“This is soo much better than any concert food. Ever,” said a teenage-looking girl, decked out in face paint and neon pink pants.
Both the sentiment and the outfit were par for the course at this year’s Sweetlife Food and Music festival, which brought together a mix of artists (the Shins, Kid Cudi, Avicii) and an equally eclectic group of eateries from Washington and New York. Back in the VIP section, Rogue 24 chef-owner RJ Cooper built a pop-up kitchen to churn out pork tacos, kimchi hot dogs, crispy soft-shell crab, grilled oysters with seaweed butter, and other “foods for people who are partying,” inspired by his days rocking out to the Grateful Dead and refueling along Shakedown Street, the famous Deadhead vending area. We’re pretty sure no Shakedown edibles ever rivaled the shoyu ramen with tender chicken and shiitakes from Toki Underground toque Erik Bruner-Yang, who teamed up with Cooper for the event.
Bruner-Yang also ran a stand for pho dogs in the general-admission “Food Forest,” a destination for top-rate noshing between sets. The Luke’s Lobster crew stuffed rolls with crab and lobster, and the team at Brooklyn-based Roberta’s slid pizzas into a portable wood-fired oven. Eric Smucker of Smucker Farms handed out brown-bag lunches with sandwiches, fruit, and whoopie pies, while over at the Eco-Friendly Foods stall, Bev Eggleston worked the assembly line piling “divine swine” sliders with tender pork and slaw. Jake Marcus, a manager at the Pepe food truck, sliced bread behind the vehicle for José Andrés-designed sandwiches–he was all smiles, despite having assembled 400 Spanish grilled cheese sandwiches the night before.
Head to the slideshow to check out all the delicious eats on offer.