The Eat Real Fest is an annual food festival held at Jack London Square in Oakland, CA, on the waterfront in the East Bay near the container port of Oakland. The festival showcased many of the great food purveyors in the East Bay and the whole Bay Area. There were prepared food stands and trucks, and everything was limited to $5 or less. One of the highlights was The Whole Beast, which had a butchering demonstration on perfectly roasted whole lamb and sold lamb gyros and meatballs. I tried their great lamb poutine, thick-cut seasoned fries topped with a rich gravy with lamb cheeks and cheese curds. Whole animal butchery was also on display at the Chop Bar, which offered delicious barbecue pork and cornbread. One of my favorites, 4505 Meats, had a ridiculously good sandwich called The Fat Bastard, which was a buttery toasted English muffin, honey mustard ranch, chicharrones, pickled jalepenos, market greens, melted aged Gruyere, juicy pork and beer sausage, and house made sauerkraut, all on one sandwich!
It was fun to see all of the local start-ups at the marketplace: there were local chocolates, tempeh, sauerkraut, southeast Asian jerky, pastas, jams, cheese, and baked goods. Starter Bakery in Oakland had Kouign Amann, a flaky, sticky, buttery pastry with different fillings such as cherry pistachio, which sold out, necessitating a second afternoon delivery that many waited for. I also really liked the cool t-shirt designs representing the 510 from loakal.
There were classes and demonstrations on pickling, butchering, and other topics that really fit in with the DIY culture emphasized by the Eat Real Fest. Sour Flour had several bread-making demonstrations. I went to the bread starter class, where they taught participants how to feed a sourdough starter. I got a sample and can’t wait to try it to make sourdough bread at home (watch for a future post). We’re lucky in the Bay Area to have great food events like SF Street Food and Eat Real.