Eat Real Festival, Jack London Square, Sep. 22, 2012
With temperatures in the mid-70's on Sept. 21-23, ice cream was one of the most popular items, but the all-day festival had dozens of food trucks featuring every type of food one could want - from Hawaiian, to American mac and cheese, to Asian fusion food. In addition to food, there was live music and indoor DIY exhibits on everything from butchery to making sourdough. Also, many East Bay shops were selling jam, chocolate and other locally-made food in an indoor market.
Walking between food trucks, I smelled fried lumpia, Indian curries and tacos. I heard the humming of small generators strapped to the front of the food trucks and the sound stage in the background. It was cramped during Saturday afternoon, with swarms of parents and children and people gingerly navigating their bikes through lines people craving paella and BBQ.
The event website billed the event as featuring: "Tacos inspired by flavors from around the world, curry, BBQ, hot dogs, ice cream, noodles, and a whole lot more of the Bay Area's awesome curbside eats. The Eat Real Festival celebrates all things tasty, fresh, and handmade with a focus on street food, local wines, handcrafted beers, and traditional food craft – all featuring sustainable, local ingredients. And no dish costs more than $5."
The low prices encouraged people to try several different food stands. Overwhelmed with so many options, I picked three meals at random:
Also at the event near Jack London's cabin were outdoor talks on where local fish are caught, and tables for food justice organizations like the People's Grocery in West Oakland. Speaking with Raheemah Nitoto, a nutrition consultant, who was offering a free dietary analysis at the event, she spoke of the food deserts in East and West Oakland and the difficulty of getting nutritious food in those areas largely populated with liquor stores. Her perspective shed light on the many in need in Oakland, and how poor eating habits can lead to obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
In all, the festival represented the many local food vendors, and people from throughout the East Bay came to enjoy the sunshine and to eat tasty, healthy food.