Hip Foodies, Shots, and a Stuffed Fox at Eat Drink SF

Over the weekend, throngs of San Francisco foodies looking for a good time, endless food tastings and the chance to sample as much wine and liquor as they could handle, gathered at Fort Mason for Eat Drink SF. A self-proclaimed “culinary affair,” the format is pretty simple: Chefs and purveyors prepare a signature bite and the booze-fueled crowd happily queues for items like maple bacon atop a chocolate truffle, caramelized short ribs with mashed purple potato, or butterscotch pudding with whipped cream.

[jump] A favorite bite was The Cavalier's cold-smoked pork loin, although the stuffed fox that accompanied it wasn't a dish but a nod to the restaurant's English hunting theme. (Poor old fox. Maybe the management doesn't realize that fox hunting is now illegal in the U.K.)

A certain air of fraternity-style hijinks has infiltrated Eat Drink SF. From servers spotted doing group shots in between doling out food, to Michael Chiarello (Bottega, Coqueta) chanting “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” as he demonstrated how to squeeze the water out of just-rinsed basil, to roving pairs of spirited young bucks and gals — many of whom appeared to be on dates. The mix of '80s and '90s disco music contributed to the boisterous mood.

With tickets at $75 and up, Eat Drink SF is priced comparably to a meal with a drink or two, but the lines, noise, elbow-jostling and juggling a glass and plate while on the hoof, make the experience more about socializing than the food. Nevertheless, a good time appeared to be had by all.

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