Union Street Festival for the First Time

One of the most talked about street fairs in San Francisco has to be the Union Street Festival. I’ve missed it every year for some reason or another, until this year..  There couldn’t have been a nicer, more picturesque day to be out and about and roaming along Union between Steiner and Gough in Cow Hollow/Marina.

Admittedly, we were pretty hungry by the time we arrived so all we wanted to do was eat. Come on… who am I kidding, even if I had just come from eating somewhere else, I probably still would be looking at the different food booths and seeing if there was anything yummy that catches my eye.  There was typical festival food like chicken skewers, gyros, sausage dogs, and anything deep-fried.  I couldn’t turn down the lure of garlic fries, but I was more intrigued by the heap of crab meat and garlic aioli topped on the fries.

We also gave the Fried Calamari a try.  The calamari was pretty good, and I liked the watercress dipping sauce that came with it, but truth be told, there is such a thing as too much deep-fried.  At about half-way through the fries, I started getting a little sick and the thickness of the batter on the calamari just made me things worse. Needless to say, it was decent-tasting but I would not order so much oily food the next time.

As we walked around, we stumbled upon American Cupcake which was an interesting little shop that offered sweets, savories and alcohol. Eccletic, to say the least, but I think it’s an interesting concept for an eatery that would probably fly in this part of time.

With it’s white walls and rainbow-like decorations, the place kind of looked like a Candyland.  It seemed like the perfect place for kids to come in and eat some ice cream or buy candy, but as you take a closer look behind the counter, you see a variety of alcohols and liquors in addition to a mix of  tasty looking cupcakes. The menu offered a few savory snacks like tater tots and sliders.  Then on another part of the menu were the different types of cupcakes with wine pairings listed right next to it.  It was kind of odd but very interesting at the same time.  You can satisfy your sweet tooth and get buzzed at the same time.  Although there was a festive, fun vibe about the place that was obviously target the 20- and 30-something crowd, I couldn’t help but think it was more of kid’s playground.  It was during the daytime though, so maybe in the evening, it has more of a bar/lounge type of feel.

Pdho, as usual, questions the business model and long-term sustainability of places like these.  He agreed it was an interesting concept, but he wasn’t sure if the business could make money.  I figured it was a mix of alcohol and sweets in a part of town that runs rampant with young singles who would be willing to spend their money on stuff like this… If anything, it’s a great place to go on a low-stress date… it’s not just alcohol, but it’s more than just coffee.  =)

As far as the cupcakes goes, there were okay.  The cake part was pretty moist and the frosting was a lighter yet still very tasty, but I’ve probably had better.  It’s still a fun little place to check out sometime if you’re ever walking on Union.

By the time we finished our cupcake and left, Union Street was pretty packed. There were tons of people everywhere, some of them were walking along looking pretty tipsy while others were congregated at the food booths and in the alcohol-only area.  If it weren’t for a previous engagement down in the South Bay, I would have liked to stay a little longer, but I was satisfied enough for the first time out.

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