Eat Real Fest 2011 Part 3 – The Flying Knives Steer Butchery Competition

This is Part 3 of a series of photo posts from Oakland’s Eat Real Festival, September 23-25, 2011 at Jack London Square.  (Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6)

The butchery competitions are probably the most exciting parts of Eat Real Festival (Photos from last year can be found here).  Teams of butchers compete live and on stage in front of hundreds of onlookers to break meat into retail cuts in a 45-minute window.  Then, a winner is chosen by a team of judges from local restaurants (This year’s judges included 4505 meats, Brown Sugar Kitchen, among others) for a bottle of fancy St. Georges gin and a trophy.

This year, three teams competed:

As the audience filled in, the butchers unpacked their knives, hooks, and sharpeners.





The audience awaits..









The 3 hindquarters arrived on a cart, each aged for 21 days to a month.





They were loaded onto three hanging hooks, spread across the stage









Trophies and gin.





Dave the Butcher, a crowd favorite, sharpens his knife before the start of competition.









Zach and Josh talk strategy prior to the start of competition.





Anya Fernald, MC and founder of Eat Real and The Next Iron Chef judge, introduces the butchers to the eager crowd.


Rian gets underway

























A few minutes into the competition – knives, hooks, and pieces of meat are flying and the crowd is loving it.


More images to come in Part 4.








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Eat Real Fest 2011 Part 2 – Kraut-a-thon with Happy Girl Kitchen Co and Farmhouse Culture and Cooking with Jam

This is Part 2 of a series of photo posts from Oakland’s Eat Real Festival, September 23-25, 2011 at Jack London Square.  (Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6).

Farmhouse Culture and the Happy Girl Kitchen Company hosted a Kraut-a-thon at the DIY Make It area.  It was another great hands-on event where audience members got to get their hands dirty making a classic sauerkraut using natural microorganisms.






Extolling the virtues of fermented vegetables.  Especially interesting was the fact that the nutritional content of the vegetables can actually improve after fermentation.









Demonstrating her cabbage cutting technique









They had the audience get involved right away.  Cutting boards, microplanes, knives, veggies, salt and spices were all provided.









Salt is an important component in making a sauerkraut.  The audience was instructed to salt until it tastes just too salty to taste for a salad.  Not adding enough salt results in a soggy sauerkraut.  Also, using non-iodized salt is a requirement – the iodine inhibits the growth of microorganisms.





Hand mixing the sauerkraut.  Farmhouse culture and the Happy girl kitchen company even provided a handwashing station for the audience to use prior to getting in on the action.

 Cooking with Jam

Rachel Saunders, Michele Polzine and Fran Loewen led a talk on ways to use jam in normal cooking.  They fielded a slew of questions from an interested audience at the Master Craft stage of Eat Real Festival.









Rachel Saunders has been making jam for 13 years and offers a line of preserves (Blue Chair Fruit) that can be found at farmers markets and various Bay-Area restaurants as well as a sold-out cookbook with great photography and delicious recipes.  I’ve been picking up her jam since I first started seeing it at the farmers market a number of years ago.





A jam pyramid.









The highlight of the event for the audience was probably the samples – they served a peach leaf ice cream with a plum jam topping.  Samples went REALLY quickly.





Blue chair’s Norweigan intern, dutifully scooping..





.. and then applying the plum jam topping.












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Eat Real Fest 2011 Part 1 – Blue Bottle Coffee, Ritual Coffee, and Beauty’s Bagel

I once again took photos for this year’s Eat Real Festival, held in Oakland’s Jack London Square from September 23-25, 2011.  This post is the first of many from the festival.  (Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6) The event’s organizers had a fully packed schedule and there were a lot of really interesting things to photograph.

One of the things that I noticed this year was that there were more hands-on activities.  There was a DIY Make-it area and a DIY Eat-it area complete with a community oven, sponsored by King Arthur Flour (I am a fan).

Coffee Brewing with Blue Bottle Coffee

One of the first DIY activities was a coffee brewing workshop put on by the fine folks at Blue Bottle coffee, who roast their beans only a few blocks away.  4 of their training staff led a workshop on making coffee with paper filters and their Bonmac ceramic drippers.








 Benjamin Brewer started the talk by giving an overview of the process and continued to make key points as each of the other trainers demonstrated their drip-brewing processes.






The coffee grounds were precisely weighed on digital scales to ensure a coffee to water ratio of 1:10 in the cup.  “In the cup” is a key phrase, Benjamin explained.  The coffee grounds absorb a fair amount of hot water and thus a little extra hot water needs to be added to the filter to achieve a 1:10 ratio in the cup.








Benjamin emphasized freshness – the beans in the demo were only between 1-3 days old.  After the beans were weighed, the trainers took turns grinding them and bringing the grounds back to their table.









Hot water was poured in via goose-necked pitchers until the target weight was reached.  In the above photo, Brian demonstrated when to pull the dripper away before guiding attendees in brewing their own drip coffee.





I stepped outside after this workshop to make my way to the DIY Eat-it area, where Beauty’s Bagels were putting on a bagel workshop.

Third-wave coffee was well represented at the festival.  Ritual Roasters‘ always-photogenic coffee trailer, Sputnik was there once again.

 Bagel making with  Beauty’s Bagel

Oakland’s Beauty’s Bagel led a DIY workshop where they showed how to make their Montreal-style bagels.  They had premade and proofed the dough and workshop attendees floured up their hands and got to rolling their own bagels after watching a quick demo.

