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Cherry Blossom Festival, SF

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The Cherry Blossom Festival is this weekend and next in Japantown in San Francisco. I tried the takoyaki (4 pcs of $2). Frankly, I couldn't tell if it was tako in there or not. Lines weren't bad at 11:30.

I'm volunteering there next weekend as well, so I'll have a chance to try some other stands (many run by community and church groups). So far, I saw sushi, spam musubi, soba, udon, unagi bento, teriburger and shave ice.

For dessert, I opted for a strawberry manju at Benkyodo (they don't have a booth, but the store is at Sutter & Buchanan).

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  1. I went yesterday -- very sad that you could walk up and get $5.00 yakisoba instantly (it was very good with lots of bacon) but that the line for a burger was 40-people long...

    1. Thanks for the heads up. It's one of my favorite festivals. I always want to drag the whole Chinatown Chamber of Commerce with me and harangue them about how Japantown puts Chinatown to shame when it comes to offering eats at their street festivals

      1. My favorite is the imagawayaki hot off the little griddles. Yum!

        1. I did go back late yesterday afternoon for one of those teriyaki burgers.

          I shouldn't have bothered -- they get their line because there is no way to get around the fact that meat on a grill, spewing aromatic smoke is enticing. It SMELLS great but tasted just so-so.

          1. I love Sakura - and this year, there actually were Sakura! There is no octopus in the takoyaki, unfortunately - just "fish stocks" (either it's too $$ or they think it'd upset the tourists). But the lines there are always long because they're addictive, and this is about the only chance people have to try them here. I love the imagawayaki, too - cheap and delicious. And you can't beat $2 sake, hot or cold.

            My favorite matsuri food, though, is the roasted corn they have at the SJ Obon festival in August. Damn, that's good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Deeg67

              Years ago they used tako, but there were some Health Dept. issues with lack of refrigeration, so they switched to hamburger.

              I haven't had any there in a long time, so maybe they're now just down to "fish stocks." (To me, it actually sounds better than hamburger.)

            2. The charcoal-roasted sweet potatoes are being sold by size. What a yummy dessert!

              1. i was really disappointed there wasn't actually any tako in the takoyaki. the balls were doughy and unimpressive. having waited so long in that line, i was a bit miffed as were my companions. they substituted beef for the tako, which didn't make it taste any better.

                1. Does anyone know if they will have the same food offerings next weekend? I couldn't make it this weekend, but I might be able to make it next Sunday. I've never been before and it sounds like its worth a go.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chemchef

                    Yes, from previous years' experience, they will have the same food booths.

                    1. re: chemchef

                      They should. And in defense of the takoyaki, I think it's delicious - even if it's "gyu-yaki" (with fish stocks)!

                    2. Warning if you go next weekend -- be prepared for LONG lines at almost every food stall. Get a drink before you get in line!

                      1. I was bummed there was no TAKO in the Takoyaki, but the day was so beautiful, the weather couldn't have been better, people were so happy, and up-beat, even though crowded, so it was alright to have "burgeryaki" HEE HEE!

                        1. I tried the unagi bento for $6. The unagi was tender and a good-sized piece. The bento, or donburi if you will, was still warm at 11:30. Not a bad deal for $6.

                          May try the a yakisoba today, though I saw few people walking around with very appetizing teriyaki rice plates yesterday.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Philip

                            Philip, your post got my mouth a-watering... I wandered and had a Donburi for breakfast. I walked home with it and it stayed hot from the purchase, to the last bite at the bottom of the bowl. A good $6.00 breakfast.

                            1. re: Carrie 218

                              Forgot to mention that there was free sake on Saturday - on Post Street near the Peace Plaza. Not the best stuff, but a nice (and unexpected) treat to get free booze at a street festival. But, none on Sunday as Post Street was cleared of all booths for the parade.

                              1. re: Philip

                                Interesting -- usually the A.B.C. clamps down on free booze (against regulations and all that...)

                          2. I had one of the BBQ rib platters yesterday; a fairly ample offering of ribs with cole slaw and a Hawaiian-style sweet roll. $7.00.

                            My gripe was that this was a stand that different offer anything to drink - not even bottled water. The last thing I want to do is have to stand in YET ANOTHER LINE even for a simple thing like water.