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What to eat at Great American Music and Food festival at Shoreline Sat?

The Bobby Flay,etc. event at the Shoreline will present some tough choices. I want to make sure I eat something I can't normally get around here. I can't handle more than 2 entrees, plus somethings to go. May be budget challenging as well. I need help narrowing down my choices (nothing too hot, spicy). Thanks for any input.

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  1. Partial menu from 96 hours SFChron. What do you like? Remember, first plate of food from any vendor free.

    More at the site.

    1. Not so sure about this as a food event, but it might be worth $50+ to to see Marshall Crenshaw, the ultimate powerpopster, and have a real Philly cheesesteak or roast pork with rapini from Tony Luke's. Other promising options: Katz's pastrami sandwiches, Graeter's ice cream.

      1. I vote for Katz's and Southside Market Barbecue. Also consider a BLT with Benton's bacon from Zingerman's. Don't bother with Pink's hot dog, Junior's cheesecake, Barney Greengrass (their lox is fine, but they use a really terrible bagel, which is ironic, given the intro to the article wolfe linked).

        2 Replies
        1. re: daveena

          When I travel to Manhattan,before I even unpack, I head over to Barney Greengrass for Sable on a bagel...I have found their bagels to be consistently fresh, and a good representation of NY bagels at their best...no rolls with holes there...they have the proper shine from an egg wash and an undercurrent of malt from the malt sweetener. The Upper Westside (home to Zabars and H&H Bagels) would not eat here if it didn't have acceptable bagels, or knishes, or rugelach or smoked fish....perhaps you had a bad experience...but as a Brooklyn/Manhattan boy, I would be ecstatic if we had similar bagels here in S.F....let alone silky Sable...!

          1. re: ChowFun_derek

            I think H&H bagels are bad, too.
            Actually, when I complained about how bad the Barney Greengrass bagel was on the Manhattan board, someone said they thought the bagels were from H&H. I haven't had an H&H in years, but I don't remember it being remotely as bad as the one I had at BG. Maybe they ran out of their usual bagels and substituted it with something inferior.

            I go further up the Westside for my bagels - Absolute Bagel has the best I've ever tasted.

        2. Are Pink's Hotdogs overrated? I was thinking this would be a good chance to try them.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Zoe19

            Yes. The only thing worse than the dogs is having to wait for that level of mediocrity.

            1. re: tex.s.toast

              Thanks! Now I have more room for a Philly cheesesteak!

          2. Just had a Katz pastrami sandwich for the first time a couple weeks ago, and it was the BEST pastrami sandwich I've ever had! Looking forward to trying it again this weekend. If they let me buy a few pounds to take home, I'd be even happier!!

            1. Bought tix online last night and arrived at 2pm today at the event. No less than a one hour wait at any vendor (except for the smoked sturgeon) and never had one tasye of food. The line outside was just as long for people demanding refunds, which the wisely did. Good move on refunding parking, too. Nice idea, but horribly organized and way, way oversold.
              On a good note, went to Burgermeister in Alameda (they were at the event, too) and had a great burger and thoroughly enjoyed the service, plus it cost less than $35 dollars a plate!

              1. I went at 12:30, waited in line 1 1/2 hours to get in.
                Waited 1 hour for a plate of Southside Market BBQ (good, not great)
                Waited 1 hour for Graeters ice cream and Juniors cheesecake (both great)
                By that time, Pinks was out of hot dogs, Zimmerman's was out of bacon, along with several other stands out of various items.
                Went home.
                A good idea, extremely poorly executed.

                3 Replies
                1. re: kungful

                  With all due respect, one could smell from a mile away that this was going to be a real shakedown and disappointing event. Hard to imagine an event advised as heavily and done at a venue like Shoreline being worthwhile. Would love the idea of a Katz pastrami sandwich, but will wait for another trip to NY.

                  1. re: poulet_roti

                    I guess I lucked out, being too tired to go after working until 11 the night before.

                    20 years ago, there were a couple of New Orleans food and music events at Shoreline that were crowded, but successful. Paul Prudhomme attended at least one of them and the food at his stand was fine. I remember the price as being reasonable.

                    1. re: chocolatetartguy

                      This story made the channel 2 KTVU news this morning. Sounds like refunds for all.

                      I went to a number of the New Orleans events @ Shoreline and the music was always good, but at points they ran out of food early and the organization wasn't that great.

