I get excited every year when my favorite food festivals come around, and Eat Real Festival is one of them. Patrick and I have been attending for the last 3 years, but this was the first year we went for all three days. When there's so many local food vendors nearby, it's hard to resist. This year we spent our first two days with Sandy (Foodhoe) and her husband Mr. K, and we also had a impromptu greet and eat with our Instagram friends @jevenhuis and @marzeedotes on Saturday.
Patrick and I went hunting for the best bites and enjoyed some local beer (served in an official Eat Real mason jar glass, of course). Here's a look at the memorable food we ate and the vendors we visited:
Savory Lemon Ricotta Zeppoles from Girl Friday Zeppole
Girl Friday's zeppoles are little fried pillowy bites of heaven that are chewy and moist inside, best described as an Italian donut. It's one of the best things we ate at the festival. The creamy harissa dipping sauce was tart and sweet, which took the zeppoles to another flavorful level. I really wish they had a permanent shop because I've been craving them since.
Fried Calamari Tacos from Eat on Monday
Eat on Monday's perfectly fried calamari taco was the best deal we found at the festival ($3.50 / taco), and also one of the more satisfying bites. Our heads were satisfyingly nodding up and down a lot for this one.
Chicharron Sundae from Friend in Cheeses Jam Company
I didn't believe Sandy at first when she told me there was a vendor selling "chicharron sundaes" at Eat Real, but there it was! Friend in Cheeses Jam Company was hidden and after spending a while looking for it, we gave up and Mr. K comes around to tell us he found it. This creation is a cone filled with house made chicharron, topped with chevre, salami and Tart n' Spicy Tomato Jelly.
Fried Chicken Spring Rolls from Bicycle Banh Mi
There's just something about Bicycle Banh Mi that makes me keep on coming back to them at every event they're at. The food they make always hits the spot, whether it's their coconut fried chicken banh mi or fried chicken spring rolls.
Summer Peach and Blackberry Cheesecake from Crumble & Whisk
If you love cheesecake, one taste from Crumble & Whisk will get you hooked. Charles makes the best cheesecake, and every time I visit an event he's at, I always find myself going back for seconds (or sending Patrick to grab seconds for me while I'm in line somewhere else)! It's just so rich and fluffy, perfectly tart and sweet, and the buttery shortbread crust is to die for. My goal is to order an entire cheesecake one day from him!
Paella from La Marcha
La Marcha's paella was super flavorful, very fragrant and generous with the shrimp, chorizo and chicken. I am excited for La Marcha to officially open in mid-October, and can't wait to visit.
Blueberry Jasmine Popsicle from Fat Face
I can never pass up getting a popsicle at Fat Face. Their popsicles are so damn good. I've never been disappointed in any of the flavors I've previously tried. I really love the mango sticky rice and thai tea popsicles, but I may have found a new favorite after having the blueberry jasmine. It is wickedly refreshing, very fruity and floral; you can really taste the jasmine tea.
Korean Fried Chicken and Waffles from Bok Ssam
I really liked Bok Ssam's fried chicken; it was very juicy and flavorful, nice breading and covered in gochujang. I had a problem with the waffles and think that they were too soft and bready, plus the vanilla scent was overpowering. It would've been perfect if the waffle was crispier, especially on the edges.
3 Hour Slow Roasted Lechon from Jeepney Guy
Another very memorable bite from the festival was Jeepney Guy's plate of 3 hour slow roast lechon with crispy skin, drizzled with JG's house made all-purpose sauce. I loved it so much that we decided to go back on Sunday for it, but unfortunately we were 3 hours too early and it wasn't ready yet. I'm definitely keeping an eye out for their next event.
Unique Macarons from Shades of Sugar Bakeshop
Shades of Sugar Bakeshop knows how to make beautiful and true-to-taste macarons. I love the unique flavors they offer that all taste exactly like what their flavors are. Here's what we tried (from left to right): coffee date, earl grey meyer lemon, vanilla bourbon, lychee rose, Mexican hot chocolate, jalapeño pineapple, strawberry fig peppercorn. I would recommend every single cookie we tried, especially my three favorites: earl grey meyer lemon, jalapeno pineapple and lychee rose. My mind has never been so blown away by macarons before until now.
Thai Tea and Coconut Mocha Frozen Custard from Frozen Kuhsterd
Frozen Kuhsterd makes a killer frozen custard that's creamy and rich. I loved all the three flavors I tried: thai tea, coconut mocha and malted white chocolate.
If you missed out this year, don't be sad - you can still experience the food. Below, I've listed where you can find or track down all the vendors I mentioned in this post:
- Shades of Sugar Bakeshop: They don't have a store, so will only be appearing at events for now. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to get the latest updates.
- Frozen Kuhsterd: Here's a list of all their events here.
- Jeepney Guy: Follow them on Facebook to get the latest updates.
- Bok Ssam: Unfortunately, they don't keep up with a social media presence and don't list their events anywhere to be found.
- Fat Face: I haven't seen Fat Face at any other Bay Area event I've attended, but if you're in Davis, then you're in luck.
- La Marcha: It looks like La Marcha is opening very soon in Berkeley, likely by mid-October.
- Crumble & Whisk: Follow Charles on Twitter to see where he'll be next.
- Bicycle Banh Mi: Stay in the loop via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Eat on Monday: Visit their website for a list of their events.
- Girl Friday Zeppole: Follow them on Facebook for event updates.
- Friend in Cheeses Jam Company: You can buy the jam on their website or one of these locations and put those ingredients together yourself, or find out where they'll be next.
Tip: If you're curious about how it's like going all three days, we found Friday at 7pm to be the most relaxing, especially with the cool weather and smaller-sized crowd. It's nice and quiet on Saturday morning 15 minutes after it opens. Sunday was our least favorite day because many of the vendors were not ready with food by the time the festival opened, plus we ran into a few vendors who sold out of food over the last two days.
Eat Real Peeps: What would be really helpful for next year is to see a map of where each vendor is placed at the festival and a menu of what each vendor is serving up.