This weekend (Aug. 25-28), San Francisco’s most ambitious and indulgent foodies will slap on wristbands, grab goblets, and eat-and-drink their way through the eighth annual celebration of culinary consumption known as Eat Drink SF. There will be food demos, wine classes, and local star chefs doling out dishes on minimal sleep, but mostly there will be food — excessive amounts of food — with this year’s addition of a fourth Grand Tasting on Sunday afternoon.
After watching one-too-many attendees behave more like pariahs than people at last year’s event, I thought it might behoove this year’s ticket-holders to share a few practical tips.
Don’t wait until you’re in the pavilion to prioritize. You’ll fall prey to herd mentality and may never make it to the back of the room.
Do check out the featured restaurants online (or in line) before you get started. Once you’re in, make a quick scan for your faves, then go back for the rest.
Don’t start in the front and work your way toward the back; you’ll bottle-neck the flow of traffic.
Do head straight for the back, noting which places you want to visit. If they’re in the front, swing back before the bites are gone (front end runs out first), but you’ll spend less time in line if you strategize.
Don’t drink all the wine (or beer or booze). You won’t even get close to finishing the number of pours you’re offered. Really. You won’t.
Do try to pair beverages and small bites (champagne goes with pretty much everything). It will enhance your experience and make you feel fancy.
Don’t badger the prep chefs when their offerings are out and they’re busy drizzling oil and sprinkling microgreens on the next batch of lamburgers.
Do say thank you. You might even throw in a compliment.
Don’t try drinking and eating at the same time. You’ll spill (probably on your neighbor) and there’s a 50-50 chance you’ll also drop what you’re eating.
Do balance your plate on your glass and eat with one hand. Or bring a friend to hold your glass while you’re eating and then return the favor.
Don’t cut in line. For all that is holy, do not cut in line. The no-cuts, no-buts, no-coconuts rule is strictly enforced.
Do wait your turn and be kind to the people next to you. You might even start a conversation.
Don’t take more than one serving for yourself. Really people, there’s just no need for selfishness.
Do consider the divide-and-conquer strategy, wherein you and your partner stand in neighboring lines, cutting down on the wait for everyone.
Don’t wait for closing time to get a cocktail. By that point, the lines are long and the bartenders are tired.
Do grab a mixed drink to sip while you watch chef demos or wait in line for small bites.
Don’t waste your appetite on something you don’t think you’ll like.
Do try to finish what you take (though you may want to discard buns, rice, and other starches in an attempt to save space).
Don’t use more utensils, plates, or cups than necessary.
Do hold onto your fork and try to re-use as much as is practical.
Do sort your trash, compost, and recycling. You’re a big boy. You can do it.
Don’t think you need to finish all two or three dozen tastings within the first hour. That’s just stupid.
Do take your time. You may even sit down for a spell and enjoy what you’re putting in your mouth.