Here’s Blake Joffe cutting up the dough for the first demonstration.  They used King Arthur’s high gluten flour (14.2% protein content)  for maximum chewiness.



Some bagel recipes call for creating balls and poking holes through them to create their distinctive shape, but here Amy Remsen rolls them out and creates a loop.


Completed demo bagels.





After they created a few demo bagels, the audience members were invited to get involved and create their own.





Meanwhile, things were getting started with the wood-burning oven

Various bagels rolled by various bagel-makers.  The bagels were then boiled in honey-water and thrown into the oven.



















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Oakland Jack London Square Amtrak

We went to the Amtrak station at Jack London Square to pick up a friend who was arriving from San Jose.  The train was a little late, so I took a few pictures:


secure shopping cart


this shopping cart was locked to the information display via cable lock.







loco spot


I’m guessing “loco” refers to locomotive rather than crazy?

note: = porn, not locomotives nor crazy.






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Eat Real Fest 2010 Part 3 – Pig Butchery Competition

This is part 3 of my photos from Eat Real Festival 2010. For part 1, click here, for part 2, click here.

Dave the butcher and Dan the butcher from Jim N Nick’s BBQ faced off in the pig butchery competition on the afternoon of Sunday the 29th of August.

one of the judges holds up a loin:

Anya Fernald does the play by play:

more dave the butcher:

Dave the butcher liked this one:

One of the judges.  Judging:

These guys were really getting into it:

A few more shots of the pig butchery crowd:

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Eat Real Fest 2010 Part 2

This is part 2 of my photos from Eat Real Festival 2010.  For part 1, click here.

After his Chinese Noodle Pulling demonstration, Chef Gordon from ARK Chinese restaurant in Alameda started a watermelon carving demonstration.  The stage MC joked that he’d be going at half-speed so that the people in the audience could observe his technique.  He specified that he’d be carving a peony:

I like seeing the watermelon rind scraps all strewn about.

A little chunk fell out as Chef Gordon was carving.  He explained that he usually uses less-ripe watermelons because they’re firmer and thus less likely to fall apart.

Chef Gordon also threw a carved carrot into the mix.  He said these need to be fresh so they they’re still firm and crisp.  Here’s a bird:

I did some walking around after watching the demonstration.  Here’s some roast pig, ready for serving from Chop bar:

Here’s a hen (taxidermy?) in front of the Food Skills stage in the Urban Homestead area.  As seen on Oakland Local.

Goods from the prizewinners of the Urban Homestead competition:

Samples for the crowd from the Melon Mania workshop in the Urban Homesteading area.

Elote to be:

What comes next?  Half eaten elote:

Mogo BBQ:

Lobster roll from Sam’s Chowdermobile.  My favorite food of the festival.

Gigantic Gerald’s Paella Pan.  You could fit a family of 6 on it!

shot of the eat real 2010 crowd:

Carne Cruda performing at the Lawn Stage – They were goofballs.

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Eat Real Fest 2010 Part 1

Eat Real Festival 2010 was amazing.  Jack London Square was beautiful.  Oakland is beautiful.

Here are the photos:

Food Vendors and the Marketplace

Sometime Emeryville vendors Primo’s Parilla showed up with their meats and grill.  They’d recently run into some sort of permit issue with Emeryville regarding the grill but that wasn’t a problem at Eat Real.

Folks from Boccalone (“Tasty Salted Pig Parts”) had a small stand:

Toussant from Besto Pesto providing samples of his pesto with super-delicious organic rigatoni pasta from the pasta shop

Rachel and her crew from Blue Chair Fruit selling some wonderful jams (including black fig, strawberry-pink peppercorn, and spiced burbon-tomato)

This guy was getting ready to make a watermelon salad in the Marketplace area:

A sale at Marshall’s farm natural honey:

The Taco Guys had a sweet paint job on their truck.

Chinese Noodle Pulling

In short, the Chinese noodle pulling demonstration was amazing.  At first, being unfamiliar with the art, I was almost bored – this guy is just kneading dough.  But then, he started doing some twists and stretching..

Chef Gordon from ARK restaurant in Alameda, CA gets to work, starting with a lump of dough.


In a short amount of time he went from what appeared to be a few strands of dough to hundreds of noodles:

I was able to get an aerial view of part of Jack London Square.  Super-crowded.  It’s an interesting contrast compared to how empty it normally seems.

This is Dave the Butcher participating in the live pig butchery competition against Dan the butcher from Jim & Nick’s BBQ .  Apparently he liked the photo enough to tweet/facebook update about it:

Cool.  More photos of the butchery competition to come in the next post.

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best of the east bay party 2010

Went to the 2010 Best of the East Bay party at Jack London Square put on by the East Bay Express on Saturday. There was a good mix if people, food, art, merchandise and music. Here are some photos.  Good times.

I watched the skateboarders for a bit.  This is Lem:

Lem in the air

Ferry terminal, Jack London Square:


Lead singer for Everything Must Go!  Wild set.

"everything must go!"

Gift of Gab and Lateef the Truth Speaker + Headnodic from the Crown City Rockers = The Mighty Underdogs.  They put on a damn fine show.  Gift of Gab shredding the mic:

gift of gab

Lateef the Truth speaker:



lateef and gab

lateef: freeze!


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