The Gourmet Food and Wine Show

Adventures in Eating: The Gourmet Food and Wine Show
Rosemarie | June 1984

In case you take a trip to San Francisco this summer, and for you members who live there, I thought I would share our recent visit, and also suggest a restaurant we discovered (which will not cost a fortune).

The Gourmet Food and Wine Show is held in the City of the Golden Gate each May.

For a brief moment, come with me and let’s take a peek at what awaited us. Entering Civic Center Hall, a woman is frying little squares of meat-substitute hamburg­ers and lauding its merits. I skewer a piece, pop it in my mouth and almost gag. The only action was to run out and quickly dispose of it. Some short steps away, a roly-poly Italian chef is stirring a large chafing dish. His product: frozen manicotti. Delicious. On to a glass of wine. You must know… these samples are generously and freely given.

Pause a moment, realize the effects of this non-stop orgy from 10-6, and you’ll understand how a “fine” evening meal in S.F. begins to fade. The passing of one free morsel offered tests your ability of consciousness. Feast all day on everything from pickles, chili, truffles, pates, breads croissants, ice cream, fruit cakes, cheese, cheese cakes, salads, wine, jams, chutney, desserts, herb dips, smoked fish, crackers, popcorn…Are you still with me? or has your stomach given up?

Keep the experience in perspective and think: tonight I get to eat out in a S.F. restaurant. Whee!

Discipline prevailed, and my hands stayed in my pockets as I walked to survey the wonders of culinary purveyors, while Paul did his wine thing.

For shuttles, authentic English double decker buses were provided. A buyer sitting next to me was a native, and she recommended an Italian restaurant in North Beach: Little Joe’s (no connection to the one in LA.).

Their specialty, she said, was a Caciucco (cachooco). A fish stew with 4 kinds of fish. Sounded great.

So there we went, and were greeted with a sign, “Rain or Shine there is always a line,” founded 1979. One entire wall was flanked with Wolf type gas ranges with 8 or 9 cooks pouring olive oil into skillets and preparing the entrees as they were ordered. Fantastic. I ordered the Caciucco and was presented with a bib. Very soon came a large bowl filled with crab claws, clams, cod, and 6 prawns. All this swimming in a marinara type sauce, delicately seasoned with herbs and spices, and served with crusty Italian bread. A fit­ting end to a food-filled day. I was like a kid in a candy shop, and allowed my whole being to be en­gulfed in the experience.

Don’t miss Litle Joe’s at 523 Broadway in S.F. This is a culinary experience that is or Italian genius, coupled with the presenta­tion of San Francisco flare.

Bon appétit!


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