Ignore Everything and Go to the SF Street Food Festival

Alicia of Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas started selling tamales door-to-door in 2010, baking 100 every night while working as a house cleaner and caring for the disabled. After running afoul of the law because she lacked the proper permits, she went to La Cocina, which helped transform her business. Five years later, Alicia has 12 people working under her and the company is set to open a 6,000-square-foot factory in Hayward that will enable it to produce 16,000 tamales each month. 

“I'm the happiest lady in the world,” Alicia said. “La Cocina is the best thing that happened all my life.”

[jump] Alicia is one of La Cocina's success stories, earning her star billing at the seventh annual San Francisco Street Food Festival. (Her husband, Pedro, is also present. He's a bit shy, and definitely tired from long shifts last weekend at Outside Lands.)
There are eight groups of five vendors each — the La Cocina alums are all designated by a watermark on the right side of the banner — plus a Noise Pop stage and any number of non-food vendors. (You can get a lovely crown of leaves and flowers from Workshop SF, for instance.)

There's a Taco Island and a Dumpling Island, and barbecue from Colorado and Alabama, and 10 Barrel Brewing Company's Apocalypse IPA available from Whole Foods, and flatbread from Reem's Arab Street food. If you see a hard-working crew member, keep in mind they've been up since Friday and make sure to give them a friendly smile and a nod of approval for the back-breaking labor required to put this kind of thing on. (They were also seen drinking bourbon before 11 a.m., so they'll probably nod back.) 
If you're a little scarred from Pier 70 because the last time you were here was to retrieve a vehicle from Auto Return's long-term storage tow pound, don't let it trigger you. There are near-infinite things to eat over the course of the two days, enough to wash away all the unpleasant memories. By tomorrow, you'll probably be inquiring about the documents needed to relocate to Dumpling Island.

And remember to hydrate! It's freaking 80-something degrees and roasted whole pigs aren't exactly cooling the joint down. Always hydrate!

San Francisco Street Food Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 15-16, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., at Pier 70.

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