Tofu Festival? More like Nofu Festival
I had fun Sunday, but didn't they used to have a lot of tofu? Why don't they just call it Thai Food Festival as 80% of the food vendors were selling Thai BBQ chicken or pad thai w/ tofu. I had good tofu curry, (it was mildly spiced) and excellent okonomiyaki. Bad run in with Japanese food being sold by "another nationality" (GF says I'm a bigot) girl at counter was unhelpful, verbally incommunicative, gave me different food from what I had to point at and when I insisted she give me what I wanted, she put one-half teaspoon in my bowl. Shame because it was good, too.
I missed the tofu tostada and tofu desserts.
New layout squeezes everyone into one street making cutting in line very easy as the lines were all screwed up, hard to tell what I was waiting for as people just stepped in front of me handing scrip to food servers.
It was still fun, a nice community event weather okay nice breeze, not as intensely hot as years past. The parade was good and the big nebuta float from Aomori was stunning.
So who found all the tofu and liked it more than me?
I'm boycotting anything with the word "Festival" in it anymore. It seems people like to set up goofy shops to sell overpriced crap and the food is awful. Don't get me started on the "Festivals" with big corporate food sponsors (i.e. that stupid Garlic Festival in Gilroy with the damned Lawry's tent).
Once I drove an hour to a "French Festival" in Santa Barbara thinking I'd get myself a decent Croque Monsieur. Not a single one in site. But were there shitty middle of the road musical acts-you betcha. There was a creperie, though, it was okay.
But that Tofu Festival, ah yes, I've been. It took me five minutes to get annoyed and leave. Why can't they just have a festival of a single nationality? Is that too difficult? Why do hippies need to set up bead shops at every "Festival"? I'm pretty sure I saw more shitty bead shops than tofu preparations.
You've caught on something that really gets me going..
I came to the exact same conclusion after the tofu festival. I was thinking the entire time, "I could walk to any restaurant around here and get better food, for cheaper, be able to sit down, and not have to wait in line in the sun to get it." I didn't have anything that was all that great. After this and the Erotic L.A. expo, I'm over it.
I did enjoy the Greek festival in Camarillo, but again, everything was overpriced, except the shots of ouzo...
I agree in theory. In practice, however...well, I can only eat so much tofu. My vegetarian wife is a bigger fan of the stuff, and I was happy to see some tofu alternatives. The lobster balls were delicious, although almost certainly made from something other than lobster. The tofu tostadas were excellent, much better than I was expecting. Disappointments included the tofu cheesecake (a small block of uncooked tofu with strawberry jam on top) and the Japanese pizza, which was sort of like egg foo yung gone wrong and proved that you can get people to wait in long lines for ANYTHING if it looks fried and greasy.
Agree about the crowds and layout, although I thought most people were polite and courteous by LA standards, at least. But then, I didn't hit the beer tent. Wish we could have seen the parade, but we were baked from the afternoon heat.
On the good side, I thought the prices were pretty reasonable, both for the food and the crummy souvenirs. BobtheBigPig stuffed himself quite well for $10.
I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned that the site where the event had been previouly is now a construction site - it's not like they just decided to change the set-up.
I did notice more chicken - but not less tofu. I had the tofu with poke, tofu with basil and rice noodles, pad-thai with tofu, lobster balls, then walked across the street for takoyaki and mochi ice cream outside of the festival.
Perhaps the fact that free admission tickets were readily available in the L.A.Times made it a win-win situation for me.......
Alas, it wasn't as good as previous years. Nothing innovative going on with tofu (that I could find), and too much fried meat on a stick. I thought there were more t-shirt and jewelry vendors than food booths. They used to use that street it was on JUST for the product vendors, not for the food too. I saw that the lot they used before had construction, but its too bad they couldn't find another venue that would have made the festival more cohesive. I thought the split-layout made it confusing and difficult to see everything that was offered. And it was soooo hot! I had to swipe a folding chair from one of the volunteer booths for my grandma. There wasn't enough seating and shade for the elderly. I also wish they had food demonstrations like last year! Last year I met Iron Chef Morimoto! I didn't even realize there was a stage set up with martial arts demonstrations until much later because it was way off to the side. Well, hopefully they will be able to use that lot again next year, or find a better venue where everyone can enjoy the festival all together. Despite it all, I will be back next year. I really want to love this festival as much as I love tofu. One positive...I liked the virgin tofu margaritas!
It was a huge letdown after previous years. Definitely a step down in many ways, from layout to food selection to lack of seating. I don't plan on going back.