Day 1’s feeling of pleasant chumminess had made way for pure joy, alternating with scrambling for shade. Considering Friday’s festivities started at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday’s went all day, this was to be expected. Live entertainment on the Music and Film Stage meant more than one impromptu mini-dance party on the grass, and that was before the goth belly dancers — I mean, Deshret Dance Company — showed up.
Lunch totaled $6: cold vegetarian ramen and barley tea from Poleng Lounge’s cart. I assume their idea of “cold” is not the same as mine, as this soup was at best room temperature. (Or maybe I should say “bowl temperature,” given the heat of the day.) But the noodles were pleasantly chewy, the corn was carefully mashed and the broth was just spicy enough to make itself known. The tea was light and refreshing, especially with added aloe jelly — but like the ramen, could’ve been much colder.
Not quite satiated by the tiny serving of barley tea, I turned to the friendly folks at Los Cilantros for a strawberry agua fresca. A bit small for the price, but incredibly refreshing, and not too sweet.
Waiting until around 4 p.m. for dessert paid off — I went to the Crme Brle Cart and only had to wait about 5 minutes to get myself a lavender specimen. At first I was miffed that he wanted $4 for something not even 4 inches in diameter, but it was all worth it. Pleasantly cool on the bottom with a not-too-crunchy top that didn’t cling to the molars. The lavender was subtle but stuck with me for about 10 minutes after, as I walked around and watched a cormorant do its carnivorous sea bird thing.
Meanwhile, indoors, the Good to Go Market featured air conditioning, plenty of cement floor picnics and rows and rows of vendors. Pork sausage? Honey? Baby food? Endives with a pronunciation guide? It was all here.
Shortly before everyone closed up shop, I caught up with Emma Mae Hoag, farm-to-school coordinator for Community Alliance with Family Farmers, whose booth included recipes for kids, a template to write a letter to President Obama and a basket of construction paper with packets of googly eyes — to make anthropomorphized vegetable bookmarks, of course. Hoag told me the reception had been very positive, that been there had been a steady stream of people all day, and that she thinks “events like this will start happening all the time,” thanks to growing demand for better quality food.
Eat Real, Day 3: I won’t be there, but you should be. Sample some food, dance on the grass, watch the birds. Keep in mind the Street Eats are not as cheap as Eat Real touts them to be, but rather what you might expect them to be in their natural environment (i.e. the street). Still, crme brle is highly recommended.