This weekend, the 11th annual Eat Real Festival is coming back to Jack London Square. Part food festival, part street fair, and part block party, the free-entry festival features affordably priced food from local vendors, free cooking demos, private ticketed culinary experiences, live music and DJs, and activities for kids. There'll also be over 30 craft beers, plus local wines, cocktails, and nonalcoholic beverages. The festival takes place Saturday, Sept. 21, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Each food vendor is committed to using a minimum of one to two local, sustainable, or organic ingredients. There'll be over 50 vendors in attendance. A few highlights include Aburaya (Oakland's own Japanese fried chicken), Get Low Dumplings (making creative California-inspired dumplings), Good to Eat Dumplings (Taiwanese-style dumplings), Jollof Kitchen (serving West African cuisine), Kolobok Russian Soul Food (one of the only Russian eateries in the East Bay), Koolfi Creamery (recently profiled in our Queer & Trans Issue for its Indian-inspired ice cream), Old Damascus Fare (specializing in Syrian food), Smokin' Woods (known for its giant beef ribs), and Tacos y Chelas (street tacos on handmade tortillas with house pickles and salsas).
Each day features a different lineup of music and cooking demos. Saturday's bill includes DJ sets from Push the Feelings, VAMP, and B-Side Brujas. Demos include Azalina Eusope of Mahila and Azalina's (two Malaysian eateries in San Francisco) at 1 p.m., Meg Ray of Miette Cakes at 1:30 p.m., Angelo D'Alo of Berkeley's Agrodolce at 2 p.m., a dumpling demo at 2:30 p.m. from Henry Hsu of Oramasama, and a demo at 3 p.m. from Preeti Mistry of Juhu Beach Club.
Sunday's lineup includes music from Push the Feelings, VAMP, and The Fishwives. Meanwhile, there'll be demos from Nite Yun of Nyum Bai at noon, Gerard's Paella at 1:30 p.m., and Los Cilantros at 3 p.m.
For those looking for a private, hands-on culinary experience, Eat Real is also offering a series of ticketed workshops. Options include a fall and winter edible gardening workshop with Ploughshares Nursery, cheese-making workshops with FARMcurious, quick pickling and canning with Happy Girl Kitchen, pickles and krauts with Preserved, and a seafood butchery class with Kirk Lombard the Sea Forager. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
The mission of Eat Real Festival is "to help revitalize regional food systems, build public awareness and respect for the craft of making good food and encourage the growth of American food entrepreneurs." A portion of the proceeds from this year's event support Baykeeper, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping pollution in the Bay. For more information and a full list of vendors, visit EatRealFest.com.