All photos: Leanna Yip for the Appeal

“Add whatever spices tickle your pickle.”

You know you’re in good company when even the pros can’t stay away from the innuendo. And by pros I mean Todd Champagne and Todd Gonzales, the guys from Happy Girl Kitchen Co., the last demo of the night on the first day of Eat Real 2009. There are eight more demos scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, so if the Todds’ informative and scintillating appearance was any indication, parking yourself on some hay bales for a bit will be totally worth it. (I was impaled, but I’m fine now — and there are palm trees to lean against, too.)

Friday also featured the Beer Shed and Ice Cream Night, while Saturday and Sunday promise Street Eats and the Good to Go Market. Considering it was stupidly hot Friday afternoon, beer and ice cream was a pretty nifty way to cool down via carbs and sugar. The best part of the afternoon, though? No one looked grumpy, even with the heat and the crowds. Probably because when you’re surrounded by peppy jazz music, a peaceful waterfront, happy kids, happy dogs, happy vendors, and happy Eat Real volunteers, looking grumpy probably makes you feel like a jerk.

So get away from Outside Lands and go to Jack London Square this weekend. If $5 parking puts you off, take BART or AC Transit and walk there. It’s a few rough blocks, but they’re only scary if you make it scary. Stick around ’til dark, too — watching the sunset behind a movie screen is stunning.

And if you hear a bike bell as you stroll along, don’t move out of the way too quickly — that’s probably Ritual Coffee in motion. Aaron Van Der Groen, the cheery guy selling iced coffees and bags of beans from Ritual Coffee’s souped-up coffee tricycle, said Saturday’s appearance may be trike-less due to the crowds.

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