Cultivate Festival: Golden Gate Park

It was a warm day in Oakland yesterday. Around noon it was in the mid-70’s. Further east, it was going to hit triple digits. My friend asked if I wanted to go to the Cultivate Festival in San Francisco. “Sure!” I responded.

Cultivate is a Festival sponsored by Chipotle that “brings together farmers, chefs, thought leaders, artists, musicians, and participants, on a journey towards a world of more sustainable, wholesome and delicious food.”
When we got to Golden Gate Park, the temperature dropped to the mid-50’s. Unprepared, my friend and I were freezing our butts off. We walked through Hellman Hollow to check out the scene. There were food stands selling Chipotle items, local food vendors, educational stands, wine and beer tastings, chef demonstrations, and a music stage.
We were getting hungry, so we decided to divide and conquer. The lines were really long. I went to San Francisco based 4505 Meats to get the smoked beef brisket on white bread. Unfortunately, before I made it to the front of the line, they sold out. I got what was left on the menu, pork and cheddar bratwurst and a bag of chicharrones. The bratwurst was okay, but my friend didn’t like it. The chicharrones from 4505 Meats are very light in texture, melts in your mouth leaving a very strong gamey pork flavor in your mouth. Not for everyone.
My friend lined up for Chipotle’s esquites, a salad of charred corn, shredded cabbage, and crispy tortillas. Tossed with roasted tomatillos, sour cream, pickled onions, and cotija cheese. Let’s just say it tasted like Chipotle.
New York based Big Gay Ice Cream had a truck on site. I couldn’t believe the line was about 100 people deep with the weather so cold. If the line was short, I would have likely got some. I hope to be able to try some in the future.
So far the festival doesn’t sound too promising does it? Well, the highlight for me was watching a food demonstration with Chef Richard Blais. Chef Blais was the winner of Top Chef All Stars. He was so funny and entertaining to watch. He was great. He froze a margarita with liquid nitrogen. It was very cool to watch.
He later made a fish taco and then smoked it in seconds. We couldn’t take the cold any longer so we left shortly after the demo.
I was excited to get into the car to defrost and return to the 510.