SF Street Food Festival – Preview Dinner

Next week on Saturday August 20, 2011, the San Francisco Street Food Festival kicks off it’s third annual event from 11am-7pm on and around Folsom Street between 22nd and 26th Streets in the Mission district of SF. I believe that I, and friends, will be attending. These desserts will be there:

South American sugar cookies that are fabulous on the left, "cake pops" on the right that are magical.

This event is created and hosted by La Cocina, a “business incubator” non-profit organization that helps local low-income food entrepreneurs gain the experience, knowledge, and resources needed to become successful and sustainable small businesses. What does this mean? These guys provide stuff like education and rent-able small kitchen space (and more) to your local food cart lady who makes kick-ass tamales so that she can buy a food truck, start a catering business, or open a full scale restaurant to get her business off the ground. This is just an example, of course, but basically they support local and typically minority and low-income women to give a leg-up into the food industry. So that everyone can enjoy Tamale Lady’s tamales or Hummus Lady’s hummus. Sounds good to me.

The Street Food Festival is a showcase of La Cocina success stories and works-in-progress and features food from 30 La Cocina micro-vendors, in addition to 25 owner-operated restaurants, a handful of mobile food trucks, a few select nationwide vendors, and more. Sounds like a day of food, drink, and fun to me. :)

And I was privileged to be invited to the media preview dinner a few weeks ago to enjoy some of the food, learn about the vendors, the festival, and La Cocina, and to meet some nice folks. See photos below, and see you at the SFSFF!

Welcome to the preview dinner...

Food they fed us at this dinner! It was pretty awesome. Click to enlarge and further scrutinize. You know you want to.

Plus we got sweet badges... notice that Boyfriend's name on his badge is "GuestAngie". Indeed.

Plus, they gave out these sweet temp tattoos of their birdie logo, which made me feel badass for about a week. (Ok, fine, two weeks.)



Lake Chalet

Atmosphere: 4/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value:3/5
Times Visited: A Few  ♦   Will I Return?:  Yes!

Happy Birthday to me… this is where I chose to spend my birthday this year with my family. Where’s a nice place that’s close to Hayward (my fam lives in Hayward), not too terribly expensive (I’m not that kind of birthday girl) and has food that all four of my super picky fams will enjoy (sorry guys, you know it’s kinda true)? The Lake Chalet.

For Mom: Lake Chalet is classy and upscale with nice views of the lake and outdoor seating. For Dad: It’s got a “normal” seafood/steak menu with things that are just short of the “art food” he so dreads. For Sister: The bar is nice and serves cutesy drinks, and the delicious-sounding choices on the menu make it difficult for her to choose though she’ll probably be happy with whatever she gets.

And for me: it’s a nice place with good service and good food. There. Birthday done.

This particular Tuesday evening in July was one of the very few “hot” days we’ve gotten here in the SF Bay this year. The outdoor seating was in full swing, and while we had reservations, there was still going to be a 45 minute wait to be seated outside. Between the prospect of evening mosquitoes and suspecting that the cold would creep in as the night went on, I choose to sit inside at our reserved table (much to mom’s dismay I’m sure, but she kept on smiling since it was my birthday*).

Still with lake views, we took our seats at one of the many inside tables — the Lake Chalet is a huge facility with multiple dining areas, banquet facilities, a gondola dock, a gift shop, and two full bars (three if the outdoor seating is in effect). Perusing the menu, mom insisted that we order an appetizer. Who am I to object? We enjoyed their calamari which was crispy and delicious, along with a few of their signature cocktails.

For dinner, we had a variety of foods at the table. Mom went with Luis’ Chopped Chicken Salad, Dad had the Red Wine Braised Beef Short Rib, Sister got the Whole Roasted Cracked Crab, Boyfriend got an Ahi Tuna Burger with Fries, and I ordered the Roasted Sea Bass. It was quite a feast, please, enjoy with us:

Everyone enjoyed their meal thoroughly… I heard some rumblings from Dad regarding the short rib, but I don’t remember the issue. Perhaps the polenta wasn’t very flavorful? Sister’s crab was good but hardly “deconstructed to help with ease of eating” per the menu’s promises; there was still much wrenching and shiny-fingered picking to be had. My sea bass was wonderful, and Boyfriend’s ahi burger was great.

For dessert Mom grabbed some creme brulee and sister and I split a chocolate molten cake that was as heavenly as a birthday dessert should be. If nothing else, go for the molten cake.

Overall the evening was merry, the service was attentive (they even catered to our repeated whimsical moves back and forth from the patio to the indoor seating area), and the food was really good. I love the Lake Chalet and I’d highly recommend it.

*Which is funny, shouldn’t it be the mom who gets what they want on their kids’ birthday? I mean, she was really doing all the work that day. Although I guess I didn’t really have a choice in the matter.

Find Lake Chalet on Zagat.com here

Lake Chalet on Urbanspoon