10 Best Things We Tasted at Eat Drink SF 2015

A handful of standout dishes from this year's fest
August 24, 2015
by Virginia Miller

We've been to all seven years of Eat Drink SF (formerly SF Chefs), including last year's, the first year the event was held inside the massive Fort Mason Center. This year, we returned to the venue for a weekend of grand tastings, working our way through dozens of bites from an array of Bay Area chefs alongside wine, beer, spirits and cocktails. Creative tastes stood out despite longer lines this year and many tables running out of food early. Here are the 10 best things we tasted this year at Eat Drink SF.

Labneh yogurt tart from Mourad

On Saturday night in the VIP area, Mourad Lahlou served a bite indicative of the elevated quality he and his team turn out at Mourad in the Financial District. This delicious labneh yogurt tart featured a gently sweet shell, tart yogurt and herbaceous dill filling, topped with salty tobiko (fish roe).

Seco de res with purple causa from Mochica

Peruvian greats La Mar Cebicheria and Mochica brought a touch of Peru with some of the best bites of the weekend, with both restaurants showcasing Peruvian causas, or chilled, whipped potato mounds. Pictured here is Mochica's seco de res (caramelized short ribs in aji amarillo pepper–based seco sauce) accompanied by a purple potato causa.

Basil Pancake Punch from Elixir

Like last year, H. Joseph Ehrmann and Nick DesEnfants of Elixir and Elixir To Go cornered it on the drink side with a mini-bar surrounded by stools (a welcome break from the crowds) and a full menu of cocktails. Our favorite new cocktail addition this year was the tart, subtly sweet, balanced Basil Pancake Punch. Yes, you do get a pancake effect from Canadian whiskey, Tap 357 Maple Rye Whisky, mixed with Elixir's house-selected barrel of Henry McKenna bottled in bond bourbon, orgeat (floral almond syrup), lemon and basil.

Jacker Crack ice cream from ShakeDown

Open since February, under-the-radar-in-the-Tenderloin ice cream gem ShakeDown set up shop with their truck in the VIP area during Saturday's grand tasting. They doled out three flavors, including their popular Jacker Crack: popcorn-infused ice cream with swirls of dulce de leche and crushed peanut brittle.

Pluot soup from Central Kitchen

Central Kitchen (which recently launched a low-proof cocktail menu during their delightful brunch) thankfully veered away from the usual gazpachos and corn soups to serve a lush pluot soup with fermented chard relish, hitting a few sides of the palate in one cooling gulp. Easily one of the top bites during Friday night's grand tasting.

A5 Wagyu steak from Bourbon Steak

One (of the many) bites that ran out early was understandable in the case of Bourbon Steak. They were serving no less than the highest grade of A5 Wagyu steak in one succulent bite. 

Gin and tonic bar from Anchor Distilling

SF-based Anchor Distilling drew continual lines with a build-your-own gin and tonic bar featuring Anchor's classic Junipero gin and London's No. 3 gin and Fever Tree tonics. Choosing your gin and your tonic, bartenders added gin botanicals like pink peppercorn and cardamom as vivid garnishes.

Scallop crudo from El Capitan

SoMa's El Capitan showed off raw scallops from their menu of ceviches and crudo with a silky scallop bright with yuzu and passion fruit emulsion, chiles, cilantro and shiso (Japanese mint).

Kimchi egg salad from Konjoe

San Jose's Konjoe (with a ramen shop and Asian burger bar) and chef Joey Camacho thankfully offered something different with a kimchi egg salad scooped up with chicken cracklings.

Uni bite from Dirty Habit

Our love of uni/sea urchin does not wane. And in the case of Dirty Habit's uni bite, it's hard to resist a briny burst of uni with salmon roe in tomato water.

food & wine classic