linden Street and Drake's, as well as San Francisco staples like Magnolia and Thirsty Bear. Brewers will be on hand to answer any questions and will also be holding a Master Brewer's Panel on Friday night.
All food and drinks are $5 or less and all activities are free.