                      Being a native of South Looziana I thought the food was aight but not spectacular. The first festivals were better than the last ones, when they had the traveling band of actual Loozianans cookin', instead of the local show-up-at-any-event pseudo Cajun groups.

                2. Sadly, this event was a complete disaster - see http://www.seriouseats.com/2009/06/th... for some of the feedback. I remember the New Orleans by the Bay events and they ran smoothly. Yesterday's disaster has many people to blame, and I have no idea how/if they'll ever bother to try another event like that in the Bay Area since so many people got burned yesterday. Very, very disappointing.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: newhart06

                    Gosh, what a mess. I took a look at the festival's website to try to figure out who the organizers were besides Serious Eats. These things usually have event planner/festival consultants who handle the logistics. According to the press release,
                    http://www.greatamericanfoodandmusicf... , The Agency Group Events and Entertainment was the co-producer. Something to keep in mind for deciding which events to attend in the future.

                  2. Heads up for those who attended the event. CHECK YOUR BANK STATEMENTS. I got into the event at Noon and went straight to put money into the failed electronic bracelets using my Debit card. Without buying anything and later finding out they are resorting to cash, I never ended up using the bracelet. I get home and find a $75 charge on my Debit card from the event. Dumb luck and I’m handling the problem with my bank now.

                    But, besides that and the epic lines, the food was good. I have a photo recap for those who want to see what went on here:


                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Lando

                      After I got home from this fiasco, I sent an email to the "contact us" address at their website.
                      I received a very prompt reply from an agent at "The Agency Group Events":

                      "Thank you so much for taking the time to write. I am so incredibly sorry about what you went through.

                      We certainly had every intention of making everything perfect. The fact is, the problems were not anyone's fault by ours. Not the building’s, not Live Nation. We wanted to keep lines down so we invested all this money (upfront...not too smart) for the "cashless system" that would do just that… according to the company that was running it. This company had a resume that included NASCAR races (200,000 +) so when we heard that every transaction could be made in 3-seconds or less, we were in. We had them come in a week early and start testing...making sure everything worked...then as we opened the doors, the system failed.

                      The Fest did have an emergency system in place and cash banks and credit card machines were distributed prior to the show, but it took us nearly 45-minutes to switch over and by that point, we had very large lines. Added to that, it was our first year and we had no way to really judge attendance. We looked at "pre-sales" and doubled them thinking that was safe...and we would be over. We were wrong...and very sorry.

                      It is important to us as producers for you to understand that we do care and put years of hard work into this just to have one company take us down.

                      Please let me know if there is anything we can do to make this up to you…this year.

                      Again, we are all so sorry this happened...but at the same time are not giving up. We will come back next year on our tour and will have something special for those who were put out this year.

                      Thank you again for writing.


                      My own feeling is that the failures experienced there had very little to do with the technology breakdowns, and everything to do with extremely poor planning and no crowd management or communication.

                      1. re: kungful

                        Well, I can see how problems with the payment system could have snowballed, in that not only would it slow down transactions, but undoubtedly both the organizers and the vendors spent a lot of time trying to make it work before giving up, taking away from the time they could have spent serving people.

                        That said, I don't understand how there could have been a problem with too much attendance -- all you have to do is cap the number of tickets sold, like every other limited capacity event. And just glancing at the list of vendors, it's clear to me that they didn't have enough vendors, especially vendors selling main-dish type foods. If you only have eight vendors who are serving "plates of food" (the others are selling ice cream, cheesecake, chocolate) and you have three thousand people, then just doing the math you're going to have an average of 375 people in each line, not even counting people who stand in more than one line. Even if you can serve 4 people per minute, that's still an hours and a half in line! Plus, the way it was set up, since only the first plate of food was "free" and you had to order that plate before you purchased anything else, people headed for the expensive stuff first. It was certainly foreseeable that the vast majority of the people would immediately congregate around just a couple of vendors. And whoops, I just googled and according to their vendor outreach information, they were projecting 10,000 people. Ten thousand people and only eight vendors? What's wrong with that picture?

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          Here's Ed Levine's apology,

                          I suspect that the organizers thought of this as principally a music event and that the food would be snacks in between sets. I've heard this from NY and LA restaurateurs before, that is, folks in the Bay Area actually EAT and make a whole day and night of it as the principal entertainment. Quite different than in their respective cities.

                          Unlike Altamont, I've heard no reports of any deaths yet, so I guess we can be grateful for that.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            It's quite possible the organizers were thinking that way, but if they were, it was because they weren't paying attention to what kind of event it was.

