What's happened to Alice's Berkeley? Does anyone use the term Gourmet Ghetto who doesn't have fading memories of dinner at Chez Panisse in the big-shoulderpad '80s, when lavender in the pot de crème seemed as revolutionary as taking a stand against apartheid? And the annual Spice of Life Festival, the street fair designed to let North Berkeley chefs shine? In recent years food vendors had devolved to the meat-on-a-stick slingers of your typical Union Street fair.
Not this year. Taking a cue from Eat Real, organizers of the eighth annual food fest are juxtaposing sustainability with the food of the streets, all wrapped up in DIY energy. In addition to the usual chefs' demos, this year's Spice of Life is trotting out more than a dozen food trucks, including Hapa SF, Chairman Bao, Jon's Street Eats, and Skylite Snowballs (scope the complete vendor list at the event website). Plus a farmers' market, and ― because it's Berkeley ― a whole healing arts thing, and the “Create-with-Nature Zone,” which promises to turn the street “into a collaborative artistic expression with bamboo, flowers, and rocks.” Sounds messy. Still, we'd gladly step over any number of bamboo logs to catch a glimpse of Alice on tiptoe, ordering sisig tacos from a truck.
Eighth Annual Spice of Life Festival
When: Sun., Oct. 17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Where: Shattuck Avenue between Rose and Virginia Streets, Berkeley
Cost: Free admission