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Friday, April 12, 2024

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CultureFood & DrinkGood Taste: Spring brings new and returning food festivals

Good Taste: Spring brings new and returning food festivals

POC Food and Wine, Cinco de Mayo by Al Pastor Papi, Harajuku Foodie Fest, more dates with local deliciousness

Welcome back to Good Taste, a roadmap for eating well in the Bay Area. This week, we offer you a calendar of both brand-new and OG local food festivals to attend this season.

MARCH

30: HARAJUKU FOODIE FEST! The exclamation point is theirs, but the “cutest food marketplace” with Filipino, Mediterranean, Hawaiian, Mexican, BBQ, and vegan options does admittedly sound like a good time. The first 50 attendees receive a free Hello Kitty gift bag, and there will be kawaii crafts for sale. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., free, all ages. City Park, 1149 First Street, Benicia. More info here.

Ube Flinkle cookie by Marley’s Treats
Ube flan tart by Marley’s Treats

APRIL

7: THE UBE FESTIVAL Local faves District Six, Marley’s Treats, and Filipino Culture Club are bringing back The Ube Festival, and you may end up with purple fingers after all that root-down snacking. There will be multiple food vendors, but Marley’s Treats could really pull this entire day off on the strength of its own menu. The Hayward bakery and food truck has really fun original creations like the flandesal, an ube pandesal roll stuffed with flan, ube cinnamon rolls, and the Ube Flinkle, a flan-stuffed ube crinkle cookie; everything is highly recommended! 12-5 p.m., free with RSVP-$40 VIP tables, all ages. District Six, 428 11th Street, SF. More info here.

12: CHINATOWN NIGHT MARKET After making its debut during APEC and returning earlier this month, the Chinatown Night Market continues its 2024 season on April 12. It will also take place on May 10, June 14, and the second Friday of each month through November. Support, learn about the neighborhood businesses, and get rewarded with a happy belly in return. 5:30-9 p.m., free, all ages. 700-900 blocks of Grant Street, SF. More info here.

18-28: BAY AREA AFRICAN RESTAURANT WEEK 2024 I didn’t know about this brand-new event when I covered local Restaurant Weeks in a recent edition of Good Taste, so it’s included here for you to take note! During April 18-28, you’ll be able to try specials and special menus at restaurants such as Radio Africa & Kitchen, Little Baobab, and Amawele’s Kitchen. Various Bay Area restaurants. More info here.

MAY

2-5: POC FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL A brand new culinary extravaganza celebrating people of color in the food and wine industry presented by Make It Mariko, POC Food & Wine Festival consists of seven separate ticketed events as well as all-access pass options. Highlights include an opening Palestinian dinner with Reem Assil, a “Sip & Scratch” reception with world-famous DJ Shortkut and his should-be-equally-famous chef and DJ wife Lok, plus a 420-friendly closing meal with Big Bad Wolf, whose pop-ups typically sell out faster than music festivals. $60-350. SF and Berkeley locations. More info here.

5: CINCO DE MAYO FEST Miguel Escobedo of Al Pastor Papi is curating a food festival for Cinco de Mayo. He told Good Taste that he’ll bring his tacos-plus trailer and he’s also confirmed some of his favorites such as Los Bayuncos, Shrimp’n Ain’t Eazy, Lobos Ice Cream, host Chuy Gomez, and more to be announced, plus local fashion and other non-food vendors. 12-5 p.m., free, all ages. District Six, 428 11th Street, SF. More info here.

10: BHANGRA & BEATS NIGHT MARKET This is actually an all-year update: last year’s inaugural Bhangra & Beats Night Market was so successful that Non Stop Bhangra and Into The Streets will bring the event back to downtown San Francisco for four evenings this year: May 10, July 12, September 13, and November 15. Roam three city blocks of food, drinks, live music, and DJs, and experience the joy of participating in bhangra dance movements. 5-10 p.m., free, all ages. Clay and Battery Streets, SF. More info here.

17-19: 626 NIGHT MARKET A huge food rave (as I like to call it, with the most possible love) that’s based in Arcadia in Southern California, 626 Night Market comes up north yearly to make a three-day appearance at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. You may find a squid or a pancake dick on a stick, a rainbow item of some sort, or an iteration of the latest TikTok food trend—but don’t worry, there’s also going to be more substantial fare at this fair. Based on experience at the Southern California fest, the vessel that your fun drink is served in—shaped like a baby bottle, pig, or grenade, perhaps—probably won’t be boring, either. Go early to get your pick, or else you’ll want to divide your group and conquer the lines separately. 3-11 p.m. Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $5.90-$10.02, all ages. 2005 Valley Avenue, Pleasanton. More info here.

24-26: FOODIELAND DALY CITY This similarly Instagrammable food fair with close to 200 tents of trends now stops in 10 different cities in three states. This year, it’s coming to the Cow Palace in Daly City in the spring and San Jose in the summer (July 12-14 and August 16-18, respectively.) 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m.-10  p.m. Saturday and Sunday, $7, children under five free. Cow Palace, Geneva Avenue, Daly City. More info here.

JUNE

1-2: LA ONDA The brand new Latinx music fest from the producers of BottleRock (and held the weekend after) has a large roster of food truck and restaurant partners from the Bay Area and Wine Country, including El Garage, La Calenda, Don Perico Mexican Restaurant, Taqueria Rosita, La Taquiza, Frida’s Mexican Grill, Bar Taco by Mustards Grill, El Porteño Empanadas, Taco Addiction, Cocina Milonga (and many more). From past experience, I think BottleRock is a music festival with a respectable food component, but La Onda sounds even better! 11 a.m.-10 p.m, various prices, all ages. Napa Valley Expo, 575 3rd Street, Napa. More info here.

8-9: ARTICHOKE FESTIVAL I’ve personally found this to be one of the almost-summer food festivals that’s worth the two hour or so drive from SF to Monterey—if you love artichokes, of course. Eat as many fried specimens as you can, pick up a crate or two for good prices, take in a Prince tribute band, and see what happens when ‘chokes are used as an art medium. There’s also a comedy fest the night before. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, all ages. 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey. More info here.

Tamara Palmer is the publisher of California Eating and the founder of the new online Music Book Club.

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