On Saturday, September 15, 2007, I headed to an Armenian Food Festival in San Francisco for a late lunch.
The festival is aptly named. It sells a large variety of Armenian food, especially pastries. And, in fact, there isn't much at the festival besides the food. There were about a half dozen booths not selling festival-affiliated food. Even some of these booths sold food, such as strange cheeses, many varieties of grapes, and various dried fruits and nuts. Sure, there was a stage for dancing and the schedule listed many bands who'd play in the evening, but, while I was there, the music was simply a DJ's selections and the stage was unoccupied. Not too exciting. There was also a kids' zone, which included an inflatable slide, an inflatable castle, and assorted carnival games. Nevertheless, it was clear all these things were secondary: the purpose of the festival was the food.
- Kufta, an Armenian meatball. This was the main reason I went to this festival. I have fond memories of the amazing kufta I had at an Armenian festival two years ago. It's a moist meatball in a thin, meaty (meat and bulgur) shell. And it was nearly as good as I remembered! I think the meat inside was freshly ground by the festival and tossed with spices, onions, and parsley.
- Iman-bayildi, eggplant stuffed with red and green bell peppers, onions, a few herbs (parsley?), and spices. Decent.
- Salad with "Armenian dressing", a sweet, Italian-dressing-style vinaigrette. Decent.
- Sha-abiat, a triangular dessert of filo dough filled with custard. Fairly good, though too sweet (from honey) for my taste. Due to the sweetness, it would've gone great with tea. Even the slightly cheesy custard didn't help cut down on the sweetness much. Sprinkled with ground pistachios.
I also picked up some food for later in the weekend:
- sou-boerge, filo filled with cheese and parsley. Quite good. I appreciate the lightness and mildness of cheese; most cheese-filled items are overwhelming.
- Another kufta. I was surprised and delighted to learn it reheated to be as good as when it was fresh.
- Armenian apple delight. Okay. An Armenian version of an apple strudel, only with relatively little apple and lots of filo dough. Topped with powdered sugar. Nothing much substantial inside.
- Bourma, a rolled version of baklava. Decent. When I saw these next to the baklava, I wondered why the bourma, at half the size of baklava, cost the same amount. Now I know. These rolled desserts are so dense with crushed walnuts, they probably have the same quantity of ingredients as baklava, simply compressed into a much smaller space.