To Rock the Nation

This weekend brought Slow Food Nation to SF. Like many local eaters and devoted farmers market shoppers, I questioned if Slow Food Nation would really be worth my time and money. I already support the ideas behind Slow Food. Why shell out for Slow Food festivities when I already buy from the farmers themselves?

But greed got the better of me.

The first lure was that Primavera, our hands-down favorite Mexican food, would be at Slow-to-Go (the free component of SFN at Civic Center) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Normally, we get only one chance to eat at Primavera on Saturday at the farmers market and we are religious about it. To eat Primavera more than once a week was a rare treat and a strong pull towards Civic Center.

Secondly, Slow-to-Go was all about pork. How could I pass up an event that clearly celebrated the king of meats?

Pork items eaten in our two visits to Slow-to-Go included:

  • pork on biscuits
  • pork with red-eye gravy
  • pork sausage sandwich
  • bacon huarache (a masa turnover — not a bacon-y sandal)
  • tlacoyos with chorizo

And then, as we were leaving SFN on Sunday, I bought a muffaletta. I understood why Mr. WholeHog thought this was a little over the top. We’d already said we were done eating for the day before we split a Fatted Calf sausage sandwich.

But how could I resist? The muffaletta was from Salumi — a big reason behind my desire to pay Seattle a visit. Salumi was founded by Armandino Batali who, aside from being Mario’s dad and aside from having what may be one of the best first names ever, was trained by Dario Cecchini, the Tuscan master of meat.

On our visits to the Civic Center side of Slow Food Nation, we ate well, we ran into new and old food friends and it felt like we were part of something special and local.

Sadly our visit to the Taste Pavillion at Fort Mason was what I’d feared about SFN: a costly ticket, long lines, and limited tastes. But the bigger disappointment, for me, was the lack of education. Most stands seemed so overwhelmed just trying to serve the crowds that there was no time to say anything much about what they were serving. One big exception was coffee! The coffee people were excellent, enthusiastic and extremely well informed.


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