The Festival was this past Saturday night and, as usual, it was astonishing. We didn't take detailed notes (or any notes, for that matter) as we were too busy eating and drinking. We ran into two other Hounds whom we knew from the Pig Roast and other events so perhaps others can fill in with their favorite dishes.
Sam Choy had delicious ham and bean soup (it sounds so simple but was so good) and extraordinary braised shortribs. Valentino had grilled pizzas and lobster salad. Lydia Shire was sort of disappointing but her clams casino, passed while we waited in line, was great. Hitching Post's sweet potato fries were great as was their BBQ. I must have eaten 5 or 6 uni hand rolls from Nobu. His yellowtail was buttery (and unlimited). Something so simple as Mark Peel's grilled cheese sahdwich was very tasty. Jonathan Waxman had melt-in-your-mouth grilled steak and one of the richest chocolate puddings I've ever had. Rick Bayless had a taco (pulled pork, I think) with black beans and a sauce so hot my eyes watered. So many, many more things but my memory fails me.
The smell of burning oak was everywhere. Silver Oak Cab and Patron flowed freely. It really didn't get annoyingly crowded until about 8:30 or so, but many places started running out of food about 9:00 or a little thereafter. An arrival at 5:00 is a good idea even though the event officially doesn't open to the general public until 6:00.
Really quite a bargain considering that most of the admission price is a tax deduction. I'd highly recommend this to everyone.