                            It wasn't principally a music event with food, there were four stages: one with exclusively music programming, two with exclusively food programming, and one with about half and half, and that's not counting all the other "tables" and "tents," which were all exclusively food/beverage-related. In other words, there was more than twice as much food-related programming as music. That should have tipped them off that the people who were coming would be seriously interested in food.

                            In addition, the first-order-free system pretty much guaranteed that people would mob the food vendors with the more substantial offerings first thing. Gee, I can have a free ice cream cone or a free plate of BBQ, which should I get? And then once people saw the lines, they probably got pretty panicky about being able to get *anything* which just made it worse.

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              I don't believe that food was a draw at Altamont. Unless you count 'shrooms.

                              Don't see how you could say music was the raison d'etre. Although dearly loved by some, Marshall Crenshaw is not a draw. Didn't even know that Little Feat still existed after Lowell George.

                              Did anyone have Tony Luke's?

                              1. re: chocolatetartguy

                                The event producers seem to be principally music and entertainment specialists, and they gave "Music" the first billing in the name ahead of food. Maybe that says something about what their mindset and priorities were. I'm not apologizing for them, and I'm not saying the music was a draw, just that the organizers clearly miscalculated how important being able to EAT something rather than watch demonstrations would be to our local crowd. The comparison to Altamont is that previously that was held up as the worst festival ever held in our area.

                                  1. re: NoeMan

                                    Whoops, thanx, obviously i didn't bother to check the url I linked in an earlier post (and relied on the title of this thread).

                      2. A friend who went said she wouldn't go again but got her $22 worth. She blamed the lines on slow concession workers.

                        1. I think my group was one of the few who left the event satisfied, but most likely because we stayed til near the end and only paid $15/person (we got the 4-pack of tickets). Like everyone else, the first three hours were a total nightmare of line after disorganized rude line. We arrived around 12.30 and had planned on getting some food in time to see Anne Burrell's 1.30 demo, but by 1.30 we were barely just walking in the door and so didn't get to see anything til 3pm when we finally got some food. Fortunately we went with a large group and were able to split up to stand in the various lines, so we got a lot of food all at once.

                          Here are my reviews of the event, with all food graded on what I expect from a festival or fast food place. Personally I love fast food so my take may be different from others :)

                          * Pasta Pomodoro: They very nicely had free samples of farro (?) salad, which helped tie over the hunger pains while waiting in line. I was lucky to find it as soon as we entered the event, so it gave us something to munch on.

                          * Southside Market BBQ: The brisket was a tad dry but helped by the BBQ sauce. Not sure why they kept the BBQ sauce incredibly temperature hot -- a bit splashed on my hand while I was pouring it which resulted in slight burn blisters. The sausage was good, and the pickled pepper was quite spicy and a nice addition. Overall very satisfying.

                          * Katz Pastrami: Just had their pastrami two weeks beforehand, and while the pastrami at the Food Fest was delicious and juicy (though slightly less juicy than what we had in NYC), the sandwich itself was a bit lacking from the original: they used stale-tasting dark rye bread and yellow mustard, instead of the light rye and brown deli mustard at the store. Nevertheless, it was still a tasty sandwich.

                          * Junior's Cheesecake: I'm not a cheesecake fan but the bite I had tasted fine.

                          * Bouchon "Chocolate bouchon": This was like a mini chocolate cake. It wasn't super moist but the exterior had a nice bite and the interior was well balanced -- the chocolate wasn't too rich.

                          * It's It Ice Cream Sandwich: Some nice lady sitting behind us gave us her unopened one since she was full. I've never liked It's It before but this tasted much better than whatt I've had from the supermarket since it wasn't overly frozen -- the ice cream inside was a bit soft which made a wonderful contrast to the oat cookie and the chocolate shell.

                          * Graeter's Ice Cream: The flavor -- blackberry with chocolate chips -- was intriguing but it wasn't very creamy. In the Bay Area it wouldn't cause any swoons but it's good for Midwest ice cream.

                          * Zingerman's Bacon Sampler: It was a bit greasy from sitting under the heat lamp for a while, but hey, that's bacon. The 4 types were all a bit different, and I couldn't make up my mind while trying them as to which I liked the best.

                          * Tony Luke's Italian Sandwich: We got this on our way out around 9pm and we enjoyed it for lunch the next day. While not mind-blowing, the savory chopped vegetables lent an enjoyable depth and texture to the chopped meat.

