Litquake is a literary festival that takes place in San Francisco celebrating everything book and written and stuff. It's been going on for 16 years now and I've attended random events with them over the years being sort of into that whole books and publishing thingy. This year, for the first time, they had an event that combined food and books called Eat, Drink and Be Literary. It's the first time I can remember them doing such a thing that in retrospect, seems like it should have always been considering what a foodie kind of town this is. Needless to say I was intrigued to see what they would do, so I plunked down the dough for tix for me and the SO and this past Sunday we headed over to Z Space in the Mission to try to be literary while eating and drinking.
It wasn't a large crowd there but decent enough to not feel like it wasn't a successful new program (though we'll need to see if they do this again next year as to whether they thought it worked or not). Things kicked off with a history of Anchor Brewing by Dave Burkhart who's their beer historian. Who knew there was such a thing? From there it melded into the first panel about the growth of the Bay Area artisanal food movement. Yeah, it kind of made me roll my eyes reading that but with folks from Cowgirl Creamery, The Fatted Calf, Guittard Chocolate and others it was interesting enough to hear about their own struggles getting their food ideas off the ground and in compliance with state and local regulations. Something that sounded enough to not want to do it. After the first panel we took a spin around to try out some of the local vendors offering up samples.
Sosu Sauces are Asian inspired sauces with a sriracha kick. They had a sriracha ketchup with wasn't as spicy as you might think, though it was a tad on the sweet side for me. The barrel aged sriracha had this mild nice smokiness to it. Or maybe it was earthy or woodsy or something. The sriracha wasn't like tongue burning but just the right heat with a complimentary flavor profile. Interestingly different. The barrel aged hot sauce was just hot. The SO liked them all, they are more the connoisseur of such bold flavors.
Since we were on a spice kick there was Santipapas bringing you authentic hand crafted salsa. Most all the tomato based ones were done with early girl tomatoes (much like what Sosu uses for their ketchup). They do hot and mild versions of regular and tomatillo salsa. They were thick, flavorful and tasty. If the SO had a bag of chips they'd have sat down and eaten a jar up. And yes, I probably could have done the same thing.
Switching up gears, a lot, I gravitated over to Wooden Table Baking Co. who were sampling up their alfajores--two tiny shortbread cookies with filling between them usually dulce de leche. What can I say, they were yummy and addictive. From the traditional to the chocolate covered to the ones made from meringue--and I'm not even a fan of cooked meringue, unless it comes in the form of this cookie. I had to move us quickly away from this table lest we stand there and gorge as they continue to put samples.
From there we got a shot of some sweet tea, apple and straight up moonshine from American Born Moonshine. They weren't local folks but I was intrigued, then I tasted and felt the burn all the way to my toes. It was all I could do not to go into a coughing fit. That stuff was strictly for the hearty. Next to them was Angry Orchard serving up cold, sweet cups of their hard cider. After the moonshine it was like nectar. From there we moved over to Guittard Chocolate with their new array of bars as they rebrand and try to make a play for the chocolate bar market. Interesting, since they will be competing with the many small Bay Area chocolate makers who they supply cocoa beans and nibs too. It was tasty so we will see how it goes for them.
The next panel was getting ready to start, but before heading over I snagged a couple of these almond cookies generously supplied by b. patisserie. Scrumptious as always. I don't think I've ever had anything bad from them. Too bad Chef Leong wasn't there so I could thank her profusely for her baked goods. Oh well, maybe next time.
That's all for now. I'll cover the rest of the food stuffs and panels in my next write up in a few days. Till then, happy eating and reading!