Now that the dust has settled and diets returned to whatever passes for normal among the picnicking Hounds, I would like to look toward 2007. I have heard from Susan that spaces in GG Park need to be reserved one year in advance, so this is not really too soon to begin discussing it. Is it?
You see, I was not able to attend this year's picnic due to my commitment to helping with the Farallons National Marine Sanctuary Association's annual Ocean Fest event at Crissy Field. 2005 was the first year in the three or four I have been hounding that these events did not occur on the same day and I loved that picnic, despite last year's overcast and chill. My disappointment was not just at missing out on the great food and wonderful companionship, but I had a spicy chicken thigh dish I was anxious to foist on willing Chowhound palates.
Ocean Fest always happens on the Saturday that kicks off Fleet Week. Next year it will be Saturday Oct 5. I hope, I beg, that the Chowhounds picnic be a different day. As for Ocean Fest, does it have anything Chowhoundish to recommend it? Yes, it does. The Marine Sanctuary is commited to promoting sustainable local seafood and is able to get some of the leading Bay Area restaurants to join in their celebration. Lunches were served at $10 per plate, all food and service donated by the participating restaurants. So while Hounds were feasting at GG Park, I was at Crissy Field tasting the following: from Chez Panisse, a Spanish-inspired fish soup using local ling cod as its sustainable local fish; Farallones had a grilled calamari salad, the aroma from the charcoal grill mouth-waterng in itself; Zuni had a Nicoise-style sandwich (albacore tuna); Slanted Door served halibut with cilantro sauce over rice; and Hog Island had, obviously, oysters at 6 for $10. There were also hot dogs available. Every food booth sold out, selling between 150 and 200 plates each. The beer and wine booths were also busy and a bargain, three glasses for $10 and you keep the glass. At one point I saw both Judy Rodgers and Charles Phan personally serving people from their booths.
Does this sound Chowhoundish enough? I hope I can do both Ocean Fest and the picnic next year.