lamb jam sf 2016

A short while ago, I was fortunate to be the winner of 2 tickets to Lamb Jam SF 2016 from Food Gal’s website.  It was such a fun event and I got to try lots of delicious lamb dishes from the Bay Area!  They had 4 different categories: Mediterranean, Latin, Middle Eastern and Asian.  And they had wine and beer and cider aplenty!  I never knew Syrah was a great pairing for lamb!  Now I know 🙂  I love learning new things.  I am not a huge fan of Syrah so I stuck with the beer and the lone Pinot Noir there!  Loved Kenneth Volk Vineyards!  I wanted to share with you a few highlights from the event.

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The photo above shows the Baharat Braised Lamb Shoulder with Feta Hummus and a Cucumber, Preserved Lemon and Watermelon Salad from Kuleto’s.  This was such a delight and I loved biting into the tiny pieces of watermelon.  So refreshing!  I want to check out this restaurant just based on this dish!

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This is a photo of Lamb Belly Pancetta, Pan con Tomate, Pickled Quail Egg and Cilantro Mojo from Thirsty Bear Brewing Co.  Not my favorite dish of the day.  It was generous in lamb portion but perhaps a smidge overwhelming.  This was in the Mediterranean room and unfortunately the other 2 tastings ran out by the time I made it to the room.

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Spamb Musubi Licorice Tare, Kimchi, Egg Yolk from Blue Plate. This got mixed reviews from the folks we were chatting with at random tables.  I  thought for sure I was going to love it!  I mean, spamb, kimchi and egg?! But alas, the sauce was so overwhelming and the musubi fell apart as I took a bite.  It was innovative and I’d love to see this again somewhere! I appreciated the concept and think it could really be a winner.  This particular one fell a little short for me.

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This is the Beer Braised Lamb Torta with Stone Fruit Salsa from Pacific Coast Brewing Co in Oakland.  I have to give it to these guys!  They were the last group standing.  They served these up till the bitter end with smiles and nothing but awesome attitudes. It must have been a logistically difficult event to feed so many folks but this group looked cool and seemed to even be having fun!  I was shocked to learn they are just down the road from where I work and I haven’t heard of them!  I will definitely be stopping by.  This torta was amazing and the flavors were bold and well balanced.  The sprouts and guac really added texture and freshness to this sandwich!

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Ok folks. Here it is. The big winner!  Lamb Shoulder Pave Eggplant -Date Lutenisa, Sumac Pickled Corn and Cherry Bomb Harissa from Calavera Oakland!  Yay for Sophina Uong!!! Funny story about this and then the review of the dish.  We were standing in this loooooong line to get to EPIC Steak’s Coriander Roasted Whole Lamb, Tomato-Chickpea Stew and Garlic Herb Flatbread (which was AMAZING – so much so that I didn’t even stop to take a picture before inhaling it – sorry guys!) .  These gentlemen standing behind us were saying that they were skeptical of the Calavera dish because there was no line to get to that dish. They were wondering if it was going to be worth it.  I turned to them and said maybe there’s no line because Calavera has their stuff together and not because a lack of interest.  And then I told them I had tasted it and it was really delicious!!  This dish was HOT! It was spicy hot and it was sexy hot.  Can a dish be sexy? Yes!  Taste this and you may agree.  I haven’t been back to Calavera since Sophina Uong took over but I may convince my friends to give it another shot after trying this award winning dish.  Yes folks, it won for best Asian, best in show and I think people’s choice too!

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Ok.  Now…. this dish is special. It was my favorite dish of the whole event.  Char Siu Onigiri and lap cheong with Lamb Jam from BiRite Market.  OMG.  Everything on this plate was so delicious.  I wanted like 3x as much of each element.  I want this to be a dish I can order for lunch once a week ( I honestly would).  This was awesome.  It was so simple and the flavors were so clean but you could taste the complexity of the lap cheong sausage and the flavors in the lamb jam.  I loved this dish soooooo much!!!!

Thanks for going on this journey with me. I didn’t get a photo of Presidio Social Club’s Lamb and Rice Pot nor Hog & Rocks Mezcal-Adobo Lamb Shanks with Roasted Corn Huitlacoche Salsa.  And didn’t get to taste the empanada from Sabio on Main (that line was crazy too) .  More things to explore and try in the future.  As we left they had these cute lamb cake pops and I wish I could remember where they were from but they were delicious and a fun way to end this great event!

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