I love backyard BBQs–to me they are the ultimate party. They are relaxing, usually outside, have great food, cold beer aplenty, and music that isn’t too loud. So I was pretty excited for the Saturday night Urban BBQ that was part of the SF Chefs. Food. Wine. festival. While it only included one out of the five things I love about BBQs, it more than made up for the other four.
The food that night was just beyond incredible. At the Thursday night opening gala, I was trying to decide if I would think the cost of the ticket was worth it (like Joe mentioned, we didn’t pay for any of this). For Thursday night, I’m not sure. For Saturday, absolutely–and it was $30 cheaper! Maybe we’re meat people, or maybe I don’t get starry-eyed over celebrities enough to have gotten all pumped up the first night, but I think that Saturday was THE night to be there. Standout tastes include: the deep fried olive from Trattoria Corso (first picture at top), Joey & Eddie’s meatballs (pictured above), the chocolate-cherry baked Alaska (pictured below–we think it was from Absinthe…things were getting bleary by then), and the Sloppy Bob from Best O’ Burgers (pictured below that).
The music was good (but loud–glad I had earplugs). It was especially fun that the band was made up of chefs. There was a gumbo gimmick too–every so often a new chef would come up to the stage to add an ingredient to a pot of gumbo while the band played “Stir it up”. The gumbo we ate at the end of the night was some of the best I’ve ever had.
Now, I know we’re beer people. And Joe already mentioned the lack of beer Thursday night (stay tuned for the writeup for Sunday, when we finally get to try out the “beer garden”!). But not having beer at a BBQ seemed like a huge, glaring omission (sorry, but I don’t count the Trumer table at an event that purports to be all about local food and wine. Yes, I know they are “technically” in Berkeley. Please.) It felt wrong, and that was the only thing I would have changed about tonight.
We DID have some pretty killer cocktails–which can go with BBQ just fine. One of the most fun was a “Mix your own old-fashioned” with Nopa bartender Neyah White.
You chose your own sugar (I chose a dark, chocolatey kind, while Joe chose a twice-boiled Japanese sugar called Satsunan Niontou for it’s light flavoring), then whatever bitters you want (Joe chose a light cherry bitters, I had a cinnamon flavored one that Neyah mixes himself named “Abbots”, and finally our alcohol (I had Flora de Cana rum, while Joe had St. George whiskey). Of course, Neyah was there to make recommendations, tell you how long to grind up your sugar, pour the actual alcohol, and finally, to drop a Jurassic-sized hunk of ice into your glass. He also had a standing offer that anyone who would bring him a Trumer would get a hug (Joe cashed that in later on).
There were also artists scattered around the tent, doing paintings on the spot–check out the Urban BBQ Flickr set for those and more food and drink pictures. Overall, a very fun atmosphere and something I would definitely go to next year!