San Francisco has its hugely successful Street Food Festival every August. And across the Bay, Oakland can say the same about the wildly popular Eat Real Fest, taking place this week from September 21-23 at Jack London Square.
One of the big draws this year for the fourth annual event will be on Friday as Meatopia makes its West Coast debut. Meatopia is a New York celebration of all things meat founded and hosted by James Beard Award-winning food writer Josh Ozersky. He’s bringing some of the best BBQ and butchery professionals from around the country to Oakland for the opening night party, along with some local flavor as well. Chefs include Chris Lilly (Bib Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, Decatur, AL), Chris Phelps (Salt’s Cure, West Hollywood), Nicole Brisson (Carnevino, Las Vegas), Nick Pihakis (Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q, Birmingham, AL), Harry Stewart (Great American BBQ, Alameda), Rebecca Wilcomb (Cochon, New Orleans), Rodney Scott (Scott’s Bar-B-Que, Hemingway, SC), Doug Keiles (Ribs Within, Hillborough, NJ), Kim Alter (Haven, Oakland) and Rick Hackett (Bocanova, Oakland). Tickets for the event are $50 per person and include two alcoholic beverages and all you can eat food from the featured chefs.
But Meatopia is only the kickoff of a pretty amazing food weekend – organizers dub Eat Real Fest as part state fair, part street food festival and part block party. The event is free and provides an up close and personal look at some of the local businesses and food artisans who are on site showing off their products. There will be plenty of food and drinks for all comers, which can be purchased the entire weekend (cash only, most items $5 or less).
Some of the other highlights of the jam-packed weekend:
Brewers Summit - All 20 brewers vending at the festival will be on hand, taking part in panel discussions and instructional demos.
Kraut-a-Thon (12:30 pm) - A sauerkraut-making extravaganza put on by Happy Girl Kitchen Co. and Farmhouse Culture, guests will be able to go through the process of making sauerkraut and at the end of the day, bring home a jar of what they made.
Flying Knives Steer Butchery Competition (4:00 pm) - Three teams of butchers sharpen their knives and break down a steer hindquarter. The teams will have 45 minutes to make their cuts – from primal to retail. Judges will look for accuracy, quality of trimmings, technique and teamwork.
Savory Application of Jam (4:00 pm) - Part of the DIY Foods series, Dafna Kory of INNA Jam and Ellen Roggemann of McEvoy Ranch will take guests through the jam-making process and also provide some other possibilities such as salad dressings, cheese plates and chicken marinades.
Wild Game Butchery (11:00 am) – Jesse Griffiths, author of Afield, will be butchering a freshly hunted wild pig from Texas on stage. He’ll also talk about hunting, field dressing and how to prep wild game.
Coffee Roasting (2:00 pm) – Another in the DIY series, Sweet Maria’s Coffee will teach you how to roast coffee at home. A behind the scenes look at some of the roasting basics while also showing guests the most cost-effective method for high-quality roasting – in a popcorn popper.
BBQ Sauce & Rubs (3:00 pm) – Taking barbecuing to the next level with Dontaye Ball of Goods Food Catering, who will be demonstrating the art of the perfect BBQ sauce and rub.
These are just a few of the events on tap for the weekend. Eat Real Fest takes place Friday, September 21 through Sunday, September 23 at Jack London Square in Oakland. Here is a look at the entire schedule.
Friday: 1:00-9:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.