This past weekend I attended San Francisco magazine’s annual epicurean event, FallFest '08, which benefits the fine folks at Meals On Wheels. I was covering the event for Foodbuzz, and even though I was given a ticket, I was determined to post an objective, unbiased report. The challenge is if I'm eating free food, and drinking free wine, I tend to praise it more than if I was paying for it. Being a food blogger, I'm bound by no moral or ethical standards for objectivity.
With that disclaimer out of the way, I was very impressed with what San Francisco magazine managed to pull off. Organizing 43 restaurants, paired with 43 wineries, along with chef demonstrations, and live music, is no mean feat. By the way, whoever was in charge of weather should get a raise. It was the most beautiful fall day imaginable - clear blue skies, brilliant sun blazing at that lazy, low autumn angle, and a cool breeze too perfect to describe.
The event was held at Justin Herman Plaza, near San Francisco’s Waterfront, in the shadow of the Ferry Building. On entering the event, I received an opaque oval plate for my food, and a sparkling new Riedel wine glass. Equipped, I turned on my camera, and proceeded to graze my way across the grounds.
The food highlights, some of which are pictured here, will be explained in the video clip below. As far as the wine, I only had two glasses, so I can’t really comment other than to say the vinophiles in attendance seemed very impressed. I noticed something odd, especially for events like this, it was crowded, but there were no lines. There was plenty of room to move around, yet it felt cozy and intimate.
There were two disappointments. First, the official water for this fine event was not delicious San Francisco tap water, but bottled Fuji water. I'm no geography expert, but Fuji is so not local. I will assume since this was a benefit for Meals On Wheels, that Fuji kicked in some cash to be involved, but I would have left the info regarding how "green" their water is back on the island.
The second, and most disappointing, was the presence of Top Chef contestant, and fledgling San Francisco celebrity chef, Ryan Scott from the Mission Beach Café. When I saw him, and his full head of thick hair, I was so excited, as I figured I could do a whole blog post ripping him and his food. I would expose him as the overrated, untalented, reality show pretty boy, he must so obviously be.
But, then I met him. Much to my chagrin, he was very nice, extremely courteous, and happily chatted up the guests. He even graciously posed for pictures with lots of ladies, and a few well-groomed men. Even worse, he can cook! His pork and white bean crostini was to-die-for, and in an informal poll I took, was voted to be the outstanding bite of the day. Congratulations Ryan, and thanks for nothing.
In conclusion, I will say in all honesty, I'll definitely be attending FallFest '09, even if I have to pay for my own ticket. Coming from a media freeloader such as myself, there is no better recommendation. Enjoy the video slide show!
All photos (c) John Mitzewich, except Chef Ryan Scott photo (c) Jo Boston @ Taking Over the World One Bite at a Time