Ravioli on one side and chow fun on the other. The sweet, sweet scent of garlic everywhere. Sunday saw the first annual Noodlefest, jointly held by the Chinatown Community Development Center and North Beach Merchants Association.
So many noodles. Yet I did not eat any. You may think, “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!” but let me explain — I had Indian leftovers at home that I had been thinking about since I left the East Bay, plus I was there primarily to photograph, and juggling a little cardboard canoe of noodles plus a camera would’ve been comical and ill-advised. And I was sore from Wii boxing. So here I am, with photos that you shouldn’t look at if you’re hungry.
For $15 advance or $20 at the door, one would receive a “passport” to sample different pasta dishes from restaurants like Enrico’s, Imperial Palace, Cafe Puccini, Colosseo, Rose Pistola and Utopia Cafe. But strategy was important: you could only choose three from Chinatown and three from North Beach.
Booths were lined up along Grant Avenue (between Pacific and Vallejo) and Vallejo Street (between Columbus and Grant) and the crowds were packed, expanding belly to expanding belly. The event started at 3 p.m. — I arrived at 4, and the ding darn thing had sold out already.
For those who wouldn’t be able to sample, there was plenty of live music. The Chinatown soul band Jest Jammin’ was doing their thing in Chinatown, while the more subdued Michael Shiono Collective was also entertaining the crowd in North Beach. In between, another group was playing traditional Chinese music to benefit A Better Chinatown Tomorrow.
I’m no expert on race relations, but watching some elderly Asian people dance next to some middle aged black people (adorable, all of them), I was starting to think maybe some of the black-on-Asian violence happening as of late might just be solved with music. Or pasta.