The New Night Market
While the festival doesn't officially kick off until Saturday morning, consider the festival's first night market your hors d'oeuvres for the main course. Starting at 6pm, over 25 vendors will set up shop at Alemany Market hawking some of the same cheap eats you'd find in Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown or Mexico City's Mercado Medellín. For $25, you can pound the pavement with a snack in hand, visit the craft brew area, dance off your dinner to live music, and watch culinary notables like Javier Plascencia and Suvir Saran work their magic.
Starting at 11 p.m. Saturday, over 80 vendors will cram their trucks, booths, carts, and stands onto Folsom Street, east of the 24th BART station. Newcomers include Taino's, where you can pick up a pastelillo or two (Puerto Rican empanadas), Lali's, Georgian cuisine straight from Tbilisi, Minnie Bell's Soul Movement, the finger-licking brainchild of a local MUNI operator, Saint & Olive for sweet and savory biscotti, and Oakland's own Hella Vegan Eats.
From further afield, a few out-of-towners will be trucking in for a guest appearance. From Portland come EuroTrash Cart and the incongruously Cajun, Swamp Shack. For some real Southern flavor, you'll find Farm 255 from Athens, Georgia, Peached Tortilla from Austin, and the Yakamein Lady from New Orleans.
New Hot Spots
After snacking, head to the festival's 4,000 square-foot spirit garden in Jose Coronado park. Sweets Collections will be offering what may be the world's first high-minded jello shots. For more kid-friendly diversions, there will be a family area, with face painting and stroller parking (sorry, no valet service), as well as book signings with 4505 Meat's Ryan Farr, Suvir Saran, and Bi-Rite partners in crime, Sam Mogannam and Anne Walker.
Of course, this wouldn't truly be a San Francisco event if there wasn't an app available. You can find it here.