                          * Pink's Chili Dog: I had a small bite and the dog itself wasn't bad for a fast food hot dog. While I wouldn't seek it out, I wouldn't mind going to Pink's if I'm in the area.

                          As for the entertainment:

                          * Marshall Crenshaw: I felt a bit bad for them since they played while everyone was in line, so the stadium was almost deserted. I'm not very familiar with the band but they did well.

                          * Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: They played a great set -- very high energy and full of fun -- which really engaged the audience. Honestly this was worth about $35 alone.

                          * Bobby Flay: His burger / onion rings / shake demo on the main stage was a little short but had some good content. Despite the difficult environment he remained upbeat through both that show and his ending one on the small stage -- very professional and good natured.

                          * Guy Fieri: Saw a bit on the smaller stage which was very entertaining, tho the "Hong Kong Noodles" looked pretty awful. His performance on the main stage was a really loud, rocking, fun performance. Did we learn anything? No. Did we have a great time and get some free stuff? Yes. Basically Guy is all flash and no substance, but after a tough day of waiting in line, sometimes people just wanted some feel good dynamics and he delivered.

                          * Bruce Aidell & Nancy Oakes: This husband-wife duo tag-teamed on two demos: first Bruce showed how to make some filet mignon with a creamy corn salsa, then Nancy gave us crab cakes and soft shelled crab stuffed with crab cake mix. It was cute watching the two snip at each other during the demos, a bit like my husband and I do. Nancy is very precise and orderly, while Bruce is more effusive and casual. At the end of her demo, Nancy generously cut her food into small pieces and invited the crowd to sample -- my husband was able to snag a bit of the soft-shell crab which he shared with me, and it was delicious! Definitely more fine dining than the other food we had that day.

                          * Aida Mollencamp: It was great to see Anne Burrell, Susie Fogelman (of The Next Food Network Star) and Jeffrey Saad (contestant on this season's TNFNS -- does this mean he's in the final two??) in the audience next to us supporting Aida. However Aida's demo was totally boring -- we had no idea what she was making, nor did she make us care. After 10 minutes we left to see the rest of Nancy's demo.

                          * SF Weekly Challenge for Best SF Burger: This was a fun event on the main stage, where four local burger joints -- BurgerMeister, Pearl's, Bistro Burger, and Mo's -- completed for the title of best burger in SF. Each contestant had a litle cooking station and served the judges their results. The judges -- Bobby Flay, Anne Burrell, the publisher of SF Weekly, and some guy he brought -- each gave comments on the burgers and were sweet enough to give the part they didn't eat to the audience. However the results were a bit surprising -- from their comments I thought Mo's would win, but the final two were Pearl's and Bistro Burger, with Pearl's Asian-inspired burger taking top honors.

                          Due to the lines and scheduling conflicts, we didn't watch the other shows, so I was a bit bummed to miss Chris Cosentino's hot dog demo and Nate Appleman's meatball demo but was happy they had so many offerings. If we ignored the first 3 hours we felt like we totally got our money's worth. Hopefully they'll be back next year with much better organization!

                          1. The even was a complete disappointment. My boyfriend, his daughter, her friend, myself, and a couple of friends went to this event. My friends arrived separately but the four of us arrived at 1pm. We stood in line for over 1 hour to get in; we tried to get a bracelet which was told they were out of; by this time, it was only 2 hours after the start of the event. My boyfriend and I stood in line for the original hot wings for over 2 and a half hour; apparently there were 2 different lines. During the wait, we heard rumors that they ran out of food. We got tired of standing in line so we left. We were so very hungry and tired and walked accross the Best Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich place so we grabbed 2 sandwiches. Only about 4 people after us, people in line was told that they ran out of sandwiches. I am so sorry but I did not think it was the best PB&J sandwich as I think mine PB&J tastes better.
                            Met up with my girl friend and her boyfriend who was going to get us a bottle of water and a beer. They were told that they were running low in water so they jacked up the price of water from $5 to $12. I lost all respect for management and Bobby Flay and the whole Food network and Great Eat. I think they should have planned this better. The whole event was just waiting and waiting in line. I don't think it was worth the money and the wait. During the event, friend of mine overheard some event goers were selling 2 pastrami sandwiches for $30 and people had bought the sandwiches as they were hungry and did not want to stand in line.
                            Overall........a very bad event.
                            from one disappointed event goer.