Eating real good at a really good price


Tyler Elmore

Jaime, Mariana, and Elena (last names not provided) of Homeroom in Oakland, prepare the first batch of macaroni and cheese for the festival on Saturday Sept. 20.

Tyler Elmore, Managing Editor

The novel concept of eating “real” food comes to a festival near you and it doesn’t break the budget.

The Eat Real Festival is an annual event where local restaurants and street food proprietors come together to promote eating real “homemade” food.

It also is a great place for people to spend time together and eat delicious foods from various styles and cultures.

For those who have a smaller budget for eating out and entertainment, this is a great event to attend without spending too much money, as many dishes were under ten dollars.

All of the 50 food vendors are local to the Bay Area, whether they are strictly a food tent, truck or have a restaurant location around the bay.

Jessica Nguyen, founder of Bicycle Banh Mi says when they are brainstorming the festival menu, they think about what they are most known for and what they themselves would crave while attending a big food festival.

“We wanted to offer something fresh (spring rolls + root slaw), authentic (banh mi) and comforting (fried chicken),” she said.

Bicycle Banh Mi served a coconut milk and cilantro battered fried chicken banh mi, traditional vietnamese spring rolls and a tri-color root cole slaw.

Every business has a cool start up story, whether it is for the love of cooking, or they hated their job and just wanted to bake for a living.

On occasion, it is also a sentimental story.

Fernay McPherson, chef and owner of Minnie Bell’s Southern Movement, says “I’ve had a passion for cooking since a child. My great aunt Minnie and grandmother Lillie Bell were my inspiration to cook, which is where the name of my business came from. They were two southern women who threw down in the kitchen and I loved it.”

McPherson chose to serve a braised short rib sandwiches and corn bread bites.

Homeroom, a popular mac and cheese restaurant in Oakland, attended the Eat Real festival for the fifth time.

Emily Fleet, Homeroom’s general manager, said that the reason they went into business was as easy as “We wanted to share great mac and cheese with the world!”

Homeroom served their classic Gilroy Garlic mac.

The festival usually takes place at the end of September in Jack London Square in Oakland.

Aside from this festival, there are year-round local food truck and vendor meet-ups such as Off the Grid, which serves various locations on a daily basis.

With such opportunities as the Eat Real Festival around the Bay Area serving any time of the year, there is no reason for the “top ramen diet” anymore.